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Bringing your Pet Cat, Dog or Ferret into Ireland

  • The rules on bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret into Ireland (for example, on holiday or because you are taking up residence here) change depending on which country you are travelling from.  There are different rules if you’re bringing other animals into Ireland.
  • Your pet dog, cat or ferret must be accompanied by original paperwork, not copies.  Your pet dog, cat or ferret must arrive in Ireland within five days before or after you travel (but it can be accompanied by someone else). 
  • Five is the maximum number of animals allowed to travel with you. These rules apply no matter which country you are travelling from.  
  • If you are travelling from a non-EU country, you must provide advance notice of the arrival of the animal into Ireland.  Advance notice must be submitted at least 24 hours before your departure time, to ensure that a compliance check for your animal can be arranged on your arrival into Ireland.  You can provide advance notice by emailing petmove[at]agriculture[dot]gov[dot]ie, and giving your name, flight number, arrival time in Ireland, and type/breed of animal. 
  • You must not leave the airport before compliance checks are carried out.   
  • Service animals must comply with the rules on EU pet travel.  For more information on travelling to Ireland with a service animal, please scroll down below.
  • If you are travelling to Ireland to buy, sell or gift a dog, cat or ferret, if a change of ownership is involved, if the animal is not travelling within five days of your travel, or if you are travelling with more than 5 pets (the exception is if you are travelling for a dog show/competition, and you will need to provide written confirmation), there are different rules.

Your pet cat, dog or ferret may enter Ireland from an EU country or one of the countries listed above and will not be required to enter quarantine if it has:-

1. been microchipped. 
The microchip must be inserted before the rabies vaccination, and must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.  If the microchip cannot be read when you enter or return to Ireland, your pet could be put into quarantine or refused entry.  You may carry your own hand held scanner if the microchip is not readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.

2. a valid rabies vaccination. 
The vaccination must be given after the microchip is inserted. The pet must be at least 12 weeks old before the vaccine is given, and it must be given by an authorised veterinary practitioner. You must wait 21 days after the primary vaccination, or the last of the primary course of vaccinations, is given, before bringing the dog, cat or ferret to Ireland.

A rabies vaccination with a 3-year validity period is acceptable for entry into Ireland.   Booster vaccinations (shots) are exempt from the 21-day rule, if there has been no break in coverage.  If there has been a break in coverage, the next vaccination will be considered a primary vaccination, and the 21-day rule applies;

3. are accompanied by a valid pet passport, or an official veterinary certificate (an Annex IV cert)Ireland accepts pet passports from all EU countries, and from the following European countries/territories: Andorra; Gibraltar; Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Monaco; Norway; San Marino; Switzerland; Vatican City State.  

Rabies vaccinations administered by a veterinary practitioner not authorised by an EU country will render the EU Pet Passport invalid for travel.

4. Dogs must have a tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) treatment if they are coming from countries other than Finland, Malta, Norway or the UK.  
The treatment must be given by a veterinarian not more than 120 hours (5 days), and not less than 24 hours (1 day), before the scheduled arrival time of the dog in Ireland.

If you do not follow these rules, your pet may be refused entry into Ireland, or may be placed into quarantine for the necessary tests or vaccinations and remain there until it is considered compliant with the above rules. In very limited circumstances, your pet may be euthanised.  These measures will be implemented at the owner’s expense.

Cats, dogs or ferrets coming from other EU countries may enter Ireland through any port/airport of entry and may be transported by any airline or ferry company operating in Ireland willing to transport such animals.

It is up to the airline to decide whether to carry the animal in the cabin or as excess baggage – the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine does not decide on this.

Ascension Island; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Australia; Barbados; Bahrain; Belarus; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the BES Islands); Bosnia and Herzegovina; British Virgin Islands; Canada; Cayman Islands; Chile; Curaçao; Fiji; Falkland Islands; French Polynesia; Hong Kong; Jamaica; Japan; Malaysia; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Montserrat; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Russia; Saint Helena; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Sint Maarten; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Singapore; Taiwan; Trinidad and Tobago; United Arab Emirates; United States of America (including American Samoa; Guam; Northern Mariana Islands; Puerto Rico; US Virgin Islands); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna.

Pet cats, dogs or ferrets may enter Ireland from one of the countries listed above and will not be required to enter quarantine if they have:-

1. been microchipped. 
The microchip must be inserted before the rabies vaccination, and must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.  If the microchip cannot be read when you enter or return to Ireland, your pet could be put into quarantine or refused entry.  You may carry your own hand-held scanner if the microchip is not readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.

