Bringing a Dog into the UK


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Bringing a dog into the UK can be an exciting but also challenging process. It involves ensuring that the pet is healthy and has all the required paperwork so that they can be admitted and remain in the UK legally. There are rules and regulations regarding vaccinations, types of breeds allowed, and other considerations to keep in mind to ensure a smooth transition for you and your canine companion.

Read on to learn more about importing dogs to the UK, including the rules and our expert tips.


What are the rules for pet imports?

Depending on where the dog is coming from and what type of breed it is, there are a few different rules and regulations to keep in mind when importing dogs to the UK. All dogs must have a valid animal health certificate or an officially approved third-country veterinary certificate, along with other required documents such as an identification photograph. 

Vaccinations for rabies and tapeworm may also be required for entry into the country, so ensure you get these booked in with your vet well in advance. Alongside this, once you land, you will need to register your dog’s microchip with an official government database, so prepare this sooner rather than later.

Additionally, certain breeds are not allowed by law to enter the country, so it’s important to ensure that your canine companion is eligible before making any travel plans.


Getting prepared for bringing a dog into the UK

Before you bring your dog to the UK, you will need to get prepared to ensure a smooth journey from start to finish. This starts with finding a pet-friendly airline to fly with – there are plenty to choose from, but you will need to let them know in advance that your pet will be flying so they can make the necessary preparations.

Alongside booking your flights, when you bring pets to the UK, you will need to ensure your pet has an IATA-compliant travel crate that they can comfortably stand up, turn around and lie down in. This will keep them safe and comfy throughout the journey and put your mind to rest.


Prepare your pet for their journey

When bringing a dog into the UK, there are some steps you can take to ensure they feel prepared.

We recommend getting them used to their travel crate a few weeks before you are due to fly, you can do this by leaving it out in the house, somewhere they can access it easily. This will allow them to get used to the look and smell of the travel crate, and they may even start to sit inside it.

On the day of travel, make sure to time your dog’s food appropriately to avoid any in-flight accidents or nausea. Also, take them for a long walk to stretch their legs and ensure they don’t feel restless during travel.

Once it becomes time for the flight, put a t-shirt or towel that smells like home in their crate to allow them to feel safe and comfortable.


When you land

Whether you are permanently relocating or just stopping by for a holiday, you will need to take some steps to help your dog settle into UK life.

You will want to create an environment where your dog feels comfortable, so ensure there is plenty of space for them to roam around and explore their new surroundings. As well as encouraging them to take in their new environment, providing some home comforts from their old home, such as their favourite toys or blankets, is a good idea.

When importing a dog to the UK, this will be a big change for them, and they will look to you for comfort. Make sure to give them plenty of love, attention and cuddles while they get used to the transition.

Now you know the rules, regulations and our top tips, you can feel suitably prepared to bring pets to the UK. At TailWings, we have over 30 years of experience in the pet travel industry, and we can help you with every step of the process. Get a pet import quote here, or for more information and advice, contact us.