Taking Your Pet to Italy

Italy, a country famed for romance, history, culture and the 3 F’s, food, football, and Ferrari. It is a country that lures tourists all year long. Whether it be to glide on a gondola through Venice or Roam through, well, Rome, in search of gladiatorial stories that pique the history senses, there is something for someone everywhere. And when those options aren’t enough, the cuisine from Como to Campobasso and from Parma to Potenza among many many others is the perfect excuse to indulge in a trip to one of the most stunning countries in the world.

What if you are relocating though? Or go for an extended stay and need your pets to accompany you? Luckily, since our inception over 20 years ago, our experienced pet travel experts at PBS Pet Travel have helped countless people have their pets join them on their new adventure.

Whether it is cat shipping or dog flights or even rodent road travel, we would be delighted to help you get your pets safely, carefully and quickly transported to Italy for you. Read on below to find out what you need to know and how else we can help so that you can all enjoy your time in this incredible country.

But this trip isn’t just for your pets, there is no doubt plenty you need to organise for yourself too, so let our sister company take care of the personal effects shipping so that everything can run smoothly and give you a stress-free relocation.

With bespoke free quotes available that are curated to match your exact needs, and experts on hand to help with all the pet export paperwork,  let PBS Pet Travel help you move your animals to Italy with you.

Pet Travel UK to Italy after Brexit

Despite the Brexit referendum taking place a fair while ago now, there have been some rules and regulations that have only been smoothed out over the past couple of years. The transportation of pets being one of them. The UK is now listed as a part two listed third country which means some of the things you may have done in the past to get your pet abroad will no longer apply.

The UK pet passport you may have held previously will no longer work but let’s look at the key steps you need to take to make sure you can legally and safely move your pet from the UK to Italy.

Italy is still in the EU so shares many rules with its counterparts however, these could be subject to change at any time. That is why we always advise you to consult the government website, or just give us a call! Our team are fully educated in all the legislations around pet travel to Italy and many other destinations across the globe.

Commonly, people tend to transport dogs or cats and the following advice is based on that form of pet movement. Further down the page, we will cover the more exotic pets you may be considering for a trip to Italy.

To take your dog, cat or ferret to Italy from the UK, you will need:

  • A microchip on your pet. This must be the ISO 11784/11785 variety. If it is not, you are allowed to bring your own microchip scanner to Italy. You may also use an animal tattoo as long as it was issued before July 3rd 2011 and rabies vaccinations were issued after the tattoo was applied.
  • A valid rabies vaccination must be administered no sooner than 21 days before entry to Italy.
  • An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) will also need to be present for entry into Italy from the UK.

You may also require a tapeworm treatment to be administered. Just note that this is only applicable to dogs and if you are returning to the UK.

Some people may have pet passports and whilst you cannot use a UK Pet Passport for entry to Italy, if you were issued one in the following countries and the Italian government are accepting passports for pets coming from Britain, you will be allowed to use it. The countries that your pet passport must have originated in are:

  • Any EU country, Andorra, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City.

As rules can change quickly, always check if the pet passport you currently hold will be valid. If it is not, you will need the AHC instead.

Once your animal health certificate has been granted, it will remain valid for 10 days from the date it is issued for entry to Italy. It then lasts 4 months for any onward travel through the EU and your return to the UK. Should you be planning multiple trips to Italy though, it is worth remembering that you will need a new animal health certificate granted for each trip.

Pet travel to Italy requirements

Whilst above we show you what you need, it is important to fully understand the details surrounding them so you don’t find yourself in trouble either when trying to leave the UK or when touching down in Italy. We have broken down the core parts so you can make sure you are as informed as possible before departure, as ever though, if anything is confusing or you just have some questions, let us know!

Animal health certificate for entry to Italy

The Animal Health Certificate (AHC) will need to be issued 10 days before you depart for Italy. It can only be signed off by what is known as an OV or Official Veterinarian. Your regular vet may be able to issue it for you but always check, if they can’t, they should be able to point you in the direction of one that can.

When you attend, make sure you have your vaccination history and microchipping information ready. This will be added to the AHC to make sure all the information is together for the Italian authorities to check.

IMPORTANT NOTE- If your pet has only recently had its rabies vaccination, you must wait until 21 days after it before being able to get your AHC granted.

Rabies vaccinations for travel to Italy

For the AHC to be granted, there must be evidence of the rabies vaccination so ensure this is administered by your vet as soon as possible.  Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before having any rabies vaccination and can only travel after 21 days after having the vaccine.  Boosters are often required but there is no wait to have these as long as the period of vaccinations has not been broken.

Tapeworm treatment for returning to UK from Italy

If you are planning on a return, you will need to book this treatment before boarding your flight or ship. It must be carried out between 5 days and 24 hours before departure. Without it, you could see your dog locked in quarantine for as long as 4 months! Depending on the length of your stay this could see you having the treatment carried out in either the UK or Italy. Ensure the treatment is logged on the animal health certificate.

Banned breeds in Italy

Quite often you will see a banned dog breeds list in many countries and whilst Italy does not have a list of banned breeds, it does have rules in place about how dogs should be seen in public. Italy wants to embrace all types of animals, but it also knows that public safety is paramount. As a result, in 2009, the dangerous breeds list was revoked and instead, full responsibility was put on the owners regardless of the breed of dog.

