Bringing a pet to the Netherlands

Bringing a pet to the Netherlands

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Pets are welcome in the Netherlands but there are strict rules relating to bringing pets into the country, particularly around proving they are healthy and are transported appropriately.

If you plan to take a pet to the Netherlands, it's important to check the latest regulations. Make sure that you have the correct papers, not only for the Netherlands, but for all the countries you will pass through to reach the Netherlands. Be aware that regulations differ depending on the country you are travelling from. Here is the general information you will need when you decide to move to The Netherlands with your pet.

Pet immigration rules for The Netherlands
Your pet must have an ISO pet microchip inserted, and be vaccinated for rabies and various other diseases at least 21 days prior to travel and not more than one year prior to travel. If your animal was vaccinated before it was fitted with a microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again after the microchip is inserted. If your pet's microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you will have to bring your own microchip scanner.

A USDA (or CFIA) accredited veterinarian must then complete the bi-lingual Annex II for The Netherlands for endorsement by the USDA or CFIA if traveling from the United States or Canada. If traveling from another country, the Governing Authority should endorse the form for you.

Pets entering The Netherlands from a country with a high incidence of rabies must have a Blood Titer Test one month after vaccination and three months prior to departure.

Restrictions
Unvaccinated pets (dogs and cats only) less than three months old may enter an EU country, but there are additional regulations that must be met. Certain aggressive breeds of dogs are prohibited from entry.

All other pets (birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals such as rodents and rabbits) are not subject to the regulations on the anti-rabies vaccination but may have to meet other requirements as to a limit on the number of animals and a certificate to accompany them with respect to other diseases. Pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority of their country and/or that of the destination country.

Airline pet container requirements
The airline will normally insist that you acquire a special travelling container for the animal that is ventilated and allows the animal room to move and lie down. Label your pet's kennel carefully and prominently so that it won't get lost during the transit. Ensure that your pet has adequate food and water for the journey.

The rules regarding approved types of containers for cats, dogs, ferrets and birds flying in the cabin and as cargo were created by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and for the most part have been accepted by the world's airlines. Read the IATA requirements before you travel with your pet.

Pets in the cabin
On flights of less than ten hours, many airlines will allow small cats or dogs to be taken with the passenger in the cabin (except travel to the UK and Hong Kong). Generally, the airline will only allow one pet per passenger and a maximum of two pets per cabin. The container for the pet must fit under the seat in front of you and must have a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation. The Sherpa, Bergan and SturdiBag pet carriers are all airline compliant as long as the carrier is the proper size for your pet.

If you are purchasing a container, make sure that it meets these minimum requirements:

  • The container must be large enough for the animal(s) to stand, turn around, and lie down.
  • The kennel must be made of a sturdy plastic.
  • The container must have a secure, spring loaded, all around locking system with the pins extending beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door.
  • Although this is not an IATA requirement, many airlines are now requiring steel crate hardware instead of plastic fasteners. We would recommend that you use this hardware on your pet's crate to be sure there will be no problems.
  • Both water and food bowls must be attached to the inside of the front door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door.
  • The container must have ventilation on all sides for international travel and three sides minimum for domestic travel.
  • The Container must have LIVE ANIMAL stickers on the top and sides in letters at least one inch tall.
  • NO WHEELS. If the container has wheels, they should be removed or taped securely so that the kennel cannot roll.
  • The container must be identified with your pet's name and owner's contact information. The best way to do this is to attach your pet's information to the outside of the crate.
  • Make sure to attach an extra copy of your pet's health certificate to the container.

Bringing a pet to the NetherlandsEU pet passports
European Union pet owners are now required to have pet passports when travelling with their animals. The passports, which are required before allowing an animal entry into an EU member state, are to include the pet's microchip or tattoo number for identification, as well as other data such as records of all vaccinations and clinical examinations. When travelling, the pet owner must ensure that the rabies vaccination in the passport is valid or else renew the pet's vaccination.

