Updated October 2019
If you plan to take your dog to the European Union with you more than once, YES. Getting your pet a European Union Pet Passport will easily save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars down the road. It will also make future travel planning significantly easier.
A European Union (EU) Pet Passport is a travel document detailing the health and vaccination history of a specific pet. EU Pet Passports allow pet owners - both EU citizens and non EU citizens - to easily travel with their pet between EU member states and return to the EU from a non-EU country. Anyone can get an EU Pet Passport, but the document can only be obtained from an EU veterinarian. An EU Pet Passport cannot be obtained in the United States.
The original purpose of the EU Pet Passport was to simplify the process of traveling between EU member states with a pet. For us non-EU citizens, the EU Pet Passport has made it incredibly simple and cost-effective to bring a dog or cat to the EU for non-commercial purposes (i.e. the pet is not changing ownership and/or for re-sale upon arrival).
All member states of the European Union accept EU Pet Passports. Switzerland and Norway also accept EU Pet Passports.
Meet with an EU veterinarian who can issue an EU Pet Passport. The veterinarian will do a health examination of your dog and fill out all required information in your pup's new passport (owner details, description of dog, rabies vaccination history, other vaccination history).
The cost for an EU Pet Passport is minimal (EUR 20 on average) but expect the vet to charge an additional amount for the pet's health exam. This could add another EUR 30+ to your bill.
Below: We got Django his EU Pet Passport while honeymooning in Paris, France. The vet performed a full health examination before issuing Django's pet passport. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are planning to visit Paris and need a vet recommendation! We were incredibly happy with our experience.
International travel to/from the European Union and between EU member states is relatively simple once your dog has an EU Pet Passport.
As always, follow international airlines' pet travel protocols to ensure a seamless trip overseas. Information varies by airline, so read the policies carefully and call your airline's customer support number if you have unanswered questions. Here is a great DJANGO Dog Blog resource detailing the in-cabin pet policies for every major international airline.
Planning an international trip with your pup this year or next? Check out DJANGO's international pet travel resources:
Is the cargo area safe for pet travel? Will dogs too large for in-cabin pet travel be comfortable in the hold of the plane?
There are preconceived notions that cargo pet travel is unsafe, stressful, and something to be avoided. Rather than jump to this conclusion ourselves, we did a lot of research to better understand pet travel in cargo: what cargo pet travel actually is, potential risks and hazards with putting dogs or cats in cargo, and recent statistics on pet safety.