Bringing Your Pet to the Czech Republic

Relocating to Prague doesn't mean leaving your four-legged friends behind but a little paperwork is required

This article is designed to familiarize you with the laws on traveling with your pet dog, cat or ferret to the Czech Republic.



If you're interested in importing one of these or another species of animal under different conditions (i.e., not as a pet), then I suggest you start at the website of the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC or with the Czech Consulate General in New York.



Remember that laws change quickly so you need to keep up to date. Also be aware that all of these requirements are basically the same as those for the EU Pet Passport. You may consider acquiring one of these first. In this way your pet can then travel freely with you throughout Europe.



The importation of your pet should be a relatively painless and successful experience (especially if you put together all of the proper paperwork in advance). There are specific laws for importation of other species of animals, quantities of animals for commercial trade or dogs, cats and ferrets which are coming into the country unaccompanied. These requirements are addressed on the Czech Embassy and Czech Consulate General websites.



To enter the ČR, your dog, cat or ferret will need the following:



• Veterinary Certificate of Health

A copy of the required certificate may be acquired from the Consulate General's website (see below). There are specific requirements regarding printing and completing the certificate that are also listed on the site. The certificate is good for a period of four months.



• Microchip or Tattoo

A new law requires that animals be clearly identified in order to prove that the animal on the veterinary certificate is the same as the one you are presenting to customs.



The microchip is a new system of identification where a simple injection by a veterinarian places an identifying transponder into the body of the animal. This costs upwards of $100 in the US, but is done much more cheaply in this country, usually for only a few hundred crowns. Today, all purebred dogs bred in the ČR are required to be micro-chipped.



Tattooing is more common but far less popular as it is more invasive and more difficult for the vet to carry out. Transponder micro-chipping is becoming more widespread, however, and will be mandatory within the EU as of July 3rd, 2011.



• Certificate of Rabies Vaccination

Pets more than three months old must be vaccinated against rabies. The vaccination must be carried out at least 30 days before arrival in the ČR, but cannot be older than 12 months.





PS: There are no quarantine laws here. Generally, you'll find that quarantines are only required on island states and nations, such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Hawaii, but even that is changing now. The only requirement you will need to fulfill regarding this issue is to prove that your animal comes from a place where there is no current outbreak of disease. This is accomplished by obtaining a certificate from your veterinarian.



After stating all of the above you should be aware that, for the most part, you have more information and knowledge of the law than most any official that you will encounter at the airport. This means that your experience when arriving at Prague International Airport with your pet will be an unpredictable one. My best advice is to come as well prepared as possible by compiling all of the necessary paperwork and contacting your nearest Czech Embassy.





POZOR!

Most US airlines have discontinued their pet accommodation service but international carriers such as Lufthansa and Air France have adequate animal handling policies. Be sure to verify that the airline you have chosen to fly with has a tradition of handling and respecting animals, as there have been incidents of pet fatality due to negligence in the past.

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