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How to take your dogs to the UK

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

The process might not be as easy as you anticipated. But it's certainly not difficult. You don't have to leave your pets behind every again!

Hey there pet owner!

If you are reading this, it means you have dogs. Congratulations. I can already tell you are fabulous.

And if the dogs are adopted by any chance? Oh well then, you’ve hit the jackpot my friend. You’re pretty much as good as it gets.

Which means you won’t want to leave your dog behind. Brilliant.

You see the process while not difficult, it complicated and a tad bit expensive, which is why most would rather pass their dogs off or worse, abandon them.

But I’m in the mood to iron things out today so that no dogs that need not, be abandoned ever again.

Step 1

Get your pet microchipped. Do absolutely nothing before this and if we plan on travelling, get it done immediately. Most veterinary clinics will do this and it takes just a couple of minutes. Your vet will share a microchip number which needs to have 15 digits and be ISO compliant. Hang on to this number. You will need it.

Step 2

After this is done and only after this is done do you get your rabies vaccination done. You can even do it on the same day but not before the micro chipping simply because you need there needs to be a record of it on your microchip.

Step 3

You’ll need to get a tither test. The UK requires pets to be tested for Rabies if you are coming from an unlisted country and India is an unlisted country. This test can be done any time after 30 days of your pet getting vaccinated.

Something you need to keep in mind is that you need to test the blood sample to ONLY at UK approved laboratories only. There are no approved labs in India so the sample needs to be sent to a lab in the EU or the UK and the vet will know where to send it.

Assuming test results are within acceptable limits, your pet can enter UK no sooner than 3 months after the date the blood for titre test was drawn. If you follow this to the T - wait 3 months, your pet will not have to be quarantined on arrival in the UK.

Ensure the microchip is scanned before the blood sample is taken for testing.

If the result of the blood test is a PASS, your dog will have to wait for 3 months from the date of serum collection. After the waiting period is completed the pet can travel to the UK whenever you please.

Step 4

Get an agent. You’ve done all you could. You now need professional help. Here’s the thing, you can’t import your pet into the UK without an agent in the UK. So ideally, get an agent in India who will coordinate with the agent in the UK too.

We used Angel Pet Relocation and they were brilliant to deal with. I absolutely recommend them.

Here’s why you need an agent. You’ll now need a health certificate from the Indian Government. You also need to sign a declaration saying your pet will not be sold or transferred to another individual once you move to the UK. Apart from this, there is also other documentation that you need to fill out that your agent will share with you.

One more thing- your pet (if its a dog) will have to get a tapeworm treatment between 1-5 days before entering the UK.

Step 5

Work out the travel plans. Your pet will be taken to the UK by flight. You have the option of either flying along with your pet or having your pet join you later.

If your pets are flying with you, in most cases, they will have to travel as air cargo. Unless they are service animals, support animals or small animals that your airline allows in cabin, they will have to travel as cargo.

There are only certain airlines that carry pets - some of them are British Airways, Qatar Airways, Air India and Emirates. We picked an option based on the duration of the flight and the cost.

You will also need to get a pet crate. The size of the crate will depend on the size of your dogs. You can buy new or used but ensure the crate is IATA approved.

Something else they suggested was that we acclimatise our pets to the crates because on the flight they would be spending 11 hours or so in their crates. So either get them to spend a few hours everyday in their crates or sleep at night or for a few hours when you go out.

Stuff you need to be aware of:

  1. You’ll need to file for a TOR (Transfer of Residence) to take your pets to the UK.

  2. Figure out how you’ll get your dog home from the airport in UK. The crates are usually pretty big. You might want to opt for paid transport back home with your agent.

  3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate a little. The process can get expensive.

Now if you’d like a lot more details, I suggest you watch the video I created on moving your pets with all that you need to know.

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