Jump to content
  • The Pom Queen
    The Pom Queen

    Bringing Dogs and Cats in to Australia

    How to bring your pets to Australia

     Moving to a new country is a big move for you and your family, and chances are that if you know you’ll be gone for a while.

     We’ve put together some points for you to consider and research when asking yourself 

     1. Why bring your pet?

    There are plenty of people who move away from home or even overseas for years at a time without taking their pet with them. Should you bring yours along with you? What are the arguments for or against? Travel may be stressful, but is it less stressful than being rehomed? How well do you know the new home, what if their situation changes and your pet winds up at a shelter? If you’re not sure what’s right for you and your situation, talk to a vet or a specialist (like Bob at Petair) who can help you talk through your options. 


    2. One step at a time

    Just like people, your pets will need to have paperwork filed and go through customs before they can come into the country. The steps vary depending on your country of origin and the pet you’re bringing into the country. For example, pets from New Zealand and Norfolk Island don’t need an import permit to come to Australia, but animals from the UK and US do require an import permit. 

    If you’re transporting a dog, make sure your breed isn’t on the restricted list. If you have an unusual pet, you’ll need to do the extra research to see if your pet can be brought over, and what extra steps you might need to take (such as vaccinations).

    The transport process is complicated and takes a long time. The following screenshot is from the Australian government calculator indicating what steps need to be undertaken and by when. This screenshot shows the necessary dates for a dog being brought into Australia on the 1st of February, 2019.


     If you’re serious about bringing your pet, you’ll need to go through a number of steps to be able to bring them over. For more information on any of these steps, please visit the office Australian government website.


    Step 1: Contact the competent authority

    This happens before you begin the export process. You need to contact your local competent authority (in the country you’re leaving) to find out which veterinarians and laboratories can help you prepare your pet for export. They will also tell you if there are any additional requirements to take your pet out of the country.


    Step 2: Confirm general eligibility.

    This also happens before you begin the export process. You will need to check that your pet is eligible to be brought into Australia (this article covers some of the restrictions in Australia).

     Australia has some strict rules for which dog and cat breeds can and can’t be brought into the country, but fortunately the banned lists are fairly small.

    For dogs, animal hybrids (such as wolf-dog crosses) cannot be brought into the country. This includes (but is not limited to) the:

    • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak
    • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound
    • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog
    • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog.

     Also, if your dogo Argentino, fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier or pit bull terrier, or Perro de Presa Canario (or Presan Canario) are pure breeds, they cannot be imported.

    The following cat breeds cannot be imported to Australia:

    • Savannah cats (crossbreeding domestic cat (Felis catus) with Serval cat (Felis serval)
    • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
    • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
    • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). 
    Note: If your Bengal cat is more than five generations removed from its wild ancestors, it may be eligible for import.

    To make things even more complicated, some pet transportation companies won’t ship brachycephalic dog breeds. These are dog breeds with shortened faces, such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Chow Chows, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Bull Mastiffs and English Toy Spaniels. Fortunately PetAir can help you transport these breeds, as they have veterinarians available to ensure your dog is in good health before transportation.


    Step 3: Verify existing microchip, or implant a new microchip.

    The timeframe for this depends on vaccine validity. A government approved veterinarian must scan your pet’s microchip at each visit, and their microchip number must be correctly recorded on all documentation.


    Step 4: Check rabies vaccination.

    This step also depends on vaccine validity. Your pet must have been vaccinated against rabies when they were at least 90 days old, and the vaccine must be valid and approved by the country of export. 


    Step 5: Rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test

    Timeframe: Between 180 days and 24 months before the date of export. If your pet has only just been vaccinated against rabies, you will need to wait 3–4 weeks between the vaccination and RNAT test. 

    Note: There are no exceptions for this test, the 180 day waiting period is mandatory.


    Step 6: An official government veterinarian must complete the rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration

    This step must be completed before applying for the import permit.


    Step 7: Apply and pay for the import permit

    This must before done after you have received the completed rabies vaccination and RNAT test declaration, and at least 42 days before the proposed date of export.


    Step 8: Book tentative post entry quarantine accommodation and make travel arrangements

    This must be done after you have received your import permit. Not that your pet must arrive direct into Melbourne International Airport, and travel as manifested cargo (not in the cabin) in an IATA approved crate. Visit the official website for more information.


    Step 9: Check other vaccinations

    The timeframe for this step depends on the validity of your pet’s vaccination, and must be at least 14 days before the date of export.


    Step 10: External parasite treatment

    This needs to be started at least 21 days before the date of blood sampling for step 11 (below).


