Relocating with pets? Here’s 9 things you need to know

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Moving, Moving Guides

Moving internationally means pulling off dozens of complicated and important manoeuvrers in order – and when you’re relocating with your pet it throws a whole new set of considerations into the mix.

More than half of the world’s population now owns a pet, with the rise in adoptions we saw during COVID-19 carrying forward into the post-pandemic world. As the joke goes, pets are the new children, and plants are the new pets.

In the world of work, employers are beginning to recognise how important pets are to their worker’s lives, with ‘pet perks’ proving a popular new frontier in employee benefits.

Pets are more a part of the family than ever, so it makes sense that one of these pet perks is an increase in the support available when relocating with your pet. More and more relocation firms are offering a pet relocation service as part of their package.

For those moving from overseas, animal companion in tow, here’s our guide on what to consider if you’re relocating to the UK with your pet.


Finding a pet-friendly property

If you’re planning to move with a pet make sure to let your relocation or estate agent know before they begin hunting for your new home.

Not all UK landlords are pet-friendly, so your agent will need to limit the search to those who are. Be aware that even if a landlord accepts pets they can ask for an extra monthly fee or cleaning cost at the end of your tenancy.

The good news is that this could soon change. One of the proposed terms of the new Renters Reform Bill would ban landlords from forbidding pets without good reason. On their side, tenants could be asked to take out insurance against any damage their pet might cause.


Pet passports and paperwork

You’re not the only one who’ll need paperwork to enter the UK. Depending on the country you are travelling from, your pet is required to have either a pet passport, a Great Britain pet health certificate or an Animal Health Certificate. Read more about which documents you’ll need here.

All of these documents provide a record of your pet’s health and medical treatment. You’ll also need to sign a declaration that you’re not planning to sell your pet.

These laws apply to dogs, cats and ferrets. If you’re bringing a different pet into the UK, you may need to provide other paperwork – make sure to check with your vet before you travel.

Your pet’s paperwork will be checked on arrival to the UK. If there’s anything missing, your pet could be quarantined for up to four months, and you’ll be required to cover any expenses incurred.

A cat in a bright green cat carrier backpack

Your cat or dog will need to be vaccinated against rabies before they can enter the UK.


Vaccinations when you’re relocating with your pets

Dogs, cats and ferrets entering the UK must be vaccinated against rabies. The primary vaccine course needs to be completed at least 21 days before your pet comes into the country.

If you have a pet dog, they will also have to be treated for tapeworms.


Microchips – don’t get fined!

Under UK law, your dog must have a microchip registered with an approved database. From June 10th 2024, the same will apply to cats.

If your pet is not microchipped, you could be fined up to £500.

Even if they’re currently microchipped, watch out when relocating with your pet. The information on your pet’s chip needs to be current and correct, which means you’ll need to update the database with your new address.


Minimise stress when relocating with your pets

In our guide to cutting down on stress when moving home, we recommended lots of suggestions that will work for four-legged members of the household just as well.

One is to keep a few of your pet’s favourite items like their bed, bowl and a toy handy so they can be unpacked straight away. A few familiar home comforts can make a new environment much less intimidating.

You should also make a note of where your pet’s food and litter are packed or have some delivered to your new home ahead of your move. Moving home works up an appetite, and that applies to our pets just as much as ourselves!


A dog sitting in a large grey dog bed

Familiar creature comforts go a long way to fighting relocation stress

No longer at this kennel

There’s a long list of people and businesses to inform when you move home, but don’t forget to do the same for your pet.

Your pet insurance provider will need to know about the move, and you should also inform your vet while you;re arranging your pet’s documents.

Make sure to update and cancel any pet subscriptions at the same time. If you get food, cat litter, flea treatment or anything else regularly delivered for your pet set a reminder to cancel the delivery or update your address.


Crate Expectations

You can only enter the UK with a pet via an approved route, and depending on how you travel your pet might have to travel in a crate in the hold.

Make sure to find a crate that’s the right size for your pet and approved by your airline or travel provider early, then spend some time letting them get used to it before you travel.

Your travel provider will also be able to guide you on labelling your crate correctly and on what to include, but generally you’ll want an absorbent pad for your pet’s comfort but no hard toys or objects that might injure them.


Banned pets in the UK

Some breeds of dogs are banned in the UK, including Pit Bull Terriers.

If your pet is one of the banned breeds, do not bring it to the UK. Not only can you be criminally charged for owning a banned dog, your pet could be confiscated and destroyed by the police.

Some exotic pets are also banned for being invasive species.


Relocating with Exotic Pets

As you might have noticed, most of the advice above applies to cats and dogs. If you’re travelling with a more exotic pet make sure to research the specific paperwork and travel arrangements you’ll need to make well ahead of your move.

Some species, including terrapins and some fish, are also banned in the UK, so make sure to check if you’ll be able to bring your pet with you.


Are you planning on relocating with your pets? Did you DIY everything or use a pet relocation service? Join the conversation on our social media.

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