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​​As we celebrate National Pet Day today, it’s a perfect opportunity to delve into the complexities of relocating pets to the UK.

For pet owners considering a move to this vibrant nation, understanding the comprehensive guidelines for pet importation is paramount to ensure a smooth transition for both you and your pets.


First and foremost, it’s essential to comply with the stringent pet import regulations, especially considering the UK’s status as a rabies-free nation.

Microchipping is a fundamental requirement for pets entering the UK. The microchip must be implanted either before or at the same time as the rabies vaccination and must adhere to ISO 11784 and 11785 standards. Failure to meet these standards may result in refusal of entry or quarantine for the pet.


Vaccination against rabies is mandatory for all dogs and cats intending to enter the UK. The timing of the rabies vaccine administration varies depending on the country of origin, with a minimum of 21 days before entry for listed countries and four months for unlisted countries. It’s essential to adhere to vaccination schedules, including booster shots, to avoid restarting the process.

Dogs must also receive treatment for tapeworm, except when arriving directly from specific countries. However, cats are exempt from tapeworm treatment requirements.

Pets originating from unlisted countries must undergo a rabies antibody titer test at least three months before entry into the UK. The blood sample must be analyzed in an approved laboratory, with results indicating a rabies antibody level equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml.

Health Certificates

Additionally, pets must be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate endorsed by a government veterinarian from the country of origin. The timing of health certificate issuance varies between dogs and cats.

Banned breeds in the UK

Certain breeds and their crosses are prohibited from importation into the UK, including Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brasilieros, and XL Bullies. Exceptions to this ban can only be granted by the courts following seizure in the UK.

Transporting pets by air to the UK is subject to specific regulations, including manifested cargo requirements and approved travel routes and companies.

Upon arrival in the UK, pets will undergo customs checks, with potential consequences for non-compliance with pet travel rules, including quarantine, return to the country of origin, or euthanasia, all at the owner’s expense.

At Cornerstone, we understand the significance of your pets as cherished members of your family. That’s why we offer comprehensive pet relocation services designed to streamline the process and alleviate the stress associated with international moves. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you and your furry companions embark on your next adventure with confidence.


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