The USA is one of the most common destinations to fly dogs and cats to in the world. The airline connections between UK and USA are very good and we can fly pets to all four corners of the USA. The longest direct flight we do is for pets to fly to Los Angeles and that is around 11 hours. This may seem like a very long time for the pets to be confined to a crate, but they settle down nicely and get over the journey very well.

The UK is still classed as rabies free by the USA government and the rules for importation of dogs and cats are governed by the Centre for Disease Control. From a veterinary point of view, it is very simple to import a dog from the UK to USA or a cat from the UK to USA. The only mandatory requirement is that they need to have a health check to make sure they are fit and healthy to fly – and this is actually imposed by the airlines to ensure the welfare of the pets they carry.

It is highly recommended to have your dog or cat vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before they enter the USA and have a microchip to identify them. If a dog or cat is imported into USA and does not have a rabies vaccination, then the owner has to sign a confinement agreement, which states that they need to be kept away from other animals until a period of at least 30 days after a rabies vaccination. Different states impose this rule differently to imports pets from the UK to USA. For example, Florida insists that imported dogs and cats do have a valid rabies vaccination, but the rest of the USA seems to be a little more lax on this rule.

The vast majority of dogs and cats who fly to the USA are pets and so they are deemed as non-commercial. A puppy or kitten really ought to be 4 months or older when they enter the USA so that they can have a rabies vaccination at 3 months old and then wait for the month after the vaccination. Puppies and kitten for resale are deemed commercial imports and they need import permits and have slightly different rules. If you have any questions about the entry of a dog or cat to USA, then please do ask us or you can email the  CDC.

Many people think that the rules for import are set by the individual states and they are not really. The CDC sets the rules for pet travel from the UK to USA, and the states have their own anomalies – like Florida insist on a rabies vaccination and a state like California will not let ferrets in!

USA pet travel can seem overwhelming at first, but PetAir UK can help and advise on all aspects of flying your pets from the UK to USA and we can complete the veterinary work to ensure compliant entry.

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