If you decide to take your pets with you when you move to the United Kingdom, it is essential you know the requirements for pet transportation.
If your pet is very old, relocating could be exceptionally stressful. Climate is another important consideration, as sensitive pets may struggle to adjust well to extreme temperatures. It’s also worth considering whether you will be able to provide the love and attention your animal deserves once you arrive in the new destination
Pets are a very important part of the family, so here is some guidance to help you with pet transportation for when you move to the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom has certain restrictions on the importation of pets and animals that you may not be used to, including quarantine laws. Therefore, it is important that you prepare for the move well ahead of time. This will give you plenty of time to get all the required documents in order to avoid any delays or disappointment in the long run.
Professional advice about pet transportation
The advice supplied by Dr. Andre Cirone BVSc MRCVS
When we make the jump to move abroad, its not the parents, or grandparents, the furniture or expensive wine glasses that we care most about, it’s the cat, dog, bunny, pet python or whatever furry (or slimy) friend you have, that really gets us stressed about the impending move!
International pet travel has taken off, literally, in recent years with pet ownership on the rise in a global society and the relatively free movement of people and families for both personal and work-related reasons. The pets come with us, and so they should! Moving pets has become more accessible and relatively cheaper, with more airlines operating, and governments relaxing quarantine rules around the world to a minimum.
The current covid-19 response may have put some restrictions on the movement of pets, mostly due to the reduced airline capacity, but we are starting to see a turnaround as people resume their travel plans.
In preparing pets to move to the UK from South Africa, or from South Africa to the UK, you need to choose, and develop a really good relationship with, the three people that are going to get Poppy and Honey, to their new home
The international movement of pets between countries, and cross borders, requires meeting the importing countries biosecurity requirements. This will require testing and treatments for various diseases, and parasites to ensure they are fit to travel, disease free and meet the importing countries entry requirements to avoid any post arrival quarantine, and usually within a few weeks of travel depending on where you are headed.
Pets must arrive into their new country, sometimes with an import permit (ie. For entering South Africa) and always with a government vet endorsed zoo-sanitary health certificate.
Your vet will also be able to discuss and help with a travel plan to ensure any specific illness or behavior requirements are catered for, such as arthritis management, and medication during travel, or potential safe treatments for the nervous and anxious traveler’s we sometimes have to deal with.
Sometimes the travel companies will have their own vets who have plenty of experience in travelling pets so discuss these issues with your travel companies as well.
Your South African agent
You need to contact an experienced agent for pet travel to help with the process. Pet travel agents, don’t just book flights – the good ones help you manage the whole process from start to end, getting Poppy and Honey home to their new location as they often have well established global contacts, to ensure the safe delivery of your pets to their new home.
Your pet agent will book flights, set travel and vet plans, provide travel crates of the right size to ensure safe carriage and comfort, organize all the importing and export country documentation, import permits, health certificates, government endorsements, airline export documentation, declarations and airwaybills. They are highly experienced and a very important part of the process.
Your UK agent
Once in the UK, your SA agent will contact us and we take over! We are the UK side that works with your SA side, to seamlessly organize the customs clearance upon arrival, ensure all documentation goes where its needed, and the collect and deliver form the airport to your new home! Sometimes we need to board pets until your new home is ready, but then we are also her to help move back home to SA when needed!
So good luck with the plans and preparations and remember that despite the complexities, you can and should rely on the three trusted people to help you get your pets home!
Dr Andre Cirone BVSc MRCVS Owner and Company Veterinarian – former quarantine vet and current official vet in London
Bringing your pet to the United Kingdom
Here are some useful links regarding bring your pets to the United Kingdom.
- First, read the overview
- Where you’re travelling from
- Pet passport and other documents
- Rabies vaccination, boosters, and blood tests
- Tapeworm treatment for dogs
- Guide and assistance dogs
- Approved routes
- Bringing more than 5 pets
- Arriving in the UK
There may be those who need to find pet-friendly accommodation, so we have added a page where you will be able to find a list of pet-friendly accommodation available.
Pet transportation companies
Here are some useful links regarding pet transportation:
- Passport for pets
- Pet Air UK
- Happy Tails Travel
- Pets Oasis
- Animals away
There are many enclosed fields in the United Kingdom that have been set aside on farms around Britain, giving dogs carefree time to play and run around. Please have a look at the online directory to find a place near you.