Moving Pets Internationally

Moving pets across country and continental lines is not easy, and bringing a pet into the United Kingdom is particularly difficult. The United Kingdom is one of the only countries in the world that is completely rabies-free. Even their bats and wild animals are rabies-free. They take this extremely seriously for good reason. 

To enter the UK with pets they don’t just require up-to-date rabies and other vaccines for your pets, but their ENTIRE rabies vaccination history. If you’ve lost a record from any point in your pets life, you have to have an extra rabies vaccine to make up for this. Vets in the US do not want to give this extra shot. They say, “Oh they are up to date, they don’t need it.” Or, “It’s a ten year old missing record, it’s not a big deal.” It is a big deal. The UK will quarantine your pet without the correct records, or if you are traveling on the Queen Mary 2 like we did, your pet will not be allowed to board. We crossed with a dog that had missed his first scheduled crossing because of a vaccine given SIX DAYS late when he was a puppy. The dog was eleven years old. 

When we asked our local vet in Nashville if they could help us with this, they said, “I’m sure we can figure it out.” This is not an answer that gave me confidence, so I started searching for someone with experience. We found a vet in New York City called "Heart of Chelsea” that had a department that specialized in international travel for dogs. I am so glad we made that decision. Magnus had a missing rabies record from 2012 or 2013 because we have changed vets a few times and his original vet changed software and lost the records. Magnus needed an extra rabies shot. I had to insist multiple times with his Nashville vet, once when scheduling the appointment and twice while at the appointment. If they won’t let him in the places we’re moving without it then he does need it, whether you agree or not. 

If you are traveling internationally with your pet, don’t trust any regular vet to do the paperwork even if they are USDA approved to do so. Make sure they have successfully helped other pets move internationally recently. 

Once we got to the United Kingdom, we needed additional paperwork to get the pets into the European Union. Our US vet could have done this, but we would have been on a tight schedule to get from the UK to our final destination in the EU. At that time, we didn’t know how we would be traveling and that time limit made us nervous. Our US vet also didn’t do that type of paperwork as often. We decided to once again find someone who specialized in this type of move with pets. 

We were very lucky to find a company called “Go Fetch, LTD” located in Wales, UK. They not only handle paperwork for this type of border crossings, but they also transport pets across Europe and the world regularly. They picked up the pups, took care of all their moving paperwork, and drove them from Southampton, UK to Split, Croatia. They timed it perfectly so they would arrive just a few hours after we did. The pups got to stay in hotels with their driver (Magnus loves a hotel) and they stopped for walks in many countries. This worked out so well because it allowed us to fly from Heathrow to Ancona, Italy then take the ferry from Ancona to Split. After weeks of trying to figure out trains, rental cars, and ferries across Europe, this was so much easier and relieving. 

 

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