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International Pet Transport: Bringing Pets to the UK in 2021

2020 was a year of upheavals for international pet transport, but pet transport into the UK was especially affected. It wasn’t just the disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the UK’s exit from the European Union that had people unsure and concerned.

But before you despair, you can still move your precious fur baby to the United Kingdom with you – and we can help you do just that.

Moving to the United Kingdom with your pet is complicated and can be time consuming. The process must be completed accurately, the paperwork filed at the right time and the specific rules tied to the departure country followed precisely. You should start the process well in advance to make sure that you are completing each step correctly. Otherwise your pet may have to spend a much longer time in quarantine.

5 Steps for Pet Transport UK

Generally, there are five main steps that need to be followed for pet transport to the UK which are governed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

  1. Microchip
    Microchip with an ISO-compliant chip
  2. Rabies vaccine
    Have a rabies vaccination older than 21 days but not older than 1 year.
    * If you have a 3 year rabies vaccination that is past the first year it will not be considered valid. Unless you can show your pets’ rabies history from their 1 year primary, without lapse for their entire life.
  3. Veterinary certificate
    You must obtain a health certificate from a USDA accredited vet. The UK will only accept the health certificate on the UK.Gov site after March 31, 2021.
    * If you are traveling within 5 days of your pet the health certificate must be obtained within 10 days of departure.
    * If you will not be traveling 5 within 5 days of your pet the domestic health certificate must be obtained within 48 hours of departure.
  4. USDA Endorsement Once the health certificate has been obtained it will need to be endorsed by your local USDA office. You can locate your office on the USDA website. Your vet may be able to submit the certificate electronically. Regardless of the submission method the certificate will need to be printed and mailed back by the USDA or be picked up in person. Each USDA office operates differently. Call ahead of time to avoid any last minute hiccups.
  5. Tapeworm treatment  – DOGS ONLY
    Between 120 & 24 hours from Arrival a deworming treatment with praziquantel as the active ingredient must be administered. Drontal Plus is a go-to.
    *This can take place before or after the certificate has been endorsed.

Banned Breeds

The UK has banned certain breeds and their mixes from the country. These are the Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa Inu and American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terriers.

Quarantine Risk

  • Deworming Treatment – If the de-worming treatment is expired or not administered. The pet will have the treatment administered at the Animal Reception Center in Heathrow. The ARC will hold them for 24 hours and the owner will be responsible for additional costs.

  • Rabies Vaccine Expired –  If your pet’s rabies vaccine is seen as expired by UK Standards they will be revaccinated and held by the ARC for 21 days. The owner will be responsible for additional costs.

International Pet Transport and Brexit

Brexit has affected travel between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Rules & Regulations to export animals from the United States to the United Kingdom remains the same. The biggest change is the new health certificate. 

International Pet Transport and COVID-19

On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted on the ability to transport pets everywhere in the world due to border closures and flight cancellations, for example. In 2021 things are moving towards normalcy, but we’re not quite there yet. Some countries have opened their borders, and some international airlines, such as Emirates and Qatar Airways, have resumed their international routes at a reduced rate.

It pays to be aware that because there is decreased flight availability, organising international pet transport will take longer and be less flexible than prior to COVID-19. Also, travel time will be increased from Australia as pets with flights through Emirates and Qatar will need to make a comfort stop in Dubai or Doha. Finally, all cats and dogs flying to the UK must follow the application process which means applying for the flight at least 40 days before departure.

More Questions?

More questions about international pet transport to the UK? Let’s talk!

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