Whether you’re planning on relocating to Georgia, but worried about the requirements for bringing your pet into the country, you’re already in Georgia and considering adopting a pet, or you just need someone to look after your pet, we have all the answers to the most commonly asked pet questions for expats in the Republic of Georgia.
Bringing Your Pet to Georgia – What Are The Legal Requirements?
Pet immigration to Georgia. If you’re planning to move to Georgia along with your pet, there are some legal requirements you need to be aware of before embarking on your journey. In order to cross the border, you will need to meet the following general requirements for bringing pets into the territory of Georgia:
- The animal must be healthy (as confirmed by the authorized vet or a governmental body that controls the export/import of pets. Such a certificate should be signed and have a stamp on it.)
- Preventive vaccination, diagnostic research and relevant processing must be undergone.*
- A pet must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate or a pet passport.**
- A pet must have a microchip of ISO 11784 Standard.
*According to the Ordinance, this means that the pet should be vaccinated against rabies, a rabies antibody titration test needs to be performed, and the pet needs to be treated with a broad-spectrum anthelmintic against exo and endoparasites.
**International Passports/Veterinary Certificates for dogs and cats must include the following basic information:
- Data about the animal for its identification, such as type of pet, breed, date of birth, sex, and color.
- Identifying information about the pet owner.
- Certificate/Passport number.
- Data about veterinary measures the pet has undergone (including the dates of said procedures), such as rabies vaccination and treatment against exo & endoparasites.
- Name, title and contact information of the authorized veterinarian/relevant governmental authority along with the signature and an official stamp.
- Number of the microchip and its location on the pet’s body.
- Other information related to a pet’s health.
You can find the detailed legal requirements in the official Ordinance, but this is currently only available in Georgian. Detailed information is also available on the RS website in English. The requirements of the official ordinance go into effect on January 1st, 2023, at which point all cats and dogs should already be microchipped prior to traveling to Georgia.
Additionally, it is important to be aware that besides the legal requirements from Georgia’s side, each country from which the pet is traveling (as well as the airlines they are traveling by) will likely have their own requirements. Make sure to check all of the relevant conditions prior to traveling with your pet.
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How Can I Adopt a Pet in Georgia?
If you’re looking to adopt a pet in Georgia, there are lots of options to help provide an animal with a home. Dog Organization Georgia offers adoption, fostering, and even sponsoring alternatives for canines. D.O.G. also does not charge any adoption fees, and all of their dogs have undergone examination and vaccination before being put up for adoption.
Another great resource for those looking to add a furry friend to their family is the Tbilisi Animal and Pet Rescue Facebook group, which is a 6k+ member English-only group for people interested in animal rescue, fostering, and adoption. This active group features frequent posts asking for homes for cats and dogs, along with pictures and descriptions. It’s also a helpful place to ask for pet-related recommendations, such as how to get certain medications or treatments for your four-legged friend.
The Tamaz Elizbarashvili dog shelter is another option for adopting a dog in Georgia. Although their active Facebook page is mostly in Georgian, their main website offers an English translation. The shelter also does not charge any adoption fees, and all of their dogs have undergone examination and vaccination before being put up for adoption.
Finally, the GSPSA (The Georgian Society for the Protection and Safety of Animals) offers pet adoption, in addition to advocating for legislation that improves animal welfare in Georgia.
Once you’ve adopted your pet, make sure to have them micro-chipped, as this is required by law.
Where Can I Find a Good Veterinarian?
Whether you’ve brought your pet from abroad or adopted a local animal, you’ll eventually need to find a reputable veterinarian in Georgia. One popular option is to ask for vet recommendations in Facebook groups, such as Expats with Pets in Georgia.
We’ve also gathered a short-list of the top expat-reviewed vet clinics here:
Aibo Clinic offers a wide variety of specialized treatments at European standards of animal medical care, which you can see available on the English-version of their website. They also have English-speaking staff.
Vetex Clinic is another popular veterinary clinic in Georgia, which offers specialized animal medicine for a variety of pets, including birds. They also have English-speaking staff.
Balto Clinic is a 24/7 veterinary clinic, with a vet always on-call for emergencies.
If you’re looking to purchase insurance for your pet, Irao offers a comprehensive package, which you can find more details about on the English translation of their website.
How Can I Find a Trustworthy Pet-Boarding Service?
When you do need to head out of town, and aren’t able to take your pet with you, you’ll want to make sure you’re leaving them in the hands of someone trustworthy and responsible to care for them while you’re away. Facebook groups such as Expats with Pets in Georgia are excellent resources for finding such recommendations.
We’ve also gathered a short-list of the top expat-reviewed pet-boarding hotels here:
Sit Happens is an expat-run organization that offers dog walking, boarding and training services, and has numerous rave reviews by pet-owners in Tbilisi.
Milo Pet Hotel offers doggy day care, dog boarding, grooming, and other dog services – including a pet taxi service! And, if you’re an ExpatCard member, you can also take advantage of our exclusive discount on the Milo Pet Hotel’s services:
Doggy daycare full day – 15 GEL instead of 30 GEL
Doggy daycare half day – 9 GEL instead of 20 GEL
Pet relocation service – 500 GEL instead of 750 GEL
Where Can I Find Specialty Products For My Pet in Georgia?
Almost every neighborhood in Tbilisi has at least one pet store, and even if the shop in your area doesn’t carry the specific item you’re looking for, they are likely to point you in the direction of another that does. Additionally, people in expat groups on Facebook, such as Expats with Pets in Georgia will likely be able to help you with recommendations for the unique item you’ve been searching for.
While it’s hard to get accurate census data on the stray animal population, it’s estimated that there are around 50,000 homeless dogs in the capital city of Tbilisi alone.
If you’re not able to adopt, but still want to find a way to help the homeless animals of Georgia, there are some other options available!
SAPG (the Stray Animals Project in Georgia) helps to build mini-homes for street animals, and sometimes holds community events where you can help participate in making shelters for dogs and cats.
Dog Organization Georgia helps connect homeless dogs in Georgia with families in other countries that want to adopt stray dogs. If you would like to help them with this mission, check if any of your upcoming flights coincide with a destination that someone is looking to receive a dog at through their Facebook page. Additionally, all of the shelters we listed above are continuously looking for donations in order to support their efforts.
Finally, if you have any pet-related suggestions for additional resources you think may be useful for fellow expats in Tbilisi, please let us know!
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