Moving your pet abroad


Your pet really is a member of the family, so home wouldn’t be home without them being there.

There are a number of restrictions involved in taking pets abroad, so it is worth reading up on the regulations that will apply to you.

Pets usually travel in the livestock hold of direct passenger flights and they are checked and watered at stop overs and then collected after clearing customs. Some Airlines allow dogs and cats to be classified as excess baggage, but it is often worth contacting your vet or a specialist pet transport agency to make sure you are aware of all the possible options.

Bringing a pet into the UK

Pet dogs, cats and ferrets are able to enter the UK from specific countries without going into quarantine if they adhere to certain regulations on the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).

Countries where the risk of infection is considered to be low – most European countries fall into this classification as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, the Russian Federation, the US and others. The Defra website will have full information. You will need to get a Pet Passport issued before you leave the originating country as well as getting a rabies blood test done.

If you are coming in from non-qualifying countries on the PETS scheme it will be necessary for the pet to complete 6 months in quarantine and have an import permit on arrival to the UK. This sounds quite dramatic, but it is possible for owners to spend time with their pets whilst in quarantine, so it makes sense to find quarantine kennels nearby to where you will be living.

There are a number of European airlines who allow pets to be carried as excess baggage, up to a certain weight - Gillian Lewis of Airpets says ‘Whether pets are checked in as cargo or excess baggage, they will travel comfortably in the livestock hold, which is pressurised and heated. Very few airlines may allow small pets in the passenger cabin.’

Taking your pet out of the UK

There are number of things to think about when taking your pet out of the UK as the rules for different countries can vary widely.

Moving to Europe is quite straightforward provided you arrange a passport for your pet by getting them micro-chipped and ensuring they have had a rabies vaccination at least 30 days before you leave.

Travelling to the UAE is slightly more complicated and it is recommended that you contact a pet transportation service prior to attempting it. Pet Relocation arrange pet travel internationally and advise checking on the regulations as they change periodically. Rachel Farris, a company spokesman says ‘it can take anywhere from several days to several weeks to obtain a copy of the [required] import permit, depending on the volume of pets that are travelling to the UAE at that time.’

When moving to the US, there are different regulations depending on the state that you are going to and this is dependent on the time of year because temperature has an effect on the restrictions that are in place. Pet Travel Agent advises rabies vaccinations for travelling from the UK to the US even though the UK is rabies free, as it can often save problems on arrival.

If you choose to trust your pet to an experienced pet travel agent you will be able to concentrate on arranging the rest of your move while ensuring that at least one member of your family is safely taken care of.

For further information about how we can assist you in finding, acquiring or renting your new home please contact us by calling 01962 793100 or email