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Bringing Pets To The UK


Bringing Pets To The UK

The relocation process for people that want to move to the UK can be complicated, especially when relocating with pets. There are many things you should know before bringing pets to the UK.

For example, the UK is considered a rabies-free country and therefore, the pet import requirements should be strictly followed.

The following article will help pet owners understand the rules and requirements for importing a pet into the UK.

Pet Microchip

Dog and cat with a pet microchip each and a chip scanner scanning them

Your pet must be microchipped before or at the same time they get their rabies vaccination. If your pet got microchipped after the rabies vaccination, they’ll need to be vaccinated again.

The microchip must meet the ISO 11784 and 11785 standards. If your pet’s microchip doesn’t meet the ISO standards, you may have to bring your own microchip reader. Your pet could be refused entry or placed in quarantine if its microchip can’t be read.

Tattoos are accepted if your pet was tattooed on or before July 3, 2011, the tattoo is visible and your pet was vaccinated against rabies after it was tattooed.

Vaccinations Needed To Bring Your Pet To The UK

Pet dog getting vaccinated at the vet

All dogs and cats require a veterinary confirmation that they have been vaccinated against rabies before entering the UK.

When should the rabies vaccine be given?

  • At least 21 days before entering the UK – if your pet is coming from a country that the UK accepts pet passports from and from a listed country. The list of these countries can be found here.
  • At least 4 months before entering the UK – if your pet is coming from an unlisted country (such as Israel).

It is important to note that the pet shouldn’t get the vaccine before turning 12 weeks old.

Boosters – pet owners must get their pets’ booster vaccinations on time. If missed, even by 1 day, the pet will need to be revaccinated and the process will begin all over again.

Most dogs should be treated against tapeworm. The treatment must contain praziquantel and it should be done no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before your pet enters the UK.

Pet owners don’t need to treat their dog for tapeworm if they are coming directly to the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway.

Cats don’t need to be treated against tapeworm, no matter where they are coming from.

Rabies Antibody Titer Test – 3 Months In Advance!

Blood serums for Rabies Titer Test

If you’re travelling to the UK from an unlisted country, a blood sample should be taken from all dogs and cats at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination was given.

The blood sample must be taken by an approved veterinarian and the serological test should be tested in an approved laboratory.

The result should state that the rabies antibody level is equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml.

Your pet will only be able to enter the UK 3 months after the blood sample was taken.

The rabies blood test will continue to be valid as long as your renew your pet’s rabies vaccinations on time.

For more information, check out this article:

Health Certificate

Pet Health Certificate need for pet travel

Pets entering the UK must be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate (non-commercial or commercial). The health certificate should be endorsed by a government veterinarian in the country of origin.

If you are bringing a dog to the UK, you’ll need to do the health certificate within 5 days of your dog’s arrival.

On the other hand, if you are bringing a cat into the UK, the health certificate could be done within 10 days of your cat’s arrival.

Dangerous & Banned Breeds In The UK

Dangerous rottweiler showing his teeth

The following breeds and crosses can’t be imported into the UK:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Braziliero
  • XL Bully

Exemptions can only be authorised at the discretion of the courts once a dog has been seized in the UK.

Entering The UK With A Pet

Cartoon dog flying a plane

Bringing pets to the UK by air can only be done as manifested cargo, on certain travel routes and companies.

Once entering the UK, you will only be able to collect your pet after it has been taken through customs (could take about 6-8 hours). You must pay an agent, travel company or airline to do this for you.

Quarantine In The UK

Dogs in quarantine

There is no mandatory quarantine in the UK.

Your cat, dog or ferret will be checked when it arrives in the UK. If it doesn’t meet the pet travel rules, you will need to choose one of the following:

  • Placing your pet in quarantine
  • Sending your pet back to the country it travelled from
  • Have your pet put down

The owner/importer will need to pay all the fees and charges that will occur.

Importing A Pet Into The UK – FAQ

Colorful stickers with question marks

Here are some frequently asked questions about importing a pet into the UK:

Question #1: Can I take a small pet with me in-cabin to the UK?

Unfortunately, you can’t. Pets may only fly into the UK as manifest cargo.

Question #2: How can I shorten the process when coming from an unlisted country?

The UK has strict pet import requirements. There is no legal way to shorten the process.

Question #3: I have a Pitbull. Can you assist me?

Pitbulls are banned from being imported into the UK. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to assist you.

Question #4: I have an emotional support dog. Can I bring it with me in-cabin?

Emotional support dogs aren’t recognised as assistance dogs by the following organisations and therefore, won’t be allowed to travel in-cabin:

  • Assistance Dogs International
  • International Guide Dog Federation

Question #5: Is taking pets to the UK expensive?

Importing a pet into the UK isn’t cheap. It isn’t cheap because your pet will need to travel as manifest cargo.

Need Help Bringing Pets To The UK?

Dog at the airport with luggage ready to travel

The UK can be a perfect spot to start a new life, progress in your career and experience a new culture.

Relocating to the UK with pets could be the biggest and best adventure of your life, but only if you do everything right.

Bringing pets to the UK isn’t simple and therefore, we highly recommend you take a professional pet relocation service to assist you throughout the process.

If you have any questions, go ahead and contact us at any time!

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