Export of dogs, cats, and ferrets to the European Union and Northern Ireland: In-transit and commercial movements
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Changes to European Union (EU) import requirements and commercial export certificates
As of January 15, 2022 the EU has implemented their Animal Health Law with new import requirements and export certificates for commercial movements (as defined by the EU) of dogs, cats and ferrets to the EU. This includes dogs, cats and ferrets transiting through the EU.
The import requirements and export certificates for non-commercial movements (as defined by the EU) of dogs, cats and ferrets to the EU have not changed.
On this page
- Definition of a commercial movement
- General information
- Certification requirements
- Certificate endorsement
- EU actions for non-compliant shipments
- Animal health certificates
Definition of a commercial movement
The European Union (EU) regulations define commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets to include export to the EU for the purposes of:
- transiting through the EU to another country
- sale or transfer to another owner
- entering an approved confined establishment or quarantine establishment in the EU (such as a research facility)
- non-commercial movements of more than 5 pet animals
- non-commercial movements where the pet animal(s) will be travelling more than 5 days before or after the movement of the owner, regardless of whether or not they are accompanied by an authorized personFootnote 1
If the movement of the animal(s) is considered by the EU to be a commercial movement, the commercial certificate below must be used.
If the movement of the animal(s) is considered by the EU to be a non-commercial movement, the non-commercial certificate must be used. Animals travelling to exhibitions and fairs are considered a non-commercial movement as long as they are not for sale on-site.
The EU has separate requirements for dogs, cats and ferrets returning to the EU (webpage currently under development).
While Northern Ireland has left the EU, it has maintained the import requirements of the EU so all references to the EU should be understood to also include Northern Ireland.
The animal health requirements applicable to the commercial movement of dogs, cats and ferrets exported to the EU are specified in the EU regulations.
It is important to thoroughly review and follow all the EU's requirements and instructions as outlined both in the certificate and on this website.
If you have questions about the EU requirements please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) animal health office in your area for assistance before starting the export process. This will help to avoid delays or mistakes with certification, which could result in the animal(s) being ineligible to travel.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this website is up-to-date however, countries can change their import requirements without notifying the CFIA. It is strongly recommended that you contact the EU authorities at the intended Border Control Post (BCP) and/or the official embassy or official veterinary authorities in the country of destination to confirm that there are no changes, additional requirements, or prohibitions (such as breed restrictions) related to your specific export.
Detailed instructions on completing the animal health certificate are available.
It is strongly recommended that you review and follow these instructions, in addition to the information available on the certificate. Information about the requirements to export dogs, cats and ferrets to the EU is also available on the EU website.
The animal health certificate is available in multiple languages as a bilingual certificate (English and another language). The certificate must be completed using the bilingual certificate with the official language of the Member State of the Border Control Post (BCP) where the animal(s) will first enter or transit through the EU. For example, if a dog destined for Poland arrives in the EU via the Frankfurt airport BCP in Germany, the English/German certificate must be used. The list of EU Member States and their official languages is available on the EU website.
Establishment of origin
For shipments where Article II.2 of Part II of the certificate must be certified, it is the exporter's responsibility to ensure that the establishment of origin meets the EU's requirements as outlined in Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/692.
The exporter must be able to provide evidence (such as documents and records) that the EU requirements have been met if requested by the CFIA or EU authorities.
The EU requires that the establishment of origin of the animal(s):
- is registered/approved by the competent authority and has been assigned a unique number
- has a system in place to maintain and keep up-to-date records for a minimum period of 3 years regarding
- the species, number and identification of animals in the establishment
- movements of animals into and out of the establishment
- mortality in the establishment
- receives regular animal health visits from a veterinarian for the purposes of disease detection and monitoring
For shipments where Article II.2. of Part II of the certificate must be certified, a Registration/Approval Number for the establishment of origin is required. The Registration/Approval Number is assigned by the CFIA animal health office and this number must be recorded in Box I.11 of Part I of the certificate.
