Coming to Europe? There are certain countries where you may want to think twice about bringing your animals.
For most countries the process is quite easy as long as you have the required forms and health certificates showing that your animal is free from disease and that all of its vaccinations are current. If you are flying AMC’s Patriot Express, only cats and dogs are allowed and space is limited. Ensure that you make reservations for your animal well in advance of your departure and make sure that you have all of the proper documents needed (health certificates, shot records) to pass through customs.
The most common requirement of the European countries and the airlines is that a pet health certificate be obtained within 10 days of travel and entrance to a specific country. Most European countries do not recognize the three-year rabies vaccination. All vaccinations, including the rabies shot, must be provided annually. Some countries have very specific laws, restrictions, and quarantines. If you are traveling with your pets to a country other than the United Kingdom ensure that your flight does not have any layovers in the United Kingdom or Norway due to their strict quarantine requirements.
Britain has one of the most lengthy and expensive quarantines in Europe. If arriving from the United States, cats and dogs must be quarantined for six months after arrival. The owner pays for the cost of quarantining the animal with prices based on species. In addition, there is a collection and handling fee. You must have a formal agreement with an authorized carrying agent to have them meet your pet at the airport and transport it to quarantine. It is generally easier to deal with just one kennel to pick up, transport and quarantine your pet. Also, ask if their quarantine fee includes medical insurance. If not, figure an additional cost for medical insurance. The estimated cost of quarantine in Britain is $2,500 per animal.
The owner is also responsible for obtaining an Import license. An application can be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Animal Health Division-C) at 0181-330-4411 or by visiting their web site. Application should be made at least 8 weeks in advance of the proposed date of importation. Along with the proper license, the rabies vaccination and normal vaccinations must be current.
You should also be aware that the British government has placed a ban on the importation of Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brazilieros and any other type of dog that appears to have been bred for fighting.
New rules established by the British government will let all U.S. service members and Department of Defense employees that qualify avoid the standard six-month quarantine for pets. The new rules, under a pilot program called the "Pet Travel Scheme" (PETS), allow pet owners to bypass the country's quarantine and its high costs, provided they meet the strict requirements. The program applies only to dogs and cats and, to qualify, pet owners must be arriving to the UK from an authorized country. The USA, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Italy and most European Union member countries are on the authorized countries list. The pets must have lived in an authorized country at least six months before their arrival in the U.K. and the animal must arrive via specific sea, air and rail routes. Information about these routes is available on the U.K. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) web site. All pets must have an identification microchip implant. After receiving the implant, pets must also be vaccinated for rabies with an inactivated vaccine. Regular rabies booster vaccinations must be administered. Six months prior to entering the U.K., a MAFF approved laboratory must test the pet’s blood. A list of authorized laboratories is available on the MAFF web site listed above. Pets must also be treated for certain parasites and ticks within 48 hours of arriving in the U.K. The estimated cost of complying with the PETS program is about $340.00 per pet.
Information about the quarantine, authorized quarantine sites and the PETS program should be provided in your welcome package. You can also obtain information by visiting the MAFF web site or by calling the United Kingdom's PETS Hotline at 0207-9046000.
Norway also has quarantine for animals that arrive from rabies infected non-EU/EFTA Countries. Animals arriving from the United States must complete a minimum 4-month quarantine immediately upon arrival in Norway. This must take place at the quarantine facility approved by the Norwegian Animal Health Authority-Central Unit for dogs and cats. Be aware there are only two facilities and space is limited. After release from quarantine the animal will be required to be held isolated at home for another two months. Reservations must be made a minimum of 30 days prior to arrival. The Quarantine Station requires that dogs are vaccinated against kennel cough and canine parvovirus infection and cats are vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus infections. Information on the quarantine stations can be obtained at the Animal Health Authority for Oevre Romerike, Gardermoen airport, phone 011-47-64820400 or fax 011-47-64820401. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Norwegian Animal Health Authority for Mysen and Spydeberg, P.O. Box 228, N-1851 Mysen or call 011-47-6989-3610.
Sweden has the same strict quarantine rules as Norway. Iceland has a shorter quarantine period but stricter paperwork requirements. Sweden and Iceland also require an import permit while Norway does not.
Eidsvoll quarantine station in Norway does quarantine for both Norway and Sweden, and also can provide door to door service if requested. The quarantine staion will guarantee the papers to be correct if they are asked to assist in the transfer process. For more information, visit their homepage.
Customers are impressed with Eidsvoll's modern quarantine station and the company's attention to the animals' psychological and physical needs. Those heading for the UK who are looking into 6 months solitary isolation can quarantine their animal in Norway with Eidsvoll and then send the animal legally to UK after six months (via the PETS program).
Germany does not have any quarantine for dogs and cats. Their law requires that pets must be vaccinated for rabies annually and the certificate kept current. An identification tag must be worn on the animal at all times and, when not confined, dogs must be on a leash. Germany does have a “Dangerous Dog” law that prohibits the breeding and trade of dangerous dogs. Dogs considered to be dangerous include: “Pitbulls, Stafford-shire terriers, American Stafford-shire terriers and any crossbreeds thereof.” These dogs are required to be neutered and must be registered with local authorities. They must also be on a leash and wear a muzzle whenever in public. Dangerous dog breeds can have a personality test conducted and, if passed, allows the dog to be in public without a muzzle. If your animal arrives separately from you (e.g. Lufthansa cargo), you MUST have an import permit to pickup the pet at the airport. This permit may be obtained from the Hessisches Sozialministerium in Wiesbaden, Germany at the cost of 50.50 DM (about $24). This office can be reached by calling 0611-81737223 or by emailing them at < a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org. Enlist the help of your sponsor to help resolve any animal import concerns.
Italy does not have quarantine at this time, but restrictions on pet travel from countries affected by the hoof and mouth disease are growing. There have been discussions regarding quarantine on pets coming from England. The appropriate health certificates showing current rabies and normal vaccinations is required. It is Italian law that you register your dog with your local municipality if residing off base. The base veterinary office can provide information on Italian registration procedures and the most current restrictions and requirements.
There are no quarantine periods for dogs and cats coming to Belgium. There are also no licensing requirements for dogs and cats in Belgium. Pet owners should consider getting some kind of identification tag, however, to facilitate finding a lost pet.
Currently there is no quarantine in Greece but an entry certificate (which can be obtained from a Greek embassy or Consulate) is required along with the appropriate health certificate.
Portugal has no quarantine unless the animal fails to have all the necessary documentation and vaccinations. A microchip identification system is available and mandatory, and all animals arriving on the island must be registered with the base veterinary clinic within 72 hours of arrival.
Spain has no quarantine but all animals are subject to examination by the Customs Veterinarian. Clearance of animals may be delayed if arrival is after working hours or on weekends. A rabies certificate must be issued at least 30 days prior to arrival and must not be more than 12 months old. A health certificate must be issued within 10 days prior to arrival.
The Netherlands does not have quarantine for dogs and cats. The only animals currently under quarantine requirements are birds. Pets must be registered with the base veterinary clinic and issued a rabies tag. If an animal bites a human, the pet will be quarantined for 10 days. The Dutch Health and Welfare Act for Animals prohibits the importation, breeding and selling of pit bull terriers.
Turkey does not have any required quarantines for any pet. It is mandatory that pets be registered with the base veterinary clinic within 7 days of arrival and an AVID identification microchip implanted as soon as possible.
Europe’s countries require that you import a healthy, disease free animal. Rabies is the most important issue, causing the UK and Norway to have extremely long quarantines. When deciding on whether to bring your pet to Europe, be sure to have your pet’s best interests in mind. Though you may not wish to be separated from your pet, a 4 or 6-month quarantine is very demanding and stressful on most animals. The USDA web site, has limited information about foreign country import requirements. Always check with your base veterinary office and the foreign country for the most current requirements and restrictions. Often, people neglect to ensure that their animals have all the necessary shots in the appropriate time periods or neglect to obtain all the necessary documentation. This will only cause you and your pet great anxiety when the animal is refused entry into the country.