The guide to relocating your pet to the Netherlands in 2024

Are you relocating your fluffy best friend with you to the Netherlands? Well, prepare for some good planning and a pile of paperwork.

To make matters even more complicated, regulations differ if you are travelling from an EU or a non-EU country. But don’t fret, we’ve got everything you need to know about relocating your pet to the Netherlands.

But remember: it’s all worth it! Every pet owner knows that any home is incomplete if your dog doesn’t greet you at the door or your cat doesn’t cover you in hair. 🐱

Woman-with-blonde-hair-kissing-her-pet-husky-on-the-snout
He really is a (wo)mans best friend! Image: Depositphotos

What are the regulations for relocating an EU pet to the Netherlands?

If you live in an EU member state, relocating your pet to the Netherlands is still a lot of work — but a bit less. The following points apply to cats, dogs and ferrets in particular.

First things first, your pet must have its EU pet passport (cute) issued by a veterinarian and receive a microchip. The pet’s passport is both a certificate of health and proof that the pet is protected against various diseases.

Also, the animal has to be at least 15 weeks old to be relocated. If you vaccinate your animal, you must wait 21 days before moving. They’re also pretty strict on rabies  — all animals older than 3 months must be vaccinated against them.

The pet also has to go through treatment against the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis. For this, the pet must be treated not more than 120 hours and no less than 24 hours before the time of entry into the Netherlands. Essentially, you’ll be very busy the days before you leave.

Despite the restriction of exotic and endangered species (which you shouldn’t even own), other animals such as rabbits, small rodents and birds do not fall under any regulations like cats, dogs and ferrets. YAY, you can bring your hamster without the hassle of bureaucracy! 🐹

What are the regulations for relocating a non-EU pet to the Netherlands?

The process might seem similar to relocating EU pets, but non-EU pets involve a bit more bureaucracy. The pet must also have a microchip and be vaccinated against rabies before 12 weeks old, as well as treated for parasites.

However, other extra tests are involved like a rabies antibody titration test. All very scientific and complex — meaning pricey vet bills and lots of time to be invested.

In addition, a vet has to issue a health certificate for your pet, which includes the code on the microchip, vaccination details, blood sampling details and details of the treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis.

READ MORE | Travelling with pets from the Netherlands to the UK post-Brexit

Good to know: UK pet owners will now have additional steps in the process of bringing their furry friend to the Netherlands.

Flying to the Netherlands

It is important to choose the right airline company as rules on transporting pets differ whilst relocating your pet to the Netherlands. On flights less than 10 hours, most airlines allow you to take one small pet with you in the cabin.

For pets flying in cargo, you should purchase a travelling container that is ventilated and spacious. You can actually purchase a kennel at Schiphol starting at €60 (this is not available at Rotterdam Airport or Eindhoven Airport).

Again, details mostly depend on the airline chosen. For example, Transavia charges €45 for you to take your pet with you into the cabin. However, the pet must be in a carrier or kennel and stowed away under your seat. Your pet can also go in the cargo hold with Transavia for €70 in a kennel that has to meet the legal requirements of IATA (International Air Transport Association).

With KLM, regulations are essentially the same, however, fees fluctuate from €30 to €200, depending on the destination. Also, if your pet is travelling as check-in baggage and the transfer at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol lasts 2 hours or longer, a fee of €200 is charged to cover the animal’s care during this period. Wow — pet care is expensive! 😅

Close-up-view-of-woman-standing-in-the-airport-with-plane-tickets-in-hand-and-her-little-dog
Moving is not the same without your furry friend by your side. Image: Freepik

Good to know: It’s also important to take care of your pet’s emotional needs, according to moving.com. As several animals experience travelling anxiety, you should try to de-stress your pet prior to the flight.

It’s also important to maintain a routine the weeks before the flight, like feeding and walking times. Give your pet some extra love and attention in the days leading up, as well!

Also, make sure your pet is comfortable in the container you purchased for the cargo, by letting your pet get accustomed to it for at least five days.

Having a pet in the Netherlands

Now, once you’re here, there are some good things to know about having a pet in the lowlands.

