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How To Move Your Pet To The UK

Updated on January 30, 2008

Until recently, the Brits were pretty famous for having ridiculous laws regarding pet importation. A 6 month quarantine was mandatory, even your pet never missed a rabies vaccine in his life. I won’t get into the physiology of why 6 months was such an utterly absurd timeframe – because it just boggles the mind. Fortunately, they’ve changed their rules. Pets no longer need to be quarantined, provided they meet the following requirements, and are traveling from an EU or approved non-EU country. The following apply to all ferrets, cats and dogs – including service animals.

If you live in the EU:

  • Your pet needs a microchip. And, if you live in the EU, odds are you’ve already gotten him one. It should be located on the left side of the neck, and the ID on the chip should match the sticker found inside the passport itself.

  • Your pet needs to be vaccinated for rabies – and he needs the titre to prove it. This means, once he’s vaccinated, a blood sample needs to be taken to prove he’s really vaccinated. In other words, to prove that it worked. This needs to be done no less than 6 months before you move. Once you have the results, you won’t need to re-test, as long as you keep him vaccinated on time.

  • Your pet needs a tick treatment – and it has to be given by the vet. Yes, this is true. Frontline is all you need, it has to be marked in the passport and stamped by the vet. This needs to be done within 24 hours of being checked-in, and no more than 48.

  • Your pet needs a worm treatment – and it has to be given by the vet. Same situation as above – your vet will know which pill is required, as they only accept specific medications.

  • Your pet needs to enter the UK via an approved method of transport. You can fly, that’s obvious enough. But you can also cross by ferry and train. Check www.defra.gov.uk for a list of approved carriers for EU travelers.

If you live in the USA or another qualifying non-EU country:

The same rules apply, but you won’t have a passport. Instead, the vet will give you a number of documents (with carbon copies, most likely) to take with you.

  • Which carriers can I use? www.defra.gov.uk has a complete list of approved carriers for non-EU travelers. It's rather comprehensive.

  • How do I know if I’m from a qualifying country? The DEFRA website also has a list of qualifying countries.

  • I have a service dog and would like to have him in the cabin with me. It’s possible, visit www.defra.gov.uk and you'll find a special page just for you:

My advice:

If you’re thinking of relocating to the UK, get the titre now and have it be one less thing to worry about. As long as you stay on top of the vaccinations, you’ll never have to do it again. I also advise you read over the DEFRA website carefully, as rules can be subject to change.

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    • Isabella Snow profile image
      Author

      Isabella Snow 7 years ago

      You need a titre proving the rabies vaccine was effective... just the vaccine itself is not enough.

    • profile image

      Laura 7 years ago

      Is it anyway possible, that after I have done the vaccinations, I can come over to England and my cats will be quarantined there for six months?

    • profile image

      Keegan 8 years ago

      Moved my two little dogs to the UK from America and all I can say is WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!! Make sure you follow EVERY single rule that the UK enforces.. they are very strict! Thank goodness all my documents were correct, but I will never do that again!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 10 years ago from Chennai

      I don't plan to take my little ones to the UK, but still enjoyed reading this!

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 10 years ago

      Excellent information. accurate as usual, Thanks.

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