Traveling to Europe from the United States with pets - Primer

Helping pet parents prepare for travel with their pets to Europe is a great service you can offer as a veterinarian.

Next In Line’s PetTrax software can massively simplify & automate the process for pet parents, Veterinarian clinics, and pets, but here is a comprehensive guide you can follow to ensure their pets are ready for the trip:

Check the Latest Requirements

  • European Entry Requirements: Start by checking the latest entry requirements for pets coming into your country of choice. These may include specific vaccinations, microchipping, and health certificates. The European Union has strict regulations on pet travel, generally requiring a microchip and a rabies vaccination.
  • Health Certificate: Pets usually need a health certificate issued by a veterinarian within a certain timeframe before travel. For travel to EU countries, this is typically within 10 days of entry.

Ensure Proper Identification

  • Microchipping: If the pet isn’t already microchipped, they will need to be. The microchip should comply with ISO 11784 or 11785 standards. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccine is administered.

Vaccinations and Treatments

  • Rabies Vaccination: Ensure the pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date. For entry into France, the vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before departure but not more than the vaccine’s valid period.
  • Other Vaccinations: Although not always required, consider recommending other vaccinations based on the risk in the destination area, such as distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, etc.
  • Parasite Treatment: While not a requirement for France, a treatment for ticks and tapeworms may be recommended for the pet’s health.

EU Pet Passport or Health Certificate

  • For pets traveling from the United States to France, an EU Pet Passport is not available, so they will need an EU Health Certificate (also known as the Annex IV certificate) filled out by a USDA-accredited veterinarian and endorsed by the USDA APHIS (if traveling from the United States).
  • The health certificate is valid for travel within the EU for up to four months or until the rabies vaccination expires, whichever is sooner.

Discuss and Plan for Travel Needs

  • Travel Arrangements: Discuss the travel arrangements with the pet parents, including the choice between cabin or cargo for their pet, based on airline policies.
  • Crate Training: Advise on crate training the pet for safe and stress-free travel if they will be flying in the cargo hold.
  • Anxiety and Health: Consider the pet’s health and temperament. Discuss options for anxiety, such as pheromone collars or, if absolutely necessary, medication.

Prepare for Return or Further Travel

  • If the pet parents plan to return to the United States or travel to other countries, advise them on the requirements for re-entry or further travel, including any needed documentation or vaccinations.

Provide a Checklist

  • Give pet parents a checklist of everything they need to do before their trip, including timelines for vaccinations, health certificates, and any treatments.

Emergency Planning

  • Recommend that they research veterinary clinics in European case of emergency and ensure they have a plan for seeking veterinary care abroad.

Legal and Quarantine Information

  • Advise on any legal requirements or quarantine regulations that might apply upon arrival in European upon return.

Additional Support

  • USDA APHIS Website: Direct them to the USDA APHIS website for the latest guidelines on pet travel.
  • Contact the Appropriate Consulate or Embassy: Recommend contacting the consulate or embassy for the most current pet travel requirements and any import permit needs.


Providing this comprehensive support will ensure the pet parents are well-prepared for their journey, making the travel experience as smooth and stress-free as possible for both them and their pet.