Never mind Johnny Depp’s dogs – what about importing dogs into Ireland?

You’ve probably heard the well-publicised saga of Johnny Depp’s dogs getting into trouble after arriving into Australia without meeting the usual import stipulations.

To extend this a little, on the Pat Kenny Show we discussed the situation of Irish people taking their pets travelling with them. There are two important aspects, each of which has its own rules to meet:

  1. Going to another country
  2. Coming back to Ireland

Visiting another country.

There is a huge amount of individual variation. I have helped people prepare pets for export to many countries, including Europe, USA, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. The best advice is to prepare well in advance: six months is about right.

Start by contacting the embassy of the country you are visiting. Some countries have minimal requirements (eg you can just take a pet to the USA from Ireland, with no preparation other than ensuring that your dog meets the air travel requirements of the airline). Other countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) have strict stipulations, including microchipping, blood tests and vaccinations. Often there is a time deadline (eg vaccines have to be given a set number of days before travel) so it is important to be organised.

Rules keep changing and it is important to ensure that you are complying with the latest regulations. As an example, in the past it was possible to travel to and from the UK with pets with no documentation or vaccinations. This has changed in the past year, with the implementation of new European regulations. Now, you have to have your dog or cat microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least three weeks before a trip to the UK, and you have to have a pet passport (private vets in Ireland are now able to issue these from their own clinics).

There is a low level of “spot” checks of documentation, so you may hear about people who are still travelling with their pets without having this done, but it is a risk, and it’s safer to comply, to avoid unexpected delays and complications on your journey.

Coming back to Ireland

The website for the Department of Agriculture carries detailed information about the various rules applying to animals entering Ireland.

Broadly,there are three groups:

  1. Member states of the EU
    Microchip, rabies vaccination, treatment against tapeworm and Pet Passport needed
  2. ‘Low-risk’ Non-EU countries
    Over 40 countries where rabies is more-or-less controlled, including USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia etc.
    Microchip, rabies vaccination, treatment against tapeworm and veterinary health certificate
  3. All other Non-EU countries
    Hhigh –risk countries, or any countries that are non-EU and that are not on the low-risk list
    Microchip, rabies vaccination PLUS BLOOD SAMPLE 30 DAYS LATER TO PROVE THAT IMMUNISATION HAS BEEN ACHIEVED, treatment against tapeworm and veterinary health certificate.

The podcast has a discussion about this and also answers listeners questions, including one about whether blindness in humans can be caused by pets and another about choosing a dog when you live in an apartment.

Listen to the podcast:

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