Adopting A Sardinian Dog: How To Get A Pet Passport, And How To Travel From Sardinia To The UK With A Dog?

This year I was very lucky to adopt a beautiful Miniature Pincher. I want to write about my experience of bringing a dog from Sardinia/Italy to the United Kingdom. If you have any additional questions about the process please email me and I’ll try my best to help. 

My friend Giovanni named my Dog Penny-Lane after the classic Beatles song, which has now become her anthem. She was found on the side of the street by my friend’s mother, as she was driving through the Sardinian countryside. It was clear that the dog was abandoned, and was starving. We scanned her for a microchip but nothing came up, and it was clear that she had either ran away from her owners or was abandoned by a farm. 

You could see every bone in her body, and we had to be very careful when feeding her, as it would have been dangerous to give her too much food at one time. For the first couple of days, we decided to feed her raw eggs because of the high nutritional content and the ease to which she would be able to digest. We then began to feed her small amounts of dry dog food that she would eat without taking a breath. This was a trait that I thought would stay with her for years, after experience starvation and food scarcity. Today, she is happy to eat from her food bowl gradually throughout the day, even with other dogs around. 

I spent one week deciding whether or not I could take on the responsibility of adopting this beautiful dog, which would involve travelling to the UK together without a car which is very problematic. By the end of the week, I committed my self to care for Penny-Lane and taking full responsibility for her. Soon after my decision, Covid19 was beginning to show up in Lombardy and shake the whole of Italy. 

I spent lots of time trying to get her to respond to her name and stay with me when I’m in the garden. In the small village where I was staying its normal for dogs to leave their owners for the day and wander around the town together for hours at a time socialising with other dogs and coming back for food, attention and the nights. I gave her a little too much freedom in the beginning and have been raining it in since, to make it more feasible for her to stay with me, if and when I move to another place where the consequences are much higher if she decides to run away. 

How to obtain an EU Passport for your dog?

To travel through Europe you will need an EU Passport for your dog. I would give yourself at least 2 months in order to conduct all of the procedures and appointments. 

Firstly, you need to make an appointment at your nearest veterinary (Ambulatorio veterinario) Your vets will give you dog a general health check, ensure that there is not already a microchip that would indicate an owner, and also prescribe medicine for worms and other common parasites found in abandoned dogs. 

The vet will microchip your dog, which is placed under the skin of your dog, usually on the back of the neck. It is a 16 digit number that acts as an identifier for your dog if it goes missing. It is essential to have your dog microchipped to start the process of getting a passport. I cost me under 20 Euros for the Microchip but the price will differ depending on where in Italy or in Europe you are. You will also be given a series of stickers displaying the 16 digits and a barcode (keep these stickers in a safe place as they are needed for complete future documents, including inside the passport.)

Vaccination for rabies must be administered before applying for a dog passport. My dog’s vaccination was delayed by two weeks, as the vet recommended that my dog is treated for worms, and parasites before the vaccination. Also, your dog must be over 12 weeks of age before it is able to have the anti-rabies vaccination. 

You will only be able to travel with our dog 21 days after the rabies vaccination, with a valid passport, treatment for Ecchinococcus, and after a final health certificate from your vet days before travelling (certificato di buona salute)

We returned two weeks following my first visit to vets, to administer Penny’s rabies vaccination, I think it costs around 20 Euros. 

The vet also recommended that I buy medicine from the pharmacy that would control ticks and other parasites, it cost 30 Euros for 4 tablets, one to be taken each month. 

Health Book (Libretto Sanitario Del Cane) And The Issuing Of The Passport

Your vet will give you a book that records all of your pet’s treatments and information that is need to get a passport. You will need to ask your vet where you need to go to apply for a passport. In my case, I would need to go to ASSL in Sassari. Unfortunately, this organisation is very underfunded and under-resourced and I had to be very persistent in order to meet with someone who could administer the passport. I had to go with an IBAN number to the bank to pay 13.70 Euros for the passport before it would be issued. 

Echinococcus Treatment And The 5 Day Window

To enter the UK your dog will need an Echnococcus treatment, this medicine is very cheap, I think it was 0.50 Euros. But you will need to go to the vets in order for them to sign off the treatment inside your passport. You also 5 days to reach the UK from the moment of the treatment. During this visit to the vet, you will also need a certificate of good health, which is needed for travel. 

My Journey Traveling From Sardinia To The UK With A Dog

My journey from Sardinia to the UK, was very complicated due to the Covid19 situation, I was travelling at the end of June 2020. I had initially planned to fly with British airways from Sardinia to the UK, believing that I could put Penny-Lane in the hold. I was later informed that this service is only possible from two airports on the mainland. But both were not running due to Covid 19. 

I must have changed my travel plan at least 4 times before figuring out what seemed like the best option to get to the UK, without spending thousands, and to avoid hot spot covid19 area where restrictions may be in place. I took the ferry through the night from Porto Torres to Genova, then I took the train from Genova to Nice (which was a very scenic journey along with the coast, and I even changed trains at the last Italian town before entering France, and had 30 minutes to wander around with Penny-Lane. 

I was very happy to visit Nice for the first time, lucky I have a friend who I met in Sardinia, who couldn’t wait to see Penny-Lane again. I would have loved to stay longer in this beautiful city but I could only stay one night because I had to arrive in the UK within 5 hours. 

From Nice Airport I flew to Amsterdam with Transavia, it was the only airline I could find running at the time that would allow dogs to travel in the cabin. Furthermore, travelling to the UK with a pet without a car is very difficult, dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar, and the only port that allows foot passengers with dogs is Hoek Van Holland near Rotterdam. It was the only option, it would have been much easier to get to Calais from Sardinia, but I had to reach Rotterdam. 

Penny-Lane was very calm throughout the flight, I had purchased a carry for her that would go under the seat in front of me. It was lovely to travel with her to so many different places and introduce so many new experiences. She really enjoyed all of the train rides where she would often be sitting on my lap watching outside the window. We also met so many lovely people in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, so many friendly dogs who quickly bonded with Penny. 

I spent the night in Amsterdam in a very cheap hotel/hostel, I think it was about 25 Euros, the next day we slowly made our way to the ferry port, visiting much of Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the way. From Rotterdam to Hoek Van Holland I took the metro with took just under an hour. 

The ferry from Hoek Van Holland to the UK, was the hardest part of the journey because Penny-Lane was separated and had to stay in a kennel. There is a TV in the cabins, showing a CCTV of the dogs in the kennel. Penny-Lane would not stop barking and I couldn’t bear watching her suffer, so I decided upon a rescue mission, to run down to the kennels and bring her up to my cabin where I know she would sleep well. 

In the morning we arrived, I just had to show my UK Passport and we were on our way, ready to do two weeks quarantine, I didn’t have to show Penny-Lanes EU passport again as I was checked upon entering the ferry in the Netherlands. 

I hope this is helpful to you, it is a bit of a messy blog post recollecting my accounts of the process of obtaining a passport and my journey from Sardinia to the UK with a dog, if you have any questions as you a due to make a similar trip please email me. 

Jason Matthew Warland

Sardinia is a place beyond time. I visited the island for the first time over five years ago to volunteer on a farm. Now, I am living in the United Kingdom, working in regenerative agriculture ( but every time I have a holiday it will be in Sardinia. And maybe one day I will be able to combine my passions for agriculture and Sardinia together once again. Thanks for reading the article I hope it was useful to you.

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