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Big Changes

At the beginning of 2012, pet travel rules throughout the European Union were "harmonised". What works for bringing pets to Poland works in Ireland, too.

For full details on the Pet Travel and EU Pet Passport Schemes, go to the Department of Agriculture site where they detail, well, all the details.

Pet Travel and EU Pet Passport Schemes

For other pets such as rabbits, birds and horses, see the section below.

Come In by Ferry

Travelling by ferry presents exactly the same problems as coming by air. You have to have the EU Pet Passport or your animal will end up in quarantine.

Approved carriers do NOT include all ferry companies into Ireland. Here are two approved carriers:

Irish Ferries – The company lands at the ports of Cherbourg in Normandy, France and Roscoff in Brittany, France - English ports are Pembroke in south Wales and Holyhead in north Wales. Irish ports are Dublin and Rosslare in the southeast.
Tel: + 353 53 9133158 or 0818 300 400
Fax:+ 353 53 9133544

Brittany Ferries - Approved Route: Roscoff, France to Cork Port, Ireland.
Tel: +353 21 427 7801
Fax: +353 21 427 7262

StenaLine - Routes into Ireland include Northern Ireland's Belfast and Larne, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin, and Rosslare. All these routes start from the western coast of the UK.
Tel: General Reservations: Contact Centre +353 1 204 7777

Come Via the UK

Once your pet has been accepted into the UK, you can bring it to Ireland without further restriction. Just keep your paperwork handy. You can fly directly to any Irish airport out of the UK on any airline that accepts animals. You don’t have to go through any elaborate customs and veterinary checks beyond those will already have been completed during your entry into the UK. Alternatively, you can take Irish Ferries out of the UK or France. If you go via France, you’ll have to go through the whole rigamarole to board the Irish Ferries ship.

For information about the UK’s Pet Travel Scheme, go to http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/pets/index.htm Or keep going on this page and read Lien's advice and that of other pet owners.

Other details, including acceptable countries, approved labs and carriers can be found at the Irish Dept. of Agriculture and Food site - http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/index.jsp?file=pets/travel.xml The Animal Help Line is at 1890 504 604. If calling from outside Ireland: +353 1 607-2827

For much more on the British option, click here.

Aerlingus Pet Travel Policies - Come In by Air

Aerlingus Airline's pet travel policies are handed out on their website via an automated response. Travel crate sizes, procedures and exceptions and more are covered.

Yes, you may fly your pet into Ireland via Aerlingus. For much more on this, see Lien's advice below. One last note – all the airlines demand ruinous amounts of the old calabash to fly your precious overseas. Transporting a big dog from the US, for one example, to Ireland can cost in the region of 2,000 Euro on some airlines.

Further Dog and Cat Advice

Below are the words of advice offered by site subscriber Lori.

“At the end of the day bringing in my dog wound up being relatively easy:

-followed the info on the Department’s website about the process of micro-chip, etc.

-gave a copy of it all to my vet who worked thru it all on her end, even though she'd never done it before. The key point was her riding the state vets hard (um, that'd be in the American sense of riding not the Irish) to make sure they did everything correctly.

-got a proper sized crate.

-I'd suggest British Airlines as the way to go (and maybe Virgin) because the American airlines like United seemed much less knowledgeable.

-pet travel agencies weren't that helpful and way more expensive and often downright wrong.

-James Cargo in London Heathrow - http://www.jamescargo.co.uk/ - was great to deal with. They sent me all the forms that I filled out & sent back.

The folks at James Cargo contacted me to pass on this information about their services:

"We're based at Heathrow, which is where a lot of Dublin-bound pets arrive, and we are the representatives for pets coming in on the Pet Travel Scheme for over 12 major airlines at Heathrow, including British Airways, Qantas and several Private Jet Operators.  With our depth of experience we have extremely well established relationships with Animal Health (an agency of DEFRA), HM Revenue & Customs and the CITES teams at Heathrow and Bristol.  We are members of the Animal Transportation Association (ATA) and Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA)- organisations synonymous with the safe transport of animals.
There's a lot involved with bringing pets in to Ireland and we're happy to provide advice to pet owners."

-it may well cost a fortune to fly the critter (his flight from Chicago-LHR was about $2,000 US and then several more hundred (maybe 300? 400?) to get him to Dublin - but he is the largest size dog they'll take.

-also costs fluctuated wildly - every time I called I got a diff price depending on gas prices and the like.”

ERH offers this advice:

-Pets can only be flown by an approved airline and carrier. PetExpress was the only company that offered this service in our circumstance. Not that I'm complaining, but Aer Lingus was the only approved carrier.

After all of that, my wife and cat landed here in Dublin. Upon her landing, we headed to Swords to collect the cat. At Lissenhall, the cats paperwork was verified and she was allowed to come home with us.

All of this requires an incredible amount of paperwork and effort on your behalf as well as your vet. I can't speak for all, but I don't think many vets would be bothered with all of this. Our vet was almost honored to have Fin as their first international cat.

I am, in no way rich. It cost us about $2500 to have our cat come with us to Ireland. To each their own, but to me it's money well spent.


Depending on the country from which you are bringing the horse and also depending on its breed, different rules apply. The summary is that you get the required paperwork in the country of origin of the horse. It's German or American vets who will inspect and certify a German or American horse before it is sent to Ireland. As you'd expect, paperwork for horses coming from EU nations is considerably less than that required for non-EU nations. For details, click here.

Rabbits and Rodents & Other Small Mammals

Rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils and other small mammals can be imported into Ireland but there are a number of rules.

The first rule is that guinea pigs are not rodents. And the second is that they aren't even pigs. After that, the rules get a bit more stringent.

