Transporting a dog from Bali to the UK

There are a few difficulties with taking a dog out of Bali as it is illegal but it isn’t impossible, as in Panda’s story.


The first thing you should know if you want to take a dog out of Bali is that it is currently illegal to do so. This may sound like the be all and end all and sound impossible but there are ways around this. There are a few companies who essentially smuggle the dogs by car to Java so that they can then fly out of Jakarta (which is legal).  So the first thing you may want to do is start looking for a company that does this - the one we used was very helpful and they sent us photos of Panda all throughout the journey as well as updates.

Once you have sorted someone to take the dog across to Jakarta you can start the process of preparing your dog as they can be flown out of the country with a few preparations that will take up to 4 months. The first thing they will need is a microchip followed by a rabies shot - these can be done on the same day or you can put the microchip in earlier than the rabies vaccination. This of course leads us onto the rabies vaccination - your dog must be at least 3 months old to get this done and you must travel within one year of your dog receiving the vaccine, or give an annual booster before the validity expires.

Next your dog will need a Rabies serology test - this is essentially a test to check that your dog has sufficient antibodies against rabies. This test can be done from 30 days after the rabies vaccination. It must be sent to an EU-approved lab - your vet can usually sort this out for you - ours was sent to one in Scotland called Biobest laboratories. The results must be equal to or over 0.5 IU/ml – if your dog’s result comes back less than this you will have to unfortunately restart the process (which we had to do twice). If the results are good your dog can the depart the country 3 months after the date of the blood sampling.

When we were trying to take Panda out, dogs could only be sent to the UK as manifest cargo - meaning you must pay someone to handle your dog in the UK and take him through customs, because of this we decided to fly Panda to Amsterdam where you can pick your dog up in the same place you would pick up your luggage and take him through customs yourself – it was also a direct flight from Jakarta which we thought would put the least stress on him.

For your pet to leave Indonesia you will need an export permit and an international health certificate.  Luckily since we were already paying a transporter to take Panda to Jakarta, he sorted all of this for us and also supplied the airline standard crate for us. If you want to sort the paperwork yourself you just need to know that it takes 3-4 weeks to obtain the export permit and it’s only valid for one month after its date of issue. The international health certificate will be issued by a government vet in Jakarta 2 days prior to departure – again this was all sorted for us as we were not in Jakarta at the time - we just needed to send a copy of our passport, Panda’s original vaccination books and his original rabies serology test certificate to the transporter and it was all sorted for us.

My mother was kind enough to fly over to Jakarta for us as Jordan and I had both just started new jobs in the UK - however we did go over to Amsterdam to greet them both back from their journey. From what she told us the Transporter met her at Jakarta airport with Panda, and helped her with all the paperwork and checking Panda in and then all she had to do was pick him up by baggage claims in Amsterdam.

To get into the UK you will also need your dog to be given a tapeworm treatment 1 to 5 days prior to arrival in the UK – so depending on how long you want to stay in Europe it can be done before or after leaving Indonesia – as we drove straight back to the UK, Panda’s was done in Indonesia. If you’re going to stay in mainland Europe you don’t need this as far as I’m aware (but please check!). 

You need to book the dog onto the Eurotunnel or ferry in advance.  All the paperwork and microchip are checked at Pet Reception at Eurotunnel Calais or the European ferry terminals before you can board.