Pets that are brought into the UK from overseas have traditionally been placed in quarantine for six months to help guard against the spread of rabies. But is it possible to ship your pets directly into the UK without having to place your cherished companions in quarantine?
Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
Quarantine not only hits your wallet hard, but it can also be a traumatic experience for family pets to be separated from their owners for such a long period of time. However, under PETS, pet owners can bring cats, dogs and ferrets to be brought into the UK from eligible countries and thus bypass quarantine, provided the pets meet the rules.
Qualifying cats, dogs and ferrets that are brought into the UK must be microchipped, and vaccinated against rabies once they reach the minimum age for vaccination. In addition to being microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, cats, dogs and ferrets must also be blood tested and then finally treated for ticks and tapeworms (not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before the animal is checked in with an approved transport company). Pets that do not meet the standards as set forth by PETS will need to be quarantined for six months upon their arrival in the UK.
Six Month Entry Rule
Once you have complied with PETS regulations, you must wait six months from the time your vet took the blood samples and a satisfactory result was returned before your pet is eligible to be brought into the UK.
Approved Routes and Travel Companies
Pet owners should research approved routes and travel companies depending on whether they are shipping their pets from another EU country, or a non-EU country. Pets are often shipped as cargo on board an aircraft. On some air routes though, guide dogs are allowed into the cabin with their owners during travel. Check with the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs to learn more about routes, costs of travel, and travel options. Check with your travel company to find out about any additional requirements. Some companies have restrictions on pet travel during certain times of the year.
PETS is a scheme that allows cats, dogs and ferrets to be transported into the UK without having to be put into quarantine for six months. Check the entry requirements for your pet, find a transport company that will take your pet and do not forget to travel through a pet-approved airport or other departure point.
British Embassy Washington, Pets and animals.
Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, How to bring your pet dog or cat into or back into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).