As with all matters immigratory, the rules differ depending on the country of origin of the newcomer to Ireland. If you or your gerbil are from a European Union country, you're in. If you or your little friend are from a "third country" - a non-EU nation - then you've officially got cooties and will be treated accordingly.

Importing a small mammal from within the European Union

Okay, first the easy EU part.

Little furry EU pet mammals have to be brought to a Vet in your EU country. Your Veterinarian will issue a health certificate and you must then bring your pet into Ireland within 5 days. You can't bring more than 5 small mammals or entirely different rules apply. And you have to sign a declaration that the animal was born and raised in captivity.

It's mostly laid out in the two documents below. These are Word documents sent me by the Department of Agriculture in 2010.

  1. Import Conditions for Pet Rabbits, Hamsters, Gerbils, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Mice, Chinchillas from EU

  2. Owner Declaration - Animal Born in Captivity

Importing a small mammal from outside the European Union (3rd Countries)

You've really got to love your rodentia to import them into Ireland from OUTSIDE the EU. Because all such small mammals are required to be in quarantine for 6 months in LissenHall.

You've got to get a licence. You've got to pay for a Vet to certify the animal's health before leaving for Ireland and this is good for only 5 days. Then you have to pay for veterinary services and totally private board and keep for 6 months at LissenHall. You've got to pay for someone to collect the animal from the airport since you're forbidden to take custody until the end of six months. You've got to pay for a suitable "receptacle" to transport the animal on the plane.

I'm not sure what the feed bill of a hamster amounts to, but you'll be seriously out of pocket by the time everyone has a go at your wallet.

I don't know, folks. We're talking rabbits and gerbils here. Well, if this is how you want to spend your hard earned, I've done my job by warning you up front.

Here are the necessary explanations and forms sent to me by the Department of Agriculture in 2010 in Word format. They may change, so double-check with the Department.

  1. Conditions to be followed to Obtain a Licence

  2. Application Form for Licence to Import Pet Animal(s) into Ireland from outside the EU

Contact Information - Small Mammals:

Animal Health & Welfare Division, Floor 3 Centre, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.
Fax: +353 1 661 9031 Tel: +353 1 607 2238

Pet Birds

As with rabbits and horses, it's a lot easier to transport pet birds between EU member nations than from 3rd countries outside the EU.

Importing Pet Birds from an EU Nation

You fill out a declaration that your bird(s) come from premises free of various avian diseases. You notify the Department of Agriculture you're coming. Bang - you're in.

  1. General Authorisation & Declaration Forms - Movement of Pet Birds from a Member State of the European Union

Importing Pet Birds from Outside the European Union (3rd Country)

Moving pet birds from outside the EU gives you plenty of options. They're all given in the Import Conditions document below. Basically, your birds have to be isolated or confined to premises for 10 to 30 days or undergo quarantine once they arrive in Ireland. The other choice is probably the best one - have your Veterinarian vaccinate the birds against Avian Influenza with a fresh batch of vaccine and travel within 60 days.

In all cases, your Vet must issue a Health Certificate before the bird comes to Ireland.

  1. Import conditions for the import of 5 or less pet birds from third countries travelling with their owner

  2. Application to Import Pet Birds into the Republic of Ireland

  3. Owner Declaration - Pet Birds

More Shipping Help

Dean Lowe contacted me with this information about his company:

I work for EFL International Ltd. I personally specialize in shipping live animals to and from Ireland and I am trained in all areas. I know from experience this can be a very stressful process for people wishing to re locate trying to source airlines, what paperwork is required etc. and I can arrange everything as I have access to global offices worldwide. I can personally meet the clients at Dublin airport to assure they have no issues collecting their Pet. And here is a leaflet regarding our animal services and also some information below regarding our company.

Pet Chips

You must have the ISO - 11784/11785 chip for your pet. The older US chip was FECAVA/AVID. Most US vets have gone over to to the newer ISO - 11784/11785. Make sure your vet provides the current chip.

HomeAgain, a popular pet store in the US as well as many others offers the latest version - the 11785 Annex A chip. This works a charm - no problems.

Larissa offers this advice for US dwellers:

"The ISO chips can be purchased in the US through PetSmart. For $29.95, they will place both types of chips in your pet. I just got off the phone with them 5 minutes ago. Those interested in taking advantage of this will need to visit the PetSmart store locator page (http://stores.petsmart.com/petsmart/), tick the box for 'Veterinary (Banfield)' and search for a location near them."

Kennels and Catterys

Boarding Kennels Ireland provides a list of kennels and "catterys". Remember, only Lissen Hall offers quarantine facilties, but those of you from the UK do not need to worry about this and may bring your animals over directly to any Irish kennel or cattery. And, once you move here, all pet owners will find such a list useful. It is by no means exhaustive, so be sure to check your local yellow pages or ask your neighbours.

Dog Licences

Once you get your bundle of tail-wagging paperwork onto Irish soil and into your home, there's one last bite from the bureaucracy. You must have a dog licence.

The procedure couldn't be simpler.

Go to any Post Office and ask for a dog licence. You will need to supply your name, address, the breed of the dog, its colour and sex. And, most important of all from the government's point of view, you then need to supply 12 euro and 70 cents. The Post Office will take care of all the paperwork from then on, sending a copy of the licence to the appropriate authorities.

Dog wardens will want this information and you can be fined if there is no licence.

I was also told that when out walking your bundle of beast, the basic rule is that the dog must be under your effectual control or on a leash.

Important Addresses

Department of Agriculture and Food Pet Pages
Animal Health - #3 Centre
Agriculture House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Country Code 353-1-607-2862

For more information about pets and animals in Ireland - check Irish Animals on the Web.

An animal travel crate

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