Bringing a dog from the US to UK

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Bringing a dog from the US to UK


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Old 23rd October 2011, 04:38 AM
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Default Bringing a dog from the US to UK

I'm curious on everyone's opinion about this. I am not worried about the microchip, rabies vaccination, etc. I am just worried if it is safe to do this, because I know that the dog has to be in the cargo area of the plane, if I'm not mistaken? I have a cavalier king charles spaniel, so I know that he could only fly certain months of the year, definitely not in the summer. Has anyone had experience on bringing a pet over from the US to the UK? If you have, could you please tell me about your experience and if you think I should bring him with or keep him in the US? I will either be flying out of Minneapolis/St. Paul or O'Hare and not sure if I'd go to Gatwick or Heathrow, but I'm assuming Heathrow. Thanks everyone!

Erica

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Old 23rd October 2011, 06:47 AM
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I flew my two cats from San Francisco to Frankfurt several years ago. They arrived just fine - a little jetlagged and definitely upset, but none the worse for wear.

What's important to consider is your dog's age and overall condition, and then you need to research the best airline and receiving facility. Some airlines don't take animals at all, and some are better than others in the pet handling department.

Professional pet transporters have all this information available (some even post much of it on their websites), but their fees have risen in the past years. (I sent my cats via a pet transport service because I had to be in Germany a week or more before my apartment would be ready.)

Take a look at this site Pet Transportation, Travel & Relocation Specialists - Pet Express (it's the transport company I used many years ago). They have some of the basics on pet transport available on their site and you can decide from there.
Cheers,
Bev

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Old 24th October 2011, 12:02 AM
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Thanks for the input! It definitely makes me feel safer about bringing my dog with me to the UK.

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Old 31st October 2011, 02:27 PM
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Hi Erimou,

I brought my pug from Australia to the UK - a 26 hour flight - and he was fine! In fact he got out of the crate as if he did it everyday! I did use a pet transport company, (which cost more than a human!) because he was flying unaccompanied (I was already in the UK) as they have handlers at the airport to supervise all stages of the process. If a pet has to change planes they make sure it all happens smoothly and check the food and water etc.
As I also handle HR in a large International Company, so have managed the relocation of many people from the US to the UK and have handled the relocation of their pets, with absolutely no problems. Although I have always used a pet transport company, it's not essential if you can organise to be on the same flight as your dog. I definitely wouldn't recommend tranquilising your dog (as some people do) as he will be in the hold unsupervised and may have a reaction to the medication. If you are on the plane - I would mention to the air hostess that your dog is in the hold and would she mind reminding the pilot. He has to flip a switch to ensure the air is pressurised down there!
I would recommend flying the shortest route possible, with as few change-overs of aircraft as possible. And yes, try to fly where it's not too hot! You have to fly approved airlines and routes - see the DEFRA website. And for example some airlines won't accept certain breeds, BA have banned pugs, bulldogs and boxers. The pet transport company built our pug a special crate with dry ice in the floor to keep him cool - as he was flying through Singapore and we didn't want him getting hot!
The UK is fantastic for dogs - great walking, lots of great B&B's that accept dogs, and ours love going to the pubs, where they're always welcome. So yes, it's well worth it! Good Luck!

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Old 31st October 2011, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pug_lover View Post
Hi Erimou,

I brought my pug from Australia to the UK - a 26 hour flight - and he was fine! In fact he got out of the crate as if he did it everyday! I did use a pet transport company, (which cost more than a human!) because he was flying unaccompanied (I was already in the UK) as they have handlers at the airport to supervise all stages of the process. If a pet has to change planes they make sure it all happens smoothly and check the food and water etc.
As I also handle HR in a large International Company, so have managed the relocation of many people from the US to the UK and have handled the relocation of their pets, with absolutely no problems. Although I have always used a pet transport company, it's not essential if you can organise to be on the same flight as your dog. I definitely wouldn't recommend tranquilising your dog (as some people do) as he will be in the hold unsupervised and may have a reaction to the medication. If you are on the plane - I would mention to the air hostess that your dog is in the hold and would she mind reminding the pilot. He has to flip a switch to ensure the air is pressurised down there!
I would recommend flying the shortest route possible, with as few change-overs of aircraft as possible. And yes, try to fly where it's not too hot! You have to fly approved airlines and routes - see the DEFRA website. And for example some airlines won't accept certain breeds, BA have banned pugs, bulldogs and boxers. The pet transport company built our pug a special crate with dry ice in the floor to keep him cool - as he was flying through Singapore and we didn't want him getting hot!
The UK is fantastic for dogs - great walking, lots of great B&B's that accept dogs, and ours love going to the pubs, where they're always welcome. So yes, it's well worth it! Good Luck!
Thanks for the info, pug_lover! Do you think I should go with a pet transport company if I need to switch planes? Or do you think I can handle it on my own? I just want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Thanks again!