READ MORE | Getting a pet in the Netherlands: the ultimate guide

The Dutch love their pets

For the Dutch, their pets are their babies. The Netherlands is extremely animal-friendly, making it the perfect place to bring your pet! Pets are treated like people, essentially.

Dogs of any size are allowed on public transport including trams, metro, buses, and trains. Most hotels will even cater to dogs and restaurants. You’ll rarely ever see a “no dogs allowed” sign, as opposed to other European countries.

What’s more, there are plenty of amazing dog parks in the Netherlands and some are even off-leash where your pet can run around freely. The Netherlands even has dog beaches. Your pet will feel right at home! 🐶

Young-girl-playing-frisbee-with-her-dog-at-a-park
Time to play catch! Image: Freepik

Dog Tax

A number of Dutch municipalities charge an annual hondenbelasting or dog tax. The price for the tax varies on the number of dogs you own and the municipality where you reside. In 2021, the highest dog tax was charged in Groningen with €133 per dog.

Around 30 municipalities have actually scrapped this dog tax as several see it as unfair since cat owners are not charged a fee. If you’re moving to Amsterdam, you’re in luck! As of 2016, the City of Amsterdam does not charge dog tax.

READ MORE | The ultimate guide to owning a dog in Amsterdam

Veterinaries

There are plenty of veterinary clinics in the Netherlands, make sure to choose the one you like the most! Ask around your neighbourhood for a good dierenarts (veterinarian) or take a look at the official association of Dutch vets.

In case of emergency, you can call an animal ambulance:

  • Amsterdam — 020 626 2121
  • The Hague — 070 328 2828
  • Leiden — 071 517 4141
  • Rotterdam — 010 415 5666
  • Utrecht — 030 273 1600
Vet-prescribing-medicine-to-woman-with-cat
Find a vet you and your pet are comfortable with! Image: Freepik

Pet Insurance

Don’t forget to purchase some pet insurance! This is a must for owning a pet anywhere. It will help cover high costs in case of unexpected medical suffering and preventive care, such as vaccinations. Finding the right pet insurance is like finding the right veterinarian, really up to you.

Fortunately, there is plenty to choose from in the Netherlands. Below are some pet insurance services in the Netherlands. Most of these pet insurance websites allow you to calculate how much insurance would cost (depending on the age of the pet and other details).

Pet services

The Dutch love to spoil their pets! You’re in the right place for all kinds of pet services, including pet sitting, walking and grooming. Pet sitting services are widely available and can come in handy when you have to go away and leave your pet.

Companies like Pawshake and Petnb map services and dog sitters near you! With Dogbuddy, you get these services and the dog sitter even sends you photo and video updates of your pet. However, Dogbuddy is only available in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague.

Missing pet

Does anything hurt more than having a pet runaway? If it happens in the Netherlands, however, chances are you’ll get your pet back!

READ MORE | This Amsterdam-based company is helping to find lost cats across the world

To start, you can report your missing pet to the national chip database and make sure to call your local pound. Another way is by asking around your neighbourhood or sharing on social media. If none of this works, call one of the lost pet lines below to report your pet missing.

  • Amsterdam — 020 470 5000
  • Groningen — 050 525 2697
  • The Hague — 070 366 1806
  • Rotterdam — 010 437 4211
  • Utrecht — 030 251 3372
  • Leiden — 071 517 4141

Are you relocating your pet to the Netherlands? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Feature Image:Freepik
Lara Silva
Lara Silva
Originally from Lisbon, Lara now lives as a Londener where she studies journalism. She enjoys writing about politics, news and culture. Her favorite hobbies include eating pizza, drinking portuguese beer and smashing the patriarchy.

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What do you think?

  1. Hi there. My name is Nikita and I have 6 ferrets and 1 boyfriend, I’d like to take over to the Netherlands from South Africa, I’d really like to know how to get it done.
    And also how do I do the pet passport!

  2. Hi there, my name is Sheree. Me and my husband would like to bring our pets with if we accept the job offer he got in the Netherlands.
    Our pets are our babies. Isbthe pets really that long in quarantine? I heard its kike 3 months here in South Africa and around 6 months there… 😳 That would break my heart…

    Thanks

  3. It didnt say anything about housing though. The first house you get there won’t accept them. How to deal with it?

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