Travelling with your dog? Don’t forget the passport and vaccinations – dangerous diseases can also be transmitted to humans
Many people travelling with pets are surprised to find that their dog or cat also needs a passport when arriving in Finland. There are several requirements when bringing pets into the country and complying with the requirements is the owner’s responsibility. The monitoring helps prevent the spread of dangerous diseases.
Whether you are on holiday with your pet and returning to Finland, or acquiring a new pet from abroad, you must check the entry requirements in advance before arriving in Finland. Various documents, certificates and vaccinations are required when bringing dogs, cats and ferrets to Finland. These entry requirements vary based on several factors, including from which country the pet is coming to Finland. There are even differences between EU countries and Nordic countries, not to mention countries outside the EU.
The requirements ensure that pets brought to Finland have the appropriate vaccinations to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases to animals and humans.
“Too often, we hear from pet owners that they did not know that their pet is required to have a pet passport or health certificate, or that the health certificate needs to follow a certain format,” says Senior Customs Officer Tiia Sulander-Seppänen. “If the entry requirements for a pet are not fulfilled, the animal will be returned to the country of origin or be euthanised, because there is no possibility for quarantine in Finland. We sincerely hope that pet owners will understand that they must check the requirements well in advance before starting their journey.”
It is always the owner’s responsibility to check any entry requirements for their pet before arriving in Finland. Here are a few matters worth noting:
- Arriving from a country with a high risk of rabies requires an antibody test in addition to a vaccination
Pets must have valid rabies vaccinations. If the pet is coming to Finland from a country with a high risk of rabies, it must also have a result of a rabies antibody test. The antibody test must be taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination, and at least three months before entry into the country. In other words, a certificate for a rabies vaccination is not sufficient. Countries with high risk of rabies include Turkey, Thailand and India, among others.
For example, if your pet has been accompanying you on your holiday to Turkey, you must be able to present an antibody test result when returning to Finland.
- Medication against echinococcosis is required for dogs when coming from Sweden, but not when coming from Norway
A dog arriving in Finland usually requires medication against echinococcosis. When coming from Sweden, dogs require medication against echinococcosis for at least one day (24 h) and at most five days (120 h) before arriving in Finland. When coming to Finland directly from Norway, medication against echinococcosis is not required, but if the return journey goes through Sweden, the medication is required.
Medication against echinococcosis is always administered by a veterinarian, who must record the medication on a pet passport or health certificate.
- Pets must be marked for identification
All travelling pets must be marked for identification with a microchip implanted before the rabies vaccination. A clearly readable tattoo is also acceptable as an identification marking if the pet has been tattooed before 3 July 2011.
- Pets arriving from the UK are coming from outside the EU
Following Brexit, the UK is now a country outside the EU, which means that all pets arriving in Finland from the UK are subject to the same entry requirements as all other pets arriving from outside the EU.
- Always check the requirements from the Finnish authorities
Veterinarians abroad may have a false understanding of the Finnish requirements. As such, you should always check the requirements from the Finnish Food Authority. The Finnish Food Authority’s website has a search engine that provides you with an easy way to check the requirements for dogs and cats entering Finland. In the form, you fill out the country of origin and information about the animal, after which the system will provide you with a list of the applicable requirements.
- The owner pays for the costs if the entry requirements are not fulfilled
There is a charge for keeping a pet in the Customs’ animal facilities before it is returned to the country of origin, as well as for expenses incurred from euthanasia of a pet. The owner is responsible for these expenses.