Moving to Switzerland with a pet

traveling dog
Updated 2018-08-17 09:39

If you are planning to travel to Switzerland and you have a pet, you are probably wondering how to take them with you. Whether you come from a European Union country or not, you will have to comply with regulations relating to pet importation to the country, be it dogs, cats, or other animals.

Bringing your pet to Switzerland

Pets that are authorized to enter Switzerland are dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, amphibians, rodents, reptiles, and fish. Before proceeding, you should inquire about your pet's travel conditions with your carrier and seek information on the formalities that apply to your particular case. These also vary depending on your country of origin. If you're coming from an EU/EFTA country, common regulations apply for the importation of cats, dogs and other animals. First of all, your cat or dog will need a European passport. Your pet must also wear an electronic microchip for identification purposes, or a clearly readable tattoo. It must have an updated health record and a sanitary certificate.

Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before the scheduled date of departure to be allowed into Switzerland. Thereafter, your pet will have to undergo a medical test in order to confirm the effectiveness of the anti-rabies vaccine. The veterinary will then issue a vaccination certificate which you will have to produce to your carrier and to the Swiss authorities upon your arrival in the country. Treatment against tapeworms is also recommended for dogs, at least 5 days to 24 hours before its scheduled arrival in Switzerland.

Upon arrival in Switzerland, your pet will be inspected by customs and will be allowed to accompany you only if it meets the health conditions set by the Swiss veterinary authorities. Otherwise, it will be transferred to the veterinary inspection service which is found in the airport's cargo area. You should be aware that, if you arrive in Switzerland in the late evening or during weekends, your pet will have to remain at the inspection station until the next working day.

Pets from the European Union and countries which are free of rabies do not have to be quarantined. However, there may be exceptions for countries with a high or low prevalence of rabies, so you are advised to inquire about these conditions with your home country's veterinary authorities.

Good to know:

If you are coming from a non-European country, you are not allowed to bring more than six pets ' otherwise, you will be considered a professional importer. Other regulations will then apply.

Having a dog in Switzerland

This may sound strange to non-Swiss nationals, but as a dog-owner in Switzerland, you pay a special ownership tax every year. Once you arrive, you need to register your dog with your cantonal authorities and find out what applies in your case, as each canton has different regulations and the specific breed of your dog may even not be allowed. You should take your dog to a vet within 10 days of entering Switzerland: assuming all goes well, the vet will then provide your pet's information for the cantonal database. Taking all that into consideration, perhaps it's not surprising that cats are actually the most common pet in Switzerland.

Useful links:

Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office
Dog Tax

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