±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners

Importing Your Pet

Switzerland - Importing Your Pet

You can bring your pets to Switzerland with you, subject to certain conditions which apply regardless of whether your move is temporary or permanent, and likewise apply to re-imports.

These conditions state that your animals must be accompanying you as pets, i.e. you cannot bring animals into Switzerland either to deliver to someone else or with the intention of making financial gain from them. You will also be restricted to a maximum of five animals. If you exceed this Swiss customs will treat you as a professional importer of animals rather than a pet owner and you will be subject to different regulations and charges. Puppies must be accompanied by their mother if aged younger than 56 days. You will need to obtain a veterinary certificate, unless re-importing a Swiss animal.

If your home country is within the EU and you are travelling with a cat, dog or ferret, you should obtain a PETS Scheme pet passport. The process will involve having your pet fitted with a microchip and vaccinated against rabies. This should be done at least 21 days before you travel. The vet will also issue the pet passport.

If you are not entering from within the EU but your pet has been in a country that is considered a low rabies risk for at least six months (since birth if less than six months old), the anti-rabies vaccine is to be administered at least 21 days before travel. Microchipping must pre-date the most recent anti-rabies vaccine. Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand are all considered low-risk countries. Cats from Australia are subject to an additional requirement of a vet's certificate to confirm that the animal has not been present in the last 60 days in an area where there have been cases of Hendra disease. If your pet was microchipped in the US, the chip may be incompatible with Swiss regulations where microchips must comply with ISO Standard 11784. If this is the case, you are permitted to bring a microchip reading device with you. However, the authorities advise when obtaining a microchip for an animal to ensure that it is a 'Euro-chip'.

If your country of departure or the country in which your animals have been resident is considered a rabies risk they must be vaccinated and, after at least 30 days have elapsed, a blood test must be carried out by an accredited laboratory to ensure the sample meets EU standards. After this you will have a further wait of 3 months. Puppies cannot be brought in if aged under three months. Importing your pets via air requires you additionally to apply for an animal health permit at least 3 weeks before your travel. This is obtained from the Federal Veterinary Office FVO (G: Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen BVET, F: Office vétérinaire fédéral OVF) who have an application form on their website.

The anti-rabies vaccine must be either 'an inactivated vaccine of at least one antigenic unit per dose' or 'a recombinant vaccine expressing the immunising glycoprotein of the rabies virus in a live virus vector' (source: Federal veterinary office FVO).

Note that your pet should no long be tattooed as proof of identity but that tattoos dating from prior to 3rd July 2011 will be accepted provided you have proof of this.

Your dog, cat or ferret will be subject to VAT if you are settling in Switzerland and you should notify customs so that this can be correctly administered.

Smaller domesticated pets can also be brought into Switzerland including birds (but not poultry), pet rabbits, rodents, amphibians and reptiles. Horses and animals which would otherwise be considered to be farm animals must be properly imported following the separate live animal import regulations. Contact the Federal Veterinary Office to confirm the correct procedure for your species of animal. The FVO urges care when importing an animal, bird or fish, particularly if from outside of the EU, as sadly they may have to be destroyed where regulations are not fully observed.

Contact the FVO if planning to import a wild or exotic animal, bird or insect as conservation regulations make it necessary to obtain an import permit. This includes snakes, tortoises, parrots, and a number of other creatures. Once in Switzerland, pets considered to be exotic will need a visit from a cantonal veterinarian who will ensure the proper care is available (enclosure size, facilities, etc) to cater for their specific needs before granting a permit. If you bring a dog to Switzerland you must register it with the local authorities and pay an annual dog tax.

You will be able to find everything you need for your pet in Switzerland. Pet supplies are 'Tierbedarf' in German (in French-speaking areas, look for 'aliments pour chiens et chats'). Food for domestic animals is readily available in supermarkets and include popular brands such as Whiskas, Felix, Sheba, Pedigree, and Cesar. Small animals are catered for by Vitakraft foods and supplies. For more exotic animals try a pet supply chain store such as Qualipet, who also sell online.

Useful Resources

Federal Veterinary Office FVO
Schwarzenburgstrasse 155, CH 3003 Berne
Tel: +41 (0)31 323 30 33
Email: info@bvet.admin.ch

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners


Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.

AXA - Global Healthcare

As the global healthcare specialists for AXA, the world’s number one insurance brand, we can help you get fast access to expert medical care, whenever and wherever you need it. All our plans include evacuation and repatriation, a second medical opinion service and extra support from a dedicated case manager if you’re diagnosed with cancer. You’ll also have 24/7 support from our caring multilingual team - we’ll always remember you’re a person, not a case number.

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.