Traveling to the UK with a pet can be a little tricky, which is why we're taking a close look at the process in our UK Pet Travel Spotlight Series. We've previously tackled topics like the UK Import Process From Unlisted Countries, and now we'll be taking a look at a few common misconceptions about pet travel to the UK.
Read on to set the record straight about what it takes to travel to the UK with pets.
Myth #1: Pets must go to quarantine upon arrival.
Many pet owners assume that if they're traveling internationally their pet will need to spend time in quarantine upon arrival, but in reality only a few countries impose this restriction. When it comes to the UK, if all country import rules are properly followed and if all paperwork is completed correctly, there will not be a quarantine. Note that there is a very specific arrival process for pets entering the UK, but this typically takes a few hours and pets can go home after its completion.
Myth #2: International pet travel is dangerous.
International pet travel is an understandably overwhelming process, but with the right knowledge and assistance it can be quite uneventful. Choosing a pet safe airline, focusing on pre-travel crate training and hydration and working with a pet travel expert can all help to make the transition to the UK safe and smooth. Here's a closer look at why international pet travel is safer than ever.
Myth #3: All pets need a rabies titer test before traveling.
A titer test is a blood test administered to a pet after the rabies vaccine is given to find out if the vaccine was effective. It is required for some international pet travel (but not all). If you're coming from what the UK considers an 'unlisted' country, your pet will need a titer test, but if you're coming from a listed country or another EU country, the titer is not necessary and the preparation process will be quite a bit shorter. Check with the UK's Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to find out how your country of origin is classified.
Myth #4: Pet owners need to travel on the same plane as their pets.
Even when their pets are traveling via cargo, many pet owners think it's important that they go on the same plane as their pet. In reality this isn't necessary, and in fact it's often much easier to plan your own flight and your pet's flight separately. The one thing to note is that pet owners must travel within five days before or after their pet. (This is a specific UK requirement meant to deter commercial pet shipping.) Feel free to ask your pet travel agent if you have any questions about this.
Myth #5: Hiring professional assistance or paying more money means that a “rush move” is possible to carry out.
Since pet travel is far more complicated than just booking a flight, we advise allowing at least 30 days to arrange the details correctly. If you live in the EU or in a country categorized as “listed,” 30 days may be enough time to plan a pet move to the UK. If you live in an “unlisted” country, however, you should realistically allow at least four months of preparation time due to the fact that your pet will need a rabies titer test and must fulfill a three month waiting period from the time of the test. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts in these cases, but travel experts can help you avoid additional delays and complications.