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.

If you’re importing a pet, or otherwise can’t transport the pet yourself, then you need to hire a pet taxi or other licence pet transport service.

When looking for animal couriers and comparing their level of service you should ask three key questions.• Are they DEFRA licensed?• What is their level of insurance?• What experience do they have with my breed of animal?

Different pet movers will offer a range of services. Some may give your pooch the all-inclusive treatment including exercise, food and an air conditioned van, whilst other will offer a simple door to door service, which may be preferable for short distances.

Services a pet transporter may offer:

Carriers: pet transporters can provide travel kennels for your pets if you don’t have one yourself.

Coordination: if moving the pet a long way, the courier can arrange the logistics of your pet move, although this will cost more.

Arrange quarantine: If your pet needs a waiting period, some pet transporters will also arrange this.

Cleaning, nutrition and activity: Some transporters will provide a high level of service with breaks for your animal if it is going a long way by road.

As with anything, the higher level of service you want, the more you can expect to pay. If your pet is high maintenance, like a show dog, then you may need to plump for a full service. If your friend requires less attention, like a snake, a simple pet courier service might suffice.

Once you know when and where your pet will be travelling you need to find a transport service able to fulfil your requirements. Searching for and comparing different pet transporters can be time consuming. The pet move itself can be very expensive as well, if you are importing an animal for example.

This is where Shiply comes in; we can help you find registered pet couriers who are already making trips near your route, making it more convenient for you.

Firstly, list your animal move with us. This will allow any pet couriers who are making trips near you to offer you a quote for your pet move.

You can then compare different offers and see the credentials of the companies, you can also ask the drivers questions directly.

When you’re happy with a courier, you can accept the quote and get your pet moving!

Picking up your pet

If your pet is going to arrive at its destination without you, the courier (or you) will need to arrange boarding for it. Alternatively you can have another designated person pick up your animal, (make sure you arrange this with the transporter first!)

If you were importing a rabbit, gerbil or other rodent it will need to be quarantined for 4 months. You can visit your pets in quarantine if you like, although ultimately it’s down to the chief vet at the facility.

If you were importing a new pet, give it a check over to make sure everything’s ok and discuss with the transporter any issues they have noticed. Any discrepancies need to be taken up with the seller.

Once your pet is happy in its new home, please leave feedback for the pet taxi service you found on Shiply. This will help them know what to improve and also will assist other users who are trying to compare transport services in the future.