Does My Dog Need A Passport?
If you plan to take your dog to the European Union with you more than once, YES.
Getting your pet an EU Pet Passport will easily save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars down the road. It will also make future travel planning significantly easier.
What is an EU Pet Passport?
An EU Pet Passport is a travel document detailing the health and vaccination history of a specific pet. EU Pet Passports allow pet owners (EU citizens and non EU citizens) to easily travel with their pet between EU member states and return to the EU form a non-EU country. Anyone can get an EU Pet Passport, but the document can only be obtained from an EU veterinarian.
How Do I Get My Dog an EU Pet Passport?
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.
Step 1: Go to the EU with your dog. You and your dog need to be in the EU to get a passport - EU Pet Passports cannot be obtained outside the EU. The first time you travel to Europe with your dog will be annoying - getting an International Health Certificate is time-consuming and expensive but DON'T let that deter you. We took a trip with our sausage dog @djangothegent to the EU recently and detailed every step you need to take to get to the EU with your dog.
Step 2. Meet with an EU vet who can issue an EU Pet Passport. Once you know where you are staying, find a local vet and arrange an appointment to get an EU Pet Passport. Your pet needs to be at the vet appointment so the vet can do a proper health exam and fill out the pet passport. The cost for an EU Pet Passport is minimal ($25 on average) but expect the vet to charge an additional amount for the pet's health exam. This could add another $40+ to your bill.
Image above: A veterinarian in Paris, France inspects @djangothegent before issuing him an EU Pet Passport
I got an EU Pet Passport for my dog! Now what?
International travel to/from the EU is relatively simple once your dog has an EU Pet Passport.
Scenario 1 - Rabies Vaccination Has Not Yet Expired. If the rabies vaccination listed in the EU Pet Passport was documented by an EU vet and is still valid (i.e. you are not past the rabies vaccination expiration), you and your pet can return to the EU with only the EU Pet passport. According to APHIS, no health exam in the U.S. is required prior to travel.
Scenario 2 - Rabies Vaccination Expired or Pet Was Re-Vaccinated in U.S. If your pet was re-vaccinated for rabies in the U.S., unfortunately you need to obtain another International Health Certificate for travel (see how to do so here). Don't want to go through this hassle? Ideally you visit the EU prior to your pet's rabies vaccination and have an EU vet administer the rabies booster and document it in your pet's passport.
As always, follow your international airline's 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.
Planning an international trip with your pup this year or next? Check out DJANGO's international pet travel resources:
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