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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What happens when my pet arrives at Gatwick Airport?

Download PDF – Arrivals Guide

Q. How long does the process of collecting my pet take?

Assuming that all documentation is in order the quickest time from an aircraft’s arrival time to a pet being released to enter the UK is likely to be in the region of 2.5 hours for European flights and around 3 hours for arrivals from outside Europe.

Q. Can I contact the Animal Reception Centre when I arrive at Gatwick Airport?

We are quite happy for you to advise us that you have arrived and that you will be on your way over to us but please be aware that your pet may not yet be with us at the Animal Reception Centre at the time of your call. Please also be aware that if we are in the process of receiving your pet from the airline’s ground handling company we may not be in a position to immediately respond to your call.

Q. Can my pet travel in the aircraft cabin?

Only trained Assistance/Service dogs are allowed to travel in aircraft cabins.  Please see the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) website for more information and always contact your airline in advance in order to verify their policy.

Q. Where can I purchase a travel container for my pet?

We sell a small selection of travelling boxes at the Gatwick Airport Animal Reception Centre. For more information regarding travel containers and minimum size requirements for your pet please go to our: Services-Travelling Boxes page.

Q. What happens to my pet following its arrival at the Animal Reception Centre?

All arriving pets are removed from their travelling boxes, checked over and offered water.  They are then placed into a kennel until their UK entry checks and customs clearance have been satisfactorily completed. We do not feed pets on arrival as there is always another journey involved before they reach their final destination.

Q. What happens to the travelling box once I have collected my pet?

Travelling boxes are the owner’s property and should be collected with your pet. Owing to a lack of storage space at the Animal Reception Centre we regret that we are unable to hold onto them for you for future use. For a small fee we are able to offer a disposal service if that is preferable.

Q. Do I need to pay any charges when I arrive at Gatwick Airport?

Normally the airline will include the costs for the Animal Reception Centre’s handling and documentation checks within their charge for the shipping of the pet. If, however, we are acting as your customs clearing agent then we will collect all applicable charges here at the airport.

Q. What if I need a local hotel that will also accommodate my pet?

We hold a list of Pet-Friendly Hotels in the Gatwick Airport area. Please ask at Reception for any help.

Q. Can I see my pet while I am waiting at the Animal Reception Centre?

We are located in a secure, access-controlled warehouse and unfortunately there is no public access.  Your pet will be safe, very secure and well looked after, and we will re-unite you with them as quickly as we possibly can.

Q. Can I send you my pet’s documentation in advance?

We are very happy to check over your pet’s paperwork in advance but are unable to offer a Pre-Clearance service. Clearance to enter the UK can only be issued on arrival, once we have physically seen your pet and inspected its original documentation.

Q. Do I need to travel on the same flight as my pet?

No, if you let us know your own travel arrangements then we can arrange extended accommodation for your pet, should that be required (please note that an additional charge may be applicable). Please refer to our: Services – Boarding page.

Q. Do I need to bring anything with me when I collect my pet?

The Consignee (the person receiving/collecting the pet) will need to bring photographic ID with them.  It is also a good idea to bring a spare collar and lead for your dog.

Q. Can I collect any bedding that I place in the box?

Any UK Customs-permissible items which you had placed in the travelling box for your pet’s comfort can be collected with your pet. We will bag up and return any soiled bedding to pet owners.


“Hello, I wanted to get in contact to say a huge thank you to all the help that was provided by Gatwick Animal Centre in relation to the transport of my little puppy Milo (golden Labrador). We travelled to Bermuda last Monday and while Milo was a bit shaky after the flight, it was a short-lived experience and I’m happy to report he is now terrorising our home : ) The care and attention he got was absolutely super and also the reassurances made to me.”

Bob H. (Plymouth)

“This is a big thank you for your clear love towards all the animals. We are home and she is out exploring her new home, came straight out of her travel box and relaxed, absolutely fantastic.”

Pamela P. (Cheltenham)

“Thank you, that's a big help and has put my mind at ease. Thank you for your prompt reply.”

Joe M. (Dorset)

“Thank you both very much for taking care of Ludo and ensuring that he was able to return to Ireland safely. It was great to know that he was looked after for his overnight stay in Gatwick.”

Suzanne J. (Dublin)

“I want to thank you all so much for looking after his wellbeing at both Toronto and Gatwick. I heard at Gatwick that you let him out to stretch his legs and use the litter tray. He was also clean with a clean kennel upon my arrival. Although a stressful time (for us both) he is home now and seems to be doing well. Thank you all so much for caring, it truly means a lot to me!”

Carole J. (Brighton)

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