2. a valid rabies vaccination. 
The vaccination must be given after the microchip is inserted. The pet must be at least 12 weeks old before the vaccine is given and it must be given by an authorised veterinary practitioner. You must wait 21 days after the primary vaccination, or the last of the primary course of vaccinations, is given, before bringing the dog, cat or ferret to Ireland.  A rabies vaccination with a 3 year validity period is acceptable for entry into Ireland.   Booster vaccinations (shots) are exempt from the 21-day rule, if there has been no break in coverage.  If there has been a break in coverage, the next vaccination will be considered a primary vaccination, and the 21-day rule applies.

3. are accompanied by a valid pet passport, or an official veterinary certificate (an Annex IV cert). Ireland accepts pet passports from all EU countries, and from the following European countries/territories: Andorra; Gibraltar; Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Monaco; Norway; San Marino; Switzerland; Vatican City State.

If your pet dog, cat or ferret does not have a valid EU pet passport, it must be accompanied by a third-country official veterinary certificate (an Annex IV cert) before entering an EU country including Ireland.  You don’t need an Annex IV cert if your pet has a valid EU pet passport which certifies that the rabies treatment is valid and was administered by an authorised EU veterinary practitioner.  

The Annex IV cert is valid for 10 days from the date it is signed and endorsed by an Official (State) Veterinarian in the country of departure.  If the pet is travelling by sea, the validity is extended by the number of days of travel by sea.

The EU member state through which you enter the EU will endorse the Annex IV cert after carrying out compliance checks.  The endorsed certificate will be valid for 4 months, or until the anti-rabies vaccination expires, whichever is the earliest.  Your pet can travel between other EU member states with the endorsed certificate.

4. Dogs must have a tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) treatment if they are coming from countries other than Finland, Malta, Norway or the UK. 

The treatment must be given by a veterinarian not more than 120 hours (5 days), and not less than 24 hours (1 day), before the scheduled arrival time of the dog in Ireland.

5. Compliance checks


All animals entering the EU from non-EU countries must undergo compliance checks on arrival into Ireland.  If your pet is entering Ireland from a non-EU country, you must organise compliance checks in advance.These checks can be arranged with Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital (lissenhallvet@eircom.net) or Vets Direct (info@vetsdirect.ie). You do not need to organise compliance checks if your pet enters Ireland from another EU Member State.

6. Pets must enter Ireland through Dublin airport only, except recognised assistance dogs.

If you do not follow these rules, your pet may be refused entry into Ireland, or may be placed into quarantine for the necessary tests or vaccinations. In very limited circumstances, your pet may be euthanised.  These measures will be implemented at the owner’s expense. 

Pet cats, dogs or ferrets may enter Ireland from any other a country or territory, not listed in the previous sections, and will not be required to enter quarantine if they have:-

1. been microchipped. 
The microchip must be inserted before the rabies vaccination, and must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.  If the microchip cannot be read when you enter or return to Ireland, your pet could be put into quarantine or refused entry.  You may carry your own hand-held scanner if the microchip is not readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.

2. a valid rabies vaccination and a successful rabies serological test (blood test).

Rabies Vaccination

(i) The vaccination must be given after the microchip is inserted.

(ii) The pet must be at least 12 weeks old before the vaccine is given and it must be given by an authorised veterinary practitioner. A rabies vaccination with a 3-year validity period is acceptable for entry into Ireland.

Rabies serological test (blood test)

(i) The blood test must only be completed when at least a 30 day period has expired after a valid rabies vaccination has been administered. Blood tests completed before the 30 day period will be deemed invalid for entry into the EU.
(ii) Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory located either in an EU Member State or another country. 
(iii) The result of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).

If the blood test was performed outside of the EU, the animal must ‘stand-still’ (wait) three months from the date that a satisfactory result has been recorded, before it can travel to the EU including Ireland.  The three month stand-still period applies to all pets (EU and non EU animals) when the blood test is performed outside of the EU.

Exception: The 3-month stand-still period does not apply if:

  • the blood tests were performed by an authorised EU veterinary practitioner within the EU,
  • the satisfactory result was entered into the EU Pet passport,
  • there was not break in the rabies vaccinations administered.

Your vet should give you a copy of the test results and also enter the day the blood sample was taken into the Annex IV cert and/or EU Pet Passport (see no. 3 below).  The blood test will continue to be valid as long as you’re pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

The blood test results are valid for the life time of the pet unless there is a break in the rabies vaccinations.  If the booster vaccination is administered late, even if it’s just one day, the whole process will have to be repeated.

