Increasingly many people are bringing pets into Finland from abroad. International dog adoption has made the headlines over recent years, and according to statistics provided by Finland’s Food Safety Authority, it has seen a major boom. However, there is a lot of nitty-gritty involved in importing a pet, and it isn’t necessarily a simple task.
We spoke to Seppo Kuosmanen, an expert from the Ministry of Forestry of Agriculture, about the matter. He helped compile a to-do list for those looking to bring their furry – and not so furry – friends to Finland.
1. Plan and prepare in good time
Make sure you are aware of the import regulations that concern your pet well in advance.
“Often, pet owners don’t bother to look up the regulations and requirements in good time before the flight,” says Seppo Kuosmanen, a Senior Veterinary Officer at the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture.
“Many passengers don’t recognize that the regulations differ, depending on whether the animal is travelling within the EU or from outside the EU,” he continues.
Attaining a pet passport and the necessary rabies vaccination can take up to a month. Also remember to get a pet travel carrier, crate or cage that satisfies both the animal’s needs and airline requirements.
2. Arrange a visit to the vet
If possible, contact a veterinarian that your pet is already familiar with. The vet will grant your pet a passport and administer the necessary vaccinations.
“A pet travelling from outside the EU requires a certificate of health, granted by the veterinarian, which states that the animal meets all the set standards and requirements,” Kuosmanen says. Such a certificate is also required if an animal is being imported with the intention of selling it at the destination, or handing it over to a new owner.
3. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations and ID tags are updated
Further, check that there is proof of the vaccinations and identification documents in your pet’s passport.
A cat or dog arriving to Finland must be vaccinated for rabies. In addition, dogs must be given medication for echinococcal disease prior to travelling.
“If your pet is under 16 weeks, and it has not been vaccinated for rabies, the owner must assure authorities of the impossibility of the pet having contracted rabies from wild animals,” asserts Kuosmanen.
4. Inform the airline
Many airlines have different rules and regulations they abide by when it comes to travelling pets, and hence book your pet onto a flight as soon as possible. These regulations may determine where you pet will be placed for the duration of the flight. For example, some airlines only admit pets that are fit to travel in cabin. Despite the quality of treatment your pet is familiar with, it is very unlikely it will get to travel in business class.
5. Familiarize yourself with Finland’s customs regulations
When you and your pet arrive in Finland, choose the red lane when passing through customs. Make sure to have your pet’s documentation handy, as you will need to present them at customs.