In the hopes of making pet travel to the UK a little more manageable, thus far in our UK Pet Travel Spotlight Series we've explored UK Pet Travel FAQs and the finer points of the UK Pet Arrival Process.
There's still more to cover, of course, and in Part Three of our UK Pet Travel Spotlight we'll be taking a look at one of the more confusing aspects of UK pet travel: understanding the rules that apply to various points of departure. The import rules for the UK are different depending on where you start, and some countries—those classified as “unlisted”—will necessitate taking a few more steps to prepare.
First, check with an official source like the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to find out where your country stands. If you learn that you're traveling to the UK from an 'unlisted country' (as opposed to a listed or EU country) there are several specific details you'll need to be aware of in order to plan a streamlined pet relocation.
Plan a Schedule
Because the requirements are a little more complex, it's advised to allow at least four months to carry out the pet travel preparation process to the UK when coming from an unlisted country. This will allow you and/or the pet travel professional handling your move to plan each step carefully and correctly, thus avoiding the possibility that your pet will need to go to quarantine.
Unlisted country requirements include a microchip, rabies vaccine, titer test and a three month wait to ensure the rabies vaccine was effective. (A titer test is an additional step that often throws pet owners for a loop when they're planning a trip, as it's something not usually needed or encountered.) Note that these steps must be carried out in the right order and according to a strict timeline.
Contrary to what many pet owners initially assume, quarantine can be avoided if all requirements are correctly fulfilled. Again, choosing to work with a pet travel expert will help to ensure that the rules are followed and pet travel paperwork is completed correctly, thus helping to avoid delays and complications.
Things to Watch out for
Whether or not your pet can avoid quarantine will depend on a few things, including making sure your pet's rabies titer test is completed at an approved lab.
When traveling to the UK with pets, pet owners don't have to be on the same flight as their pet but do need to travel into the country within five days of their pet's arrival.
The UK pet arrival process requires that pets pass through an official animal reception center, and this can take several hours to complete. If you're working with a pet relocation company, the waiting and pick up can be left to them.
Essential Tips for All Pet Travelers
No matter where you're going, focus on helping your pet to become acclimated to the travel kennel if he or she isn't already.
Choose a pet safe airline. Some carriers have higher standards for pet safety and accountability than others, so research and choose accordingly. (PetRelocation often uses British Airways for pets traveling to the UK, as they have a solid cargo program.)
Discuss any health questions you have with your vet and remember that sedating pets during travel is not allowed.