Expat Guide

Moving Pets to the UK

The British have no rabies in their country, and want to keep it that way. (At the end of 2002, they had their first case in 100 years, from a bat bite in Dundee, Scotland.)

Formerly, all pets (dogs and cats) had to go through a 6 month quarantine before being able to enter the UK. Finally, the Pet Travel Scheme became available, which the US was recently included in it’s list of allowed countries!

Quarantine is very hard on the pets and it is also quite expensive to board them, so this came as great news to us. It is common knowledge that a large porportion of pets died during these six month quarantines. There are now approved carriers and labs for the required blood work.

Pet Travel Scheme

“The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is the system that allows pet animals from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet the rules. It also means that people in the UK can, having taken their pets to these countries, bring them back without the need for quarantine. The Scheme: only applies to pet cats and dogs* (”pets”) including guide dogs and hearing dogs. is limited to pets coming into the UK from certain countries and territories only operates on certain sea, air and rail routes to England *It is against the law in Great Britain to possess certain types of dogs and meeting the requirements of PETS will not change that.”

The Procedures

You will need to have your pet microchipped, vaccinated, arrange blood test, get PETS certificate, have it treated for ticks/tapeworm, sign declaration of residency, and arrange your pet’s travel on an authorized route with an authorized carrier.

You can get more information about PETS and quarantine by contacting Defra: Pet Travel Scheme Helpline Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Area 201, 1a Page Street, London, SW1P 4PQ

Telephone: +44 (0)870 241 1710 (Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 5pm UK time. If you cannot get through, please leave a message on the voice mail) Fax: +44 (0)20 7904 6206 E-mail: pets.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk (please enclose your postal address and a day time telephone number)

A comment left by Hitchiker: "It is important to note that although your pet does not have to go through quarantine in the UK, they are required to wait 6 months after a successful rabies titre before they will be allowed in the country, so there is a need to plan ahead."

Other Notes

Be aware that in the UK exists a Dangerous Dogs Act.

Breeds of this type are prohibited:

  • the Pit Bull Terrier
  • the Japanese tosa
  • the Dogo Argentino
  • the Fila Brasileiro

It is important to note that, in the UK, dangerous dogs are classified by “type”, not by breed label. This means that whether a dog is considered dangerous, and therefore prohibited, will depend on a judgment about its physical characteristics, and whether they match the description of a prohibited 'type'. This assessment of the physical characteristics is made by a court.


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