Preparing for Pet Travel to the European Union

dudleyPet Shipping Advice for the EU

Moving pets to Europe from the United States (or elsewhere) can be a challenging undertaking, but with the help of expert advice, current information, and plenty of planning time, traveling to Germany, France, or another EU country with a pet can be managed smoothly.

(Note: the United Kingdom has its own process that you can learn more about here.)

To help you start to plan a safe and streamlined move, here's a look at what to expect as you prepare for your pet's move to Europe.

Getting Started

If traveling to an EU country with a pet is in your future, you’ll want to start by doing a little research. Most European countries impose different rules depending on where you’re coming from, so check out the appropriate country import information to find out what specific guidelines you’ll need to follow.

“Listed and “Unlisted” Countries     

Pets coming from a country that the EU considers 'unlisted' can most likely still travel smoothly into the country, however you'll just need to allow a little more time. The process usually takes about four months, and your pet travel specialist can help to walk you through the steps and ensure that you avoid delays and quarantine by following all rules correctly.


All pets entering the EU need a microchip, and this must be implanted before the rabies vaccine is administered. Again, your PetRelocation Specialist will guide you through this process to ensure that mistakes are avoided and the import process begins correctly, but here's a look at what to expect:

  • We recommend that the microchip be ISO compatible (we often suggest HomeAgain microchips).

  • The microchip can be implanted the same day as the rabies vaccine is administered.

  • To avoid complications, have your vet note the date the microchip was implanted on the health certificate.

Finally, if you're starting the import process and already have a microchip, have your vet scan it prior to administering the rabies vaccine to make sure it’s functioning properly.

Flights and Scheduling

Your pet will most likely travel to the EU on a pet friendly cargo flight, and it’s not necessary for you to be on the same plane. Especially if you’re planning to hire assistance with your move (which will make for a much less stressful journey), it’s usually much easier to plan your own trip independently of your pet’s.

The “Five Day Rule"

Though you probably won't be on the same flight as your pet, note that the EU requires that pets travel within five days of their owner or guardian (this rule is meant to deter commercial shipments). If you have questions about this, please check in with your PetRelocation Specialist for clarification.

Other Considerations

In addition to understanding the import requirements and preparing accordingly, it’s also important to help your pet get used to the crate as much as possible in the weeks before the move. Crate training is the key to helping pets experience less anxiety while traveling and it’s one of the kindest things you can do for your pet before a move.

(Pictured above: Dudley the Saint Bernard, who we've helped move from Texas to Germany and back again.)

Looking for assistance with your pet's move to Europe? Contact PetRelocation for a pet travel consultation.


PetRelocation Team




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