Bringing pets to Switzerland
We keep pets out of interest in the animals or as household companions. They accompany us and are not intended for sale. Special import regulations apply for dogs, cats, ferrets and birds as pets.
What are pets?
Pets are animals of the species listed below, which are kept out of interest in the animals or as household companions. They accompany their owners or persons acting on behalf of the owners. Pets are not to be sold or passed on to new owners.
List of pets:
- Dogs, cats, ferrets: specific rules apply to these animals! (see box on right);
- Birds [except those considered "poultry": all fowl, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, pigeons, quails, pheasants, partridges, ostriches and other ratites]; see specific page "pet birds from third countries" on the left;
- Domestic rabbits;
- Aquarium fish, crayfish and shellfish (animals kept exclusively for ornamental purposes in aquaria or enclosed garden ponds), excluding animal species that are a danger to the fauna, which are listed in Annex 3 of the ordinance to the federal fishery law: these animals are subject to an import ban (see link on the right);
- Invertebrate animals (except bees and crustaceans (other than crustaceans for ornamental purposes)).
Regulations on importing pets
Special conditions for importing pets
- No animal health permits or health certificates are required for animals deemed "pets" according to the definition - except for dogs, cats, ferrets an pet birds from third countries (see boxes). They may be imported from all countries. Coming from third countries, their number is however limited to 5 - the conditions for "commercial imports" would otherwise apply.
- Imports of pets might be prohibited by temporary import bans aimed at preventing the introduction of animal disease (see box "Restrictions on imports").
- Animals deemed pets are not subject to border veterinary inspection, but all customs formalities have to be kept. Special conditions apply to import pet birds from third countries(see box "Special case birds" right on this page).
- For several exotic pets a husbandry permission is needed. This does not apply for short stays (i.e. holidays) but only if the pet is intended to live in Switzerland. Before a permit is issued, the cantonal veterinarian makes sure that the required space and care for the animal is provided. Permits are needed for all mammals (livestock species excluded), many birds and some fish.
- The import requirements arising from the laws on conservation on species apply for protected or non-domesticated species even if those are deemed pets. See link "Wild Fauna and Flora / CITES".
Limited numbers coming from third countriesWho brings along 6 or more cats, dogs and ferrets or other pets is no longer considered as travelling with pets but as professional importer. Conditions see:
Animals that are not regarded as petsAnimals that do not conform to the definition of pets, for example because they are to be sold, are subject to their own import regulations. See: