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Importing a puppy


Have you thought about it but dismissed it as being too expensive, or too difficult, or takes too long? Think again! The regulations controlling dogs travelling into the UK from abroad, the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) changed on 1st January 2012. Full details of the scheme can be found on the Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) website www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/.

There are different rules for dogs depending on which country they are coming from. Countries are divided into two categories: EU/listed non-EU countries and Unlisted countries.
What you need to do if you are entering the UK from the EU and listed non-EU countries Step 1 - Have your pet microchipped - Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.


Step 2 - Have your pet vaccinated - After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date. If the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3 - Get pet travel documentation - For animals being prepared in an EU country, you should get an EU pet passport. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country or territory you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate (apart from Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland who also issue pet passports).

Step 4 - Tapeworm treatment - (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway).

Step 5 - Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route - Your pet must enter the UK from a listed country or territory travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

What you need to do if you are entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries


Step 1 - Have your pet microchipped - Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.

Step 2 - Have your pet vaccinated - After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date.

Step 3 - Arrange a blood test - After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has given it a satisfactory level of protection against rabies. The blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after vaccination. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is three calendar months from the date your vet took the blood sample which led to a satisfactory test result. The date of vaccination is counted as day 0 and not day 1. The three month waiting period will not apply if your pet was vaccinated and blood tested in the EU and issued with an EU pet passport before it went to an unlisted country. Step 4 - Get pet travel documentation -You will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate.

Step 5 - Tapeworm treatment (dogs only) - before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway).

Step 6 - Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route - Your pet must enter the UK with an approved transport company on an authorised route.
If your pet is not travelling direct from an EU or non-EU listed country or an unlisted country into the UK then you should check the Defra website for the regulations that apply.
Things the Breeder Needs to Arrange All steps except for the final step (step 5 for EU and non-EU listed countries and step 6 for unlisted countries) have to be done in the country of origin and will usually be arranged by the breeder. You need to be confident that the breeder will have done these steps correctly or when you arrive at customs you might find that you are not allowed into the UK, or at least not immediately, which could be upsetting and costly. For example if the tapeworm treatment was not given by a vet and documented in the pet passport the puppy might not be allowed to fly, board the ferry or the Eurotunnel shuttle. This can be fairly easily rectified but would mean a delay whist a vet was located to give the tapeworm treatment and then a wait of a further 24 hours. The biggest fear is that the microchip cannot be read and then the puppy will not be allowed into the UK until all of the steps are repeated or the puppy will have to be licensed into quarantine and released once all of the regulations have been complied with. ISO standard microchip are used in Europe and vets, transport companies and ports, airports and the Eurotunnel may not have equipment to read other than ISO standard chips. You can provide you own microchip reader if you are aware that the microchip inserted is not an ISO standard one. Discuss with the breeder beforehand about what happens in the case of a problem. For example who will be liable for any expenses incurred and whether the puppy should be put into quarantine in the UK or returned to the breeder until the situation can be rectified. It is rare that there is a problem but if you have a pre-determined plan then at least you and the breeder will be in agreement about what you will both do if the worst happens. Travel Arrangements This is probably the part that will cause the most headaches, at least it was in my case and you need to do your homework thoroughly about possible routes and the costs involved. The following is a suggested checklist:

Check transport companies websites for any particular conditions, for example: