Italy offers the best conditions for a holiday with your dog, thanks to the many outdoor activities on offer. If you want to avoid any problems during your vacation, though, you should find out in advance about the entry rules for pets in Italy and Italian dog laws. In general, there is a strong north-south divide in this respect.
In the south of Italy, dogs are not welcome in holiday apartments, hotels and restaurants during the high season in summer when there are lots of tourists. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a disadvantage, as it’s very hot there in summer and your furry friend would only suffer needlessly. The cooler areas in the north of the country are the ideal destination for a holiday.
General provisions for entering Italy with dogs
For dogs to be allowed into Italy, general EU rules apply:
- Your dog must have their own valid European pet passport.
- Your dog must be microchipped (or have a clearly legible tattoo from before 3rd July 2011).
- Your dog must be at least 12 weeks old at the time of their initial rabies vaccination and the vaccine must be given by a certified vet. The period that the vaccine is valid extends until the end of the vaccination protection time specified by the manufacturer. In the case of booster vaccinations, they are considered as an initial vaccination if not administered within this validity period. At the time it was first vaccinated, the dog must have been clearly identified with a microchip.
- Your dog cannot enter Italy before 21 days have elapsed from the date of completion of the vaccination protocol recommended by the manufacturer for the initial vaccination.
Rules for dogs on Italian beaches
Most public beaches, especially in tourist areas, are no-go areas for pets in Italy. If you don't want to miss out on the opportunity to swim, it's best to opt for a free beach or look for a special dog beach. Sometimes you can also be lucky if you simply ask whether a well-mannered dog is allowed on the beach. In no case should you leave your dog in the car – there, you would inevitably endanger their life due to the high temperatures.
Transporting your dog to Italy
With many airlines, even the largest dogs can come with you on vacation. Big dogs are flown in specialist containers in an air-conditioned part of the plane’s hold. Transport of animals must be booked and paid for in advance, like taking extra or bulky luggage with you. Sometimes, however, animal crates are treated just like any other suitcase when loaded and unloaded, and there is no special attention paid to the fact that they’re living beings.
Small dogs up to 8 kg can be taken on board with you like carry-on luggage, but you’ll still have to book and buy the special requirement beforehand. You’ll need suitable carrier, which must accord with the specifications of the airline. Your four-legged friend must be stored under the seat in front of you between your feet. During the flight, you mustn’t take your pet out of their cage whatsoever; they must behave properly, be quiet, and not disturb other passengers.
What else should you know about dogs in Italy?
- You can take a maximum of 5 dogs with you.
- Dogs under 15 weeks old can’t enter Italy.
- Special rules apply for entry from non-EU countries into Italy, which can be consulted at the Italian embassy of the respective country.
- In Italy, dogs are obliged to wear a leash and muzzle at all times. The maximum length of the lead is 1.5 metres. Even if the dog doesn’t wear the muzzle all the time, you should at least carry it with you to show it if need be.
- In southern Europe, some diseases that could be very dangerous for your dog are widespread, such as leishmaniasis. Talk to your vet before travelling to protect your dog with vaccinations or tick protection.
- Dogs are generally not welcome in Italian restaurants, but this also depends on the size and behaviour of the dog.
- On public transport, dogs must wear a muzzle or go in a carrier. Animals must also have their own ticket, though they usually pay half the price.