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United Kingdom (UK) - Importing Your Pet

If you intend to import your pet into the United Kingdom, there are documents and records that must be filled out. Certain restrictions apply regarding the types of animals that can be brought in, and how they should be transported. To begin with, your pet will need a microchip, a rabies vaccination and up to date boosters and vaccines, with corresponding paperwork. You will also need to obtain a pet passport and other documents.

If you own a dog, it will need to undergo a tapeworm treatment before it can be imported. This is a one-dose pill for the dog that is given by the vet. It takes a short period to work, and the vet will require a stool sample and urinary sample one month after the medication was given to ensure there are no tapeworms. If tapeworms are found in the samples, another dose is given, and so on until the dog is cleared of tapeworms.

Once all documentation, vaccinations, and pet licences/passports have been attained, you can begin the import process. There are a couple of shipping options depending on where you are moving from. Some ships will take animal cargo and dock at a local marina, where the pet will remain in quarantine for a specific period of time. You can also take your pet in cargo on the same airplane in which you enter the country. There is quarantine for this as well. If you take the ferry, you will need to make certain you are allowed to bring your pet, and again there will be a quarantine facility should this be an option.

Licensing your Pet

If you do elect to import your pet, you will need to get two documents. Typically you need a pet passport, which offers a description and picture of the animal. There is also an official veterinary certificate that provides proof that your pet is safe to bring into the country. There are entry requirements detailed above that you must maintain in order to keep your pet’s passport and import valid.

You will also need to have a pet collar and licence for your pet with the new address. With GPS tracker chips you can also update the information online to increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you if lost or stolen.

Rabies and Vaccinations

You will need to look up specific pet vaccinations required by the UK. There are special vaccinations for dogs and cats, such as the FLV, or feline leukaemia virus vaccine for cats. Rabies vaccine schedules must also be adhered to.

You will need to make certain that all your records are in order, which is why you need to wait 21 to 30 days after your pets receive their updated vaccines before they can travel. For EU countries, you only need to wait 21 days before you can import your pet. There is a waiting period to ensure that the blood test results for your pet have come back clean. Non-EU countries require a longer wait of 30 days before blood tests can be run. There is an additional three-month period before importing your pet is allowed from some non-EU countries. This dates from whenever the blood sample was taken.

Always have a copy of the blood test results, a full list of vaccinations, and the date of the last rabies shot on hand for customs.

Bill of Sale for Animals

Certain animals are bred for the express purpose of offering champion stock, including some breeds of horses, dogs, and cats. If you have bought a pure breed animal you will need to have a bill of sale with you when you import this animal into the UK. The proof of ownership is necessary to ensure the horse, dog, or cat is legally yours and you are not trying to illegally enter the UK with the animal.


The United Kingdom is part of PETS or Pet Travel Scheme.

Make certain you check the restricted pets list, as there are several animals that it is illegal to purchase or own in the UK. Once you have imported your pet, several pet supply stores are available to provide ongoing care.

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