How to Move Dogs to the U.K.by Eleanor McKenzie
"Phew! At least I don't have to learn a new language."
If you were moving to the United Kingdom, you'd be gutted if your canine buddy was turned away at U.K. immigration. Relocating to the United Kingdom with your beloved pooch isn't that difficult; it just requires some advance organization to make sure he has all the right paperwork for entry to the U.K.
Start at the U.S. Department of State's "Taking a Pet Overseas" web page for tips on the process of moving with pets. The State Department recommends you contact your nearest British embassy for up-to-date advice, and a checklist of all the documents and tests your pooch needs. You'll find British embassy contact details at the State Department's website. Although the U.K. is a part of the EU, don't assume that the U.K.'s regulations are exactly the same as those for, say, Spain. Some EU countries have stricter rules, and the U.K. is one of them.
Make sure your vet is U.S. Department of Agriculture certified and that his licence is current. The U.K. requires that all your buddy's forms not only are signed by a USDA-certified vet, but that those forms also are stamped by the USDA, so you'll need to take them to your nearest USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or Veterinary Services area office. Get forms 998 and 7001 -- required for EU countries -- from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or your vet. These forms are your pooch's passport.
Ask your vet to check your pet's microchip is in place first. The next step, is to get your pooch tested for rabies and given a rabies injection. EU countries classify the United States as "low incidence" for rabies, so the rabies rules are more relaxed if you're traveling to Europe. Make sure your pet has his rabies injection at least 21 days before travel and allow 48 hours for the USDA to endorse the certificate. The USDA will not stamp the document if less than 21 days has passed. Your pooch also will need a tapeworm treatment between 1 and 5 days before arriving in the U.K. Remember that your pet's health certificates are valid only for entry to the U.K. for 10 days from the date of signature.
Find an airline to transport your buddy. Pet travel policies vary between airlines, but you should find information about it at most major airline websites. If you have any questions about the requirements, talk to the airline's main office. One of the most important things to check are the rules on travel crate or cage size for your pooch, as he'll probably have to travel cargo on such a long journey. Airlines usually only allow owners to carry a pet in the cabin if it's a short flight, and if the dog is small.
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- U.S. Department of State: Taking a Pet Overseas
- USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Taking Your Pet to a Foreign Country
- USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Frequently Asked Export Questions
- Pet Travel: Airline Pet Policies
- DEFRA Animal Health and Veterinary Services Laboratory: Q & A for Pet Travel Scheme
- APHIS: Pet Travel European Union and Other Countries
- Jupiterimages/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
- Microchip check
- Rabies test
- Tapeworm treatment
- Pet passport - APHIS forms 998 and 7001
- Travel crate
- Airline ticket
- If your travel schedule is altered, check over the dates of your pet's documents again. If you're even just hours over the 10-day limit, you'll need to talk to your vet about redoing the documents.
- The USDA doesn't allow dogs younger than 8 weeks, or dogs that aren't yet weaned, to travel by air.
- Make sure your dog's travel crate is labelled clearly with your name and contact details.