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Many tourists actually come to Greece with their pets every year. With a safe rural environment and great nature, the Greek islands and mainland destinations are fantastic places for pets. Here are some practical rules and legal regulations about traveling with pets in Greece.
Which animals are considered pets?
Strangely enough, Greek pet regulations apply to dogs, cats, and ferrets. Birds are generally not permitted to enter the country, especially exotic birds like parrots.
Pet passports and health certificates
Traveling with pets in Greece is generally easier if you come from an EU country. As an EU national, you can freely travel by your car, dog or ferret if it has a European pet passport. This passport can be obtained from any authorized veterinarian and must contain details of anti-rabies vaccination. The animal must also have an electronic microchip with the same code as in the pet passport. For more, check the EU regulation on traveling with pets.
If you are traveling with pets in Greece from the USA, more documentation and procedures are needed, including a rabies vaccination certificate of no less than 30 days and no more than 12 months old, a microchip, a good-health certificate from a vet within the last 10 days before coming to Greece, and more. The Greek Embassy in the USA has an analytic list with all pet documents required.
Pets on board
Greek air and ferry companies have special rules regarding traveling with pets in Greece. Generally, transportation of pets in an aircraft cabin is allowed only if pets are carried in a special case and if the pet is no larger than 8 kilos. If the pet weights more than 8 kilos, then it can only be carried in the cargo part of the aircraft.
As for the Greek ferries, generally small pets are allowed to travel only in open spaces (decks) as long as they are on a leash and upon the owner’s responsibility. For large pets and long trips, most Greek ferries have specially-designed pet cabins as well as a small number of kennels.
There are private vets in the major Greek towns and an animal doctor in some rural areas. Unfortunately, in some Greek islands, there may be no vet doctors and clinics so you may get little help in case of an emergency. Therefore if your vet is under a drug prescription, better get supplied with these drugs from home. In case of an emergency somewhere in Greece where there is no vet clinic, better address to the local pharmacists, who are generally very well-trained and multilingual.
Is there rabies in Greece?
Cases of rabies are extremely rare in Greece and all Greek destinations are considered rabies-free. Of course, if some stay dog bits you, you will get a rabies vaccination at the Greek hospital for precaution reasons. But generally, real rabies cases are very rare.
If you are traveling with pets in Greece, it is generally wise to ask the hotel if they accept pets before making your booking. Many hotels actually accept pets, mostly small-size pets, but this is not a standard case. Some Greek hotels, especially a city or boutique hotels, do not allow pets in their premises. Also, some pet-friendly hotels in Greece have specially designed rooms for pet owners on the ground floor and with direct access to the garden or the street.
Dogs in beaches
Generally, there is no rule prohibiting dogs from going to the beaches in Greece. However, some social manners generally apply so that other people on the beach are not disturbed. Dog owners are expected to take care of their pets so that they do not annoy other beach visitors, especially if these dogs are large in size. Also, your dog wants to swim in the sea, better go to a more secluded side of the beach because not all people are comfortable with swimming next to pets.