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Simply driving your pet to the vet can be stressful enough, but if you need to transport a pet abroad or import animals then it can be even more difficult.

Pets are among the most sentimentally valuable things we’ll ever “own”, and own is a loose term because pets are really just part of the family. So when it comes to moving your furry or feathered friend you’ll most likely want to take charge of transporting yourself.

However there may be circumstances under which you won’t be able to personally oversee your animal’s transport. Understandably you’ll want to make every assurance that your pet is treated to a comfortable and licensed pet taxi service.

Depending on where you’re moving your animals to or from, they you’ll need to fulfil some procedures to make sure that your pet is fit and comfortable to travel.

Domestic Move

If you’re only moving your pet within the UK then there will be a lot less hassle. There are still a few things you should make sure of before transporting your pet, be it cat, dog or exotic, yourself or via a pet courier.

Things to travel with your pet:

Documentation: such as records of breed and vaccination

Food and water: Depending on the length of the trip

Medication: If applicable

Distractions: chew toys etc., as long as they won’t disrupt driving

Preparations for moving a pet:

Wash: Make sure your pet is nice and clean before you transport it; this is as much for your benefit as theirs (especially if you own long haired dogs).

Secure: If you don’t have a proper carrier, or your animal is too large make sure it has an appropriate harness to prevent it moving around too much. Make sure you don’t allow animals on the front seat.

Don’t feed them too much: To prevent any illness when transporting sickness-prone pets makes sure not to feed them 2-3 hours before a drive.

Suitable carrier: Make sure your animal will be transported in a suitable kennel, cage or tank. Different animals have different needs, and you want to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible to avoid distress during transportation.

Calming: Don’t excite your pet too much before you take them anywhere, it can help to walk dogs and other pets to tire them out. There are medical options for calming excitable animals, discuss these with your vet. 

International pet transport: Moving animals across borders is a more difficult task, but has recently been made easier, inside the EU.

Mammals such as cats and ferrets that are moving internationally between the UK and EU or other DEFRA approved countries require the following:

Micro chipping: An ISO standardised chip must be implanted on your pet for international moves.

Rabies vaccine: To prevent the spread of the disease, pets must be vaccinated against rabies, and booster jabs kept up to date. When coming into the UK for the first time a pet must wait 3 weeks from the last vaccination it had.

Pet Passport and other documents: Make sure the animal has a valid pet passport before it travels, which can be obtained from the Animal Health and Vets Agency. As well as other paperwork specific to countries the pet will be visiting.

Tapeworm treatment: This is a necessity for dogs being transported. No less than a day or more than 5 days before the transportation date.

Considerations

The maximum number of pets allowed to be moved by one person is limited to 5 except if participating in a contest, sport or other show. These pets need extra certification from the AHVLA.

Rabbits and rodents are required to be quarantined before entry into the UK or other EU member states.

There are no rabies or worming requirements for other pets like snakes and fish moving between countries.

Birds, from hawks to turkeys have a range of different requirements depending on the type of bird. Livestock for slaughter is subject to different rules than pet birds. Check DEFRA for detailed information on transporting different birds.

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