Our friend Victoria, dogmom to @lululenny_the_french_bulldogs just left for the UK with her TWO french bulldogs! They documented their travel in a fun video (at end of this post) to share with you guys and also put together THE LIST of How To Fly Internationally With Your Dogs.
***Note (All destinations/airlines can be different-this is specifically for flying Delta to the United Kingdom-LHR)
Dogs MUST have the following:
2. Rabies Shot
3. Tapeworm Treatment
4. Health Certificate
5. Letter of approval from HARC
We will go into further information about each task listed above. It is best to get started on this process once you have booked your flights. A lot of the tasks revolve around your departure date! If this is a last-minute flight, meaning less than 21 days before you travel it will be much harder and near impossible to get your dog on the flight!
1. Microchip: Your dog(s) must be microchipped/implanted with an ISO compliant microchip. ISO compliant microchips are 15 digits long and will be scanned as soon as you are off the plane in London. We had our vet triple check that ours worked when scanned, you can never be too safe! Your dog must have been microchipped first and then get the rabies vaccination. If for some reason they had the rabies vaccination first and then got microchipped your vet will be able to re-administer the rabies vaccination so you will be in compliance.
2. Rabies: Your rabies vaccination HAS to be done AFTER your dog has gotten microchipped. They will not let your dog onto the plane if it has been done in reversal. Make sure you have a copy of your previous rabies vaccinations and your current vaccination. When your vet prints out your rabies certificates, make sure they type on there the producer AND the brand! They have to see both pieces of information (producer/brand) on your health certificate and your rabies certificate. The last step will be to have your vet sign your rabies certificates in BLUE ink.
3. Tapeworm Treatment: The tapeworm treatment is fairly easy. Depending on the weight of your dog your vet will give you pills for them to digest. The pills must be given to them within 1-5 days of your travel. Be sure to take into account the time you give your dog the tapeworm treatment. Ex: You give your dog the treatment on Monday at 9:00AM you will have until Saturday at 9:00AM to get to your destination.
4. Health Certificate: The health certificate will need to be done with your vet AND the USDA veterinary office in your location. Make sure your vet is able to complete a health the certificate, not all vets do them because they are so complicated! The vet is responsible for filling out the information (make sure it is typed up) while you standby and help with your personal information. They will input the dog’s details and will sign off in BLUE ink at the appropriate locations. After your vet has done their portion you will schedule an appointment with the USDA veterinary office (endorsement center) and they will go through your document and stamp their approval as well as sign off in the appropriate locations. Your health certificate is good for 1-10 days. Make sure you line up your tapeworm and health certificate to be completed with enough time to get to your destination!
TIP: If your dog(s) are ESA animals or service animals, make sure you only put the owner’s name on the health certificate. They do not accept health certificates with two owner’s names on it. Also, be sure to use European dates on your health certificate. (Ex: Day/Month/Year)
Here is a great website for additional information:
5. HARC Letter of Approval: Once your microchip, rabies, tapeworm, and health certificate is completed you will then need a letter of approval from HARC (Heathrow Animal Reception Center) This is only needed for assistant dogs (Service animals and ESA). You will need to scan all of the above tasks/documents into their email address firstname.lastname@example.org and label it properly (see instructions at the web address below)
You WILL NOT be allowed to board your plane without this letter and it is extremely important to make sure you get this letter before you fly! They are extremely picky about how everything is done so be sure to have them look over your documents to make sure everything checks out! They will hold your dog(s) in the UK if something wasn’t done correctly and it was overlooked. They have 72 hours to get back to your email so make sure not to save this until the last minute!
Once HARC has looked over your paperwork they will email you to let you know that they will need payment for unrecognized assistance animals. If your assistant dog has not gone through a training they list on the website they will require you to pay a fee. The checking fee is £366 and an additional animal is £41.You can only pay it over the phone at 011 44 208 745 7894 and they accept all card types except American Express. HARC is open 24/7 so even with the time difference you will be able to speak to someone.
HARC will send you a letter when your information has been approved and you will need to print out the PDF file and bring it with you (as well as the rest of the documents) to the airport you are flying from and into. I cannot stress enough that your paperwork must be on you at ALL times!
When you fly into London Heathrow airport a member of HARC will meet you off the plane and pull you aside to scan your dogs, look over/sign off on the paperwork, as well as give you a certificate to go through customs. You will need to declare your dog(s) at customs but it’s simple and they will also look over your paperwork!
Once you clear customs, they will check your passport and your dog paperwork (yes, they do it again) at the “UK Border”. Once completed you are home free AND finally outside so your dog(s) can relieve themselves!