3. are accompanied by a valid pet passport, or an official veterinary certificate (an Annex IV cert).

Ireland accepts pet passports from all EU countries, and from the following European countries/territories: Andorra; Gibraltar; Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Monaco; Norway; San Marino; Switzerland; Vatican City State. 

If your pet dog, cat or ferret does not have an EU pet passport, it must be accompanied by an official veterinary certificate (in the form of Annex IV cert) before entering an EU country including Ireland.  You don’t need an Annex IV cert if your pet has a valid EU pet passport which certifies that the rabies treatment is valid and was administered by an authorised EU veterinary practitioner.

The Annex IV cert is valid for 10 days from the date it is signed and endorsed by an Official (State) Veterinarian in the country of departure.  If the pet is travelling by sea, the validity is extended by the number of days of travel as sea. 

The EU member state through which you enter the EU will endorse the Annex IV cert after carrying out compliance checks.  The endorsed certificate will be valid for 4 months, or until the anti-rabies vaccination expires, whichever is the earliest.  Your pet can travel between other EU member states with the endorsed certificate.

4. Dogs must have a tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) treatment if they are entering Ireland from countries other than Finland, Malta, Norway or the UK. 

5. Compliance checks


All animals entering the EU from non-EU countries must undergo compliance checks at the airport.  If your pet is entering Ireland from a non-EU country, you must organise compliance checks in advance. These checks can be arranged with Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital (lissenhallvet@eircom.net) or Vets Direct (info@vetsdirect.ie).

6. Pets must enter Ireland through Dublin airport only, except recognised assistance dogs.

If you do not follow these rules, your pet may be refused entry into Ireland, or may be placed into quarantine for the necessary tests or vaccinations and remain there until it is considered compliant. In very limited circumstances, your pet may be euthanised. These measures will be implemented at the owner’s expense. 

Airlines operating within the EU are obliged to allow disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility to bring their recognised assistance dogs in the cabin of the plane subject to compliance with animal health controls.

It a matter for airlines whether or not they will allow animals providing other types of assistance/services, such as emotional support, to accompany travellers in the cabin of the plane.

Disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility may enter Ireland at any airport with their assistance dog.  Otherwise, all animals entering Ireland from outside the EU must come via Dublin airport. 

Guide and assistance dogs travelling in the cabin of the plane must comply with the rules for entering Ireland, which vary depending on which country the dog is coming from. Please scroll up this page to see the rules for different countries (points 1-4 in each section).  The animals will undergo compliance checks on arrival in Ireland.

If you are travelling from a non-EU country, and are accompanied by a service animal in the cabin of the plane, you should provide advance notice of the arrival of the animal into Ireland, at least 24 hours before your departure time.  This will ensure that a compliance check for your animal can be arranged on your arrival into Ireland. Advance notice should be emailed to petmove[at]agriculture[dot]gov[dot]ie, and giving your name, flight number, arrival time in Ireland, and type/breed of animal. 

You must not leave the airport before compliance checks are carried out. 

See terms and conditions on advance notice on https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/pets/euhealthcertificatesandadvancenotice/

There is a fee for compliance checks for animals apart from guide dogs carried in the cabin of the plane (payable in cash; EURO only).

You must contact the airline directly regarding your travel plans with a guide dog/assistance animal.  It is your responsibility to ensure you submit the correct paperwork to allow the checks to be carried out at the Airport.

All pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) entering the EU from a non-EU country must undergo compliance checks on arrival in their first official EU entry point (country) or a Border Inspection Point (BIP).

Ireland is not a BIP for cats, dogs or ferrets.  Therefore the first official EU entry point for animals in transit will be their final EU destination.

Persons entering the EU from non-EU countries with a pet in the cabin of an aircraft may transit Ireland provide that:-

  • the animal complies with rules for pet travel,

   and

  • the Competent Authority of the final destination is advised that the animal is transiting Ireland and will need compliance checks in the final destination.

Pets who do not full qualify under the above rules may not disembark the aircraft.

Travelling by Private Transport (Aircraft/Yacht)

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine may facilitate the landing of pets into Ireland by private transport, where possible.  Cats, dogs and ferrets must comply with the rules for pet travel.

Further enquiries to be e-mailed to:              livetrade@agriculture.gov.ie
Telephone from within Ireland:                      Land line (Dublin) 607 2827
Telephone from outside of Ireland:                Land line 00 353-1-6072827

Out of office hours contact for Dublin Airport

Mobile telephone number from within Ireland:         087 417 8986
Mobile telephone number from outside Ireland:       00 353 87 417 8986