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Transporting dogs and cats across the borders.

Transporting animals across borders on land, sea or air is termed exportation or importation. Exportation is sending animals out of a country while importation is bringing animals into a country. Animal movement across borders with human facilitation is a human socioeconomic activity whose importance will continue increasing, as more nations embrace animal welfare standards, because of the role animals play in human life.

Import and export of animals is regulated by governments globally to control animal diseases and pests, safeguard public health by controlling diseases transmitted between animals and humans, safeguard the conservation of breeds and species, safeguard animal welfare and control illegal trade in animals.

Countries differ in their export and import requirements for cats and dogs but in general, all animals must have health certification including at least vaccination against rabies by a veterinarian recognized by the government of the country where the exportation is originated.

Due to the wide variation in export/import requirements in different countries, we are not able to give the specific requirements of each country. Furthermore, the requirements keep changing due to changes in international conventions and individual country disease control policies and laws.

We advise anyone planning to export or import a dog or a cat to consult their veterinarian and/or the governments of the exporting and importing countries to be certain of the prevailing export/import requirements at the time of the intended animal movement. Diplomatic representations, such as embassies, play a key role in confirming the export/import requirements for animals.

The general requirements from some selected countries are:

1. Requirements for importing dogs and cats into Kenya

1. Import permit from the Kenya Department of Veterinary Services
2. International certificate(pet passport) and or certificate of vaccination against:

1. Rabies
2. Canine distemper
3. Canine hepatitis
4. Canine parvo virus
5. Canine leptospirosis

3. Export permit from source country
4. Health certificate from veterinary doctor licensed by the source country

2. Requirements for importing dogs and cats into Republic of South Africa

1. A veterinary import permit is needed to import dogs & cats into South Africa.
2. Export permit from the source country
3. Veterinary health certificate issued by a veterinary doctor licensed by the source country
4. Veterinary passport with up to date rabies vaccination

Other Tests for dogs

a) Before dogs can be imported the dog needs to be certified free from the following five diseases by means of blood tests. The dog’s blood can either be tested in the country of origin or the blood sample can be sent to South Africa for testing.

1 Brucella canis
2 Trypanosoma evansi
3 Babesia gibsoni
4 Dirofilaria immitis
5 Leishmania

b) If the Veterinary Authorities of the exporting country can certify that the exporting country is free from one or more of the above mentioned five diseases, the dogs exported to South Africa do not need to have blood tests done for the disease that the exporting country is free from.

The following must be presented to the South African Veterinary Import Control
Officer at the port of entry:

i) Original Veterinary Import Permit
ii) Original Veterinary Health Certificate
iii) Any other documentation specified, e.g.: Indemnity Declaration, Rabies
Vaccination Certificate, etc.

3. Requirements for importing dogs and cats into United States of America from Kenya

1. Vaccination card (pet passport) with up to date vaccinations/immunizations for rabies
2. Export permit from Kenya issued by the Director of Veterinary Services
3. Health certificate issued by a veterinarian licensed by the Kenya Veterinary Board. Certificate must indicate that the pet is certified free of both external and internal parasites.

4. Requirement for importing dogs and cats into United Kingdom

1. A pet passport (purchased from pet travel sites) or official third country (not member of the European Union) veterinary certificate properly filled and signed by veterinary authorities of the source country.
2. Import permit downloaded from the website of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) i.e. EU Annex II if only one dog or cat or Annex I if a variety.
3. Health certificate from registered veterinary doctor from the source country
4. Microchip your pet for the rabies vaccination to count
5. Rabies titer test from a recognized laboratory. Blood is sampled 30 days after rabies vaccination if the animal is from an unlisted country. Test titre results of 0.5 IU per milliliter of blood or higher show that the animal has an acceptable level of protection against rabies and may be exported.
6. The tested dog or cat with an acceptable level of immunity against rabies shall only be exported three months from the date the results are released.
7. The pet must be treated for both external and internal parasites 5 days before departure
8. You must use an authorized airline and an approved route.
9. The transport cage should comply with the DEFRA standard available on their website

General information

The control of external and internal parasites 5 days before departure/arrival should always be done as good practice in international animal health.

At the airport of departure or arrival you may sometimes need a certificate from the captain of the plane/ship carrying the animal, stating that the animal has not left the craft between embarkation and arrival, and was isolated from all other cats/dogs. (Please confirm with your captain if he/she would give it to you if required).

The following costs at the airport (departure and arrival) might be charged:

a) Duty fee
b) Handling charges
c) Clearing agent fee

For specific requirements on the rest of the countries in the world, consult the livestock departments in the respective countries of interest. You may do so through their respective diplomatic representation in your country of residence.

For more details on import/export of other animals, you may contact us.

GOV.UK. (2014a). Taking your pet abroad - GOV.UK. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from
Pettravel. (2014b). Pet Travel Store – passports, carriers, crates, microchips, scanners. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from