[UPDATE: Brexit may change UK-EU dog travel rules. Here’s the official page on the topic.]
As you may have already seen, I wrote a recent entry on how to take your dog to the UK. In my dog travel research, I learned what the PETS scheme requires for dogs coming into the UK and I also learned that the UK doesn’t allow pets to travel in-cabin, even if they’re small. With the exception of Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals, all animals must travel to the UK as cargo.
Now, if you, like me, have a panic attack at the very thought of your 12 lb dog traveling as cargo, you do have another option: travel to mainland Europe and then take a ferry or train into the UK. To do this, you’ll need to:
1. Make sure to follow the PETS scheme to a T (see my previous entry here).
2. Get your US vet to fill out paperwork for your first destination (the USDA will not stamp paperwork for more than one country, so you’ll leave the US with paperwork for your first destination only and will get the required UK paperwork while in mainland Europe). Make sure your vet/you do some research on your first destination. While they overall have the same requirements, some of the details are different. For example: you may need to get the embassy to approve your arrival airport before you go.
3. Book your spot on an approved ferry or train. The UK PETS scheme only works for certain routes. You can find approved routes on the DEFRA website.
NOTE: Not all approved routes allow walk-on passengers with pets. Sometimes you have to have a car (like on the approved ferry route from Amsterdam) or book a kennel onboard. You should double check the ferry or train’s regulations before booking your ticket.
4. Schedule a vet appointment at your first destination. To go to the UK, you’ll need to get two things in your first destination country. The first is a pet passport, which a European vet can issue to you (usually same-day). It will include your pet’s microchip number, last rabies vaccine, etc. (so make sure you have all that info!) and will allow your pet to travel to any country in the EU. The second thing you’ll need is the tapeworm treatment, which must be done between 1 and 5 days before you leave.
If you’re like me, your next question is: how long will I need to be in my first destination country? Here’s an email from a vet in Amsterdam that should help:
“Thank you for your interest in our clinic!
You can make an appointment as soon as you get to Amsterdam with your dog and we will be able to make a passport the same day and provide the tapeworm treatment as well.
Your appointment should be within 24-48 hours before your trip to the UK.”
5. Take the train/ferry over to the UK, present your pet passport, including proof of tapeworm treatment, and you should be allowed in with no quarantine, according to the PETS travel scheme.
A secondary option is to cruise to the UK on Cunard (like these pet travelers did). But those kennels book up quick, so plan ahead!
Good luck, friends!