The owner must make sure the dog behaves in public and is well trained but that is not all. In addition to making sure the dog is a role model in public, dogs must always be on leads when out in public, the lead must never be longer than 1.5m and if the dog is dangerous or aggressive, a muzzle must be worn at all times when out in public. Muzzles and leads must also be used when the animal travels with you on public transport.

Training animals can be difficult and unfortunately, it can sometimes lead to some rather unsuitable methods being adopted, if you are seen to be training your dog to be aggressive or you use aggressive methods to train it, you will fall foul of the law and could find yourself in significant trouble.

It should also be noted that whilst not banned, puppies and kittens cannot enter Italy until they are at least 3 months and 22 days old and then vaccinated from rabies.

Bringing exotic pets to Italy

Since May 2022, the import of exotic pets has been made illegal in Italy.  This list is not exhaustive but includes:

  • Parrots
  • Armadillos
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians

Seen as a preventative to potential pandemics and other health risks, the Italian government believe that this is a way to help keep its public safe and minimise risk. The official statement says:

“A ban on the importation and detention of exotic and wild animals and restrictions on trade in domestic animals.”

As with all laws and legislations, feel free to contact us at PBS Pet Travel for the latest information as things may change at any time.

Bringing other pets into Italy from UK

Whilst cats and dogs are among the most frequent travellers to Italy of the pet variety, there are occasionally those that look to bring something else into the country. Italy has slightly different rules for these so it is best to follow them to ensure you are not falling foul of the law.

Birds, rodents, rabbits, fish and other small animals commonly used as pets can enter Italy from a rabies-free or EU country as long as the following is adhered to:

  • No more than 5 animals are accompanied by the owner.
  • Animals are only transported in a suitable pet transport carrier.
  • An health certificate is granted by a licensed vet within 48 hours of travel and accompanies the pet on the journey. It must state the destination, the owner’s information and a description of the animal.

Birds that are allowed into Italy must follow further procedures to ensure a compliant entrance to the country:

  • An application for a licence to import pet birds, a health certificate and an owners declaration must be with your bird(s)
  • You may only bring up to 5 birds into Italy
  • Your bird(s) must be from a country recognised as a WOAH (World Organization of Animal Health) member.
  • Your bird(s) must have been isolated for 30 days before being exported.


  • 2 vaccinations against avian flu with the H5 vaccine between 60 days and 6 months of import Or
  • 10 days of isolation and taken a test to detect the H5N1 antigen or genome.


  • 30 days of quarantine in a registered quarantine facility in the UK or EU country.
  • All relevant CITES permits.
  • Any export permit documentation

You should also note that your birds will only be allowed entry via Rome Fiumicino or Milan Malpensa airports.

Getting your pet into Italy from UK

If you choose to use a pet travel specialist like PBS Pet Travel, you can remain fully assured that your pet will arrive safely and through the correct channels so that you can take the next steps in your relocation or onward travel plans easily. Our services mean that having pet flights organized is simple, and quick, and should you require that special door-to-door service to get your canine companions or other furry friends to your destination, our pet courier service helps the journey reach its conclusion at your front door.

Should you want to do it yourself though, ensure that if travelling by sea, the slowest but possibly cheapest method, you can only enter Italy via Bari, Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Salerno, Trapani, Ravenna, Trieste and Venice.

If travelling by air, the flight should be direct or from another EU member. If you have had to enter via a country classed as a high-rabies country, you will need to complete a transit declaration that declares your pet has had no contact with other animals and has remained secured either in the airport or on the plane.

If your pet travels without you, you must organise for them to enter via the international airports at Milan, Rome, Turin, Pisa or Bologna.

Once they arrive on Italian soil they will be assessed and documents checked, if any health risks are found, a vet may be asked to attend and the cost forwarded to you.

Taking pets from Italy to UK

If you are making the return journey, to the UK from Italy you will need to make sure you follow similar procedures to those you used to enter Italy originally.

You will need to ensure:

  • Your dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
  • You hold a valid animal health certificate or pet passport.
  • A valid rabies vaccination.
  • A recent tapeworm treatment.

Aside from these items that certify the health and well-being of your pet, you will also need to complete a declaration that you are not bringing the animal into the UK for commercial purposes.

If you somehow miss out any of these things, you could find your animal being quarantined for as long as 4 months before you can bring it home again. Just like in Italy, you will also need to ensure you enter the UK via one of the designated entry points. There are many, so always contact us in advance of your trip to make sure you won’t get turned away upon your arrival.

Occasionally you will need to comply with the Balai Rules. This is where you are bringing pets back into the UK that may not require the steps shown above. You will need to follow these rules if your pet is being sold or rehomed, if it is arriving 5 days or more after you have or whether you are now bringing 5 or more animals into the country that are not bought in for training, competitions or events.

This can often be an area of confusion so feel free to give us a call to see if Balai rules apply to your pet when you come back to the UK from Italy. If you’re looking for a guide to driving in Italy, look no further!

If you are heading to Italy and need premium service to ensure your pet safely arrives on the peninsula with you, speak to our team. Our bespoke pet shipping quote will be cultivated to your exact needs making sure nothing is missed out. Dog travel, cat travel or even the planning of bird and reptile pet travel is all possible with PBS Pet Travel. Find out more today!