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Traveling with a pet to the UK, US, Canada or Australia: An ultimate guide

Are you about to study abroad and are thinking of bringing your furry companion with you? This is understandable — after all, many people consider their pets as family and their companion can help you adjust to a new environment and life.

First things first, however, is to check with your vet to determine if your pet is in good health to travel. Only then should you consider bringing your pet abroad.

There are many steps and guidelines to note if you’re traveling with a pet, but fret not, we’ve got your back. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re thinking of bringing your pet to the UK, US, Canada or Australia:

You should check with your pet’s vet first to determine if it is in good health condition to travel. Source: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP

A guide to traveling with a pet to the UK, US, Canada or Australia

Great Britain

Bringing your furry companion to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) is relatively straightforward. It also accepts most dog breeds and all cat breeds.

Here are the requirements your pet has to meet to enter Great Britain:

If your pet does not meet any of the requirements above, it may be put in quarantine for up to four months — and you’ll have to bear all quarantine costs and charges. Move Hub — a global logistics company — notes that the overall quarantine cost is about £200 for cats and £300 for dogs.

You also must ensure that your pet arrives no more than five days before or after you — otherwise, your furry companion will be classified as a commercial import. You’ll have to comply with a different set of tedious and complex rules.

Australia

The Land Down Under practices strict rules on importing a pet cat or dog into the country. To enter Australia, your pet must travel — as manifest cargo only — to Melbourne International Airport to undergo quarantine at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility for at least 10 days. According to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environmentthe quarantine will cost AU$2,000 minimum.

The Australian government has also banned several breeds of cats and dogs, as listed by MyAustraliaImmigration:

  • Savannah cats, Safari cats, Chausies, and Bengal cats
  • Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario, Czechoslovakian wolfdog (Czechoslovakian Vlcak), Saarloos wolfdog, Lupo Italiano (Italian wolfdog), and Kunming wolfdog

Here are the requirements your pet has to meet to enter Australia:

  • It has been microchipped
  • It has been vaccinated against rabies (within one year of entry to Australia)
  • It has done a blood test

Additionally, depending on the country you’re coming from, your pet may need an import permit (about AU$480) and additional treatments and vaccinations if you are not traveling from one of the 96 approved countries. Take note that if your pet is from an unapproved country, it is prohibited from entering Australia.

traveling with a pet

Always check your carrier’s guidelines as well. Source: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Canada

Canada has somewhat lenient rules for bringing a pet into the country. For instance, it is not compulsory for a pet dog or cat to be microchipped.

It is mandatory, however, for all pets (except those from the US) to undergo an inspection upon arrival. This will cost about 30 Canadian dollars. Quarantine is not necessary unless your pet has medical problems that require attention.

It’s worth noting that if your pet is from a country not listed on Canada’s rabies-free countries list, it must receive a rabies vaccination with proof of certification that it does not have rabies, written in English or French.

The Canadian government, however, considers cats over three months of age and dogs over eight months of age rabies-free. A rabies vaccination isn’t necessary, but proof of certification is still required.

Canada Migrates also notes that a statement from a governmental authority or veterinarian proving that rabies has not existed in the originating country for six months must be presented.

Here is a list of countries classified as rabies-free:

  • Australia
  • Finnish
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • fiji
  • Sweden
  • Japanese
  • new zealand
  • UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

If your pet dog or cat is under three months old, it is exempted from Canada’s import requirements.

US

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets different rules for bringing a pet dog or cat into the country.

Here are the requirements if you’re bringing your pet dog:

  • It has been vaccinated against rabies (while dogs from rabies-free countries are not required to be vaccinated, the CDC highly recommends all dogs to get vaccinated for safety reasons)
  • It has the US or foreign-valid rabies certificate (a normal valid rabies certificate will have to go through more steps here)
  • It must be at least six months old if it is coming from a high-risk country
  • It has been ISO-microchipped

The CDC controls the entry of dogs into the country strictly. It has listed more than 100 countries as high-risk countries. Suppose your pet dog is from a high-risk country and has a foreign-valid rabies certificate. In that case, you will also have to apply for a CDC Dog Permit Import online as well as obtain a valid rabies serology titer from an approved laboratory.

Dogs from high-risk countries will also have to undergo quarantine at one of these airports:

  • Anchorage (ANC)
  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Minneapolis (MSP)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • San Juan (SJU)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Washington D.C. (IAD)

Meanwhile, cats do not require a rabies or health certificate to enter the US. Some airlines and states, however, still need one or both of them, so do your research.

Your pet cat may also be subject to an inspection upon arrival in the US.

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