Note: This post is from 2013 and you should always double check official regulations. This is only meant to reflect our own experience.
Well, we’re officially settled in in Luna’s eighth visited country: Italy. And the super good news is that it was way easy to get her here. Just in case you also want to bring your dog to charming Italia, here is a quick and easy guide to the paperwork and requirements for bringing a dog to Italy:
1. Get her microchipped.
To travel in any European country, you’ll need your dog microchipped with an international microchip. This is an outpatient procedure and is really easy. Luna didn’t even act sore after her microchipping over a year ago. The microchip may need to be inserted before the most recent rabies shot, so make sure to do this step first.
2. Make sure her rabies shot is up-to-date.
You’ll need to have an up-to-date rabies shot that was given at least 21 days before you leave for Italy. If your shot is due after that 21-days-before date, check with your vet. It’s my understanding that you can get the shot early and it won’t harm your dog.
3. Make a vet appointment within 10 days of travel.
To enter Italy, you’ll need a veterinary certificate in English and Italian, which must be filled out by a USDA approved vet. To find out if your vet is USDA approved, you can call the USDA office near you.
The paperwork itself must be filled out within 10 days of travel (in case of flight delays, I always try and do mine within five days).
4. Review the paperwork.
The correctness of your paperwork is vitally important. After your vet fills it out (and before you leave the vet’s office), check the paperwork and make sure everything is correct. Things to watch out for:
- In Europe, dates are written DD/MM/YYYY, not MM/DD/YYYY. Make sure all dates are in the European format.
- You’ll need to include a copy of your rabies certificate with your paperwork – make sure you have one printed out and that your paperwork matches up with it exactly (the dates and vaccine type, etc.).
- Make sure the birth date of your dog matches on all paperwork.
5. Take that paperwork to the USDA to get it stamped.
Finally, you can either mail your paperwork to the USDA office nearest you, or you can walk it in yourself for a stamp. I prefer walking it in (as that leaves no room for mailing errors or time delays). Keep in mind that USDA offices have varying policies from state to state, so your best bet is to call ahead and ask if you need an appointment or if they have walk-in hours for stamping paperwork. You’ll also want to ask what the current fee is and what forms of payment they accept (the first time Luna and I did this journey, our local office only accepted check payments).
6. Keep your paperwork on you while traveling.
Keep your paperwork on hand during your flight. The airline counter agent may ask to see it before checking you in and the customs officials at the Italian airport may ask to see it before letting you through customs.
I also recommend carrying a second copy of the paperwork in another bag just in case.
|Did I mention that I wrote a book about Italy?
Experience Italy as only a local could with this unconventional guidebook.