How to transport and live with your pets in Italy

Moving to Italy with your pet is easy if you know which documents you need and what to do after you arrive in the country. Find out more.


6 minute read
Updated on 18 Nov 2022

If you’re planning on travelling to Italy with a dog, cat, or any other pet, the good news is that in most cases you can bring them with you. Only, it takes a few months to get the procedure done. For this reason, it would be best if you kickstart the procedure at least 4 months before your departure date.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of moving to and living with pets in Italy. This includes collecting the right documents, meeting the pet travel requirements, and arranging important documentation after you arrive in Italy.

What pets are legal in Italy?

You’re allowed to move to Italy with up to 5 different pets at the same time, as long as they’re domestic and not exotic. Examples include:

  • Dogs, cats, and ferrets
  • Small birds (except parrots)
  • Small fish breeds
  • Common reptiles, such as small turtles and lizards
  • Common amphibians like frogs
  • Rodents (excluding rabbits and hares)

You should know that exotic and other types of animals like parrots and armadillos, will no longer be allowed to be imported into Italy from the 8th of May 2022.

If your pet doesn’t fit this category, you may want to check the official Italian government website.

Potentially dangerous dog

Currently, there’re no breeds that are banned from being taken to Italy. However, following the Italian law, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are considered dangerous and are therefore not allowed to enter Venice.

In Italy, several breeds are currently considered dangerous, such as Rottweiler, Pit Bull Terrier, Tosa Inu, Dogo Argentino, Yugoslavian Shepherd Dog and Brazillian Mastiff, among others. In such cases, the owners of such ‘dangerous’ breeds have to ensure public safety by:

  • Walking their dogs on a leash that doesn’t exceed 1.5 metres.
  • Ensuring their dog wears a muzzle and is kept on a leash in public places such as the public transport.

Overview of moving to Italy with your pet

The rules of entering Italy with your pet can differ if you’re from an EU or non-EU country. However, some general rules apply to everyone:

  1. Dogs, cats and ferrets need to be microchipped or be identified with a legible tattoo applied before 3rd July 2011. Italy accepts Annex A to ISO standard 11785, ISO Standard 11784, AVID 9 and AVID 10 microchips.

  2. It’s forbidden to bring dogs, cats ad ferrets that:

    • Are less than 12 weeks old and haven’t been vaccinated against rabies.
    • Are between 12 and 16 weeks old and have had the rabies vaccine for less than 21 days.
  3. You cannot bring more than 5 pets at the same time. In case your pet will participate in competitions, exhibitions or sporting events, you’re allowed to exceed the limit.

Does Italy require quarantine for pets?

If the microchip and vaccination requirements are respected, your pet doesn’t need to be in quarantine in Italy. However, keep in mind that if your pet has previously been vaccinated but doesn’t have a microchip, it’s necessary to be microchipped first and then vaccinated again.

When you enter Italy, you must bring with you a rabies vaccination certificate signed by your veterinarian.

Moving to Italy with your pet from an EU country

If you move to Italy from an EU country, Andorra, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino or the Vatican City, the process is fairly smooth.

Here’re the documents you need to have to move to Italy from an EU country:

  • European pet passport that states the details of the vaccine, the contact information of the pet owner, and a description of the pet.
  • Vaccination against rabies that’s received at least 21 days before the departure date.
  • Microchip or tattoo.

Moving to Italy with your pet from a non-EU country

According to Italy regulations, to introduce pets from countries outside Europe (Including the UK), you need to meet some requirements:

  • Your pet must be at least 3 months old.
  • Your pet needs to have a microchip or a tattoo issued before July 2011. Microchips usually cost around €20.
  • Your pet must be vaccinated after getting microchipped. Depending on your vet and your country, a vaccine can cost around €25-€100.
  • If your pet’s first vaccine is for rabies, your pet will need to wait 21 days before entering Italy.
  • If your pet is from a country where rabies is widespread, your pet will need to wait 30 days after the vaccine to get a ‘titer test’. 3 months after this test, your pet can enter Italy.
  • In the case of booster injections, there’s no wait time as long as the booster was administered before the previous vaccine expired.
  • The pet cage must be labelled with the owner's name and contact details.
  • It’s not necessary to let your pet undergo tick or echinococcus treatment.

