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Moving Our Dog from Canada to Ireland | A Love Story

Max hanging out in the Wicklow Mountains

When we began our plans to move to Ireland from Canada, we knew that we wanted to bring Mr. Max along with us. We also knew that there would be a lot of paperwork and vet appointments involved in the adventure.

So, let's start at the beginning of this story by introducing our puppy dog, Max. Max is an 85lb Lab/ Husky. He is longer and larger than an average Labrador or Husky. He is also super handsome and sweet. But, really, that's probably not important right now.

So, when we started working out our plans to bring Max with us, I did my research and figured out that if I filled out our paperwork properly and Max had all his correct shots that he wouldn't have to be quarantined (YAY!). I'm mentioning this particularly because almost everyone we have crossed paths with has asked us if he had to be quarantined. If you are coming into Ireland from a country that doesn't have a high rabies risk, as long as you have the correct paperwork and vet visits, your pet doesn't have to go into quarantine.

Luckily, our vet was also very knowledgeable about which paperwork I would need and who I would need to contact to make things official. It turns out that not only did I need to visit our personal vet to get our paperwork figured out, I also needed to visit the government vet to have the paperwork officially stamped and acceptable when entering Ireland. Without her knowledge, I would have completely missed this last step and Max probably would have been denied access to Ireland.

So the next step was to figure out which airline would fly our pooch to Ireland for us. This proved to be the most difficult portion of the process. I had read on quite a few blogs that in order to import a pet to Ireland from the state, you needed to hire a pet import company to do the work for you. Luckily, this isn't the case in Canada. However, I still contacted quite a few companies to find out what they would charge to do the job for us and only found two that would transport Max all the way from Victoria, BC to Dublin.

We decided it would be easier to hire in airline directly to transport Max for us. Canada has two airlines that fly from Victoria to Dublin. The first one, Westjet, doesn't fly pets to Ireland, so that option was out (although we were given some misinformation on our initial phone call to them, so we booked Westjet tickets all excited about having our flights figured out and then found out that we couldn't fly Max with them), so our next option was Air Canada.

After hiking to the top of Torc Mountain in Killarney

Flying smaller dogs to other countries is a lot easier than flying our large puppy dog. Because of how long Max is, he had to fly cargo and in a large kennel that was classified as jumbo by the airline. This meant that the cost of flying him to Dublin was a lot more expensive than flying a small pet- like more than the price of Logan's and my ticket combined. And that was just for a one way ticket for him. For this reason alone, if we hadn't already been deep into our immigration process, we may have rethought our entire adventure choice.

However, we decided we would regret our choice if we didn't fly him with us and if we didn't move to Ireland, so we booked him in with Air Canada and flew him to Dublin.

Once he arrived in Dublin, the process of finding him was kinda weird. No one told us where to pick him up or how we were going to find him. He was handled by another cargo company at the airport, which then transferred him to a vet for the official all clear. After that, we were all good to take him home with us!

Having Max with us has been worth the struggle and the extra money. He makes our days happier, fuller and much, much furrier.

Other points to note:

  • Dublin is the only Irish city that will accept pets through immigration, so your arrival with a doggy must be in Dublin.

  • Our export costs to bring Max back to Canada may be completely different than the costs to bring him here, as are the requirements for bringing him back.

  • Now that we have Max in Europe, we can get him an EU pet passport, which will make things a lot easier when we decide to go on a road trip with him to other countries in the EU!

  • Here is the Irish Department of Agriculture website for you, if you want more info on import requirements.

Shout out to Qualicum Beach Animal Hospital and Dr. Bernaur for being so amazing and helpful throughout this process.

If you have any more questions about our process, please don't hesitate to send us an email or reach out!

Running through the forest in Killarney National Park

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