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Traveling with Pets


Pets are a Privilege

Traveling with pets requires a lot of pre-planning. Don’t forget to connect with your sponsor's support if you need it. Just remember that everyone’s travel experience with pets is different.

We all love our pets like family, but remember that bringing pets to the United Kingdom is a privilege, not an entitlement. All costs associated with pet travel are at your own expense, however, there could be grants available to assist you.


Planning Ahead

Moving with your pet includes researching airline requirements and quarantine restriction laws in your new location. Many airlines have requirements for size, weight, breed, number of animals, kennel construction, documentation, and seasonal limitations. Small pets may be shipped on military flights, but availability and regulations frequently change.

Contact your local Personal Property Office to request specific country instructions. Military OneSource can make your move easier with helpful tips, resources and hands-on information related to moving with pets and more. For additional information see Pet Information under the Moving Guide tab on Move.mil.


Pet Travel Documentation

Policies and rules for shipping pets vary at each installation. It’s important to understand the regulations, prohibitions and laws at your new installation before moving with a pet.

Below, you’ll find installation-specific details for registering, boarding and transporting your pet.

Licensing Vaccination, and Registration

Any external websites or companies listed are not federally endorsed.

DEFRA governs the import and exports of pets for the U.K. For up-do-date guidance on bringing pets to the U.K. follow the step-by-step pet shipping information on DEFRA website at https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad. If you need more assistance you can contact DEFRA by email: pettravel@apha.gsi.gov.uk or phone: 011-44-370-241-1710.

The required paperwork is shown on the website listed above. Completed certificates MUST be endorsed by the USDA (if pets are coming from the U.S.) after the tapeworm treatment (dogs only) has been done. This should be documented on the U.K. health certificate by a veterinarian. The easiest way to do this is to use a military veterinary treatment facility. If you are not near a military vet, then the forms must be sent to the USDA.

It's a requirement to use a pet shipping company. There are pet shipping companies around the local area (RAF Mildenhall, Lakenheath, Feltwell, Molesworth, Alconbury and London) that can be hired to help with the shipping process, if necessary. Please know that these can be expensive, and costs are not reimbursed. The RAF Feltwell Veterinary Treatment Facility (VTF) does not recommend any specific companies.

Please be aware that you must register pets with the VTF within 10 days of your pets arriving into the U.K. You must register pets even if you use other veterinary services that are available in the local area. The registration packet can be emailed to you before arrival. The VTF is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed on the last business day of each month for inventory.

It is important to realize pet laws in the U.K are different than laws in the U.S. The Animal Welfare Act makes the owner of a pet legally responsible for the care of your pet including:

  1. Proper diet and fresh water
  2. Suitable shelter for your pet (e.g. dog house, etc)
  3. Any need to be housed with or apart from other animals
  4. The ability to express normal behavior
  5. Protection from and treatment of any injury or illness

You are also required to have a tag with contact information on your pet. U.K. leash laws require your dog be on a leash at all times while out of your garden (yard). If your pet is picked up by the council without contact information, you could be fined up to £100.

It is illegal to dock your pet’s ears or tail in the U.K, and de-clawing a cat is considered mutilation. No vets will perform the surgeries in the U.K.

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/caring-for-pets.

If you go away on vacation, you are responsible to either leave your pet with someone or make sure someone stays in your home to care for your pet.

There are a number of companies in the U.K. offering pet insurance. You can find information on several companies offering pet insurance online or through your U.K. vet office. Be sure to read the small print and double-check the monthly premium.

All pets in the U.K. must be microchipped, and it needs to be a 15 digit microchip. Please understand once you arrive in the country, you will need to register your pet’s microchip number with a U.K. company. This is a law. The U.K. microchip databases CANNOT access US microchip companies’ databases. If your pet is lost all vet clinics or shelters will first scan for a microchip. If you have failed to register your pet in a U.K. database, the chances of reuniting with them will be slim.

Registering at the RAF Feltwell VTF does not automatically register your pet’s microchip number in a U.K. database, as this is a separate system. If you have any questions, please contact the U.S. military vet clinic at DSN 314-226-7097 or commercial 011-44-1638-527097.

