Living in Italy FAQ

On bringing pets to Italy

How did you bring Lulu over?

Lulu, my German Shepherd in the earlier photo, certainly isn’t small enough to fit in a pet carrier to go under an airplane seat. That spot was occupied by our cat, Splash, who also moved over from the USA. This means that Lulu had to go in a large carrier box that traveled in the checked baggage hold of the airplane.

Italy doesn’t have a pet quarantine, so there was no waiting time required for either animal to come to our new home together. What was required were several trips to the veterinarian before we left to make certain both animals were microchipped correctly, all shots were current, and special paperwork sent to the FDA were all in order within a certain amount of days before our travel date.

The carriers for both animals had to meet specific requirements that meet the airline industry rules. To comply with this, the travel box I purchased for Lulu needed one minor modification that was simple enough to do by substituting the plastic fittings with metal ones I found at the hardware store. The cat carrier I ordered online was guaranteed to meet the airline specifications, so that was easy.

Before arrival to the airport Lulu was given a mild sedative to calm her nerves. I drank mine on the plane as I worried about her below us in the hold. One of my brothers came with me on the trip to assist me with the move and to celebrate the new year and life in a new country (we traveled a few days before New Year’s Eve).
Upon arrival to Rome’s FCO airport finding her after locating our luggage was a bit strange. Claiming her as mine seemed rather unsecure compared to the extensive security check leaving ATL. To carry all the luggage, a cat carrier, a big dog carrier, and two people to my new apartment that I had only seen in photos I reserved a private driver service ahead of time to meet us. I made sure they understood we would have a lot of luggage and animals so that there would be no trouble to arrive at my new home.

Since then, many airlines including the one I originally flew over on have changed their rules about flying with animals. The process is stricter and much more expensive if they are too big to fit under the seat. You’ll need to research this carefully if you want to travel with your pets.

The US Embassy website has a page on pet travel to guide you with details that are required in Italy –

I also used this website from a professional pet handler during my research. It contains a lot of useful information about pet travel.


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