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Emigrating to Switzerland with dog and cat

The beloved quadrupeds belong to the family and should not be missing when emigrating. What do I have to consider and what are the requirements for emigration with dog and cat? In the following article I have summarized the most important information for the animal part of the family.

Since animals are subject to VAT, the import of animals purchased abroad is actually subject to 7.7% VAT. In the course of the relocation, the import of own pets, which have been in possession for more than 6 months, is tax-free. For this reason, dogs, cats and all other pets must appear on the moving list. Puppies younger than 56 days must be accompanied by their mother.

The following conditions apply to imports of dogs and cats into Switzerland:

  • Fully completed EU pet passport
  • Valid rabies vaccination
  • Pets must be chiped (ISO standard 11784, readable with reader according to ISO standard 11785)
  • Tattoos are only valid if they were done before 3 June 2011

The import of pets must take place via a manned border crossing and during opening hours. Transport must be carried out in a manner appropriate to the species. Transport boxes are recommended for moving with cats.

Rabies vaccination - compulsory vaccination

For ferrets, cats and dogs, which are older than 12 weeks, a rabies vaccination is obligatory. New vaccinations against rabies are only valid from the 21st day. The waiting period does not apply for revaccinations within the period of validity. Animals under 16 weeks of age can also be imported before the waiting period of 21 days, provided the owner confirms by declaration that their own animal has never come into contact with wild animals since birth. Young animals which are still being suckled and accompanied by their mother do not require a declaration from the owner if the mother can be proven to have been vaccinated against rabies before birth. The identification by means of a chip must have been made before the rabies vaccination.

Docked dogs

The import of docked dogs into Switzerland is actually prohibited. Docked dogs are therefore rejected at the border. However, there is an exception for the transfer of residence from other countries to Switzerland. In the case of duty-free import as personal effects, a docked dog may also be imported if it has been in possession for at least 6 months. Docked dogs may not be advertised, sold, given away or displayed in Switzerland.

Registration and dog tax

Dog owners must register their animals with their Swiss municipality of residence. If the dog moves away later or dies, the four-legged friend must be deregistered. In addition, the veterinarian must register the dog in the Swiss dog database (AMICUS) within 10 days. It is essential to enquire in advance at the local authority about special regulations regarding permitted dog breeds, leashes or muzzles. The rules can be very different depending on the municipality.

All Swiss municipalities levy an annual dog tax. Some municipalities charge a flat rate tax and in other municipalities this may depend on the size and weight of the dog. Depending on the place of residence and its regulations, the dog tax ranges between 50 and 200 Swiss francs per year. For assistance dogs (guide dogs, signal dogs, etc.) many municipalities offer tax relief and/or exemption from dog tax. For further information on dog tax, it is best to contact the local authority directly.

Dog liability insurance

If your own dog breaks something or hurts someone, it can be expensive for the dog owner. Dog owners are generally liable for damages caused by their dogs. For this reason a dog liability insurance is highly recommended. In many cantons this is mandatory anyway. With some providers there are also combinations with the general liability insurance. If required, I can arrange offers for liability insurance from my partnerships.

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