Boarding

The Gateway Inn has limited designated "pet-friendly" rooms available on a first-come, first served basis for guests traveling with a maximum of two cats or dogs. Book as soon as possible in order to get a pet friendly room. The cost is an additional $10.00 per night, which is not reimbursable. If you have pets and a pet-friendly unit is not available, you will have to make arrangements for your pet to stay in another location while you are housed in a regular TLF room. Local hotels may have pet-friendly rooms available as well. Check with the front desk at lodging for a list. Another option could be to get fully furnished short term let accommodation. Contact the Housing Office at DSN 314-226-2000 or commercial 011-44-1638-522000 for more details.

There are various pet boarding facilities available in the immediate area and generally costs about £15 per pet each night. You will want to make arrangements for boarding before you arrive in the U.K. Prior to booking a kennel, check to see if your sponsor will visit the facility to ensure it meets your needs. Below are a few options (no federal endorsement implied):

  • Breckland Kennels -- 3 The Mount Lynford Road, Mundford, Norfolk; 011-44-1842 878301
  • Winterbrooke Boarding Kennels -- Mill Lane, Hockwold, Norfolk; 011-44-1842 829735
  • Holiday Homes for Dogs -- Third Bridge Farm, Haddenham, Cambridgeshire; 011-44-1353 741620
  • Pampered Paws/Feline Boarding Cattery -- Barrels Road, Thurston, Suffolk; 011-44-1359 233033
  • 5 Ways Boarding Kennel & Cattery -- Tuddenham Road, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; 011-44-1638 711917
  • Parkbreck Boarding Kennels & Cattery -- Church Farm Lodge, Kenny Hill, Mildenhall, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; 011-44-1353 675400
  • Bury St. Edmunds Kennels & Cattery -- Rushbrooke Lane, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; 011-44-1284 766992
  • Pine Farm Kennels & Cattery -- Wilde Street, Beck Row, Suffolk; 01842 860432
  • Country Club Kennels & Cattery -- Qua Lodge Dolver Drove, Soham, Cambridgeshire; 011-44-1353 721196
  • Cosy Kennels & Cattery -- 52 Cambridgeshire Road, Stretham, Cambridgeshire; 011-44-1353 649536
  • Forest Boarding Kennels & Cattery -- Mundford Road, Weeting, Norfolk; 011-44-1842 811320
  • Fordham Boarding Cattery -- 30 Station Road, Fordham, Cambridgeshire; 011-44-1638 721092
  • Kentford Kennels & Kattery - Bury Road, Kentford, Suffolk; 011-44-1638 750216
  • Decoy Kennels & Cattery - Decoy Farm, Sedge Fen, Lakenheath, Sufffolk; 011-44-1353 675365
  • Silverbirch Kennels & Catteries - 9 Oak Lane, Littleport, Cambridgeshire; 011-44-1353 863297

Before you decide on a kennel, you will want to do some research. You will also want to ensure you keep the following items in mind:

  • Up to date vaccines (check with each kennel for specific vaccine requirements)
  • Leave clear instructions and enough supplies of any medications.
  • Boarding kennels generally offer their own food, but if you have specific feeding instructions, discuss this with staff.
  • Ensure your pet is wearing an identification tag.
  • Leave emergency contact information for yourself and your pet’s veterinarian.
Veterinary Services

Pets are an important part of your family; however, bringing them in and out of the U.K. can be a complicated and costly process. Start the process early and make sure you have a complete understanding of the U.K. rules and regulations. When deciding whether to bring your pet you will want to consider their health. The preparation time to bring a pet to the U.K. is between 1 and 3 months depending on where you are traveling from. In some cases, you may have to ship your pet before or after you arrive in country. This is due to breed and weather restrictions put in place by the airlines.

There could be pets available for adoption in the U.K, however, consider this seriously as Animal Welfare laws in the U.K. are strict and different to what you may have been used to in the U.S. The Veterinary Treatment Facility (VTF) at RAF Feltwell, DSN 314-226-7097, or commercial 011-44-1638-527097, is available to answer your questions and assist you.

