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Travelling with pets to the United Kingdom

If you travel to the United Kingdom with your pet (dog or cat) you may want to know the procedure to follow. Keep in mind that processing of documents may be a lot more complicated than one would expect: there is a thorough customs control.

Conviene conocer las tramitaciones, pasaporte, vacunas, etc
Requirements that your pets must meet to enter the United Kingdom from a country coming from the European Union.
It must include the following:
  • Microchip - is where all the information of the pet will appear - it must be done by an official veterinarian.
  • Pet passport.
  • To have been vaccinated against rabies.
  • Treatment against tapeworm (it is an intestinal parasite that can be contracted by dogs, known as Dipylidium Caninum, which can also infect humans).
In case you didn't observe these rules, your pet can be quarantined for up to 4 months. If you are denied entry, whether traveling by sea or other means, you are responsible for any fees or charges.
Steps to follow

1. Microchip
  • Your pet must have received the microchip before the rabies vaccine or at the same time. If not, it should get vaccinated again.
2. Passports for pets
  • Passports should list specifically the different treatments your pet has had.
  • The passport is only valid if it meets the entry requirements. (There are new passports for pets since December 29, 2014)
3. Vaccination against rabies and blood tests.
  • You should vaccinate your pet against rabies before starting the trip. Your veterinarian needs proof that your pet is at least 12 weeks old before it has been vaccinated.
  • You must wait 21 days after the vaccination (or the last primary vaccination cycle) before traveling to the United Kingdom from a European Union country.
4. Tapeworm treatment
The veterinarian should treat your dog to prevent the tapeworm and record it properly in the pet's passport.
  • The treatment must have been received at least 24 hours, up to a maximum of 120 hours (5 days), before entering the United Kingdom.
  • If you do not follow this rule, your dog may be denied entry and quarantined for the above-mentioned time.
5. Arrival in the United Kingdom
When you arrive in the United Kingdom, the staff of the travel company or airport will scan your pet's microchip and verify your documents. Your pet can be checked before boarding; for example, if you travel by sea or by Eurotunnel.
  • People with guide dogs can travel on more routes than people with normal pets.
  • If you travel with a guide dog -having the proper authorization-, it is possible to use other forms of transport where other animals are not allowed, for example, the cabin of an airplane.
  • Guide dogs, apart from complying with normal rules, must justify other requirements.
  • UK travel companies generally recognize guide or assistance dogs trained by organizations that are members of:
  • Assistance Dogs International
  • International Guide Dog Federation
In regardo to guide dogs, it is essential to ascertain if the organization that trained your dog is a member of one of the international entities mentioned above.
6. Approved routes to travel with pets
  • You can only use some travel routes and certain companies to enter the United Kingdom through England, Scotland or Wales.
  • Verify routes before traveling: they may be subject to change or only operate at certain times of the year.
  • Pets generally travel as cargo, but there are different rules if you arrive by sea or air with a guide dog.

7. Maximum number of pets
  • It is not allowed to bring more than 5 pets to the United Kingdom, unless you are attending a competition or training to compete in a show or sporting event.
  • You will need written evidence of registration for the event. In any case, you must comply with all other procedures that have been specified above. Although for this case it is advisable to consult with the company organizing the show or event.
It is not allowed to sell pets in the United Kingdom without prior approval of the competent authorities.