    NOTE: Steps 11–15 are for dogs only


    Step 11: Testing for Ehrlichia canis

    This must be done within 45 days before the date of export.

    Step 12: Testing for Brucella canis (Brucellosis)

    This must be done within 45 days before the date of export.


     Step 13: Testing for Leishmania infantum (Leishmaniosis)

    This must be done within 45 days before the date of export.


     Step 14: Testing for Leptospira canicola (Leptospirosis)

    This must be done within 45 days before the date of export.


    Step 15: (only if the dog has ever visited mainland Africa): Babesia canis treatment

    This must be done within 28 days before the date of export.


     Step 16: Internal parasite treatments

    This involves two treatments, at least 14 days apart, within 45 days before the date of export, and the second treatment is to be given within 5 days of travelling.


    Step 17: Pre export clinical examination

    Your pet must be examined by a government approved veterinarian within 5 days of travelling.


    Step 18: Completion of veterinary health certificate (Appendix 1)

    The veterinary health certificate must be completed within 5 days of travelling.


    Step 19: Travel to Australia

    Your pet must travel in an IATA approved crate, and must arrive in Australia before the import permit expires.


    Step 20: On arrival in Australia

    Your pet will be collected by department staff to be transported directly to Mickleham (the quarantine facility), where they will stay for a minimum of 10 days.



    Most animals are only in Australian quarantine for 10 days, and you cannot visit your pet during this time. If your pet is in for a longer period of time, however, you may be able to request a visit with the quarantine facility. Your animals will be exercised, groomed and fed by the facility staff – if your pet has special dietary requirements, these should be mentioned on the paperwork under ‘special needs’. If your pet has any medical conditions, they should also be outlined on the booking paperwork. As there are no vets based at the facility, if your pet requires veterinary attention during its stay in quarantine, a private vet will be called and you will be invoiced separately.

    Generally the quarantine staff will contact you if there are any issues with your pet while they’re in quarantine, so if you don’t hear anything, then you know it’s all going well.


    From quarantine to home

    The quarantine facility in Australia is in Melbourne, so if you’ve settled in another state, it might be worth weighing your pet transport options carefully. You can pick your pet up yourself by car by heading to the facility with a cage/crate, or you can arrange to have your dog flown to you with a domestic pet transporter such as Baycity (the cheapest), Jet Pets, Dogtainers or others.

    Once again the total cost will depend on the service you’re after. Some places will charge $1000 for a door-to-door service, whereas some providers will fly your pet from Melbourne to Perth for around $200. You can also choose to fly and bring your pet back home with you, checking your pet as excess baggage. With Virgin Airlines, you pay between $85 for a dog up to 10kg, and $165 for a 30kg dog. It really depends on your lifestyle and what suits you best, but at least there are plenty of options for picking your pet up from quarantine.

    3. Finding a pet transporter

    Obviously you will need to find someone to bring your pet over. There are plenty of companies that will offer pet transportation as a service, but it pays to do your research. When it comes to transporting a living thing (especially one you care about) finding the cheapest offer might not be best choice, you need to find the right transport company to fit your needs. 

    The paperwork to bring pets into Australia is famously difficult, and if it’s not in order your pet will either be quarantined for longer, or sent even home. There are also a lot of transport requirements that aren’t just about paperwork (such as blood tests), and it helps to have professionals who know what needs to be done. One company that stands out is PetairUK;while they aren’t the cheapest, they’re the only pet transportation company run by veterinarians, and they come recommended by people all over the world.

    Transporting pets to Australia is often quite expensive, so if you have the time, start looking for quotes early so you know what to expect as you’re getting ready to move, especially as costs can range from £1000–5000.


     4. Knowing your needs

    Everybody’s needs are different, and a big part of picking the right pet transporter is making sure they offer the right service for you. A more reputable provider will offer more services to help ensure that you and your pet are treated well at both ends of the trip. For example, Petairoffer services that include all veterinary work and tests, specially-built crates and door-to-door service, as well as helping you with your quarantine fees and transporting your pet to your address etc.


    5. Home again home again

    After such a long ordeal, your pet will likely need some time to settle into their new environment (and possibly climate!). More than anything though, they’ll likely be very happy to be seeing you again and know that they’re still part of the family. Make sure you have their favourite toys and blankets etc. at the ready for when they come home, and they’ll settle in quicker than you’d imagine. If you’ve brought a dog, don’t be afraid to take them out for a walk and get to know their new neighbourhood. Any concerns will melt away in the face of curiosity.


    So there you have it! Hopefully that has been a helpful overview of what’s involved in transporting your pet into Australia from overseas. If you’re worried about the potential stresses of moving your pet, remember that to them it’s not so different

    • Like 1

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.