Switzerland is well-known the world over for its beautiful mountains, delectable chocolate and luxury watches. A little less known fact about Switzerland is how incredibly pet-friendly the country is. Dogs and cats are welcome in most tourist places, in hotels, shops and cafés.
All you need to know about pet transport to Switzerland
All pet cats and dogs travelling to Switzerland must have an ISO-compliant microchip. Microchips are tiny electronic chips that are implanted between the shoulder blades of cats and dogs. These microchips are essential for international pet travel, and most countries in the world insist on a microchip before travel. The microchip can be read by an electronic reader, with which one can retrieve details such as your pet’s name and identifying features, age and breed, medical interventions and vaccinations, and your contact details.
Check your country category
Usually, pets flying from countries where rabies is absent or controlled have fewer documentation and tests compared to pets flying from countries where the incidence of rabies is high. Switzerland has classified the countries into three categories based on the rabies status:
- EU member states and other European states and territories: Rabies is absent in these countries. They are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, Andorra, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, and Vatican City State.
- Countries with low risk of rabies: In these countries, the risk of dogs and cats being infected with rabies is low. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Russia, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Sint Marteen, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America with American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna
- Rabies risk countries: These countries have a high incidence of rabies, and there is a risk that cats and dogs travelling from these countries could be infected with rabies. All countries not mentioned in categories 1 and 2 are classified under the high-risk country category.
Vaccinations for pets travelling to
Pets travelling from category 1 and 2 countries need to be vaccinated against rabies not less than 21 days before the date of travel. The rabies vaccination is considered valid on the 21st day after the completion of the vaccination protocol. Pets travelling from EU member countries and other European nations can present their pet passport as proof of rabies vaccination.
Pets moving to Switzerland from high-risk countries will need a rabies titre test (RNATT) not less than 30 days after the vaccination. A rabies titre test measures the level of antibodies in your pet’s blood to check the effectiveness of the rabies vaccine. Only pets that show a result of at least o.5 IU/ml are allowed to enter Switzerland. The RNATT analysis must be done at an EU-authorised lab, and your pet must wait for three months after the date of sampling before flying to Switzerland.
Health certificate and import permit
Dogs and cats travelling to Switzerland from low risk and high-risk countries need a health certificate certified by an authorised vet. The health certificate must be recent as it is valid for ten days from the date of issue. It must contain the following information:
- Name and identification features of the pet, including microchip details
- Rabies vaccination details
- Rabies titre test details, if applicable
- Details of Echinococcus treatment
- Pet parent’s contact information
Bring your pet to Switzerland
Dogs and cats younger than 12 weeks do not need to be vaccinated against rabies if they are travelling to Switzerland from EU countries and countries with low rabies risk. These pets must be accompanied by a certificate stating that the puppies and kittens have not come into contact with wild animals susceptible to rabies.
Dogs and cats aged between 12 weeks and 16 weeks must receive their rabies vaccination before travelling to Switzerland. If their flight is within 21 days of the vaccination, they will need a certificate stating that they have not been near wild animals of species susceptible to rabies before travelling.
Young cats and dogs that are still suckling can travel only their mother has been vaccinated against rabies before the young animals were born. Puppies and kittens that are less than 56 days old must be accompanied by their mother.
Banned breeds in Switzerland
Different provinces in Switzerland have different rules for banned and prohibited breeds in the country. It is a good idea to check the rules before making travel plans.
The following dog breeds are prohibited in Geneva unless they are neutered and have no history of aggression: American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullmastiff, Boerboel, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff, Pitbull, Presa Canario, Thai Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Matin Espagnol, Matin de Naples and Tosa Inu
In Zurich, prohibited breeds include American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
The import of dogs with cropped ears and docked tails are banned in Switzerland. If your dog has cropped ears and a docked tail, you can apply to the customs office before moving with evidence that the dog is part of your household effects or the dog was docked and cropped for medical reasons. Such dogs are not allowed to be advertised, sold, given away or exhibited at a show in Switzerland.
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