How to bring your pet to Sweden 

Dogs in a car
Thinking of moving to Sweden with your dog? Read this first. Photo: Ron Bull/AP PHOTO/CP, Toronto Star
With ample green spaces and welcoming cafes, Sweden is one of the most dog-friendly countries in the world. If you want to move with your furry family members, here’s what you need to do to get them to Sweden. 

Some pets can’t enter

Puppies and kittens must be at least 12 weeks old before they can travel to Sweden. You’re not allowed to separate a puppy from their mother before 8 weeks of age. Wolf-hybrids like the Saarloos Wolfdog are banned in Sweden.

Get them microchipped 

To bring a pet to Sweden, it must have an ISO-microchip or an identification tattoo before travel. It’s compulsory for your dog to be ID-tagged and for you to register your ownership in a central register when they arrive. You have to microchip a pet before they can receive any of the necessary vaccines. 

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Get them vaccinated 

Sweden is considered a rabies-free country, and it wants to stay that way. Any dog or cat that you bring to the country must have had a rabies vaccine more than one month and less than one year before travel. An animal must be over 12 weeks old to get the rabies vaccine and you have to wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before you’re allowed to travel. 

Non-vaccinated puppies, kittens and ferrets are not permitted to enter Sweden from any country, except Norway. 

Additional proof of an antibodies test might also be required if you’re travelling from outside the EU. In some rare cases, you might have to quarantine your pet if you’re coming from a country with a high rabies risk.

This doesn’t apply to animals that don’t transmit rabies, like reptiles or birds. 

The Swedish Kennel club says that all puppies should be vaccinated against parvovirus, canine distemper and infectious canine hepatitis, in a so-called triple vaccine, but this isn’t a prerequisite for entering the country.

European animal passport
A dog’s EU pet passport, ready for travel. Photo: Chiara Milford

Get them documents

Pets need to carry a valid EU pet passport (which is exactly as cute as it sounds) with proof of their rabies vaccinations. You can get this from any vet in a European country. The passport doesn’t run out, but vaccine shots have expiry dates.  

If you’re coming from outside the EU – which includes the UK – you’ll need a certificate stamped by an official veterinarian. A UK pet passport won’t be accepted anymore. 

A state-certified vet needs to sign and stamp documents regarding ID marking/microchipping, rabies vaccination, and a pet owner’s declaration (a form which states the animal is yours and you don’t plan on selling them when you get to Sweden). You can only get this three months after the collection of the blood sample for a rabies antibody check. They’re very strict about this. 

This certificate is only valid for ten days after issuing and allows four months of travel within the EU, so you might need to move fast. 

These documents will be checked at an official Entry Point when you arrive. You need to notify Customs of your pet’s arrival at least 48 hours in advance, as well as the border inspection veterinarian. You can do this online, if you’re coming from another EU country or by using the red “items to declare” lane at Customs. This is to prevent illegal animal trafficking. 

If you’ve bought an expensive pet (one that cost over 3,000 SEK if you’re coming via car or train, or over 4,300 SEK by plane or ferry) outside the EU, you’ll have to pay import duty on them. More information can be found via the Swedish Customs website

For further information, the Swedish Board of Agriculture has a useful guide for travelling to Sweden with a pet cat, dog or ferret.

Dogs in Gothenburg
Luckily you won’t have to queue to register your dog. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Get them registered

Once you arrive in Sweden, you need to register your dog’s ownership with the Swedish Board of Agriculture. You can do this online here for just 40 kronor. You don’t need to do this if they’re not a dog. 

Your dog will be linked to your personnummer, so you’ll need a human Swedish ID too. It’s advisable to move yourself before you bring a pet, because it can take a few months to get a Swedish personnummer set up. 

It helps if you register your pet with a site like, especially in the terrible event that you lose them. 

A visit to the veterinary hospital in Bagarmossen
A visit to the vet. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Get them insured

Most pet-owners in Sweden have insurance to cover costly vet bills, which can be high. Swedish pets are some of the most-insured animals in the world. Insurance isn’t a legal requirement here but it comes highly recommended by many pet-ownership organisations.

There are several different options for pet insurance providers. You can find the best option for you by using independent comparison sites, like the Swedish Consumers’ Insurance Bureau (in Swedish).  

As a pet owner in Sweden, you are liable for what your pet does and you are always liable for damages caused by your pet, regardless of how they happened.

The author with Valter the dog. Photo: Chiara Milford

A pet is for life 

Sweden takes animal welfare very seriously. The 2018 Animal Welfare Act prohibits abandoning a domestic animal. If you do, you could be subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to two years. 

Sweden also prohibits docking tails, cropping ears, de-vocalisation, declawing and defanging. 

You’re not allowed to keep a dog in a crate overnight or while you’re away, and you can’t tie up a cat, except to take them on a walk with you. Cats and dogs can’t stay in a stationary car for longer than three hours and must have access to water.

A dog also has to go outside at least once every six hours, which means dog-owners may want to consider dog-friendly offices, or doggy daycare, called hunddagis in Swedish.

Basically, take good care of your furry friends and you’ll be fine. 

Member comments

  1. Coming from Southern Germany, Sweden looks like a very difficult place for dogs, at least on the West coast, where leash laws are everywhere and beaches are no-go. Where do we find a place in Sweden to play fetch a ball and let a dog run or swim ?

  2. Have the regulations changed very recently? Because I brought my dog from Mexico 5 months ago and we didn’t have to notify customs beforehand nor pay an import tax (no one even asked how much we paid for him). We followed the instructions in the government’s webpage to a T and everything went very smoothly.
    Also not all countries outside the EU need the antibodies tests, it depends on whether the country of origin is listed or unlisted (meaning a list of countries with a good program for rabies control). At least it was so in December 2020.

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