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Old 31st October 2011, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by erimou View Post
Thanks for the info, pug_lover! Do you think I should go with a pet transport company if I need to switch planes? Or do you think I can handle it on my own? I just want to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. Thanks again!
Of course! I was quite stressed preparing our dog to come over! I did choose a transport company as I felt more confident that they would be able to handle the flight change-over. The problem is your dog is technically treated as "cargo" so you'll (usually) take it to a special area of the airport 3 hours before your flight - and not see it again til you can collect it from the special animal area at either Heathrow or Gatwick.
You usually won't be allowed to see it when you change planes - as you aren't allowed on the tarmac when it's being unloaded and you won't usually see it being loaded onto your next flight (you can ask the air hostess to check with the pilot as he should be told by the cargo loaders that they've put an animal in the hold)
If there's any delays to your next flight - there's no guarantee that the airlines' cargo people will take any special notice of your dog during the wait.
Whereas the pet transport people are allowed to go airside to supervise the unloading of your dog and should take more care to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy and gets on the next plane.
However, airlines are all different and things are changing (I brought my dog over 6 years ago) Some now have special animal transport departments, I've used the Virgin Atlantic one and they were great. Maybe check with the airline you were thinking of flying as to what service they offer?
Maybe do some cost comparisons? I would say the considerations to make as to whether to choose a transport company could be - how long is the delay between your two flights? What temperature will it be at the changeover airport when you're flying? If it's a long wait and if it's going to be hot - a transport company should ensure your dog is well looked after (it gets hot out there on the tarmac!)
Loads of people travel with their pets so it is becoming more common and is very safe - and well worth it to have your pet in your new country with you - it's how I've made some of my new best friends!

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Old 31st October 2011, 07:26 PM
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Thanks again for your reply! I am starting to feel better about bringing him with me.

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Old 31st October 2011, 07:33 PM
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My dog will be flying into the UK from the US in about a week. I'll give you an update on everything once he arrives safely, but at the moment I just have to say make sure you go onto the DEFRA site and make sure you fly him along an approved route with an approved carrier. DEFRAs Pet Scheme information site will have these listed. They are also very friendly and helpful if you have to call with any questions. Sorry I can't post the link. Apparently I am not "Active" yet...

My dog will be flying from Newark, NJ to Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic. At the moment Chicago is listed to Heathrow with either BA, Virgin, or KLM. Minneapolis is listed to both Gatwick and Heathrow with Northwest Airlines, or to Heathrow with Delta or Iceland Air. It may not be a problem if you are flying with the dog, but because my dog is flying unaccompanied Delta would not ship him from Syracuse, NY to JFK then to Heathrow because the UK says they must fly directly from approved port to approved port. (I did call DEFRA and they said they only care about the last stop in the US being an approved port, but Delta wasn't willing to take that risk.)

The other thing to be aware of, which I wasn't, is that your dog will need at least two separate documents to travel to the UK from the US. One is a health certificate that your vet fills out that says he is fit to fly. The other is an official third country veterinary certificate that is filled out by your vet and must be endorsed by the FDA. (My vet didn't realize there were two different forms so it made it fun trying to sort it all out with my mother who will be shipping him next week.The rules are changing in January, but as far as I can tell, it only affects the tick and tapeworm treatment that must be done before the flight.

I shall write a full report about it when he gets here safely, but those were the big stress inducing experiences I had last week. If you're planning to use a pet transport company they should take care of it all for you. Good luck.

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Old 31st October 2011, 07:41 PM
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I'd love to hear how things turn out, Liz! I am closer to Minneapolis, but I'm thinking about flying through O'Hare, because I can hopefully just get a direct flight to Heathrow. Minneapolis sometimes has direct flights, but they are harder to come by, I think. But, yeah, please let me know how things go! And thanks for letting me know about the two documents! I only thought there was one as well!

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Old 31st October 2011, 07:46 PM
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When I said the Third Country Veterinary Certificate had to be endorsed by the FDA I actually meant USDA! So many silly acronyms....And I had been watching Grey's Anatomy earlier....Whoops. But anyway, I shall let you know how I get on with it all as I'm doing it myself (with the help of family who are currently keeping him) and not through a transport company.

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