Exporting a Dog from the UK - Bringing a Dog to Thailand

Two years ago in February 2010 we bought a beautiful 5 year old black and white cocker spaniel who we named Eden, she found her way into our hearts immediately.The thought of leaving her behind and not taking her with us to Thailand was out of the question.
We had to bring her! 

Cocker Spaniel on the beach having fun

I’m going to give a breakdown of everything that we done and the procedures we went through to take our dog to Thailand.
It will be useful information for anyone wanting to take their dogs or other pets abroad, outside of Europe.

Firstly I’m going to tell you the financials and how much the whole procedure to get Eden to Thailand cost, the total GBP: £1151

This worked out as the cheapest option as we done all of the paper work and checked Eden in at the airport ourselves.

There are many animal export companies around that can do all the ‘hard work’ for you, a quick Google search will bring up many, but their costs can add up to over £2000. Plus with some companies you still have to get all the paper work sorted and find out the vaccinations and information needed from DEFRA and the Vet yourself anyway.
We really couldn’t work out what we would be paying them so much money to actually do.  When checking in the dog at the airport and getting her on the plane was the easy bit!

Dog export papers

Also if you use an export company they will most likely convince you that it’s cheaper to send your dog as cargo rather than excess baggage.
The tricky part is that cargo costs are actually cheaper (£13 per kg rather than £44 with thai airways at the time of writing) but what they don’t tell you is your dog probably won’t be on the same plane as you.
This means that you have to pay lots of different people from lots of different places to escort your beloved pet to your destination.
Plus the dog needs to stay in the export companies kennels the night before the flight for which they need another set of different vaccinations (other than the ones you’re already paying for the flight) to be legally allowed to stay at the said kennels.
All of which you will be charged for.
We got all this information from a Pet Export Company in the UK called www.flypets.com before realising it was much cheaper and easier, for us and Eden, to do it manually.
We arranged Eden’s export to Thailand from the UK ourselves and now I am going to share all the information we got along the way to help anyone looking to do the same thing and export a pet out of the UK.

As I mentioned already, the total costs for us to bring Eden to Thailand with us was £1151 GBP.

Broken down these costs are:

£870 - Excess baggage fee.
Very important to note, make sure you find out the airlines fees for excess baggage for the destination you are flying to as they are all different. 
We flew with Thai Airways who charge an excess baggage fee to Chiang Mai of £44 PER KILO
We had no idea it would be this expensive and so was a bit of a shock.  (We spent weeks selling our stuff on ebay!!)
Eden weighs 12 kilos but the cost of the excess baggage has to include the weight of the animal inside the carrier, so, Eden + kennel =19.7kilos!

If your dog weighs 10kg or less when inside the carrier, they are able to fly in the cabin with you, underneath the seat if it will fit.  

£80.50 – Airline approved sky kennel (inc P&P)
We searched the internet and found the best sky kennels that are airline approved. We bought a Vari sky Kennelwww.doggiesolutions.co.uk 
We purchased the intermediate size, recommended for Cocker Spaniels and there was plenty of room for her to move around.
Prices start from £36.99 for small size (cats or Pomeranian sized dogs) up to £209.99 for a giant size cage (Great Danes, Rottweiler sized dogs)
The sky kennel must be nose and paw proof and have either window or door openings on at least 3 sides with enough space for your dog to stand and turn around in.

Dog in Vari sky kennel

Your Vet will need to see the kennel as part of the paper work they will need to sign states that they have seen and approved the Kennel for travel, so this needs to be purchased before you visit your vet.
The outside of the kennel must have ‘Live Animals’ written on it. (doggiesolutions provided us with stickers for this) 

Live Animals Sticker for Flying

£18.50 - Vet bedding
for inside the kennel
We bought this to make sure Eden would be comfortable during the flight, the bedding is designed to draw any liquid away from the surface, so if she needed to urinate she wouldn’t be laying in a puddle for hours!
Again we ordered this special vet bedding from doggiesolutions.co.uk at the same time as we ordered the kennel. The vet bedding comes in a selection of sizes to fit the different kennels and cages, available in grey or white. 
Prices for this vet bedding start at £7.20 up to £32.50 depending on the size needed. 

Vet bedding for sky kennel

£80 – Vaccinations
Luckily Eden was due her annual vaccinations at the time we needed to sort it out and so we didn’t need to do it twice.
It was the usual yearly vaccinations plus a rabies jab was needed for Thailand on top.
The vaccinations have to be done within a certain time period of the flight, this will vary on the dog and where you are flying to.
DEFRA is the first company you need to contact to start the process. They will be able to let you know this information.
For us, we had to get Eden’s jabs done no later than 21 days prior to the flight.

£70 - Export Certificate & final check from the Vet (Dog Passport for Thailand)
72 hours before the flight, we had to take Eden to the Vets for him to issue us with the export certificate.  He checked Eden was fit for travel and signed the needed papers.

£32 (1600 Thai Baht) – Quarantine and Customs

Once we landed in Thailand, we were required to pay a further 100 baht (£2) to the quarantine office to check through her papers and 1500 baht (£30) at Customs to bring her into the country. The 1500 baht was based on a 30% percentage of the monetary value of the dog. However they don’t need proof of value so I just told them she was worth £100 to be realistic and the customs officer accepted that without any arguments.
 
For a dog (or cat) to be able to travel abroad they must be micro chipped.
So if this has not been done, you will need to get the pet chipped before they will be allowed to fly, at an extra cost to what I have already mentioned. This costs around £20.00 GBP

The export certificate is the animal’s passport. 
For trips to Europe from the UK a separate passport is issued, this is not the same for International flights.

DEFRA – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Step by Step Guide to exporting a dog to Thailand from the UK:

0-Microchip your dog
Your dog needs to be microchipped for them to be able to travel abroad.

