Bringing a Dog Into The UK From Outside the EU

Bringing a Dog Into The UK From Outside the EU

Bringing a dog back to the UK from outside the European Community, still means they need to go into quarantine. This is because of the rabies problem and dogs can carry this fatal disease into the country. In order to prevent rabies becoming an issue in the UK, a dog must be quarantined but so must cats and ferrets as well as any other animal that is susceptible to catching rabies.Dogs coming in from a country that's part of the European Community can travel into the UK under EU pet movement rules but any dog coming from outside of the community will not qualify under these rules and would need to have an import licence and it needs to be issued well in advance of the dog arriving in the country.

The All Important Import Licence

Import licences allows a dog into the country, however, the animal has to be kept in an approved quarantine kennel for a required period of time. If you bring a dog into the UK and they have been blood tested for rabies 3 month prior to arriving and have been vaccinated against the disease – quarantine may be avoided. Pets need to be micro-chipped and this needs to be with a ISO 11784/11785 15 digit microchip. If a dog arrives on UK soil, all their papers have to be in order if they are not, the authorities may take the dog and place them in quarantine at the owner's expense.Dogs can only be vaccinated when they get to a certain age and this is normally shown on the manufacturers vaccine information sheet. However, dogs usually need to be at least three months old before they can be vaccinated against rabies.If your dog has not be vaccinated against rabies and has not had a blood test, then you will need to organise an import licence for them, a quarantine kennel for them to stay in for the three months as required by the authorities in the UK, which are governed by DEFRA.

Who Chooses the Quarantine Kennel?

As the dog owner, you are responsible to find the quarantine kennel your pet will go to but it has to be an approved kennel. If the kennels do not arrange transport from the airport or port then you might have to arrange an authorised carrying agent to get your dog to the kennels. It is always a good idea to find an approved kennel that is close to your home, so you can visit your dog when you want to.These days all rabies quarantine kennels are owned privately. They are however, governed by DEFRA who make sure the kennels meet security and isolation standards. The comfort kennels offer dogs kept there varies from place to place so it is worth checking them out before you book your beloved four legged friend into one.

Book Quarantine Kennel Well in Advance

It is always a good idea to book your chosen quarantine kennel well in advance especially during the holiday seasons when kennels tend to fill up. Talk to the owners so that you agree your contract with them and let them know anything they need to know about your dog.Once the kennels have agreed to take your dog into their kennels, they will usually take care of all the paperwork on your behalf. This includes submitting the application form for an import licence which needs to be applied for from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.The kennels will normally collect your dog from the airport or port and take care of all custom clearance paperwork but you would need to confirm this with the kennel owners when you make the reservation.

Make Sure Your Dog Arrives at an Approved Airport or Port

Dogs and other animals that have to go into quarantine may only arrive in the UK at certain ports and airports so you need to make sure this is the case for your pet. Ideally, your dog should not have transited in any other country after they have departed from the country of origin so when booking the transport you need to make sure this is the case.It is an offence to bring an animal into the country at any airport or port that is not an approved one – unless this has been done because of an emergency but you will still need the approval of a local authority animal health inspector on arrival.

Health Certificates

A few transport companies insist on dogs having a health certificate before they will transport them, so you need to check this out with the company you hope to use and then organise the health certificate if needed.

Bringing More Than One Pet Into the Country

If you are planning to bring more than one dog into the country and they need to go into quarantine, you can cut the costs of the kennels by requesting your dogs be kept together in the same kennel. The usual rule of thumb is that you would be allowed to keep three dogs in the same kennel. However, cats and dogs may not share the same kennel.

Approved Ports and Airports


  • Eurotunnel Folkestone
  • Dover Eastern Docks
  • Harwich Parkeston Quay
  • Hull
  • Portsmouth


  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Leeds
  • London Gatwick
  • London Heathrow
  • Manchester
  • Prestwick, Scotland

As pet owners we all want the best for our four legged friends so when it comes to having to put them in quarantine, it is always nice to know the kennels are not too far away from home. This makes visiting your dog that much easier than if they were further away. Making sure the kennels are well run is another important factor, so checking them out before you make a booking gives you peace of mind. No dog likes being put in a kennel for long periods but if it means rabies is kept out of the UK then this is something any responsible dog owner will understand needs to be done and therefore go about it as the law requires.

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