How to bring your pet to Croatia and care for them once you arrive

Importing pets to Croatia
Image by MarPockStudios

UPDATED: 12.4.2023.

To bring your pets to Croatia, your pet must meet specific requirements. If you don’t meet the requirements, you may be denied once you arrive at the Croatian border crossing.

If you are denied, your animal may be returned to the country of origin or placed in quarantine. Be aware that in this case, you will have to pay for all the costs. If you can’t pay the costs, your pet may be euthanized in the worst case.

When bringing a pet to Croatia, it must be accompanied by the owner or a person authorized by the owner. Pets cannot be intended for sale or delivery to another person.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

How to import your pet to Croatia and care for them

Which animals are considered to be pets in Croatia?

In Croatia, pets are considered to be:

  • Beskralježnjaci (invertebrates), but not bees, bumblebees, molluscs, and crabs
  • Kunići (rabbits)
  • Mačke (cats)
  • Glodavci (rodents)
  • Gmazovi (reptiles)
  • Pitome vretice/kune (tame ferrets)
  • Psi (dogs)
  • Ptice (birds), but not poultry and birds moved for commercial purposes
  • Ukrasne akvatične životinje/ribice (ornamental aquatic animals/fish)
  • Vodozemci (amphibians)

What are the requirements on importing pets to Croatia?

It is possible to import up to 5 pets, including dogs, cats, tame ferrets, and birds to Croatia from non-EU/EEA countries.

To import more than 5 pets, the following requirements must be met:

  • Pets are imported for the purpose of participating in competitions, exhibitions, or sporting events or for training for the purpose of such events
  • There is written proof that pets are either registered to participate in competitions, exhibitions, or sporting events or for training for the purpose of such events, or registered with the organization coordinating such events
  • Pets are more than 6 months old

When importing dogs, cats, and tame ferrets, the following requirements must be met:

  • Pets must be vaccinated against rabies
    • The validity period of vaccination begins with the establishment of protective immunity. It usually occurs on the 21st day after vaccination and usually lasts for one year. However, this period depends on the type of vaccine. If your pet has received the vaccine for the first time, it can be transported after 21 days. If the vaccine manufacturer prescribes 2 doses of the vaccine, a period of 21 days is calculated from the date of the second vaccination. If the animal has been vaccinated regularly after the first vaccination before the expiry date of the previous vaccination, it can be transported immediately.
  • Pets must have a valid identification document issued by a veterinarian authorized by the competent authority with vaccination dates
    • European veterinary passport is used when importing from EU/EEA countries
    • EU veterinary certificate is used when importing from non-EU/EEA countries. It must be issued within 10 days before they travel. It is valid for 4 months from the date of issue or until the expiration of the rabies vaccination.
  • Pets must be microchipped or clearly tattooed
    • Microchipping must be done before the vaccination against rabies
    • If the microchip doesn’t comply with the ISO standard 11784 or 11785, owners must provide an appropriate microchip reader. The owner’s name and address must be available. The microchip number must be entered into the pet’s passport or certificate.
  • Pets coming from high-risk countries must be subjected to an antibody neutralization test of at least 0,5 IU/ml on a sample taken by an authorized veterinarian at the earliest 30 days after vaccination and 3 months before the transfer carried out in an authorized laboratory
    • List of approved rabies serology laboratories in the EU/EEA member states is available here
    • List of approved rabies serology laboratories in non-EU/EEA countries is available here

Non-vaccinated pets younger than 3 months can be imported from low-risk countries outside of the EU/EEA if the following requirements are met:

  • They possess a valid passport or a veterinary certificate
  • They have lived in the same place since birth and have not been in contact with wild animals that may have been exposed to infection OR they are accompanied by a mother on whom they are still dependent

The import and temporary stay of potentially dangerous dogs of the pit bull terrier breed and their crossbreeds that are not entered in the register of the International Kennel Club (Međunarodni kinološki savez – FCI) are not allowed.

If you are importing up to 5 pets from non-EU/EEA countries, documentation and identification inspection will be performed at the Croatian border crossing.

If you are importing more than 5 pets that are not covered by the above-mentioned exception, they will be subjected to veterinary inspection at Croatian border veterinary stations (border crossings Bajakovo, Stara Gradiška, Nova Sela, Karasovići, Luka Rijeka, Luka Ploče, or Zračna luka Zagreb).

Croatian border crossings where you can import pets

If you want to import a pet into Croatia from third countries, keep in mind that you can’t do this at all Croatian border crossings. Only certain Croatian border crossings that are listed in the Rulebook on border crossings of the Republic of Croatia for non-commercial movement of pets allow importing pets. This Rulebook is available here.

