Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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Dogs

The Complete Guide to Flying with Your Dog to Europe

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel
Apr 8 ·
Dog to Europe

If you want to travel with your dog to Europe and visit its many places, there are some things you’ll need to do beforehand. Traveling with your dog to Europe is doable, but it requires planning and many chats with your vet about it. Here’s everything you need to know about flying with your dog to Europe and many countries. 

First, Talk to Your Dog’s Veterinarian

When traveling with your pets, you’ll need to talk to your vet about it first. Whether you’re getting to your destination (flying, long car trip, train, boat, etc.) or where your destination is (another state or another country), your vet needs to help you.

If your dog is healthy enough, your vet can ensure they’re up to date on their vaccinations to meet the airline and United States requirements.

So, call your vet and tell them that you and your dog will be traveling to the United States. Europe and every state and airline have different requirements to bring a dog on board. Together, you and your vet can ensure your dog is well prepared.

For example, your dog may need the following:

  • Blood tests
  • Health certificates
  • Microchips (for identification)
  • Permits
  • Vaccinations

Remember, some of these requirements may change from time to time.

What Are the Various Requirements Your Dogs Need to Get into Europe?

Europe is pretty big, and there are requirements to get into it. However, each different area in Europe has its own set of rules. They all have in common, though, is that your dog needs a passport.

What is EU Pet Passport

Humans need a passport to leave their country. Believe it or not, dogs need a passport if you want them to enter the EU.

An EU dog passport is created by an authorized veterinarian that practices in the EU. If the dog has a valid EU passport, they do not need a medical exam to get back into the country.

On the other hand, if your dog’s passport has expired, they need to be checked out by a vet before leaving. An accredited vet can then update the passport.

This ensures the dog is healthy and won’t bring any unwanted diseases into the UK. For example, if the dog has tapeworm, they need to be treated for at least one to five days before boarding the plane.

If your dog has an EU passport, then there’s nothing to worry about on that front. However, if they don’t have a passport, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

Getting an EU Pet Passport

First, your dog needs to be identifiable with a microchip. If they don’t have a microchip, then you’ll want to get them one through your vet.

The microchip needs to be ISO compliant. So, if your dog doesn’t have that, you’ll need to contact vets at your destination for a microchip reading upon arrival.

Next, your dog needs to have the rabies vaccination. If they do not have that, they won’t be allowed into the country. 

On the other hand, if the dog is under 15 weeks old, some places will not allow the puppy to enter. Also, they need to have their rabies shot within 21 days of entering the UK.

If your dog didn’t already have the rabies shot, you need to wait at least 21 days before leaving. This will ensure that the vaccine is in your dog’s system upon arrival at your destination. 

Next, you’ll need to have the appropriate health documents. Then, finally, a USDA Accredited Veterinarian needs to complete and sign the health documents, so your dog has access to Europe.

There are two different health documents to be aware of: a non-commercial certificate and a commercial one.

The major difference between these two health documents is the number of dogs traveling and when they’ll arrive before their owner.

For example, the non-commercial health document is for five or fewer pets traveling within five days of their owner’s arrival.

On the other hand, the commercial health certification is for any number of pets that travel more than five days before or after their owner. 

Once those health documents are all set, you’ll need to get the APHIS to endorse them.

Finally, if needed, get your dog treated for tapeworm. Once your dog gets cleared for tapeworm and has everything you need for the passport (if you don’t already have one), you’ll be able to fly with your dog to the EU.

The Different Countries Have Different Requirements

Did you know there are 44 countries in Europe? So, for example, there’s Russia, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain, just to name a few.

Dog to Europe

Each place has its own set of rules and requirements for traveling with your pet. So, let’s talk about a couple of them to see what you and your doggo will need to travel there.

Traveling to France

The following things you’ll need to prepare your dog for flight is as follows:

  • A microchip with an ISO number (or you can bring your microchip scanner)
  • Import permit (which is a license to allow the dog into the country)
  • Health certificate (endorsed by the USDA or the CFIA)
  • Various vaccinations

For example, some of the vaccinations your dog may need will include the rabies shot. They need to have the rabies shot within 21 days of entering France.

In addition, your dog will also need to be treated for tapeworm.

No matter how healthy your dog is, they’ll need to have a thorough check-up by your vet at least 21 days before leaving for France.

In addition, when you arrive in France with your dog, they’ll check over your pup through customs to ensure they’re healthy and microchipped and meet all of the requirements. If they are not, then the dog may not be permitted access into the country or confiscated from you. 

Traveling to Italy

In addition to a passport, your doggo needs the following for Italy:

  • Get your dog microchipped (if they aren’t already)
  • Give your dog the rabies vaccination
  • Wait for 21 days
  • Have a USDA APHIS veterinarian sign and endorse the health certificate

The microchip needs to be a 15-digit ISO-compliant number. Or, your dog can have a microchip tattoo if that’s easier for you.

Puppies under 15 weeks old will not be allowed into the EU if they have not been vaccinated with the rabies vaccine within 21 days of traveling. 

Once you have all of that together, you’ll be able to get your pup a passport. Then, your doggo can enter Italy.

Luckily, your pup won’t need to quarantine upon arrival as long as your doggo has their valid passport and they’re healthy.

Dog to Europe

Traveling to Spain

You’ll need to get the following to get into Spain:

  • A 15-digit ISO compliant microchip (if it’s non-compliant, then you can bring your microchip scanner)
  • Rabies vaccination (at least 21 days before entering Spain)
  • A USDA Accredited Veterinarian issue an EU health certificate
  • Have APHIS endorsed the EU health certificate

In addition, it’s not required to have your dog tested or treated for tapeworm. However, it’s good to have it checked out for your peace of mind.

