Traveling with your dog can be a wonderful experience, as long as it is a choice that makes you and your dog both happy. If you are one of those who choose to take your dog everywhere, and he always gladly agrees to follow you, you will find in this article useful tips for traveling with your dog in Europe, regardless of the means of transport you have chosen: ship, train or even car.

The European Parliament facilitated the rules on cross-border pet travel in May 2013. The new legislation was officially approved, with the aim of making it easier for animals to travel abroad and tightening health requirements.

It Is Important To Know That

Before their animals cross the border, their owners are required to check that the rabies vaccination is still valid. As we said some time ago, rabies vaccination is not compulsory per se, but it is when you decide to cross a national border.

A small exception is made for young animals, which are between 12 and 16 weeks old: even if they are vaccinated against rabies, they still need to obtain immunity and will continue to be allowed to travel.

The restriction, which limited the number of pets with which it was possible to cross a border at one time to 5 (necessary to prevent or discourage abuse of the rules for commercial purposes) has been partially relaxed: owners can be exempted if they can prove that they are leaving to take part in a competition, exhibition or sporting event. In the absence of proof, they may not bring more than 5.

3 Basic Requirements

  1. Passport: The pet passport model is identical for all EU countries and replaces all passports and other similar documents used to date. The passport contains the microchip number, a brief description of the dog and the name and address of the owner.
  2. Microchip: If your dog is still without a microchip and you intend to travel in Europe, you can no longer exempt yourself from doing so. To find out how to do this click here.  The tattoo (previously used) is still provisionally accepted only if it is clearly legible (except in Ireland, United Kingdom and Sweden). We have collected some particularities in this article: traveling with a dog in the UK, Sweden and Finland
  3. Rabies vaccination: the dog must be vaccinated against rabies and the vaccination must be mentioned in the passport. Three weeks must elapse between the date of vaccination and the day you cross a border.

Owners of pets traveling to EU countries are therefore obliged to apply for a passport before they leave. The single European document must be requested from the Veterinary Service of your local health authority, with costs varying from region to region. The microchip, as you know, can instead be applied by any veterinarian, who can simultaneously do the rabies vaccination.

“There are 64 million cats and 66 million dogs in the EU. One in four families has a pet. In the future, there will be less administrative hassle in traveling across borders with animals. The rules have loosened, and this should have a direct impact on citizens,” explained rapporteur Horst Schnellhardt, after his resolution was adopted by 592 votes to 7 with 4 abstentions. The legislation will enter into force 18 months after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.