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Moving pets to Australia

Posted by By Kirsty Parsons - November 20, 2014

Moving pets to AustraliaRelocating to the other side of the world can be tough on the whole family – and not just the human members; moving pets internationally can be a stressful process for all involved. If you’re currently in the process of figuring out how to start moving pets to Australia, then here’s what you should know…


  1. Australia is incredibly strict when it comes to the importation of animals. As such, there are only certain animals that are actually allowed into the country – and of those, there are complex rules that the person importing must adhere to. With regards to moving pets to Australia, it’s fine to import cats, dogs and horses from countries approved by the Government, but anything else is a no-go. This includes animals like hamsters, snakes, spiders, fish, mice, ferrets and chinchillas. Selected breeds of rabbit and birds are allowed in, but only if they’re coming from New Zealand.
  2. Further to that, if you’re thinking of importing your dog then you need to check it’s one of the approved breeds – certain dog breeds are prohibited from entering Australia at the moment, including the Pit Bull Terrier/American Pit Bull, the Dogo Argentino, the Fila Brasileiro, the Japanese Tosa, the Perrode Presa Canario and the Presa Canario.
  3. All animals coming into Australia MUST be accompanied by a valid import permit. The conditions of the permit must be adhered to rigidly, and all preparation your pet undergoes to pertain the permit must be carried out by a Government Approved Veterinarian or Official Government Veterinarian.
  4. You need to start your pet’s import preparations around 6 months prior to your departure. Start with a trip to your vets to ensure the animals you’re moving are microchipped with the correct information and all of their vaccinations are up to date/administer any that are due.
  5. The most important vaccination to be aware of is the one for rabies. During your initial consultation with the vet, you will need to get your cat or dog’s blood tested to ensure they are fully protected against the disease. Once you have the test results confirmed, you’ll need to take them to an Official Government Veterinarian so that they can issue a rabies declaration form, as required by the Australian Government Department of Agriculutre (AGDA).
  6. At this point, once your pet has been declared rabies free, you can go on to apply for an Australian import permit and blank health certificate from the AGDA.
  7. Regardless of their health, all cats and dogs must complete at least 10 days in quarantine when they reach Australia, so around five months prior to your move you should think about booking them into a quarantine facility. Of course, this will all depend on how your arrangements pan out – and quarantine is something that can be sorted at almost any stage of the moving process – but for peace of mind, being organised and booking it in advance relieves the pressure of trying to do it last minute.
  8. Around one month before your move, take your cats and dogs back to the vets. They’ll need to be given an up to date dose of tick and worm treatment and dogs will need to be tested and/or treated for Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Leishmaniasis and Ehrlichiosis. Any dogs being exported from the US will also need to have a booster vaccination for canine influenza.
  9. One week before departure you’ll need one final trip to the vets. Any final doses of tick or worm treatment should be given now and the vet should perform a clinical examination to confirm that your cat or dog is officially ‘free from ticks and clinical signs of infectious and contagious disease’. All medical notes should be updated and signed.
  10. Finally, a couple of days before you’re due to go, take all of your pet’s paperwork to an Official Government Vet so that they can complete and sign the official health certificate.
  11. One thing you will need to be aware of when moving pets to Australia is the potential threat of heat stroke. The Australian climate is nothing like that of the UK’s, and the sudden introduction of extreme heat can be a shock to your pet – particularly if they already have a pre-existing medical condition. Snub-nose breeds of dogs (like pugs), animals with long or thick hair and those that are overweight are also at increased risk of developing heatstroke – particularly if you’re moving during the height of the Australian summer (between December and February) where temperatures can peak at over 40°. If you’re concerned about your pet developing heat stroke then speak to your vet about their recommendations. Clip your any coats before departure for long haired animals and speak to your airline to ensure they will have access to fresh water and ventilation during the flight. If you’re really concerned, then it might even be worth trying to arrange your pet’s flight so that it arrives early in the morning/late evening when the temperature is slightly more comfortable.

For more information on moving pets to Australia, or anywhere else worldwide, you can watch a video on our Pet Transport & Relocation page.


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Topics: Australia, Pets

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