FAQ: Pets arriving from Ukraine

A dog, cat or ferret brought in under the exemption is already in Finland - what should I do?

Book an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible and report that this pet belongs to a person who has fled the war in Ukraine. If necessary, the animal will be vaccinated and microchipped, and a blood sample will be taken by the veterinarian to test for rabies antibodies. The veterinary procedures are free of charge to the owner.

Why are there now exemptions being applied to the import of animals?

The EU Commission has recommended the introduction of a so-called force majeure exemption so that people fleeing the war in Ukraine are not left behind or outside the EU's external border because of their pet. Pets also provide important psychological support for people fleeing from danger.

Which animals are exempted?

Pet owners may bring up to five of their own dogs, cats or ferrets from Ukraine. The exemption also applies to pet birds. The exemption does not apply to animals imported for commercial purposes or, for example, rescue animals or stray dogs being evacuated from animal shelters. There are normally no entry requirements for small rodents, rabbits, reptiles or turtles, so there is no need for an exemption.

What does a veterinary visit cost a Ukrainian owner?

The visit is free of charge to the owner. Instructions have been provided to veterinarians on how to receive compensation from, for example, the Finnish Food Authority. When booking an appointment, any questions regarding payment should still be confirmed.

Can rescue dogs be imported with the same simplified requirements as pets?

No, they cannot. Animals of unknown origin present a significantly higher risk of rabies and echinococcus infection than pets.

Why have the requirements for rescue dogs not been eased?

Rabies occurs in Ukraine, especially in rural areas and the fox population. A stray dog has a much higher risk of getting bitten by a fox than an animal under the supervision of its owner. The incubation period for rabies can be several months in duration.

Are pets taken away from their owner during quarantine?

The aim is for the owner to care for their animal during the quarantine period. It would therefore be ideal for the pet and owner to be housed together.

Will all dogs, cats and ferrets coming to Finland be vaccinated?

All animals which do not have a valid certificate for an approved rabies vaccination and which have not been microchipped before vaccination will be vaccinated. Only puppies under 12 weeks of age are not vaccinated. The animal must be brought to a veterinarian for vaccination.

What does quarantine mean?

Quarantine means that the animal must be kept isolated from animals and people outside the family, with the exception of the caregiver and their own family. In addition, the animal must always be kept on a leash when outdoors. Quarantine only applies to pets - people are not quarantined.

Do animals brought from Ukraine pose any disease hazards other than echinococcus or rabies?

The statutory import requirements for pets only apply to rabies and echinococcus. However, pets may also pose other risks, primarily from diseases communicable to animals or, for example, from ectoparasites.

Is there any danger to me or my pet?

No. However, pets brought from Ukraine must be kept at a distance, i.e. they must not be touched and Finnish pets must be kept away from them for at least the duration of quarantine.

Is there any hazard to picking berries in the forest?

Berries are not particularly susceptible to collecting parasite eggs on their surface. For example, in Sweden, where echinococcus has been found, no restrictions whatsoever have been put on the consumption of berries. Some countries recommend rinsing berries with fresh water or boiling them before eating. 

What should I do if an animal brought from Ukraine gets sick?

Contact your veterinarian and tell them that it is a pet brought from Ukraine. Based on the animal's symptoms, the veterinarian will be able to give additional instructions or contact the official veterinarian to, for example, assess suspected rabies cases. The owner is responsible for ensuring that their sick animal receives the necessary care. If necessary, SEY Animal Welfare Finland can be asked to assist in the care costs of the animal.

What do I do if an animal brought from Ukraine has bitten me or my pet?

Contact your official veterinarian quickly and tell them that a pet from Ukraine has bitten you/your pet. If a person has been bitten, you must also contact a health care provider for treatment instructions. When booking an appointment to see a doctor, you must also explain that you were bitten by an animal brought from Ukraine that did not meet the entry requirements.
Instructions: If a dog, cat or ferret from Ukraine bites a person

Where can I find additional information?

More information is available on the Russian invasion of Ukraine page

Page last updated 5/19/2022