Useful Websites

Click here for information about what the UK requires.

Click here for the USDA (who provides the transportation certificate).

Our VTF is located at RAF Feltwell approximately 30 minutes from RAF Mildenhall. The mission of RAF Feltwell Veterinary Services is to provide compassionate and quality veterinary care to optimize the health of our Military Working Dogs and privately owned animals within the U.K while also providing food safety and defense for our installation personnel and their families. This Army unit is the only U.S. military clinic for all of the U.K. All pets MUST be registered with the VTF within 30 days of arrival.

Registration requirements include:

  • Pet Registration Packet (includes "No Show Policy and Clinic Policy")
  • Any medical records including immunizations

To ensure you have all required documents, contact the U.S. Army Veterinary Detachment at DSN 314-226-7097 or commercial 011-44-1638-52-7097. Please email usaf.lakenheath.48-mdg.mbx.vet-clinic@mail.mil for a registration packet or for more information.

Additional Resources

Moving with your pet includes researching airline requirements and quarantine restriction laws in your new location. Many airlines have requirements for size, weight, breed, number of animals, kennel construction, documentation and seasonal limitations. Small pets may be shipped on military flights, but availability and regulations frequently change. Contact your local Personal Property Office to request specific country instructions. Military OneSource can make your move easier with helpful tips, resources and hands-on information related to moving with pets and more.


Heathrow Animal Reception Center

Review the Heathrow Animal Reception Center website for details on importing your pet, container requirements, the Pet travel scheme, and pet transport agents.

Check the City of London website for travel tips.

Pets need to comply with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to enter the UK without serving statutory quarantine.

Visit the USDA Pet Travel website for health requirements.

Pet Travel & Restrictions

  • Breeds: Check with the airlines to determine guidance related to any restrictions they may have. Per AFI 132-6001, certain breeds (including mixed breeds) are not permitted on base, including lodging:
  • Pit Bull (American Staffordshire Bull Terrier or English Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow and any wolf hybrids

Kennel (checked or cargo): Pets need airline-approved, hard cages with screw-bolt closures, breathing holes on all sides, room to stand up, turn around and lie down, water and food dishes.

Temperature: Airlines won’t let pets travel as checked bag or cargo if it’s too hot/cold on flight day. Have another plan in place.

Airports & Layovers: For layovers in other countries, know each country’s pet regulations before booking flights. Or try to avoid this by putting your pet on a different, direct flight.

Animal Shippers: Based on breed/size, you may have to ship your pet separately. See International Pet and Animal Transportation Association shippers.


Commercial Travel Office (CTO)

  1. Pre-Plan: The Contract Travel Office, (e.g. CWT, Sato Travel), does not book pet flights, but they can book you on a pet-friendly flight with a contracted airlines or another U.S. Flag Carrier (as required by Fly America Act). Research dates and U.S. Flag Carriers that can fly your pet:
    • Use the City Pairs Search Tool to find the airline contracted to fly you to your destination. Stop by CTO to learn other possible U.S. Flag Carrier options.
    • Research airline pet policies/military exceptions.
    • Call the airline. Tell them you are on military orders and you want to check a pet. Write down flights and dates with available pet space.
  2. Visit CTO: Book flights with CTO after confirming the airline (and partner airlines) can fly your pet overseas. Bring pet-friendly flight options to CTO with: Pet breed, sex, age, cage dimensions and combined weight of pet with the cage.

Commercial airline doesn’t have pet space?

Ask CTO if other U.S. Flag Carriers have pet space


After CTO Visit

  1. Confirm Pet Flight: Call and reconfirm your pets’ reservation in the weeks/days before departure. Pet reservations can get lost easily.
  2. Flight Day: Arrive extra early to pay and check-in pets.
    NOTE: Have another plan in place (change flight or friend on standby) in case of a temperature embargo on flight day.
  3. Transportation from Airport in UK to RAF Mildenhall: Pre-arrange pet transport through a pet shipping company, Outdoor Recreation, or a local taxi that is authorized on base.

Additional Pet Travel websites

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