Ah the Teddy Bear. For those of you who don’t know him very well, he is pretty much my number one companion and our very furry baby! This is a very text heavy post and is all about transporting Teddy into the UK, so click to read more if you want to see what we went through!
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Getting Teddy to the UK was our biggest challenge. We flew into Paris and then took a car that drove us to northern France and crossed over to the UK via the EuroTunnel. Easy enough right?
Well, the traveling was definitely tough, but the prep was also extremely trying! Teddy needed more documents and vaccines to travel than most humans probably have (at least more than me!). To say that a fair amount of research is an understatement. I read and read and read and searched online and called and you get the picture, it was tough! But… not impossible! Also, there is NO quarantine needed anymore, which was a big relief for us, otherwise we would not have brought him with us.
So, if you want an easy-ish rundown of what it takes to take a K9 over the age of 1 years to the UK from the US, here it is (as of April 2015 – oh yah, and they tend to change stuff every so often. Really not a lot, but according to my law of coincidences, it’s bound to happen right as you want to travel and have all the correct documents already and then they decide to change it the next day and then you have to do everything over again! Ok, rant over). Also, please note, I am not a professional pet transporter, nor do I want to be one. I followed this pet scheme because this was the major point of concern. So do your own research, but this is just an overview of the basics:
1. Microchip – most pups already have one, and Teddy has had his since before we had him, so this was easy enough. Side note: make sure that every time you go to the vet the chip is scanned, just to make sure it’s reading correctly and that there is no random malfunction (I have no idea if this can happen, so I just like to check).
2. Rabies Vaccine – most pups are vaccinated for rabies with their first round of shots when you first get them. Boosters are needed every 3 years, so as long as you are up to date, you’re good. There are some restrictions with the actual vaccines – if you just had the vaccine or booster you have to wait 21 full days before traveling.
3. Tapeworm treatment – needs to be administered by a vet within 5 days of travel. “They” always suggest going closer than later to the vet, in case there are travel delays (so don’t do it exactly 5 days beforehand).
4. Paperwork – this was by far the most complicated. A licensed vet needs to fill out this crazy long document, and then…
5. Endorsement by the USDA! This is NOT on the pet scheme checklist, so make sure you go and do it! The closest USDA office to LAX is in El Segundo and they were surprisingly nice and helpful. The cost of endorsement was about $35.
Numbers 4 and 5 are by far the trickiest. The paperwork for the UK can be found here. The UK government website for pet transport is really clearly written and is super helpful. The onlyyyyy caveat was that we were not flying directly into the UK with Teddy because only assistance dogs can travel in the cabin, all other pets must go as cargo. Teddy absolutely was NOT going to travel via cargo, so that is why we chose to fly into France. This paperwork is for pets traveling into the UK directly – at least this is how I interpret it. So, I looked up the French pet transport paperwork via the USDA website (also a SUPER helpful website for all sorts of pet travel). The reason I got the FRENCH paperwork filled out by our vet and endorsed by the USDA was because I called the USDA and they said that they would only endorse one set of paperwork and that it needed to be the paperwork for the country that you were going through customs for. I’m not sure how much I actually believe this in hindsight, but hey, it worked, so who knows anymore!
(P.S. Just writing this post I’m doing a ton of research again, just to find all the crazy links and paperwork)
When we reached France, customs barely batted an eye at Teddy. Literally the only people who noticed him was the lady at the beginning of the customs line, to answer basic questions. And all she wanted to do was pet him!
The real nail-bitter was when we got to the EuroTunnel crossing. That was when they really checked up – they handed us a microchip scanner (they were behind a desk, so we just waved it over Teddy’s back), and scanned through the paperwork to ensure his rabies and tapeworm vaccines were in order, and that it was endorsed by our home country. They didn’t mention anything about it being for France vs. the UK, so my official ruling is that if I were to travel back to the UK via the same route, I would still use the French paperwork. Everything was in order so they waived us in! 🙂
Phew, what an ordeal (to actually live through and do, as well as write and document it)! Please feel free and leave a question if you are curious to know more specifics. My whole disclaimer in this is that what I wrote above worked for us and since I am not a pet transport professional, I can’t guarantee that the same thing will happen again, so good luck!