How to take your dog on a road trip in Europe

PW Editor author
Published 2021-12-01

In the summer of 2016 my wife and I went to Italy by car and took our dog Businka with us.

Both us and the dog liked to have such a rest. This year we are going on holiday with the dog again. I will tell you what information you need to collect and how to take your dog abroad.

Why do we need any documents

Dogs have a much harder time traveling than humans. Governments are worried about the spread of disease throughout their country and are making sure that sick animals are not brought in.

travel with dog

Veterinary passport

A veterinary passport and a microchip are required for the dog to be allowed at the border.

It's like a human passport, only for a dog. Without a passport, they will not be vaccinated, and the customs officers will not be released at the border. The breed, nickname, date of birth of the dog and information about the owner are recorded in the passport.

The passport also works like a card in a hospital. It is marked with all vaccinations and treatments. The passport identifies your dog and says it is safe.


At the border, customs officers must make sure that the dog is exactly the one for which you issue it according to the documents.

Previously, a brand was used for this: a puppy was tattooed with an individual number in the ear or groin. This number was entered in the passport. Now, instead of a tattoo, a microchip is implanted under the skin - once and for life. It is more humane and more convenient. A microchip is absolutely necessary in Europe, without it they will not be allowed.

Information about all chipped animals is stored in the two largest European databases - Pet-max and Euro-pet-net. Companies from every country work with them. In Russia, information is transferred to both databases by the "Animal-face" organization.

When to do it. The chip must be done before the rabies vaccination: if you do the opposite, then the vaccine will have to be redone. Deposit at least 30 days before the trip in order to have time to make both the chip and the documents.

Where to do it. At the veterinary clinic, which transfers the data to the national database of chipped animals.

Rabies vaccine

To be admitted to Europe, you need to treat the dog for worms and vaccinate against rabies. Depending on which country you live in and which countries you will be traveling through, an additional rabies antibody test may be required.

A valid rabies vaccination is required for entry. When the doctor is vaccinated, he notes the date of the last vaccination and the name of the medicine in the passport. The European Union has a list of approved drugs. Better to use one of them.

Where to do it. In any public or private veterinary clinic, which confirms the vaccination with its stamp in the dog's passport.

When to do it. There are several conditions:

Mandatory after chipping.After the dog is 12 weeks old. Puppies are not vaccinated.After treatment for worms. Our veterinary clinic recommends waiting 10-14 days after treatment so that the dog does not have a weakened immune system.If this is the first vaccination, then no later than 21 days before entering Europe.If this is not the first vaccination, but the previous one was more than 12 months ago - also no later than 21 days before entering Europe.If this is not your first vaccination and you are regularly vaccinated every 12 months - any day before you travel.

A good idea is to buy some appropriate, dog-friendly clothes for travel (see this online shop for instance: