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Bringing Your Pets to the UK

It’s often true that a pet is an expat’s best friend. But when you move to the UK, there are a lot of rules and regulations to keep in mind. InterNations member Seth Val has some advice on what to take in consideration when bringing your pet to the UK.

London is a city of commerce, opportunity, and multicultural spirit. We fall in love with this city as soon as we visit. As a nation of pet lovers, the UK is probably one of the most ideal countries for your pet to live and grow. From cat cafes, to dog friendly pubs, to numerous parks for walking and relaxing, your pet will enjoy their stay as much as you will too.

If you are thinking of bringing over your pets and get the full experience of settling in London or anywhere else in the UK, there are a few things you need to know.

Preparations for Travel

To begin with, you need a pet passport when crossing the border whether for cats or dogs. The passport must be issued by your vet before travel and it needs to have a clear indication of the following:

  • pet’s date of birth
  • microchip number
  • vaccination date (including vaccine’s details)
  • vet’s signature and details

Normally, the passport itself would cost up to 30 EUR, plus the vet consultation, vaccination, microchipping, etc. Please refer to your vet for these additional costs as each vet will vary in price. For those of you who own a dog, it is important that your vet treats your dog for tapeworm and record it in the pet passport one to five days before entering the UK.

One of the most important things to remember about bringing your cat or dog over to the UK is microchipping them as border regulations stand very strong in this country. In fact, your pet must be microchipped with a 15-digit chip or tattooed (dogs only). Please note the tattoo needs to be visible for scan as border control is very strict.

When your pet is entering the United Kingdom it would also require a rabies vaccination. After they receive their vaccination, they would need to wait for 21 days before travel. If your dog, cat or ferret has a current rabies vaccination but no microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again after the microchip is implanted and wait another 21 days before entering.

Should you wish to bring a puppy or a kitten over 12 weeks old, all the above apply. Unfortunately, any unvaccinated puppies and kittens under 12 weeks of age are not allowed to enter the UK.

Finally, when preparing for travel, it is important to make prior arrangements with your traveling company. Eurostar for example does not allow any pets aboard (except for guide dogs). Eurotunnel allows your pets to be boarded for 18 GBP/25 EUR each. Please note, this fee applies to each dog, cat or ferret in your vehicle. Pets traveling by air must go through Border Inspection Posts in London Heathrow or London Gatwick.

Prohibited Breeds

Other border restrictions depend on your pet’s breed. The following dog breeds and their crossbreeds are not permitted to enter the UK:

  • Brazilian Fila
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa Inu
  • American Staffordshire Pit Bull Terrier

Please double check the technical term of your dog’s breed (for more information, please refer to Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.). Hybrid cats such as the Savannah is a breed also forbidden from entry.

Life as a Pet Owner in the UK

As mentioned above, the UK is an ideal place for pets with many places to visits and enjoy. The only challenge you may experience is the accommodation. Indeed, you will find that most landlords are reluctant to keep a pet in their home. Most of them worry about damage done to the property or any diseases spreading to the rest of the tenants.

On the other hand, if you do find a landlord that agrees, prepare yourself with a lot of patience. They will most likely introduce a pet clause in your tenancy agreement in order to ensure the tenant is responsible for keeping the place clean at all times, carpet stains out, and so on.  Moreover, most landlords ask for a higher rent including an additional deposit to cover potential pet damages. Often it will be used to clean and repair any damages when you leave.

Once you have settled in the UK and want to go away for a few days you can always think about leaving your furry friend for a few nights in the company of a caring sitter. They will make sure they take care of the overnight boarding at their home or come to yours so you will not have to worry about any other travel arrangements.


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