Pet Travel UK to USA

As an extremely large country, it won’t surprise you that rules and regulations for taking pets to the USA, vary from state to state and from city to city.

Knowing the exact requirements for the specific area you are relocating to, is essential to avoid any complications and ensure an easy, stress-free and successful moving experience for you and pets. After all, failure to comply with any of the requirements, could result in your pet being declined entry into the USA, which would inevitably cause additional stress, which we’re sure you would prefer to avoid.

Having said that, according to experts, pet travel to America is, in many cases, far more straight forward than many other popular countries.

In this regularly updated guide, you will find both current and accurate information and guidance for taking pets to the USA to help make this process as smooth as possible for you and your pet.

Dog Transit

The process for transporting your dog to the USA is relatively straight-forward. In most states, your pet will require a rabies vaccination, which should be administered at least 30 days before travel. Your dog will also need a veterinary examination, no more than 10 days prior to travel, this is to ensure your dog is in good health and not suffering from any infectious diseases, which could be transmitted to American canine populations.

As each state has its own requirements, for example Hawaii maintain very strict quarantine rules, please contact one of our USA pet travel agents, who will be able to discuss specific requirements in more detail with you.

Shipping Cats to USA

Exporting your cat from the UK to the USA couldn’t be easier. Although, state variations still apply, much of the time, your cat does not even require a veterinary health certificate or any vaccinations. It’s best to check that you meet all the requirements for the specific state you plan to visit. Call one of our USA pet travel experts for more information.

Breed Restrictions

There can be restrictions on certain breeds of both dogs and cats travelling to the USA. The most recent and common problem being the shipping of brachycephalic breeds – which include pugs, bulldogs, boxers, Pekinese, Boston Terriers, Shih Tzu and King Charles spaniels and Persian, British Shorthair, Himalayan, Scottish Fold and Exotic Shorthair –  due to the risk of them experiencing breathing difficulties in transit, which can be potentially fatal. It is still possible to arrange transportation for these breeds, but there will be restrictions in place such as age, size and temperature on the day of travel. Please contact one of our USA pet relocation specialists for more details.

Other Pets

Shipping less standard pets to America, such as snakes, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, guinea pigs, rats, mice and birds, can be less straight forward when compared with cats and dogs. The rules can often be more stringent and there are certain species that are not allowed into the country at all.  For example, the USA does not allow African rodents and there are certain requirements when it comes to turtle transportation, specifically in relation to the size of the shell.

Shipping Costs to USA

Prices for shipping your pet from the UK to USA varies depending on the type, breed, size and height of pet, when you are travelling and where you are travelling to. On average, just like with luggage, you can expect your costs to go up or down based on the size of your pet, so understandably, you can expect that transporting a cat will cost you considerably less than for a Great Dane!

Shipping costs to the USA can include any or all the following:

  • Airline freight charges UK side
  • IATA approved airline pet carrier
  • DEFRA export health certificate
  • Import permit
  • Transit permits
  • Veterinary fees
  • One night’s boarding (if required)
  • Pet check-in

For more information or to receive a quote, call one of our pet shipping experts.

Pet Flights to USA

While not all planes are suitable for transporting pets to the USA, an increasing number are. It can be possible to transport your pet to virtually any state, assuming you’re willing to take internal flights if necessary.

We recommend you contact one of our USA pet shipping experts before you book your pet’s flight to the USA, so that we can advise on flights which are suitable for live animals.

Airline Pet Carrier

There are various specifications for pet carriers and they must be IATA approved. The carrier must have sufficient ventilation on all four sides and be robust enough to securely contain your pet. It is essential to purchase the correct size travel kennel for your animal and that it meets all the current IATA regulations. Use this handy guide for how to measure your pet.

Support for Pet Travel to USA

For support with all and any aspects of your pet travel to America – state restriction advice, supply of pet carriers, arranging vet checks, import and export papers etc, our knowledgeable USA pet travel specialists are only a call or email away. Get in touch with us online by completing the online enquiry form or sending an email to To speak to an expert, call us on +44(0)1293 551140.

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