Pet Travel to Australia

“Bazz enjoying his time in Australia”

Taking dogs & cats to Australia can be a complicated process.

The Australian Department of Agriculture places great emphasis on protecting their natural flora and fauna. As such there are a number of conditions that must be met in order to successfully travel with your cat or dog to Australia.

To complicate matters further, these rules change regularly – sometimes for the better, and sometimes for worse! As a result of these changes, it is unfortunate that many articles on taking dogs to Australia are significantly out-of-date and give advice that is no longer relevant.

In this continually-updated guide, you’ll learn the most current guidance for transporting pets to Australia.

Quarantine Rules for Taking Pets to Australia

Over the last few years two major changes have been made to how pets gain entry to Australia.

Firstly from the 3rd February 2014 cats and dogs travelling to Australia no longer require 30 days in quarantine (Hooray!)

The quarantine period is now 10 days – like New Zealand.

However, the rabies vaccination and RNAT test (Rabies Neutralising Anti-body Titre Test) is STILL a requirement and there is STILL a waiting period! (Boo!).

The second change is that the Australian government has been making changes to the quarantine facilities available to those looking to import cats and dogs.

Just a few years ago there were three entry points to the country; Eastern Creek in Sydney, Spotswood in Melbourne and Byford in Perth. As reported here Perth closed in 2013 due to repeated forest fire damage.

But now, all animal imports are to arrive at one central facility – Mickleham in Victoria.

As of November 2015 all dogs and cats entering Australia will now be housed at this facility for their 10 days of quarantine – meaning that all cats and dogs can only fly in to Melbourne airport.

This means that thought will have to put in to how you will collect your pet if you’re relocating to a different part of Australia.

What Pets Can Be Taken to Australia?

Australia classifies the exporting country into one of three categories. Fortunately, the UK is one of those countries which may transport pets to Australia. However, not all pets are allowed entry to Australia.

Taking Dogs to Australia

Assuming your dog meets a number of rules, it may be transported from the UK to Australia.

Firstly, you should be aware that a number of “fighting” breeds are not permitted within Australia. At present the following breeds are banned:

  • Dogo Argentino
    • Fila Brazileiro
    • Japanese Tosa’s
    • Pit Bull Terriers
    • Presa Canaria

Furthermore, restrictions exist both with how long your dog has been within the UK, and pregnant dogs may only be transported up to three weeks of gestation.

Assuming your dog meets these requirements then you will be allowed to transport it to Australia, assuming the health and paperwork restrictions outlined below are all met.

Taking your dog to Australia can seem like a daunting task, but our dog shipping experts will be able to guide you every step of the way and advise on veterinary work, blood tests, vaccinations, quarantine and paperwork. Pet travel to Australia does require a lot of preparation, so we suggest you contact our dog shipping experts as far in advance of travel as possible so that we can discuss the process with you step-by-step.

We can transport many types of dog to Australia including Labradors, Alsatians, Spaniels, Jack Russells, German Shepherds and many more – however transporting bulldogs to Australia or snub-nosed dogs to Australia can be slightly more complicated, as many airlines have restrictions on these breeds. If you have a snub nose dog to take to Australia, please contact us and one of our pet relocation specialists will be able to discuss the possible routes and options with you.

Taking Cats to Australia

It is slightly less complicated to arrange the relocation of cats to Australia than it is dogs, however, there are still strict rules and regulations which need to be followed when shipping cats to Australia and the same rules apply regarding rabies vaccinations, blood testing, quarantine and paperwork.

Other Pets

Australia maintains tight rules on other types of pets which can be imported. For example it is not possible to import pet fish, reptiles or small mammals such as rabbits. If in doubt you can check the latest information on approved pets here.

Rules Regarding Rabies Vaccination and Testing

Assuming your pet meets the criteria set out above, the next consideration is the health requirements that must be met.

Your cat or dog must be vaccinated against rabies AT LEAST 180 days prior to travel. The vaccination must still be valid at the time of leaving the UK (3-year rabies vaccine is accepted!) and pets must be more than 12 weeks old at the time of vaccination.

Your cat or dog will then need to have the RNAT test, and this must be carried out AT LEAST 180 days prior to travel, and NO MORE than 24 months prior to travel.

So, as an example! For a pet over 12 weeks of age that has never been vaccinated against rabies:

Step 1 – get your pet vaccinated against rabies!

Step 2 – have the RNAT test! But bear in mind since the pet has just had its primary vaccination, it is recommended to wait around 4 weeks before having the blood test, to ensure satisfactory test results.

Providing test results are satisfactory, the 180-day countdown starts from the date the blood sample was received at the testing laboratory- after 180 days have passed, your pet is free to travel to Australia and upon arrival, they will spend 10 days in the quarantine station.

Paperwork for Taking Dogs and Cats to Australia

The above vaccinations and veterinary tests are just a start. Before you can transport your pet to Australia you’ll also need to have the following paperwork in order:

  • DEFRA Export Health Certificate from the UK government.
  • Import permit from the Australian government.
  • Pre-booking at the Australian quarantine centre.

Need Help Taking Your Pets to Australia?

Now all you need to arrange is, testing, treatments, vaccinations, quarantine, permits, more tests, more treatments, export papers…..YIKES! A lot to take care of, Where do you start?

Well luckily for you we have provided an easy to follow, step-by-step guide for transporting your cat or dog to Australia, to receive this all you need to do is request a quotation and one of our Australian pet travel experts will be back in touch.