The health risks of Ukrainian pets should be recognised

March 15/2022

People fleeing the war in Ukraine bring along pets whose import requirements, due to the circumstances, do not meet all the advance requirements. Ukrainians and their pets fleeing the war arrive in Finland on the basis of the open border policy in the EU area, and not all of them can therefore be checked at the Finnish border. Pets arriving from Ukraine should be presented to Finnish Customs for inspection upon arrival in Finland. The Finnish Food Authority would like to remind those in contact with these animals that they may also pose some health risks to both humans and other animals.

The purpose of the import requirements for animals is to protect the health of humans and animals. Since rabies, among other things, occurs in animals in Ukraine, unnecessary contact with imported dogs, cats and ferrets should be avoided. It is important for the persons assisting refugees and their pets to keep a distance to pets imported from Ukraine until the isolation period ends. As a rule, the isolation period is 30 days, and during this time the pet's own family must take care of it. The Finnish Food Authority may extend the isolation period as necessary. The pet may only be outdoors on a leash and even then, it cannot come into contact with other animals or humans.

Furthermore, it is important that all owners or holders of pets arriving from Ukraine with their families are promptly instructed to contact a veterinarian. In this way, shortcomings in import requirements can be supplemented, for example, regarding vaccines and antiparasitic medication.

“Although the risk of rabies entering the country is low, the disease is lethal to humans and other mammals without appropriate, timely treatment. Those in contact with pets coming from Ukraine should be aware that they need to monitor the situation in a different way than with Finnish pets,” says Sirpa Kiviruusu, Head of Unit.

Vaccination, deworming and microchipping as soon as possible

The Finnish Food Authority requires that the vaccinations and deworming included in the import requirements are carried out as soon as possible after the pet has arrived in Finland. To protect the health of humans and animals, vaccinating Ukrainian pets against rabies and giving them medication against echinococcus is a priority. Pets will also be microchipped unless they already have one.

If a pet imported from Ukraine bites a person, you must contact health services immediately. In case of illness or death, contact a veterinarian. When contacting a veterinarian or healthcare provider in a matter related to a pet, you must always state if the animal came from Ukraine with a refugee.

On 4 March 2022, the Finnish Food Authority released a press release about the relaxation of import requirements for pets arriving with those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The relaxations also apply to pets of Finnish and non-Finnish citizens returning from Russia, but not those of the citizens of Russia or Belarus.

Further Information

Head of Unit (Animal Health and Medication Unit)
Sirpa Kiviruusu
tel. +358 40 092 0503

Head of Unit (Animal Health Diagnostic Unit)
Tuija Gadd
tel. +358 50 357 0328


Topical at
Pets traveling with refugees from Ukraine and EU citizens and other foreigners travelling from Russia with their pets under force majeure circumstances