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EU regulations for pets

Moving Abroad

5 Tips for Moving with a Pet from Canada to Europe

October 24, 2017
Pet Relocation

As we get closer to the “big move”, we find ourselves making our final visits to doctors and dentists. Moving with a pet from Canada to Europe is not difficult  – but paperwork, bureaucracy and patience is required. Our 8 year old dog, Lucy, is no exception. In fact, for Lucy, this final vet visit is an essential part of her travel and immigration requirements for her new life in Budapest, Hungary.

Moving with a pet

Lucy hanging out at a local park in Toronto.

Lucy needs to visit her veterinarian and get a “Veterinary Certificate” (clean bill of health) within 10 days of travel. We then take that certificate the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and get it endorsed by a CFIA vet before we fly.

Top 5 Tips for Moving with a Pet:

  1. Make sure your vet has the correct form for European travel and has done it before. You need to complete this for your port of entry into Europe (in our case, The Netherlands) NOT for the final destination (in our case, Hungary). This is especially relevant as we almost messed up on this thanks to bad information we received.
  2. Note that you must personally accompany your dog while moving – at least within 5 days. Dogs can travel in-cabin or as cargo.  Lucy is small enough to come in-cabin with us.
  3. If your dog comes in-cabin, it will count as your carry-on luggage – VERY FRUSTRATING. Not only do you miss out on being able to take a bag, but you have to pay $125 (may vary) for the privilege of having your pet on board. This is standard for Economy or Economy Premium classes – I’m not sure about the fancy folks in higher classes.
  4. Identification is mandatory for the European Union. Your pet needs to be identified with a microchip (or in some cases a clearly readable tattoo is acceptable). Be prepared for them to scan your dog to ensure your paperwork and pet match up.
  5. And finally, know that a rabies vaccination is required for entry of pet animals to ALL EU countries. This needs to been done AFTER your pet receives their microchip. An essential part for any pet’s relocation.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you fully understand your airlines regulations.  In our case, we booked our tickets FIRST with KLM and then waited about 5 days to find out if there was room for our dog to accompany us on the plane.  Airlines have limits to how many pets can be aboard any given flight. This may effect moving with your pet, so make sure to check before you arrive at the airport to board your flight!

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place with curators in museums; others we take for walks.”  -Roger A. Caras

Click this link for detailed information and CFIA paperwork for entry of pets to the European Union (EU).

Furthermore, we use a carrier like this one. We use it successfully on WestJet, Air Canada and KLM for international travel – no problems at all. However, please check with your airline for specific recommendations.