Below is a list of all Croatian border crossings where you can import pets into Croatia from third countries.

Road border crossings:

  • Bajakovo (Serbia)
  • Batina (Serbia)
  • Erdut (Serbia)
  • Gunja (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Gornji Brgat (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Ilok (Serbia)
  • Kamensko (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Karasovići (Montenegro)
  • Klek (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Ličko Petrovo Selo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Maljevac (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Metković (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Nova Sela (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Slavonski Brod (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Slavonski Šamac (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Stara Gradiška (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Strmica (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Tovarnik (Serbia)
  • Vinjani Donji (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Vukovar (Serbia)
  • Zaton Doli (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Županja (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Railway border crossing:

  • Tovarnik (Serbia)

Maritime border crossings:

  • Dubrovnik
  • Ploče
  • Rijeka
  • Split
  • Zadar

River border crossings:

  • Drava-Osijek (Serbia)
  • Vukovar (Serbia)

Air traffic border crossings:

  • Dubrovnik
  • Mali Lošinj
  • Osijek
  • Pula
  • Rijeka
  • Split
  • Zadar
  • Zagreb

Border crossings for importing birds specifically:

  • Road border crossings
    • Bajakovo (Serbia)
    • Karasovići (Montenegro)
    • Nova Sela (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    • Stara Gradiška (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Air traffic border crossing
    • Zagreb – view guide here

Pets can be imported through all EU/EEA ports from:

  • Andorra
  • Faroe Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Greenland
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • Vatican

Ways to import your pets in Croatia

Pets can be brought into Croatia in:

  • Passenger cabin of the means of transport together with the owner
  • Luggage compartment of the same means of transport as the owner in the passenger cabin
  • Separate means of transport
    • Owner must authorize a person responsible for the transport of their pet, for example, a captain of the aircraft or a representative of the transport agency
    • Pet must arrive up to 5 days before or after the arrival of the owner or an authorized person

[Read: Available visas and residence permits for Croatia]

Where to buy pet food and supplies in Croatia?

In Croatia, you can buy pet food and supplies in:

  • Food stores and supermarkets
  • Specialized pet stores
  • Online web shops

Usually, you can buy food for your pets and basic pet supplies in all food stores and supermarkets.

Almost every larger city has a specialized pet store. Pet stores are usually organized into smaller sections that may include:

  • Dogs
    • Bags, cages, and fences
    • Bearings, blankets, and textile houses
    • Beds and baskets
    • Behavior and upbringing
    • Books and albums
    • Bowls and washers
    • Car accessories
    • Clothing, shoes, and accessories
    • Dog food
    • Food supplements
    • Household decoration
    • Hygiene and cosmetics
    • Necklaces, leashes, harnesses, and address books
    • Outdoor equipment
    • Outdoor and indoor hygiene
    • Snacks, sweets, biscuits, and chewing gums
    • Summer corner
    • Toys
  • Cats
    • Bags, cages, and fences
    • Beds, pillows, and blankets
    • Bowls, drinkers, and feeders
    • Flea, tick, and mosquito control
    • Hygiene and cosmetics
    • Necklaces, leashes, harnesses, and address books
    • Nets and doors
    • Outdoor equipment
    • Sand
    • Scratchers for cats
    • Snacks and treats
    • Special food and supplements
    • Toys
    • Toilets and fur care
  • Small animals
    • Bowls, feeders, drinkers, and equipment
    • Cages and fences
    • Cottages, beds, nests
    • Desserts
    • Food
    • Food supplements
    • Hammocks and guides
    • Hay
    • Hygiene and care of animals and cages
    • Litter
    • Mineral blocks
    • Toilet, sand, and equipment
    • Toys
  • Birds
    • Antiparasitic
    • Cages, aviaries, and stands
    • Cage equipment
    • Cage hygiene and odor control
    • Desserts
    • Food
    • Food supplements
    • Nests
    • Toys
    • Outdoor bird feeders
  • Aquaria
    • Air pumps and accessories
    • Aquariums and stands
    • Aquarium cleaning and maintenance
    • Decor and substrate
    • Feeding
    • Filtration and circulation
    • Growing and maintenance of aquarium plants
    • Heaters and thermometers
    • Lighting
    • Treatment
    • Water conditioning and testers
  • Terrarium
    • Decor
    • Filtration
    • Food
    • Food and water containers
    • Food supplements
    • Hygiene
    • Microclimate maintenance equipment
    • Substrate
    • Terrariums and aquaterrariums
    • Terrarium maintenance and equipment

Below is a list of Croatian online pet stores:

Pet salons in Croatia

Pet grooming salons are becoming increasingly popular in Croatia. They can be found both in rural places and bigger cities, and some offer home visits. A pet salon is called salon za kućne ljubimce or salon za psa in Croatian.

These salons are ideal for people who don’t have enough time or tools to groom their pets or want to leave this to professionals.

Pet salons offer:

  • Anal sac hygiene
  • Anti-molting treatment
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bathing
  • Brushing
  • Dog transport
  • Ear hygiene
  • Eye hygiene
  • Haircut
  • Hair restoration mask
  • Hair untangling
  • Massage
  • Perfume
  • Paw treatment with melem
  • Pedicure
  • Teeth brushing

Below are some pet salons in Zagreb:

How to find a veterinarian in Croatia

If you need a veterinarian for your pet, it is good to know that the biggest Croatian cities often have more than one veterinarian. Very small villages and some islands usually don’t have a veterinary clinic. However, if you go to the nearest city or larger municipality, you’ll find a vet.

In Croatian, a vet is called veterinar, and a veterinary ambulance is called veterinarska ambulanta.

Before you visit a veterinary clinic, ask your acquaintances about their experiences. You can also post in one of the expat groups on Facebook to get recommendations. Find out how certain clinics treat pets and which one has a good reputation.

Prices vary depending on the type of service and institution. To get a feeling about the prices, view the latest pricelist of the Clinics and Institutes of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb here.

The list of authorized veterinary organizations in Croatia is available here.

The list of emergency veterinary ambulances in Croatia that work 24/7 is available here.

Croatian pet vocabulary

Croatian pet words

Word: akvarij
Meaning: aquarium

Word: beskralježnjaci
Meaning: invertebrates

Word: cijepljenje
Meaning: vaccination

Word: dlaka
Meaning: hair

Word: eutanazija
Meaning: euthanasia

Word: glodavac
Meaning: rodent

Word: gmaz
Meaning: reptile

Word: hrana
Meaning: food

Word: igračka
Meaning: toy

Word: kastracija
Meaning: castration

Word: kavez
Meaning: cage

Word: kunić
Meaning: rabbit

Word: ljubimac
Meaning: pet

Word: mačka
Meaning: cat

Word: mikročip
Meaning: microchip

Word: mikročipiranje, čipiranje
Meaning: microchipping

Word: pas
Meaning: dog

Word: ptica
Meaning: bird

Word: riba
Meaning: fish

Word: sterilizacija
Meaning: sterilization

Word: šape
Meaning: paws

Word: terarij
Meaning: terrarium

Word: veterinar
Meaning: veterinarian

Word: vlasnik
Meaning: owner

Word: vodozemci
Meaning: amphibians

Croatian pet phrases

Phrase: cjepivo protiv bjesnoće
Meaning: rabies vaccine

Phrase: dežurna ambulanta
Meaning: emergency ambulance

Phrase: dežurni veterinar
Meaning: emergency veterinarian

Phrase: dodaci prehrani
Meaning: food supplements

Phrase: hrana za mačke
Meaning: cat food

Phrase: hrana za pse
Meaning: dog food

Phrase: hrana za ptice
Meaning: bird food

Phrase: kućni ljubimac
Meaning: pet

Phrase: pitome vretice/kune
Meaning: tame ferrets

Phrase: potrepštine za kućne ljubimce
Meaning: pet supplies

Phrase: salon za kućne ljubimce
Meaning: pet grooming salon

Phrase: trgovina za kućne ljubimce
Meaning: pet store

Phrase: ukrasne akvatične ribice
Meaning: ornamental aquatic fish

Phrase: uvoz kućnog ljubimca
Meaning: pet import

Phrase: veterinarska ambulanta
Meaning: veterinary ambulance

Phrase: veterinarska knjižica
Meaning: veterinary booklet

Phrase: veterinarska ljekarna
Meaning: veterinary pharmacy

Phrase: veterinarski pregled
Meaning: veterinary examination

View our other animal posts

Prijenos životinja by Carinska uprava
Nekomercijalno i komercijalno premještanje u Republiku Hrvatsku pasa, mačaka i pitomih vretica by Ministarstvo poljoprivrede
Putovanje s kućnim ljubimcima i drugim životinjama u EU-u by Your Europe
Journal Pets by Matea Salopek

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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