Individual identification with a microchip (transponder) is mandatory.
Before any other procedure, such as rabies vaccination, is carried out the animal(s) must be identified with a microchip.
The microchip should comply with the ISO standard 11784. If it does not, the importer or operator responsible for the consignment must provide a microchip reader that is capable of reading the microchip and allows for verification of the identification of the animal.
If the microchip is not ISO-compliant and the importer/operator cannot provide a suitable microchip reader, the importer/operator should contact the EU authorities at the intended BCP to inquire if they have a reader capable of reading other microchips. It is understood that some microchip readers are able to read both ISO and non-ISO microchips but there is no guarantee that the BCP will be equipped with such a reader.
The National Companion Animal Coalition has a list of companies that manufacture ISO-compatible microchips.
Rabies vaccination is required for the export of dogs, cats and ferrets to all EU Member States. The EU's rabies vaccination requirements are established in the EU regulations. The requirements regarding administration and timing of the rabies vaccination are very specific and must be met for the vaccination to be considered valid in order for the animal to be eligible for export.
A rabies vaccination is not considered valid unless the animal was properly identified with a microchip before it was vaccinated. The same microchip number must also appear on the rabies vaccination certificate in order for it to be considered valid.
The animal must have been vaccinated against rabies with either an inactivated vaccine or a recombinant vaccine that is approved for that purpose by the competent authority.
A primary vaccination is considered valid if the vaccine is administered according to the manufacturer's protocol and at least 21 days have passed between the date of vaccination and the date the animal will arrive in the EU.
A revaccination (booster) is considered valid on the day it is administered as long as it was given within the period of validity of the previous vaccination, as specified by the manufacturer. There is no waiting period after a valid revaccination but proof that it is a revaccination must be supplied if the animal will travel to the EU during the 21 days after the revaccination. An addendum with the animal's rabies vaccination history must be completed and included with the certificate.
An animal must have been continuously vaccinated for rabies since receiving their primary vaccination for the rabies vaccine to be considered valid. If a revaccination is not carried out within the manufacturer's period of validity of the previous vaccination (for example, the rabies vaccination expires at all, even if it is only one day), or if the previous vaccine was administered before the animal was identified with a microchip, the revaccination must be considered a primary vaccination. The animal must then wait 21 days before being eligible to enter the EU.
If for any reason an animal has been re-microchipped, this most recent identification will be considered the "official identification" and a revaccination for rabies must follow. This would then fall under the EU's definition of a primary vaccination and a resulting 21 day waiting period would be required.
Certain EU Member States may allow the entry of animals less than 3 months of age under specific additional conditions. It is the responsibility of the exporter to contact the competent authority in the EU Member State of destination to determine if they allow such imports and obtain a copy of the requirements. Additional information regarding the export of young animals to the EU can be found on the EU website.
Dogs travelling to Finland, Malta, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland require treatment for Echinococcus multilocularis (tapeworm) within a period of not more than 48 hours and ending not less than 24 hours before the time of the scheduled entry of the dog(s) into the EU Member State.
Dogs must be treated using a veterinary product that is approved/licensed in Canada, and must contain the appropriate dose of either praziquantel or an equivalent drug that bears a label claim against Echinococcus multilocularis in dogs.
A licensed veterinarian must administer the treatment and record it in the certificate. Owners/exporter are not permitted to administer the treatment. The licensed veterinarian must rescan the microchip to confirm that the number is correct and that the microchip is readable before administering the treatment.
The treatment must be administered by the licensed veterinarian before the certificate is completed and presented to CFIA for endorsement. It is not permitted to modify the certificate after CFIA endorsement otherwise the certificate may be considered invalid. It is the exporter's responsibility to arrange the travel and certification of the shipment to ensure the timing requirements can be met and that CFIA will be available during regular business hours for endorsement.
