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All you need to know about international pet transport to Italy

Italy is a beautiful country with a rich heritage and culture. Italians love their pets, and Italy is considered as one of the most dog-friendly countries in Europe. Pets are welcome in most public spaces, including restaurants and cafés, public transport, and even shops and markets. Many of Italy’s beautiful tourist places and sightseeing spots also allow dogs.

Whether you are going to Italy on holiday or moving there with your pet, here’s all you need to know about international pet travel to Italy:

Microchip your pet

Pet microchipping is an important first step in international pet travel. Most countries insist on an ISO-compliant microchip for easy identification of your pet during travel. A microchip is a small chip the size of a rice grain that is implanted under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. Every microchip has a unique identification number with which one can access the pet and pet owner’s details.

Make sure your pet has an ISO 11784 compliant 15-digit pet microchip implanted. If your pet already has a microchip that is not ISO-compliant, you can bring your own microchip scanner with you when the pet enters the country. Alternatively, you can ask your vet to implant a compliant chip and make sure you mention the number and implant dates of both microchips on all your pet’s records.

Know your country category

Like most European countries, Italy has classified the countries in the world according to their rabies status and regulations for pet shipping are different depending on the country your pet is travelling from.

  • EU countries: Italy accepts pet passports from EU countries as long as they are up-to-date and the vaccinations are current. The pet passport must contain a description of your pet, contact details of the pet parent and vaccination details.
  • Third countries: These countries are rabies-free or where rabies is controlled. They are Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Croatia, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, San Marino, Switzerland, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St. Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Vatican City, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Wallis and Futuna.
  • Non-listed countries: All other countries not mentioned in the two categories above are considered non-listed countries.


All pet dogs and cats travelling to Italy must be effectively vaccinated against rabies. The rabies vaccination must be administered after the implantation of the microchip. Your pet must receive the vaccination at least 21 days before the date of travel. A rabies vaccination certificate signed by an authorised vet must accompany your pet.

The rabies vaccine must an inactivated vaccine as recommended by WHO or a recombinant vaccine. It must be administered according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the vet must make a note of the vaccine name, number, date of injection and validity period on your pet’s rabies certificate.

If your pet dog or cat is travelling to Italy from a non-listed country, they will have to undergo a rabies titre test (RNATT) to check for the effectiveness of the rabies vaccine. Blood for the test must be drawn at least 30 days after the vaccination if it is a primary vaccine. If your pet has received a booster shot, blood can be drawn after 21 days of immunisation.

The blood sample must be sent to an EU-authorised lab for analysis. If the level of antibodies in the blood meets the EU standards of at least 0.5 IU/ml, your pet dog or cat can be transported to Italy after three months from the date of the titre test.

Health certificate

Pets travelling to Italy from non-EU countries need a health certificate issued by an authorised vet in the country of origin. The health certificate is an important document and must contain identification features of your pet as well as the microchip details. 

The health certificate must be endorsed by the government agency in charge of pet exports in the country your pet is flying from.

Moving with family pets are considered as non-commercial moves, and you will need a non-commercial health certificate to accompany your pet. The pet parent has to fly into the country within five days of the pet’s travel and give an undertaking that the pet shipping is for personal reasons and does not involve the sale, purchase or transfer of ownership of the pet. Each pet parent is allowed to travel with a maximum of five pets in the non-commercial category.   

The health certificate must contain the following details:

  • Proof of rabies vaccination
  • Rabies titre test results, if required
  • Description of pet
  • Contact details of the pet owner

Pets travelling from EU countries do not need a health certificate if their pet passports are current and valid.

International transport of puppies and kittens to Italy

Puppies and kittens from EU countries must be older than 15 weeks and must have received their rabies vaccination at 12 weeks before they can travel to Italy. Kittens and puppies travelling to Italy from non-listed countries can enter the country only after they are seven months old after they fulfil all rabies vaccination criteria.

Pet quarantine in Italy

Pet dogs and cats moving to Italy do not have to undergo mandatory quarantine as long as they fulfil all international pet import criteria laid down by the government.

Call the pet shipping experts

Moving your pet to Italy is so much easier with the assistance of an IPATA member pet travel agency. IPATA is an international network of pet shippers that are committed to the safety and welfare of your pets. If you are planning on international pet relocation to Italy, get in touch with us at Petraveller for a detailed quote and a zero-harm pet travel experience.