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Bringing an unaccompanied pet Cat, Dog or Ferret into Ireland

If any of the following situations apply to you

  • You are buying a dog abroad and having it shipped to Ireland unaccompanied i.e. you are not going to collect it and travel home with it, or
  • your pet is in another country and you want to have it shipped to Ireland unaccompanied, i.e. you are not going to collect it and travel home with it,
  • you are travelling to Ireland to buy, sell or gift a dog, cat or ferret, or if any change of ownership is involved after arrival, including delivery of a purchased or rehomed animal,
  • 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),

then there are different rules to the pet travel scheme rules. These are considered unaccompanied or traded animals.

Please note: Cats, dogs and ferrets travelling unaccompanied, or traded cannot enter Ireland directly from a third country. They must enter the EU through a Border Inspection Post (BIP). Please see point 4 and point 9 below.

Movement of cats, dogs and ferrets travelling unaccompanied, or traded, within the EU are subject to the following requirements:-

1. They must be 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. Have 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 after the last of the primary course of vaccinations, before bringing the dog, cat or ferret to Ireland.  A rabies vaccination with a 1 year or 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. Must undergo a veterinary health check
Health check must be carried out by an authorised veterinary practitioner within 48 hours of departure.  The health check must be recorded in the EU pet passport or Annex I health certificate.

4. Be accompanied by original, signed paper work:-

(i) Animals coming from another EU country
must be accompanied by a valid pet passport and an Intra Trade Animals Health (TRACEs) Certificate. 

This must be obtained in the EU country of origin, and completed by an official government vet in the country of origin.

(ii) Animals coming from a non-EU country
must be accompanied by a veterinary Annex 1 EU Health Certificate (pdf 595Kb)   and may only enter the EU via an official Border Inspection Post (BIP). 

There are no approved BIPs in Ireland for small animals.  Therefore unaccompanied animals may not enter Ireland directly from a non-EU country.

A list of approved BIPs and the species they are approved for can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/vet-border-control/bip_en.

The person responsible for the movement must contact the authorities of the BIP to ensure they are aware of all requirements.

5. Tapeworm treatment for dogs

If you are coming from countries other than Finland, Norway, Malta or the UK (before Brexit), a vet must treat your dog for tapeworm (specifically Echinococcus multilocularis) and record the treatment in the pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate each time you intend to travel to Ireland.

The treatment must contain praziquantel and must be administered by a veterinarian no less than 24 hours (1 day) and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before the scheduled arrival time of the dog in Ireland. Your dog may be refused entry or put into quarantine if you do not follow this rule.

6. Each animal must have access to food and water for the duration of the journey.  Detailed guidelines on the welfare of these animals during transport are included on the DAFM website at the following link: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animaltransport/.

7. Animals must be consigned out of the EU countries by an approved Type 2 transporter only. For list of type 2 transporters see http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animaltransport/.

8. If you are intending to export dogs, cats or ferrets, your premises must be registered under EU law (“Balai”). Click here for Balai Registration of Dog Premises - Application Form.

You will also need to contact your local RVO (https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/contact/regionalveterinaryoffices/) to arrange for a TRACES certificate to be completed.

9. In the case of unaccompanied animals travelling from a third country into the EU via a BIP approved for the appropriate species, and not directly into Ireland, a successful rabies serological test (blood test) is required if travelling from countries other than Andorra; Gibraltar; Greenland and the Faroe Islands; Iceland; Liechtenstein; Monaco; Norway; San Marino; Switzerland; Vatican City State,  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; Mexico; Montserrat; New Caledonia; New Zealand; North Macedonia, 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.

  • The blood test must be completed at least 30 days after the valid rabies vaccination, with a standstill period of 3 months.
  • Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory that is either inside or outside the EU. 
  • The result of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).

Animals Failing Compliance Checks

It is an offence under the Pet Passport (No.2) Regulations 2014 to import, export or to attempt to import or export a dog, cat or ferret in contravention of the Regulations. Animals which fail the compliance checks or deemed to be imported/exported in contravention to the regulations, may at the discretion of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, be:

  • returned to their country/premises of origin, OR
  • placed into quarantine for the appropriate length and have the necessary vaccinations/tests required in order for the pet to become compliant with EU health requirements, OR
  • in limited circumstances, euthanised.

The measures referred to above shall be applied at the expense of the owner and without the possibility of any financial compensation for the owner and/or the authorised person.

Contact Details

Further enquiries to be e-mailed to:              livetrade@agriculture.gov.ie
Telephone from within Ireland:                      Land line (01) 607 2827
Telephone from outside of Ireland:                Land line 00 353-1-6072827