Please keep in mind that pets under 15 weeks old are not allowed into Spain unless they have been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before coming to Spain.

Are There Banned Dog Breeds in Europe?

Unfortunately, yes. Europe does ban certain dog breeds. However, every country is different. So, you’ll need to look at their requirements before entering.

For example, Italy bans aggressive dog breeds, such as the Rottweiler and Doberman Pinscher.

On the other hand, France has a list of dogs that they don’t allow, such as the following:

So, if you’re unsure, look up the country and look at their list of breeds.

Do You Need Paperwork to Travel from One Country to the Next?

Luckily, once you’re in Europe, you can go to as many places as possible. Of course, you should always have your dog’s paperwork with you just in case. However, you won’t need to have anything extra.

Some places might require you to show them that your dog has been vaccinated for rabies. However, since you needed that for their passport, it should already be up to date with the right documentation. 

Flying With Your Dog to Europe

There is no right or wrong way for your pet to travel. You’ll want to choose something that’s best for your dog’s needs. However, you might be told the dog needs to go in the cargo hold, depending on its size.

For example, some airlines allow small dogs to stay with you in the cabin. However, they must be in an airplane-safe carrier, and you are responsible for the dog’s care during the flight.

Medium dogs and large dog breeds, on the other hand, might have to go into the cargo hold. This is mainly because the dog won’t fit in the cabin with you and the other passengers.

It may seem odd to have a live animal in the cargo hold. However, according to the International Air Transport Association, dogs may travel better in the cargo hold. They might also be more comfortable being alone in their kennel.

Regardless of how your dog travels on the plane, you are 100% responsible for your dog during the flight. If you have a layover or a connecting flight, you’ll need to care for your dog.

This includes bringing them out to go the bathroom, stretch their legs, or have a water break. Then, you need to get them back into their carrier and onboard in time for the next flight.

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and some dogs have died while in flight. The airlines take no responsibility for this, so you’ll need to fly with your dog at your own risk.

Finally, your dog may travel in the cargo hold on a separate flight that only flies cargo. If this is the case, you’ll need to discuss food and water with your veterinarian, depending on how long the flight is. Your dog won’t be able to eat or drink during the flight.

Dog to Europe

Also, you’ll need to arrange a time to drop off and pick up your dog once the airplanes land at the final destination. 

Keep in mind that most airlines do not allow pets to travel by flight between May and September. So, you won’t be bringing your pup home or bringing them on summer vacation.

These months are the hottest of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. It may not be safe for the dog to travel. They can overheat and get sick.

Depending on which airline you take and where you’re headed, you may not get a choice of how your doggo flies. Some airlines will allow you to choose, while others tell you your dog has to go into the cargo hold.

You Are Responsible For Your Dog

Regardless of how your dog travels on the plane, you are 100% responsible for your dog during the flight. If you have a layover or a connecting flight, you’ll need to care for your dog.

This includes bringing them out to go the bathroom, stretch their legs, or have a water break. Then, you need to get them back into their carrier and onboard in time for the next flight.

Finally, your dog may travel in the cargo hold on a separate flight that only flies cargo. If this is the case, you’ll need to discuss food and water with your veterinarian, depending on how long the flight is. Your dog won’t be able to eat or drink during the flight.

Also, you’ll need to arrange a time to drop off and pick up your dog once the airplanes land at the final destination. 

Keep in mind that most airlines do not allow pets to travel by flight between May and September.

These are the hottest months of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, so it may not be safe for the dog to travel. They could overheat and either get sick or possibly die.

Always Keep Your Dog’s Comfort a Priority

Your dog should be mentally and physically well enough to fly.

It’s one thing to ensure they meet all the requirements to board the airplane and get into the United States. However, it’s another situation to ensure your dog is mentally (and physically) prepared for flight.

Flying on an airplane is scary for most humans, let alone dogs who don’t understand what a plane is, how it works, or where they’re going.

For instance, they may feel safer and more comfortable in the cargo hold, but if your dog has separation anxiety or is afraid to try new things, the dark cargo hold (and being away from you) may stress them further.

So, here are some tips to prepare your dog to fly:

  • Purchase plane tickets that have as few layovers and connections as possible
  • Choose arrival times to avoid extreme heat or cold
  • Train your dog to use to their carrier
  • Discuss any anxiety needs with your vet beforehand
  • If your dog goes into the cabin, check-in as late as possible
  • If your dog goes into the cargo hold, check-in as early as possible
  • Walk your dog before your flight and immediately after arrival
  • Avoid food and drink a few hours before the flight

These tips will help reduce stress for your dog, and they’ll also keep them as healthy as possible.

For example, avoiding the heat or cold during your arrival will ensure your pet is comfortable. If you’re arriving in a hot area, book a later flight to arrive at night when it’s cooler.

On the other hand, if your dog has anxiety, discuss what you can do with your vet. For example, sedatives are not good because they could harm your dog while flying.

Overall, you want to keep the flight as safe and positive as possible for your pup. First, however, you need to keep up with the country and state you’re entering and the airline’s requirements.

Should You Bring Your Dog to Europe?

The short answer is yes. You can certainly bring your dog to Europe. First, however, make sure that you talk to your vet and put together all the requirements for the airline you’re taking and the state you’ll be entering.

Rachel Poli Author
WRITTEN BY
Rachel
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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