Bringing your pets to the UK

Bringing your pets to the UK is difficult but not impossible.  Our pets have always been a part of our family, so when we decided to move I had to figure out how to bring them too. 


There are procedures in place that must followed exactly.  Failure to do so may result in either your pet being refused entry or being stuck in quarantine.

We brought our two dogs Guinness, Tessie and our cat Annie.  Bringing your pets to the UK isn’t cheap but I couldn’t have moved without them. 


What I worried about most is the quarantine period.  Fearing the importation of rabies and other animal diseases, Britain has some of the strictest quarantine regulations in the world.

Virtually all mammals, apart from horses and farm livestock, are liable to be subjected to a 6-month quarantine period in an approved kennel, which can be expensive but more importantly really hard on your pet.  It’s definitely something you will want to avoid. 

The Pet Travel Scheme

The Pet Travel Scheme allows you to avoid quarantine when bringing your dog, cat, rabbit or “rodent” into the UK.  It’s an improvement on previous procedures but it’s not completely hassle free for pet-owners.

Pet Passport


The conditions of this scheme include having to surgically implant a microchip in your pet and getting a ‘pet passport’ (which details vaccinations and other necessary veterinary treatments).

Microchips MUST meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 or your pet could be refused entry.  You may have to bring your own microchip reader when you travel if your pet’s microchip doesn’t meet ISO standards.

Vaccinations and Worming

Your pet will need to be vaccinated against rabies before they can travel – this needs to be done the same time as the microchip. The vaccine must be an inactivated vaccine or recombinant vaccine that’s approved in the country of use.



You will also need to get your vet to treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the pet passport. The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter the UK. Your dog can be refused entry or put into quarantine if you don’t follow this rule.

The treatment must:

  • be approved for use in the country it’s being given in
  • contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm

In addition, pets travelling under this scheme may only do so using specified sea, air and rail routes. Ours had to go from Winnipeg to Toronto and then onto London Heathrow. 

There are guidelines on the size and type of kennel required but your chosen airline can provide you with details of what is required.  

Pet Transport

I didn’t have a vehicle so I arranged for a pet transport company to collect them for me on my behalf.  The company we used picked them up as soon as they arrived and brought them back to their kennels at Heathrow. Once there they were watered and walked before being driven to Devon.  

I will never forgot the look on their faces when the van door opened and they saw us standing there.  The look of relief on their sweet little faces was priceless!  Not to mention our relief at finally having them home. 


The whole process cost us about $4,000 CAN plus the £400 to have them driven to Devon.  I realise it was expensive but I just couldn’t leave them behind.  They were all rescues and I made a promise to each of them that I would never leave them. 

I am so happy that I was able to keep that promise to each of them.  Unfortunately, they are all passed now.  Annie passed away in 2012 at age 14.  Guinness passed away in January 2015, followed by Tessie in April 2015.  They were both 16 years old when they passed away. They were worth every penny and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Helpful Links

Bringing your pet to the UK

UK Pet Passport

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

-Anatole France