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All You Need to Know About Moving to Europe with your Pets

in Expat Life, Expat Tips and Hints, Moving to … Expat Guides, Tips on Stress Free Removals
Pets - Indalo Transport

We all love our Pets – so you must take them with you when you move abroad

Did you know that in 2018, a whopping 44 percent of households within the UK registered as having pets? That’s an amazing 12 million families across the whole of Great Britain who love sharing their homes and spending their time with many a furry, feathery or scaly friend.

So it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re currently planning on becoming an expat and are considering moving to Europe, you’ll be wanting to know how your pets can also make the move with you from the UK to Spain, France, Germany, or wherever it is that you want to put down your roots.

Fortuitously, we’ve prepared this handy guide which explains absolutely everything you’ll ever need to know about moving abroad with your pets, so read on to find out what it is you need to do to make sure that your soft, fluffy, velvety, and sometimes slimy companions will make it safe, sound, and more importantly so, legally, to your new casa/maison/haus.

(All links in this article open in a new tab of your browser, so you don’t lose your place!)

Dogs, Cats and Ferrets

Dogcatferret - Indalo Transport

The first thing to do when preparing your dogs, cats and/or ferrets for travel across Europe, is to research the country you’re moving to, so as to find out whether your animal is allowed to enter their land, as you need to make sure your pet isn’t on any banned breeds lists.

Unfortunately, many countries still consider a handful of dog breeds to be dangerous, and some countries do not like certain cats to enter their land as they deem their traits to be harmful and cause deformities in kittens. There are also some countries that think that foreign ferrets are nasty little blighters who, if able to escape, will go and bully and torment the local wildlife.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information in regards to what is and isn’t allowed admission to any particular country, the best people to contact are the Embassies and Consulates of the country/region you’re moving to.

Unfortunately, if you do own a pet that is banned in the place you’re going to call home, or if you just cannot fulfil any of the special requirements and obligations to owning a certain type of breed, then you’ll have to consider who should look after your pet instead, when it’s time for you to leave the UK

However, this is highly unlikely, so if you are lucky in that your pet is allowed into your new country, the next thing to do is to book an appointment at the vets for your dog, cat and/or ferret, as you need to ask for a rabies vaccination.

Some veterinarians will provide just one, others recommend a course of two injections. It is important to remember that animals cannot receive a rabies vaccine before being 3 months old, and you cannot leave the UK for another EU country, with your pet, until 21 days after the primary vaccination. The day after the vaccination has been done is counted as Day One.

Whilst you’re at the vets, you should also ask them to prepare a Pet Passport and, if applicable, a Fit to Fly Certificate. Which will mean having your dog, cat and/or ferret microchipped – if not chipped already. The only other requirement is for the animal to be wormed.

Once all of these requirements have been met, your furry friends are ready to travel with you, and it’s important to remember that if they can’t be with you on your journey, they must travel within five days of you leaving the UK.

Rabbits, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs and Rodents

RabHamRodent - Indalo Transport

These lovely little critters don’t have to undergo rabies vaccinations or BE microchipped like dogs, cats and ferrets, but countries in Europe do have their own rules and regulations regarding these animals, so it’s always worth contacting Embassies and Consulates to get the most up-to-date information. For example, Germany will only let you bring in three of these animals, Ireland requires you to give 24 hours notice of importation, and France requests that you get each animal a Certificate of Good Health, in both English and French to testify that your pets carry no sign of disease.

For France, this certificate should be issued between one and five days before entering the country. It’s also worth noting that if you plan to take your pet rabbits with you on a ferry ride from the UK to say, France or Spain, Brittany Ferries won’t let you take them onboard as they’re considered unlucky!


birds - Indalo Transport

Pet birds do not include farm birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks or geese, and they also don’t include racing or homing pigeons.

Much like their fluffier counterparts, many European countries have their own special requirements when allowing pet birds onto their land, so it’s worth getting in touch with a representative from your new country to ask them to provide you with the most up-to-date information available.

Many European countries will require your birds to have a vaccination against Avian Flu, plus a Certificate of Good Health written in the local language and signed and stamped by an official vet.

Snakes, Lizards, Tortoises, Fish and Other Exotic Animals

snakesexotic - Indalo Transport

Snakes, Lizards & Tortoises

As with all the other animal friends we’ve come across, the best way to get the most accurate information about whether you can or can’t take your pet gecko, snake, or terrapin with you abroad, is to contact your new country/region’s Embassies and Consulates.

vet - Indalo Transport

A Vet can be your new best friend

As we’ve seen, preparing pets for European travel can be a bit of a lengthy process, and it may be the case that you’ll have to reconsider when you’re going to move, so that you can accommodate all those visits to the vet and waiting for the 21 days for a rabies vaccine to have kicked in.

It’s also worth remembering that with all the vet appointments and pieces of documentation needed to prove that you own your animals and that they’re fit, healthy and disease free, you’re going to have to incur some expenses. It might be worth calling your veterinarian now to ask how much this is all going to cost you.

And speaking of expenses, it is also highly recommended that you alter or change any pet insurance you have with a British-based company, so that it provides full European cover, or cancel it and take out new pet insurance in your new country.

cat - Indalo Transport

Don’t worry little puss, you’ll soon be in your new home!

As we have now left the EU, things will change at the end of the transition period, and so there is more info on the changes from the end of December 2020 here on the Government’s website.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to chat about a removals service from the UK to Europe, sin pets, then feel free to go here for a superfast quote about that too!

We hope to hear from you and your furry friends soon!

Frightened Cat – Photo Credit

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