A small white dog running in a meadow.
It is very important to find out about the requirements for importing pets before arriving in Switzerland. © Joe Caione/Unsplash

What animals are considered pets?

In Switzerland, animals that accompany their owner or a person appointed by said owner are considered pets. They must also have been personally acquired by their keeper before entry into Switzerland:

  • dogs, cats, ferrets
  • domestic rabbits, rodents
  • birds, except fowl, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, quails, pigeons, pheasants, partridges and ratites
  • reptiles, amphibians
  • ornamental fish, ornamental aquatic animals
  • invertebrates, except bees and crustaceans

The animals may not be sold or transferred to new keepers. Dogs, cats, ferrets and birds are subject to special animal health travel provisions because of the risk of introducing diseases from other countries.

Arriving in Switzerland with a pet

Regulations for entering Switzerland with a pet are based on the

Ordinance of 28 November 2014 on the Import, Transit and Export of Pet Animals (IETPO) (de, fr, it)

Given the wide range of veterinary provisions for travelling with pets, please use the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office's online help tool Crossing the border with dogs or cats and Before you travel brochure for details on which regulations need to be observed when entering Switzerland with an animal, foodstuff or souvenir of animal origin.

Online help tool "Crossing the border with dogs or cats", Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)

Before you travel: important information about animals, foods and souvenirs, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)

The Federal Office for Customs and Border Security website also has useful and important information on its "Dogs, cats, domestic animals" page.

AMICUS database

As of 1 January 2007, all dogs must be identified by implanting a unique, tamper-proof microchip and registered in the AMICUS database.

Dogs imported from abroad must be presented to a vet in Switzerland within 10 days of importation. The vet then has a further 10 days to register the imported animal in the AMICUS database (using the foreign microchip or tattoo number). This is because any data that may have been stored abroad is not automatically transmitted to Switzerland.

The regulations do not require microchipping for dogs with a clearly legible tattoo, but tattooed dogs must also be registered in the national AMICUS database (notification done through a vet).

AMICUS database

Animal protection

Article 22 and Articles 68 to 79 of the Animal Protection Ordinance of 23 April 2008 (AniPO) set out specific provisions concerning how dogs are treated and kept:

  • Dogs must have sufficient daily contact with humans and, as far as possible, with other dogs.
  • Dogs kept in enclosed premises must be exercised outdoors every day and according to their needs;as far as possible, they should also be able to exercise off the leash.
  • Tethered dogs must be able to move within an area of at least 20 m2; they must not be tethered with a choke collar.
  • Housing and water must be provided for dogs kept outdoors.
  • Every dog owner must take the necessary preventive measures to ensure that their dog does not endanger humans or animals.

It is forbidden to treat dogs with excessive force, to fire shots in order to punish them or to use spike collars.

Cantonal legislation on dogs

Most Swiss cantons have specific legislation on dogs, particularly regarding vaccination and the keeping of dangerous or potentially dangerous breeds (e.g. bull terrier, Dobermann, Rottweiler, American Staffordshire terrier (Amstaff), American pit bull terrier). The majority of cantons have drawn up a list of breeds considered dangerous or potentially dangerous.

Embassy and consular post staff who own a dog are requested to contact the Cantonal Veterinary Office for information on the legislation applicable in their canton of residence.

For more information

Please contact the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO):

Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)
Schwarzenburgstrasse 155
3003 Bern

Tel. +41 (0) 58 463 30 33
Email: info@blv.admin.ch
WEbsite: www.blv.admin.ch

Last update 19.06.2023


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