5 Step Guide to the Paperwork You Need to Bring Your Dog to Europe

More dogs than ever are traveling to Europe and abroad. With the rise of work from home options and digital nomads people are seeing the world and bringing along their best friends. 

It’s not hard to take your dog to Europe, more specifically the EU, but there is specific paperwork that is required. We’ve figured it out and broken it down step by step so you don’t have to. 

1. Booking Your Ticket

Once you’ve figured out where you’d like to go we recommend booking your ticket and hotel. You’ll need an address of where you’re staying for some of the paperwork so having that info is important. 

(Check out our airline info here or our hotel recommendations here). 

2. Call Your Vet’s Office & Ask 3 Questions

You’ll need to call your vet and ask them 3 things:

  •  Do they do USDA Health Certificates?
    If they do not do USDA Health Certificates don’t worry- you’ll still need info on your dog’s micro chip and rabies. You can do a quick google search to find the nearest vet to do the USDA Health Certificate- they do not have to be your pet’s normal vet. 
  • Can they check your dog’s microchip paperwork/status?
    Your dog will need to have a ISO 15 numeric microchip- We have an entire article on the correct microchips- click here for more details. 
  • Do they have your dog’s rabies vaccination record?
    Your dog will have to be current on their rabies vaccine. The tricky part about their vaccine is that they must have received their vaccine after they have had their microchip inserted. Their microchip allows pets to be reunited with their owners if lost but also indicates that at some point they have had their rabies vaccine. 

3. Book your vet visit for about 15-20 days before you leave. 

Your vet will need to check your dog’s rabies paperwork and microchip paperwork. They will also do a quick health check to make sure that your dog is well enough to fly. 

Many veterinarians offices will suggest sending a self-addressed electronic FedEx overnight label prior to the appointment. This overnight label will be digital and you will email it over to your vet’s office. They will send this prepaid digital along with the electronically submitted paperwork to the USDA office. 

With the uptick in pets flying in and out of the US, there can be longer waiting times for the USDA paperwork to arrive. You will need the physical paperwork with the official seal for travel so the overnight label will help ensure that your paperwork arrives on time. 

4. Gather Your Paperwork

Once you receive your stamped USDA Health Certificate you’re pretty much ready to fly! Get copies of your dog’s completed rabies vaccination record and your USDA health certification and put it in a folder to keep with you throughout your flights. 

DO NOT put your paperwork in your checked luggage- you’re required to have the paperwork with you at all times during the flight. 

Even though you need physical copies of the paperwork we also recommend taking a picture of it on your phone just in case it’s lost in transit. 

5. Have a great flight! 

Many times the only place your paperwork is checked is when you’re checking in for your flight. Most airlines only ask to see your dog’s rabies vaccination but it’s never worth the risk of not having all the right paperwork! 

If you want more tips on how to make traveling with your dog easier check out our article on Ride Shares with Dogs or Best Apps to Have while traveling with your pets.