Bringing pets to Ireland

Introduction

The importation of pets into Ireland has always been strictly controlled to ensure that diseases such as rabies are not introduced. The EU system of Passports for Pets allows cats, dogs and ferrets to travel between EU member states. Pets from higher risk non-EU countries will also require a blood test - see 'Non-qualifying high-risk countries' below.

Cats, dogs and ferrets

If you are coming on holiday or to move to Ireland or other non-commercial movement where there is no sale or change of ownership, you may bring your cat, dog or ferret with you. Since 28 December 2014, under the Pet Passport (No. 2) Regulations there are changes to the rules governing the non-commercial movement of cats, dogs and ferrets.

Pets from EU member states

If you want to import a cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from any EU member state including the UK, the pet animal must have an EU Pet Passport, (this document is the same throughout the EU).

The Passport certifies that:

  • The pet is travelling from an eligible country.
  • The pet is identified by an implanted microchip.
  • The pet has been vaccinated against rabies subsequently at least 21 days before travel
  • Dogs coming from countries other than the UK, Finland or Malta have been treated against tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before travel. The time and date of treatment are entered on the passport. Treatment for ticks is not compulsory but it is advisable to get it at the same time as the tapeworm treatment.

If there are more than 5 animals, a veterinary health certificate showing that animals have been clinically examined within 48 hours of departure is also required unless the owner can show proof that the animals are being brought to compete in a sporting event or other competition.

Pets from outside the EU

If you want to import a cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a country outside the EU there are 2 categories of these countries: qualifying lower-risk countries and non-qualifying high-risk countries. You can check if your country of origin is on this list of qualifying lower-risk countries. If it is not on this list then your country of origin is a non-qualifying high-risk country.

Pets from qualifying non-EU countries

A cat, dog or ferret from a qualifying lower-risk non-EU country must undergo the following in this order:

  • Be identified by a microchip
  • Be vaccinated for rabies subsequently
  • Have a veterinary health certificate in the form of Annex IV to Commission Implementing Decision 577/2013 to certify that it is currently immunised against rabies and dogs must be treated against tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before arriving in Ireland. Treatment for ticks is not compulsory but it is advisable to get it at the same time as the tapeworm treatment.

Non-qualifying high-risk countries

If you are coming from a non-qualifying high-risk country your pet must:

  • Be microchipped (this must be done before anything else)
  • Be vaccinated for rabies subsequently
  • Have a blood test after the rabies vaccination at least 3 months before entry
  • Have a veterinary health certificate in the form of Annex IV to Commission Implementing Decision 577/2013 to certify that it is currently immunised against rabies and dogs must be treated against tapeworm not more than 120 hours and not less than 24 hours before arriving in Ireland. Treatment for ticks is not compulsory but it is advisable to get it at the same time as the tapeworm treatment.

There is more information about bringing cats, dogs or ferrets into Ireland on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Pet birds, rabbits and rodents

If you are moving to live in Ireland or coming here on holiday, you may be able to bring your pet bird, rabbit or rodent with you, provided you meet certain requirements – see ‘How to apply’ below. There is more information about the entry requirements for birds, rabbits and rodents either from EU or from outside the EU on the website of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Travel to Ireland

The operator of the airline or ferry company has to notify the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) of your pet’s arrival at least 24 hours before you arrive in Ireland. They do this by emailing petmove@agriculture.gov.ie.

If you are travelling with your pet (including a recognised guide dog) directly to Ireland from a country not listed in Table 1 below, you must also notify DAFM of your pet’s arrival at least 24 hours before you arrive in Ireland:

Table 1

An EU member state Monaco
Andorra Norway
Gibraltar San Marino
Greenland and the Faroe Islands Switzerland
Iceland Vatican City State
Liechtenstein

You can notify DAFM of your pet’s arrival by completing an advance notice form and emailing it to petmove@agriculture.gov.ie.

Travel from an EU member state and certain other countries

Cats, dogs or ferrets travelling directly from a country listed in Table 1 may enter Ireland through any port or airport and may be transported by any airline or ferry company that is willing to transport them. Your pet must fully comply with the requirements for EU pet travel and you must have the appropriate paperwork.

It is up to the airline to decide whether to carry your pet in the cabin or as excess baggage – DAFM does not decide on this.

Travel from elsewhere

If you travel to Ireland with your cat, dog or ferret from a country not listed in Table 1, you can only enter Ireland through Dublin Airport. You can travel with any airline that is willing to transport your pet.

To be allowed to enter Ireland, your pet must fully comply with EU pet travel requirements and you must have the appropriate paperwork. Your pet will be checked for compliance when you arrive.

Non-compliant pets

If your pet does not meet the entry requirements, it may be refused entry into Ireland. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine may return your pet to the country you travelled from. Alternatively DAFM may place your pet into quarantine to be tested or microchipped and vaccinated to comply with EU requirements. Your pet will remain in quarantine until it fully complies with EU Legislation. In very limited circumstances, your pet may be euthanised. You will have to pay to cover the cost of these measures, including quarantine if necessary.

FAQs and forms

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine publish answers to frequently asked questions on its website.

Blank templates for EU Health Certificates and advance notice forms are available on agriculture.gov.ie.

How to apply

Cats, dogs and ferrets

If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from an EU member state or certain other EU countries, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip and then vaccinate the pet in that order, and obtain an EU Pet Passport from the competent authority in the EU member state of origin.

If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a qualifying low-risk country, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip and then vaccinate the pet in that order.

If you are importing a pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland from a non-qualifying high-risk country, you should arrange for your veterinarian to microchip, vaccinate and then bloodtest the pet in that order

Contact a local veterinarian or the competent authority for information on the veterinary health certificate in the form of Annex IV to Commission Implementing Decision 577/2013.

Pet birds, rabbits and rodents

If you are bringing a pet bird, rabbit or rodent to Ireland from another EU state or a relevant European state you must accompany the pet to Ireland. At least 24 hours before you arrive in Ireland you must send a completed advance notice of importation into Ireland form for pet birds or for a pet rodent or rabbit (pdf) to the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at the address below. Owners of pet birds must also travel with a completed Owner Declaration for Pet Birds form.

If you wish to bring a pet bird, rabbit or rodent from a country outside the EU, you must apply for an import permit using either the form for a pet bird or the form for a pet rabbit or rodent. You should send the application to the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at the address below, in sufficient time to allow the pre-export requirements, which include a veterinary health certificate, to be completed.

Where to apply

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Animal Health Section
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

Tel:(01) 607 2827
Homepage: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets
Email: livetrade@agriculture.gov.ie

Page edited: 20 August 2018