Verification of loading for dispatch
For shipments where Article II.3 of Part II of the certificate must be certified, on the day of export the licensed veterinarian must perform a visual inspection of the animal(s) in the cage(s) to confirm the requirements have been met, then complete and sign the certificate. The exporter must then immediately present the certificate to CFIA for endorsement before proceeding to the port of exit from Canada.
Animals should not be removed from their cage after they have been loaded and certified, except to relieve themselves as necessary and as long as they will not come into contact with other animals.
It is the exporter's responsibility to arrange the travel and certification of the shipment to ensure the timing requirements can be met and that CFIA will be available during regular business hours for endorsement.
Additional EU Member State specific requirements
It is important to note that at any moment, any country can request that additional requirements be met. It is the exporter's responsibility to verify the requirements in place in the country of destination.
Malta requires an online pre-notification of arrival or transit of live animals to be submitted for all animals before they travel. This authorization must be obtained by the exporter from the Maltese authority and has to accompany the animal upon arrival, in addition to the EU certificate.
It is mandatory to obtain CFIA endorsement of the certificate before the animal(s) leave Canada as the CFIA cannot endorse or issue a certificate if the animal(s) is/are no longer in Canada.
Once all the above steps have been successfully completed, and the certificate has been completed and signed by a licensed veterinarian, it must be endorsed by a CFIA veterinarian to be considered valid for export.
Contact the CFIA animal health office in your area to schedule an appointment for certificate endorsement.
When presenting the certificate to a CFIA veterinarian for endorsement you must bring all the associated supporting documentation with you that demonstrates the EU's requirements have been met such as, but not limited to:
- original of the most recent rabies vaccination certificate
- documentary evidence of all previous rabies vaccinations since the date of microchip implantation/reading (for example, copy of the medical record, original copies of previous rabies vaccination certificates)
- documentary evidence of treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis
- documentary evidence of microchip implantation and/or reading
- documentary evidence of travel
Each page of the certificate must bear the reference number assigned by the CFIA, the CFIA official stamp and the signature of the official CFIA veterinarian.
CFIA endorsement of the certificate is the very last step before the animal(s) depart from Canada. No modification to the certificate is allowed after CFIA endorsement.
EU actions for non-compliant shipments
The EU regulations state that when an inspection conducted upon arrival reveals that an animal does not comply with the established conditions, the decision can be made to:
- return the animal to its country of dispatch; or
- isolate the animal under official control for the time necessary for it to comply with the conditions; or
- as a last resort where the return is not possible or isolation not practical, euthanize the animal.
The measures in case of non-compliance are applied at the expense of the owner and without the possibility of any financial compensation for the owner or the authorised person.
Animal health certificates
The required certificates are available in the following languages and are also available from your local CFIA animal health office.
The certificates must be printed on regular letter sized paper (8.5" x 11").
For assistance in completing the animal health certificate, see Instructions for completing the animal health certificate for in-transit and commercial movements of dogs, cats and ferrets to the European Union (EU) and Northern Ireland from Canada
Limited language versions of the certificate are currently available. If you require the certificate in another language, please contact the CFIA Animal Health Office in your area for assistance but be advised that it may take 3-4 weeks to create the certificate in a new language.
- Bulgarian – PDF (282 kb)
- Croatian – certificate presently not available
- Czech – PDF (262 kb)
- Danish – PDF (259 kb)
- Dutch – PDF (380 kb)
- English – PDF (176 kb)
- Estonian – PDF (257 kb)
- French – PDF (381 kb)
- German – PDF (382 kb)
- Greek – PDF (190 kb)
- Hungarian – PDF (267 kb)
- Italian – PDF (190 kb)
- Latvian – certificate presently not available
- Lithuanian – certificate presently not available
- Polish – PDF (287 kb)
- Portuguese – PDF (274 kb)
- Romanian – certificate presently not available
- Slovakian – certificate presently not available
- Slovenian – certificate presently not available
- Spanish – PDF (266 kb)
- Swedish – PDF (264 kb)
Note that Finland and Malta accept the English only certificate.
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