1-Email DEFRA
Send an email to DEFRA informing them of your intentions to travel with a pet and to which country. They will then email you back with the requirements and they also contact your Vet to inform them of what vaccinations and checks will need to be done and when.
Email: defra.helpline@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.defra.gov.uk

2-Contact your Vet
You will need to contact your vet and tell them of your intention to travel with your pet and let them know that DEFRA will be in contact with them.

3-Contact Department of Livestock in Thailand for the import certificate
We had to contact the Department of Livestock in Bangkok to be able to get the import certificate (you may need to find out if there is a similar department for the country you are going to) We sent an email to the Suvarnabhumi airport animal quarantine station.
They will then send you an import permit which is in both English and Thai and is valid for 45 days from its issue.
It says on the permit that you will need to show this permit to the officers in Bangkok, if you are on a connecting flight you do not need to do this until you arrive at your final destination.
Website: http://www.dld.go.th/webenglish/move1.html
Email: qsap_bkk@dld.go.th
Telephone no: (+66) 21340731

4-Contact the airline, inform them of an animal going as excess baggage
You will need to contact the airline you are flying with to let them know that your pet will be travelling with you.
We called Thai Airways around 6 weeks before we flew which is when we were given the excess baggage costs, we then had to ring them again 2 weeks before the flight to reconfirm and check everything was in place for the pet to go on the plane.
The number of animals allowed per flight is restricted, so you need to phone the airline well in advance to make sure that there will be space for your dog.
The airline will also ask you for the details of your dog as well as the measurements of the kennel.
You will also have to inform the airline of the dogs import number that you will have been given.  

5-After DEFRA contacts Vet with requirements, get all the vaccinations done
Once DEFRA has been in contact with your vet you will be told what vaccinations need to be done and the Vet can then talk with you about the procedure.

6-Buy a suitable sky kennel, IATA approved (International Air Transport Association)
Your pet will need to travel in an airline approved sky kennel, the Vet will also need to see this and approve it for travel.

Vari sky kennel


What happens at the airport:
When we arrived at Heathrow, we went to the check in desk as you would normally and joined the queue with everyone else and the cases. 

Once we reached the desk we told them we were travelling with our dog and they sent us to another desk to pay the excess baggage fees.
We then went back to the normal check in desk and finished checking in, we had to show all of Eden’s papers along with our passports.

Eden was allowed to stay with us until an hour before the flight was due to take off. 
She was allowed out of the kennel and we took her for a walk around the airport!

Dog at Heathrow airport, exporting a dog to thailand
We were not allowed to go through customs though as this point, as we had to stay with Eden.
They like to leave the pets with you until the last minute so the animals are not sitting on the ground for hours before the flight even takes off.

When it was time for us to pass Eden to the airline, a security man came and got us, he took us to a loading bay where we had to leave Eden.
They scanned her in the kennel and then we had to put her food and water into the cage before sealing it up with tamper proof cable ties.

We were asked to drink the water in front of the security before putting it in Eden’s bowl.  
We then left her with security who took her onto the plane.

We then went through customs and had just enough time to buy some water and flight supplies before they called the flight for boarding.

Be warned, this is not easy emotionally, the whole time I was on the verge of tears at the thought of leaving her in the hands of the airport staff!

What happens once you land:
At Heathrow we were told that when we got to Bangkok to catch our connecting flight to Chiang Mai we had to find Eden and check her before they put her on the next flight.
This was not the case.

Jmayel & I were running around Bangkok airport trying to find the desk we were told to go to. No member of staff knew what we were talking about.
We ended up at the flight connection desk, where a lady made a phone call and then 10 mins later told us that Eden had already been transferred to the next aircraft and everything was fine. We would see her in Chiang Mai.

Bare in mind, rules change in Thailand all the time, but we didn’t have to do anything in Bangkok and should have just leisurely made our way to the connecting flight instead of stressfully running around, with less than an hour to spare,  trying to locate something that wasn’t even there!

Once we arrived at our destination of Chiang Mai, we disembarked the plane and went to the baggage collection as you would normally.
We were told that as Eden was travelling as excess baggage she would come out on the carousel with the other cases.  
Once all the luggage had come off the plane, they turned the belt off, with no Eden coming out.
Immediately we went to the missing luggage desk where a very helpful man used his walkie talkie to contact the baggage staff. He told us not to worry and Eden was here and was on her way up.

Within a couple of minutes, the carousel was turned back on, and out came Eden!
Eden was absolutely fine, a bit hot and bothered, but she was excited to see us.

We then had to take her to the quarantine desk which was located inside the baggage hall.
Her papers were checked, they then took a photo of her through the kennel door and charged us the 100 baht fee.
This part took around 15 minutes.
 
Next we were taken to the Customs office, again located in the baggage claim just before the exit. The customs officer looked through the export papers and asked us the monetary value of our dog.
You are charged 30% of the value of the dog in import tax. But you can pretty much say any figure you want, they have no way of knowing how much you paid for your dog!
The value of Eden was £100, so we were told to pay 1500 baht.
We were then free to go once the fee was settled.

In total I would say, the time from when we got off the plane to when we were outside the airport with Eden, everything sorted, was around 45 minutes.

Sleeping Dog in Thailand

It took us around 2 months to gather all this information and sort out our dogs export from the UK to Thailand.  It was not an easy process to begin with  as we didn’t know where to start and having never done anything like this before it was all new to us! 

Eden has now settled in nicely to her new life in Thailand.  We are very happy we brought her with us, having her here makes it feel all the more like home.


Travelers Tails

To find out more about our travels and information on Thailand visit 8 miles from home. A blog about the Man, Woman and Dog behind Travelers Tails.

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