Transporting Dogs & Cats to Australia

taking pets to Australia

Australia is the single most popular destination for Brits moving abroad. It’s hardly surprising; expats living in Australia report that they feel safer, have more disposable income, more free time and a better quality of life. What’s not to love? On top of all this, the Australian climate makes for a fantastic outdoor existence – surely one that your dog or cat will love, rather having put up with cold, damp Britain.

So if you’re heading off to Oz shortly and need to know about transporting your dog or cat you’ve come to the right place. The first, and arguably most critical, point that you need to know is that you’re going to have to plan well in advance of your departure. Unlike some other world destinations, taking your cat or dog to Australia requires at least 6 months of pre-planning. It is hardly an impulse decision therefore; it requires time and planning if your pet is to join you on your antipodean adventure.

The reason for this length of planning is that Australia requires both cats and dogs to have received a rabies vaccination not less than 180 days before travel. This is arduous enough but there is more that you need to be aware of. Firstly you’ll need to wait around 4 weeks if this is your pet’s first rabies vaccination to allow your pet to build up resistance that can be measured and confirmed by a veterinary professional.

From here your dog or cat will need to undergo what is known as an RNAT test. RNAT stands for Rabies Neutralizing Anti-body Titre test and serves to prove that your pet has built up the necessary level of rabies antibodies required by the Australian government.

Once the test results have been approved you then just need to wait at least 180 days before departing for Australia.

Hopefully by now you’re starting to see why it is so necessary to plan well in advance if you’re planning to export your dog or cat from the UK to Australia.

While all this may sound like bad news there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. For one, Australia recently relaxed its previously infuriating quarantine requirements, which meant even on arrival your pet would remain in a quarantine facility for 30 days – often at considerable cost.

These days the quarantine requirements have been halved, meaning that your dog or cat will need to remain in quarantine for half the time that it used to. This does make life rather easier than it used to be, and ensures that your dog will be running riot across those beautiful sandy beaches weeks earlier than they otherwise would.

Note that these quarantine rules apply to all dogs and cats – even those in perfect health that have successfully met all of the vaccination-related requirements of the Australian government.