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Pet import regulations in the UK

Moving to the United Kingdom with your pet is a complicated procedure that involves a significant amount of documentation and a rigorous list of processes. Every single step in the process must be followed accurately, and all paperwork has to be filed at the right time to be able to bring your pet into the UK. Depending on the country your pet is travelling from, there are specific rules to follow.

If you are travelling to the UK with your pet cat or dog, it is advisable to start the procedure well in advance. The steps are time-bound, and if they are not completed correctly, your pet may have to spend an extended period in quarantine.

Get your pet microchipped

One of the first steps in international pet transport is to get your pet dog or cat microchipped. Microchipping is essential because it is an effective method of reuniting lost or stolen pets with their owners. The microchip has to be ISO 11784/11785 compliant and should have a 15-digit identification number.

The microchip must be implanted before or at the time of your pet’s rabies vaccination. If not, your pet will need to be vaccinated again. Ask your vet to implant the microchip and record the microchip number in your pet’s pet passport or official veterinary certificate.

It is imperative that the microchip is ISO-compliant. If the microchip cannot be read upon landing in the UK, your pet dog or cat could be refused entry in the country or put into quarantine. You will have to re-chip and revaccinate your pet. Your pet will need to go through the entire process all over again, including new blood tests and a new pet passport.

Country categories

Pet import rules change depending on the country from where your pet is flying. The UK has three categories of countries – an EU country, a listed country and an unlisted country. Get in touch with an experienced pet relocation company to check what the regulations are for the country you are travelling from.

Vaccinations

All pet dogs and cats entering the UK need to be vaccinated against rabies using an inactivated vaccine or a recombinant vaccine, as per the country policy. The primary rabies vaccination needs to be administered at the time of getting the microchip.

If your pet is travelling from a rabies-free country or a rabies-controlled country, he or she will need the primary rabies vaccination no sooner than 21 days before entry into the UK. All mandatory vaccinations must be administered and recorded.

Your dog will need to be given tapeworm treatment no less than 24 hours and no more than five days before entering the country. Dogs coming in from Malta, Finland, Ireland and Norway do not require this treatment.

Rabies titre test

If your pet is flying to the UK from an unlisted country, he or she will need a rabies titre test at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. The sample must be processed at an EU-approved laboratory. If the results are satisfactory and within the prescribed limits of rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml, your pet can enter the country three months from the date of the blood test. The test is valid as long as all vaccinations are up to date.

Pet passport and health certificate

Your pet will need an up-to-date pet passport to be able to enter the country. The pet passport is a document that lists all the different treatments and vaccinations he or she has had so far. If you live in an EU country, a licensed vet will be able to issue one for you. The pet passport has details such as a description of the pet, ownership details, vaccination records, tapeworm treatment details, rabies titre test, etc. If you are travelling from an unlisted country or a country whose pet passport is not accepted in the UK, you will need a third-country official veterinary certificate in the prescribed format.

Cats flying in from Australia need a certificate from the Australian Department of Agriculture certifying that your cat was not exposed to the Hendra virus for 60 days before leaving the country. Cats and dogs flying in from Malaysia need a similar certificate from the Malaysian government veterinary health services certifying that your pet dog or cat has not had contact with pigs in the 60 days before leaving the country and hasn’t been exposed to Nipah virus 60 days prior to the trip.

Banned breeds

The UK has banned a number of breeds and their mixes from entering the country, including Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu, and American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terriers. These prohibited breeds are not permitted to transit through the country either.

Entering the UK

UK pet import regulations stipulate that your pet dog or cat can enter the country as manifest cargo only on approved airlines unless you are travelling from Ireland. If your pet transits through a high-rabies risk country on his her way to the UK, you will need to furnish a declaration stating that your pet had no contact with other animals during the journey and remained in the airport during the layover.

Call the experts

Bringing your pet dog or cat to the UK is complicated, especially if you are not aware of all the rules and regulations. Laws can change and it is difficult to gain access to the latest rules and regulations. For a completely stress-free pet relocation experience, contact an experienced pet relocation service to manage all the paperwork and documentation and help you transport your precious pet. If you are planning to move to the UK, get in touch with Petraveller for a detailed travel plan.

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