Pouch The Pooch To The UK - My Family Travels

Quarantine times are dramatically reduced by PETS when dogs, cats, and ferrets are subject to the Pets Travel Scheme for travel to and from the UK.

Trying to get your beloved pet overseas is always a tricky task. In many countries, rules and regulations for traveling with your furry friend are very strict, and Great Britain is no exception. Vaccinations and quarantine regulations are in place to keep the UK free of rabies and other diseases.  If you’re planning on taking your furry friend to Great Britain anytime soon, here is the skinny on what you need to do to avoid a time consuming quarantine.  

First, before entering the UK, the traveling animal cannot have been outside its original, approved country in the last six months. For a list of the approved countries, visit this link. If you are not traveling from one of the approved locations, a 6 month quarantine is required. Also, only certain sea, air, and rail routes allow the animals to travel to the UK under these special requirements.

Another way to waive a quarantine in the UK is to have animals microchipped and vaccinated by a veterinarian, who also administers a blood test at least six months before traveling. The latest details can be found at DEFRA, which also notes that certain dogs are prohibited from living in or entering Britain: the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero.

Several airlines have been working to comply with the Animal Health Ministry's PETS requirements for direct long haul air transport into the UK. Kid-friendly Virgin Atlantic flies pets between Heathrow and several major U.S. cities, while Continental Airlines has been approved for direct flights from Cleveland, Houston and Newark to London Gatwick and Manchester, though the airline announced it will only accept accompanied animals.

Within Europe, P&O Ferries will accept cats and dogs (except if you are traveling between Portmouth and Bilboa); however, they must be kept below deck in a kennel or holding area. Depending on the destination city, some owners may be able to visit their pets during the journey. SAS will fly all pets with papers to and from the UK, but special request is needed for large animals. Sterling (formerly Maersk) offers its own Pet Travel Programs in which specialized "agents" help arrange your pets' transport for you. Please make sure you check out the website for more details and sign up before your departure. Britannia, KLM and GB Airways will fly pets in from many other cities to Gatwick or Heathrow. From Asia, the approved Singapore Airlines leads the pet parade from Singapore to Heathrow.

For a full list of approved PETS carriers, see the most up to date DEFRA contact sheet on the website.

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