If you’re travelling with or within 5 days of your pet’s transport, you’ll be required to fill out a declaration form of non-commercial transport 10 days before you enter Italy, stating that you won’t sell or transfer your pet. Both the health certificate and the declaration form must be filled out by your vet. If you’re travelling from USA or Canada, the vet must be CFIA or USDA approved.

If you’re not able to travel with or within 5 days of your pet’s travel date, your pet transport will be considered a commercial move. This means you’ll have to pay more and potentially show additional documents.

If you’d like to travel across Europe with your pet, you can ask a local vet in Italy to issue an EU pet passport.

Moving to Italy with animals other than dogs or cats

When transporting animals such as birds, fish, reptiles, frogs, etc., there’re slightly different rules. For instance, the health certificate for such animals needs to be obtained within 48 hours instead of 10 days before departure.

If you’re travelling with a tortoise or parrot, you’ll need to prove they’re not an endangered species or breed.

If you’re carrying birds, you need to prep months in advance as some of the paperwork can take 6-8 months. You’re also only allowed to enter via the Rome Fiumicino or Milan Malpensa airport if you notify the officials in advance.

Pet transportation to Italy

There are 3 main ways which you can enter Italy with your pet: by air, by road, by boat. If you plan to transport your pet by boat or by plane, it would be best to double-check the pet policies and the costs of the company you plan to use.

It’s possible to transport your pet by train, however, keep in mind that every company such as Eurostar, Intercity, Wagon-Lit or Interregional have different policies, so it’s best to check yourself.

Overall, small animals need to be kept in compliant cages and are allowed to travel with their owners in second-class carriages. Bigger dogs are allowed to travel with other passengers but must be kept on a leash and a muzzle.

If you plan to enter Italy by plane, you should know that some pet-friendly European airlines are flexible about transporting pets:

  • Transavia
  • Air France
  • Lufthansa
  • Iberia
  • Finnair
  • KLM
  • Aegean Airways

Unaccompanied pets that enter Italy by air, must land at Bologna, Milan, or Rome.

If you’re planning to transport more than one pet, you can choose to get in touch with a pet-transportation company. These companies provide transportation for your pets and take care of administrative services like EU pet passports, vaccinations, and health certificates. The price for a pet transportation service with a professional company can vary depending on the service they provide, but overall the prices range from €300 to €3,000.

Here’re the top 3 pet-transportation companies:

  1. Worldwide Animal Travel
  2. Airpets America
  3. Starwood Animal Transport

After you arrive in Italy

Once you’re finally in Italy, you need to take care of essential documents and know the rules.

Once you arrive in Italy, the first thing you’ve to do is register your pet at the local pet registry called anagrafe degli animali d’affezione. This is mandatory for dogs and recommended for cats in case they’re lost.

After this, you’ll need to register your pet with an Italian vet — they can also add your pet to the local pet registry — a d get updated on any extra vaccinations.

You’ll then need to get insurance for your pet. In Italy, you can choose between 2 different types of insurance:

  1. Insurance that covers civil liability and third-party property damage.
  2. Insurance that covers veterinary costs.

You can either choose one of the 2 policies mentioned above, as well as a policy that addresses both. The cost goes from €50 to €100 per year.

Finally, if you plan to travel with your pet within the EU, apply for a pet passport if you don’t already have one. This costs approximately €15 and you can get this from the AUSL — Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale.

You can either choose one of the 2 policies mentioned above, as well as a policy that addresses both. The cost goes from €50 to €100 per year.

Finally, if you plan to travel with your pet within the EU, apply for a pet passport if you don’t already have one. This costs approximately €15 and you can get this from the AUSL — Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale.

Rules to remember when having a pet in Italy

Despite Italy being a very pet-friendly country, some rules must be observed. Dogs are generally allowed in restaurants, however, dogs must be kept on a leash.

Here’re some general rules that apply to every dog and its owner:

  • Dogs can be left free in designated dog areas.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 1.50 metres when walking on the street.
  • Carry a muzzle at all times in case the safety of other animals or people is at risk. It’s mandatory to use it on public transport.
  • Carry a dog hygiene kit at all times for proper disposal of excrements.
  • Bring a bottle of water with you to spray over the dog's urine.
  • The dog should only be walked by people who can manage it.
  • It’s mandatory to know your dog's physical and ethnological characteristics.

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