The dog gone Dutch

Can’t imagine moving to the Netherlands without your pet? Puss-in-Boots getting itchy feet too? Who says you have to leave your furry friends behind? Dorothy never left Toto in Kansas. If you go the extra mile and plan ahead, your pets will be able to fly those extra miles and stay by your side. Here’s a short guide to making pet relocation possible.

Vet check

Have your pet examined by your vet before you travel. In addition to a health certificate, your animal must:

  • Be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days prior to the departure date. Pets imported from an unlisted country such as the US require a blood test to confirm the vaccination.

  • Be implanted with an electronic microchip. A number is issued and all details stored in a European database so that it is easier for authorities to identify pets and their owners.

Pet passport

It is recommended that you allow at least a 6-9 month waiting period to arrange for your pet paperwork. Dogs, cats and ferrets travelling abroad with their owners must have a ‘pet passport’ (EU-dierenpaspoort) from the vet. This document contains the following information:

  • Statement from your vet that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.

  • Description of pet including its breed, sex, age, colour, type of fur and marks.

  • Tattoo or microchip number.

  • Name of owner.

Airline carrier

Call your airline carrier. It’s often overlooked that you have to make a reservation for your pet to travel with you. Airlines have strict weight limitations and temperature restrictions that may endanger or cause discomfort to your animal therefore it’s suggested to check in advance. Individual airlines will advise on which animals can be taken on board and which must go on as designated cargo.


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 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. For more information call 14020.

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. Editor’s recommended veterinarian practice: The Pet Travel Clinic (DierenKliniek Europaplein). 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.

More information

Since rules and regulations vary from country to country, it’s strongly advised you check with the Dutch embassy in your country, and if applicable Laser (*the Dutch CITES agency) for information before making arrangements to bring your pet. *If your pet belongs to an officially protected species, you will require a CITES permit.

Contact The Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij voor Diergeneeskunde) for the latest news. In Dutch only.