One aim of the European Pet Travel Scheme, which covers cats, dogs and even ferrets, rabbits and rodents, is to provide proof that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies, with the passport also setting out details of the pet's tick and tapeworm treatment. The EU Pet Passport contains the following information:

  • Name and address of animal owner
  • Description of the animal (breed, sex, age, color)
  • Number of microchip
  • Date of the rabies vaccination, period of validity of the vaccination, type of vaccine, name of manufacturer and production number
  • Address and signature of the veterinarian


Pet insurance
Another important issue is pet insurance. Pet insurance can cover much of the expense of unexpected vet bills in case of an injury or illness, so the things you need to consider when choosing pet insurance are of a major importance:

  • Does the policy cover all chronic, congenital and hereditary conditions?
  • Is there a time limit on treatment per condition?
  • Is there a dollar limit on treatment per condition?
  • Are there flexible coverage options to fit your budget and needs exactly?
  • How well established is the company? How is it rated?


Arrivals
You will not need a permit for your dog but most cities charge an annual Dog Tax (hondenbelasting); prices vary on the number of dogs. Dogs must also be registered with the local town hall (gemeente) and the municipal tax office (Gemeentelijke Belastingdienst) upon arrival, which you can arrange by letter or in person. No other animals, such as cats, require registration or tax.

Pet services
The Netherlands has a wide network of animal hospitals and vets. As well as appointments, many vets offer a special drop-in time (spreekuur) when you can stop by unannounced for advice or in an emergency. As for health check-ups, your vet will keep you regularly informed with updates.

The Amsterdam-based Pet Travel Clinic (DierenKliniek Europaplein) comes highly recommended. From its beginnings as a small practice caring for mainly cats and dogs, it has gained a solid following among international pet owners. With services available in over five languages, the clinic’s got pet care covered whether you’re already in the Netherlands or planning to make the move.

Settling in
If you’re reading this, it means you and your pet have made it. Congratulations. Rest assured that while you work, your pets are at play. Or why not let your cats and rabbits loose with the Pet Nanny available across Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

Pet lost/found
Pet gone astray? Call your local Lost Pet Line (Dierenkwijtlijn) in Amsterdam. If your pet has a chip, you should also report the loss to the National Chip Database.



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4 Comments To This Article

  • IVAN posted:

    on 5th April 2016, 20:04:48 - Reply

    Hi, Thanks for the information, I am planning to go to germany with two cats, however, the most convienence flight is through amsterdam because is so near to the town (like 2 hrs). Therefore I would like to know if there is an issue if I arrive first to Amsterdam and then use a car to go to Germany. Thanks in advance,

    [Moderator's note: You can also post questions on our Ask the Expert free service.]

  • DogGuardian posted:

    on 2nd January 2015, 10:57:01 - Reply

    Thank you very much for posting this. It would be nice to have more of a description or a direct link to the webpage where the "bi-lingual Annex II for The Netherlands" that is referred to can be found. Is this the USDA APHIS form? Thanks again.
  • Angela posted:

    on 11th October 2013, 12:16:13 - Reply

    Having just traveled to Amsterdam from the UK with guinea pigs I thought I would add that the EU pet passport regulations are not applicable to rodents and there appears to be no regulation covering the movement of rodents between the UK and the Netherlands unless travelling with more than 5. There is very little information available regarding the movement of small animals either at an EU wide level or from individual countries and most vets are unable to help unless a pet is covered by the pet passport scheme (dogs cats and ferrets only). We had our guinea pigs inspected by a vet and given a letter assuring their good health the day before travel as a precaution.

    However it is not easy to travel with rodents from the UK. Although cats and dogs are allowed on some flights in the cabin, rodents are not. Most flights between the UK and Schipol do not have ventilated and heated holds so they not be transported in the hold either. This means they have to travel as cargo on specific flights which should be investigated well in advance and can be extremely expensive.

    Pets cannot be taken onto the Eurostar at all, and while small animals can be taken in cars through the Eurotunnel or on ferries, they must remain in the car at all times. This poses a problem if you are travelling as a foot passenger. There is one ferry company which allows pets to be carried by foot passengers (Starting with S and travelling between Harwich and the Hook of Holland), pet places in the kennels must be booked separately and I recommend speaking to a customer services representative to ensure that your pet can travel and where they will be housed during the voyage.

    I hope this helps other people.
  • Piers posted:

    on 24th July 2013, 10:51:17 - Reply

    [Edited by moderator. If you have questions for the Expatica staff, please contact us directly.]