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All You Need To Know Before Your Pet Travels to Italy

Embarking on a journey to Italy for military PCS orders, returning to the homeland, or venturing into a new work opportunity is undeniably thrilling. However, the prospect of pet travel can introduce an extra layer of complexity and stress. Common questions arise: What vaccinations are needed? Does my vet know the type of health certificate required? How will my pets be transported?

We aim to address these concerns and provide clarity and guidance on the essential requirements for a smooth pet transportation experience to Italy. From vaccinations to health certificates and transportation logistics, we’ve got you covered, ensuring a seamless journey for both you and your furry companions.

Microchip and Rabies Vaccination

When preparing to transport your pets from the USA to Italy, it’s crucial to ensure they are properly microchipped and vaccinated. We highly recommend initiating this process at least 30 days before your anticipated travel date to ensure a seamless experience.


One key requirement is that every pet should have an ISO-compliant microchip implanted before receiving their rabies vaccination. According to EU rules, the first rabies vaccination administered after the microchip, or after any lapse in coverage, is considered a “primary” rabies vaccination, valid for ONE year.

It’s important to note that if your pet receives its subsequent rabies vaccination within one year of the “primary” rabies vaccination, this subsequent dose, known as a “booster” rabies vaccination, can be valid for 1-3 years, depending on the vaccine manufacturer’s instructions.

Additional Vaccinations

Maintaining up-to-date vaccinations for your pets is always recommended to ensure their health and well-being.

For dogs, the yearly vaccination protocol includes Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus (DHLPP), along with Bordetella.

For cats, the suggested vaccinations encompass Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP).

Regular vaccinations not only safeguard the health of your beloved pets but also contribute to a safer pet travel experience.

Import Documentation (Health Certificates)

Ensuring a smooth entry for your pets into Italy requires careful attention to health certificates. Italy has specific regulations for pet importation, and obtaining the necessary health certificates is important. Entrusting the process to a dedicated pet relocation specialist ensures compliance, as they work closely with your veterinarian to provide the latest Italian EU health certificate, ensuring all requirements are met accurately.

The EU health certificate must be endorsed by the USDA and is only valid for 10 days.

The 5 Day Rule

When importing pets into Italy, both commercial and non-commercial shipments are subject to a crucial regulation known as the 5-day rule. This rule stipulates that pets must travel within five days of or after the owner’s arrival in Italy. Whether it’s a commercial relocation or a personal move, adhering to this timeframe is essential for compliance with Italian importation requirements.

If your pet is able to travel within the 5-day window, it falls under the category of a non-commercial shipment. However, for those unable to meet the 5-day rule— a situation many pet owners face— the alternative is a commercial shipment. It’s important to note that opting for a commercial shipment comes with higher costs, and the EU entry requirements become somewhat more stringent, imposing a slightly stricter timeline.

It’s recommended to work closely with pet relocation specialists and stay informed about the specific guidelines for your pet travel needs.


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