For Animal Movement Before December 29, 2014: Export of Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets to the European Union – Non-Commercial Movements of Five or Less Animals

For Animal Movement on or After December 29, 2014, please contact the Animal Health Office in your area.

General Information

The animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of dogs, cats and ferrets exported to the European Union (EU) Member States are laid down in the EU regulations.

The regulations stipulate that dogs, cats and ferrets are considered pets, and the non-commercial certificate is to be used, if the following conditions are met:

  1. they are accompanying their owners or natural person(s) responsible for such animals on behalf of the owner during their movement. By "accompanying" the EU has clarified that the animal's movement is as a result of the owner's movement to the EU, even if these movements are separate from one another either:
    1. spatially (i.e. the animal travels as cargo on the same flight as the owner), or
    2. in time (i.e. the animal travels at a different time from the owner, for example with the assistance of a family friend or relative, or by a carrier company specializing in pet transport);
  2. they are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner;
  3. the owner or natural person designated by the owner must declare the conditions (found in a) and b) above), in the appropriate section of the certificate; and
  4. the number of dogs, cats and ferrets does not exceed five.

If any of these conditions are not met, the commercial certificate should be used. Animals travelling to exhibitions and fairs would be considered a "non-commercial movement" as long as they are not for sale on-site.

Certification Requirements

Note 1: A step-by-step instructional document (annotated certificate) on filling out the new veterinary health certificates can be obtained from your local Animal Health Office, and is highly recommended.

Note 2: The instructions below are for all EU Member States. (Previous instructions for some Member States had appeared on separate pages. Due to the simplification of import requirements by these countries, instructions now appear on this same web page, regardless of EU country of entry.)

Note 3: The veterinary health certificate for dogs, cats and ferrets entering the EU in non-commercial movements of five or fewer animals is available in several languages. The certificate must be completed in English and the official language of the Member State of the first point of entry into the EU. (e.g., if a pet destined for Poland arrives via an airport in Germany, the English/German certificate should be used.) View the list of EU Member States, including their respective official languages.

Note 4: Every attempt has been made to ensure that the information on this site is up-to-date; however, countries can change their import requirements without notifying the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It is strongly recommended that you contact the embassy or official veterinary authorities in the country of destination to confirm that there are no changes, additional requirements, or prohibitions related to certain breeds of dogs or cats. Information about the Movement of Pets (Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) – Non-Commercial Movement From Third Countries is also available on the European Union website.

Pet Identification

Identification is mandatory for all Member States. Before any other procedure is carried out (e.g. rabies vaccination), your pet must be identified with a microchip or a clearly readable tattoo. (A tattoo is not accepted in the Republic of Ireland, Malta or the United Kingdom.) Please note that if a tattoo is used, it must have been applied before July 3, 2011.

The microchip should comply with the ISO standard 11784. If it does not, the owner is responsible for providing a suitable microchip reader.  For easy reference, the CFIA has listed companies that manufacture ISO-compatible microchips.

Vaccination Against Rabies

Rabies vaccination is required for entry of pet animals to all EU countries. Please note that according to EU regulations, a rabies vaccination is not considered valid unless the animal was properly identified at the time it was vaccinated. The microchip or tattoo number must also appear on the rabies vaccination certificate in order for it to be considered valid.

The animal must have been vaccinated against rabies with an approved inactivated vaccine or a recombinant vaccine. According to EU regulations, a primary vaccination is considered valid if the vaccine is administered according to the manufacturer's protocol and at least 21 days have elapsed between the date of administration of the vaccine and the arrival of the animal in Europe. A revaccination (booster) administered during the period of validity of the previous vaccination is valid on the day it is administered.

However, if a revaccination is not carried out within the period of validity of the previous vaccination, or if the previous vaccine was administered before official identification, this revaccination will be considered a primary vaccination.

Furthermore, if for any reason an animal has been re-microchipped, this most recent identification will be considered the "official identification" and a revaccination for rabies must follow. This would then fall under the EU's definition of a primary vaccination and a resulting 21-day wait period would be required.

Member States may allow entry of animals less than three months of age, under certain conditions which are to be defined by the competent national authorities. The EU has provided a listing of National Rules Applying to Entry of Pet Dogs, Cats and Ferrets of Less Than 3 Months (Non-Vaccinated Against Rabies).

Echinococcus Treatment

Dogs travelling to Finland, Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom require treatment for echinococcus within a period of not more than 120 hours and not less than 24 hours before the time of scheduled entry of the dogs into the EU.

Dogs must be treated against Echinococcus multilocularis using an approved/licensed veterinary product whose active ingredient is Praziquantel, or an equivalent product (an equivalent product is a product authorized in Canada that bears a label claim against Echinococcus multilocularis). A qualified vet must carry out the treatment and record it in the Veterinary Certificate. You must not administer the treatment yourself. Ensure that the veterinarian rescans the microchip to confirm that the number is correct and that the chip is readable.

Contrary to previous requirements (prior to February 29, 2012), this treatment must be administered before the certificate is presented to the CFIA District Veterinarian for endorsement.

Additional Specific Country Requirements

Malta requires that an import permit be issued for all animals before they travel. This permit must be obtained by the exporter from the Maltese authority and has to accompany the animal upon arrival, in addition to the health certificate.

For information on obtaining an import permit application for Malta, see Malta's Pet Travel Scheme.

Completion of the Veterinary Certificate

A veterinarian authorized by the competent authority (i.e. a licensed veterinarian) must provide all the pertinent information regarding identification and vaccination as requested in the veterinary health certificate.

It is recommended that the certificate be printed double-sided on letter-size paper in English and the language of the Member State of entry, and that it be completed in block letters. The reference number of the certificate must appear at the top of each page. The pages should be numbered (page # of total # of pages) so as to make each sheet part of an integrated whole. The signature and stamp must be in a different colour to that of the text of the certificate.

When the certificate is presented for CFIA endorsement, it must be accompanied by supporting documentation, or a certified copy of it, including vaccination details and official microchip certification. The documentation must bear the identification details of the animal concerned. It is also highly recommended to bring this supporting documentation for presentation at the port of entry in the EU , should it be requested.

Note: The certificate is valid for 10 days from the date of issue by the licensed veterinarian until the date of the checks at the EU travellers' point of entry, with the exception of dogs to Finland, Malta, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, where the echinococcus treatment will be the time-limiting factor for length of validity for entry into the EU (i.e. treatment must occur between 120 and 24 hours of entry into the EU). For the purpose of further movements within the Union, the certificate is valid for a total of four months from the date of issue or until the date of expiry of the anti-rabies vaccination, whichever date is earlier.

The health certificate is equivalent to the EU "Pet Passport." If the animal to be exported is from the EU, and holds a valid Pet Passport, this can be used instead of a veterinary health certificate, as long as this passport is up to date and the entry requirements for the EU Member State of entry are met.

The certificates required for the non-commercial movement of dogs, cats and ferrets to the EU are available in the following languages. To obtain an annotated version of this certificate with detailed instructions on how to fill it out, contact your local Animal Health office.

Once all the above steps have been successfully completed, and the certificate has been signed by your veterinarian, you may take it to your local Animal Health office to obtain an official endorsement by an official veterinarian (competent authority – CFIA veterinarian).

The fee for endorsement by CFIA is $20.