EU Tightens Rules on Pet Travel and Import of Dogs and Cats

English BulldogUPDATE: Although these regulations are still in effect, things will change with the withdrawl of the UK from the EU. See additional information on how pet travel will be affected by Brexit.

Effective on December 29, 2014, there will be a new regulation involving changes to the popular pet travel scheme governing pet movement throughout the European Union (EU). Whether you live in or are visiting the EU next year, these changes will affect you. Here is the abbreviated version:

EU Pet Passports: The passport issued to EU residents will be changing and will be provide for more identification of the pet. This change will not affect visitors to the EU.

Border Inspections: EU countries will be required to provide for inspections of pets crossing borders at certain locations. The EU may not be as laid back on ground controls.

Minimum age requirement: rabies vaccination for puppies, kittens and ferrets entering the EU will be administered no sooner than 3 months of age. This requirement is meant to prevent the movement of puppies and kittens who have been vaccinated too young in an effort to comply with regulations.

Commercial Movements: If you are traveling with more than 5 pets, unless you are traveling to a pet show or competition, you will need to use a licensed agent and enter the EU through an approved Border Inspection Post. The movement must also be registered on the TRACES system which tracks the movement of animals entering and traveling within the EU.

Unaccompanied Pet Travel: when entering the EU by air, if you cannot travel on the same plane with your pet, you must sign a declaration that you are not selling or transferring ownership of your pet. Additionally, you must travel within 5 days of your pet’s transport. This regulation will raise a lot of questions from pet owners who, for whatever reason, cannot travel with their pet.

Definition of Your Pet: Your pet must be a domesticated dog, cat or ferret. Wild animals, Savannah cats or wolf hybrids are handled through the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Most of these rules are targeting the illegal trade of puppies and kittens in the EU. The health and welfare of these animals cannot be ignored. Bottom line is to be aware of the rules for pets to travel within and to the EU. You can find them here for every country in the EU:


EU Tightens Rules on Pet Travel and Import of Dogs and Cats — 130 Comments

  1. Kay – if you are referring to commercial transport regulations to enter the European Union or transport your pets within the EU, we cannot advise you how to skirt current regulations except to arrange a representative of yours to travel with them. If they are accompanied by your representative, they will qualify to travel under non-commercial regulations.

  2. I won’t be travelling within 5 days of my pets but they 100% are mine and will not be sold etc. How can I get around this???

  3. Odette – if you were in Spain for 6 months, your dog should have an EU Pet Passport reflecting a microchip and current rabies vaccination. You can use that to enter both France and Canada.

  4. We are returning to Canada from the EU. Do we need any new documentation for our dog or can we simply show our Canadian Vet Health Certificate and the CFIA certificate obtained when we left? We were in Spain for 6 months and returning from Spain to Vancouver Canada via France for a 3 day layover. Thanks for confirming. We can not find any clear information on the EU website.

  5. I am flying a puppy from USA to France (accompanied). Because the puppy is under 6 months, does this affect the type of license? I am assuming the license I need is non commercial however because I have purchased the puppy in the USA I wondered whether this affected the type of license/health certificate I need?

  6. Maria – we are not veterinarians; however, we have never heard of a rabies vaccination that has a duration of 4 years, so it is likely that your cat’s rabies vaccination has expired. You needed to microchip your cat before entering the CR, so that should be taken care of. Get your cat a “primary” rabies vaccination (may be one year but your veterinarian should know) and wait for 21 days before entering Portugal. Have your vet enter the vaccination in your cat’s EU Pet Passport.

  7. Hello. This is probably a silly question, but I can?t find the clear answer anywhere. My cat moved from Russia to Czech Republic with me, so 4 years ago, before entering EU, it was vaccinated according to the EU legislation. I am now moving with my cat to Portugal and I?m trying to understand if I need to renew the rabies vaccine. Please advise!

  8. Nenad – you can find regulations to import your dog to over 200 countries here: Crate requirements can be found here: Measuring your dog for a crate can be found here: IATA-compliant pet crates can be found here: More information on the transport of a pet can be found here: Let us know if you need more information.

  9. Where I can find car transport regulations for dogs. Particularly everything in regards to crates/cages. Sizes vs. dog size, type of crates/cages, etc.

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