Taking a Dog to the USA from the UK

So you’re living in the United Kingdom and want to head to the United States along with your dog, whether to relocate or because you’re going on a holiday. But what are your options for taking a dog to USA from UK? I cover the different options available, plus the requirements for taking a dog to the USA. 

Note: Due to the current situation, some of these options (mainly cargo options) are temporarily unavailable. Additionally, a number of European airlines are no longer accepting dogs on flights to the USA, due to recent restrictions on importing dogs to the USA from high rabies countries.

Taking a dog to USA from UIK

Flying to the USA with a UK Airline

If you’re planning on flying to the USA with a UK airline, be warned that your pet will need to fly as cargo. Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic don’t fly pets in the cabin or even as checked baggage, on all of their flights. In both cases, pet dogs can only fly as cargo.  

Flying to the USA with a US Airline

If you’re hoping to instead fly with your dog in the cabin on an American airline out of the UK, you’re also out of luck. There aren’t any American airlines that I’m aware of that fly pets in the cabin on flights out of the UK. However, with some airlines it’s unclear whether dogs need to fly as cargo or are accepted as checked baggage in the hold.  

Flying a dog to USA from UK
It’s not that easy to fly from the UK to the USA with American airlines

For starters, American Airlines doesn’t fly pets in the cabin on any trans-Atlantic flights, whether from the UK or other European countries. While it’s stated that dogs need to fly as cargo on flights into the UK, it’s not clarified whether they are allowed as checked baggage on flights out of the UK, or only with American Airlines Cargo. 

While Delta permits pets in the cabin on trans-Atlantic flights, they specifically rule out pets flying in the cabin or as checked baggage on flights from the UK, as well as flights to the UK. Pets are required to travel with Delta Cargo. 

Similarly with United Airlines, pets are normally permitted as checked baggage on trans-Atlantic flights, but not on flights to or from the UK. Instead, you can book pets with United Petsafe.  

Flying via Canada

A great alternative for flying from the UK to the USA with a dog in the cabin is to fly via Canada. On the Air Canada website they specifically mention that they accept pets for travel both in the cabin and in the hold on flights from the UK. You can then book a connecting flight to the USA from Canada. 

Another potential Canadian airline that you could use to fly out the UK with your dog is Air Transat. I’ve heard a report of dogs being permitted to fly in the cabin in recent years, but their current website is unclear. 

Travelling via Continental Europe

If you’re wanting to fly from the UK to the USA with your dog in the cabin, the other alternative is to firstly cross over to Continental Europe, and fly from another airport such as Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport or Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Pets are generally permitted in the cabin on most airlines flying to the USA, except for American Airlines that doesn’t allow pets on trans-Atlantic flights. 

Dog with tulips in Netherlands
Should you travel via Amsterdam?

To get to either airport, the two options available to foot passengers without a car are a handful of ferries across the channel or else a pet taxi in the Eurotunnel, in combination with local trains. For more details, see my post about travelling with a dog to the UK from outside of Europe, which details each of these options. 

What About a Trans-Atlantic Cruise Ship?

A final alternative for taking a dog from UK to USA is to book a crossing on the Queen Mary 2 across the Atlantic, from Southampton to New York. This option is particularly popular with owners of larger dogs, that are too large to fly in the cabin on any airline. 

However, keep in mind there’s a lot of demand for the pet kennels on the Queen Mary 2, so they are generally booked out a year or more in advance. It’s usually possible to put your name down on a waiting list, though, in case a cancellation occurs.  

Requirements to take a Dog to the USA from UK

The requirements to take a dog to the USA are quite simple, especially when they are travelling from the UK, or via another country such as France, the Netherlands or Canada. 

The entry requirements for dogs to visit the USA are quite simple

The main requirement is that dogs are healthy and immunised against rabies. Up until recently, dogs entering the USA required a rabies vaccination certificate. However, this is no longer the case for non-high-risk countries, as of December 2018. Dogs travelling from the UK, most European countries and Canada are exempt from requiring a rabies certificate. 

It is also necessary to check the requirements for the state that you are travelling to, although these generally only apply for pets permanently relocating. For the relevant links, check out my guide

Returning to the UK

If it’s not a permanent move for your dog to the USA, also keep in mind your options for returning to the UK with your dog. Unfortunately, there aren’t any options available for flying with a dog in the cabin or as checked baggage to the UK, including with Air Canada.  

Instead you will need to fly your dog as cargo or travel via Continental Europe, taking a ferry or pet taxi over to England. For full details, check out my guide on travelling with a dog to the UK from outside Europe

Inspired? Pin this to your Pinterest board!

Pin: Taking a Dog to USA from UK

4 thoughts on “Taking a Dog to the USA from the UK”

  1. I will be traveling with my cat (5 months old) in cabin on Air France on May 30th, my first flight is from London-Paris (AF 1381) and then Paris-Boston (AF 334). The US does not require my cat to have a rabies vaccine or microchip to enter the US, but as we will be transiting thru France (4.5 hour layover), although it is not our final destination, will the rabies vaccine and microchip be required to board the plane from London-Paris?

    Additionally, I cannot find if I will need to get the rabies and microchip to leave the UK? The move to the US is permanent and we will not be returning.

    The flight from London lands at terminal 2E at Charles DeGaulle and the flight to Boston takes of from the same terminal (2E) so I will not need to leave the airport or terminal while in France.

    I just want to see if I will need to have the rabies and microchip set before flying to my final destination in the USA. My preference would be to have that done at her new vet upon arrival.

    • Jennifer – I would double check with Air France, as they will be checking in your pet and enforcing or not enforcing the rule. I would guess it’s not required, but sometimes strange rules apply. I’m not 100% across the microchip rules for the UK, but I doubt it would be enforced when leaving the country.

  2. A couple of errors in your article.
    1) Foot passengers (no car) on Ferries to France cannot travel with a dog. You can only travel with your dog if you have a car. Not all sailings have pet friendly cabins or kennels in which case your dog must stay in your car for the journey. Dogs not allowed in other public areas.
    2) It is QM2( Queen Mary 2) and NOT QE11 which has kennels aboard for trans-atlantic sailings between NewYork and Southampton.

    • Penny – Thanks for pointing out my typo about the QEII, I have fixed this – not sure how I made it as I’ve mentioned the Queen Mary 2 elsewhere! In regards to ferries, there are a couple that permit foot passengers, that I have personally travelled on. There is the DFDS ferry between Newhaven and Dieppe, plus there are a couple of ferries to the Netherlands. However, most ferries don’t permit foot passengers to take dogs.


Leave a Comment