Moving your pets to Australia and worried about the process? We’ve got you covered with the top 6 tips that will help you (and your furry friend) enjoy a smooth and easy move!
If you’re a pet owner considering a move to Australia, you’re in luck! Australia is one of the most pet-friendly countries in the world, with every three in five Australian households owning pets – that’s over 60 percent of the total population. Moving, in general, can be a stressful affair, much less having to move with your furry little friend, so we’ve got you covered with 6 must-know tips to make moving your pets that much easier.
1. Check importing country’s requirements
Each country has their own set of importing regulations so it’s important to check these requirements before you embark on moving your pets. For Australia, cats and dogs can be imported under strict conditions designed to manage biosecurity risks. In addition, each country has been categorised by the Australian government under Groups 1, 2 or 3, which will determine whether or not moving your pets will require an import permit. You can refer to the handy step-by-step guide here to determine which group your home country has been categorised into. If your country of export does not appear in the list of Group 1, 2, or 3 countries, you will need to prepare your animal using the non-approved country via Group 2 or 3 country guide.
In addition, due to Australia’s unique biodiversity, there is strict regulation regarding the breed of pets allowed into the country. Whilst dogs and cats are the most common house pets, other unique animals such as reptiles, insects and terrestrial invertebrates are becoming increasingly popular pet options. Our tip? Check here if your pet’s breed falls under banned or restricted categories, as this might mean you will need additional clearances or paperwork to begin moving your pets.
2. Book quarantine slots
After moving your pets internationally, all dogs and cats have to spend a minimum of 10 days at the post-entry quarantine facility in Melbourne when they enter Australia from Group 2 and 3 countries, such as Europe, United Kingdom, USA and UAE. Pets arriving from New Zealand are not subject to a quarantine period because it is a rabies-free Group 1 country. These pets can travel directly to one of the four major ports – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, or Perth and immediately onto their new home.
Note: Your pet must be granted an import permit before it arrives in Australia and enters quarantine, so don’t leave securing an import permit to the last minute! As soon as you receive your pet’s import permit, make quarantine reservations at the Mickleham facility. Just like a hotel during peak travel season, spots are limited and can fill up fast, so the earlier you apply for a spot, the better. (FYI, having an import permit does not guarantee space availability at the quarantine facility.)
If your pet has special dietary or medical needs, provide this information on your pet’s import permit application. You also have to source your pet’s special food in Australia and have it posted to the quarantine facility along with a veterinary letter. Although you will not be able to visit your pet during the 10-day quarantine, rest assure that they will be well-taken care of by loving professionals at the facility!
COVID-19 update: Currently, COVID-19 does not affect pet quarantine or transportation to Melbourne. For more updates, refer to the official Australian government website here for the latest information regarding COVID-19 related issues.
3. Vaccinate and medical tests
It’s vaccination season! Just like humans, your beloved pets will have to undergo vaccination to ensure that moving your pets is a safe experience. For countries that fall under Group 2 and 3, a rabies vaccination is mandatory and has to be administered 200 to 210 days before arrival in Australia. In addition, a post-vaccination rabies titer test will be administered 170 prior to arrival for pets coming from Group 3 countries. In addition, all dogs travelling to Australia require mandatory vaccinations against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, Bordetella, and para-influenza. Cats travelling to Australia need to be vaccinated against feline enteritis, rhinotracheitis and calicivirus.
Your pet must also be treated against internal parasites twice before entering Australia, with the second treatment being within five days of your pet’s intended departure. In addition, cats need two treatments against external parasites, with the procedures being 14 days apart. Similarly, the second treatment must be within five days of your cat’s intended departure.
4. Secure all your permits
Regardless of your country’s status grouping, your pet has to undergo a pre-export clinical examination by a government-approved vet within five days of flying. The vet has to examine for external parasites and check for signs of infectious or contagious diseases. A veterinary health certificate will then be issued and signed by an official government veterinarian from your country. Note: This document must include the details of all the vaccinations and other health tests!
If you’re importing an assistance animal, there is a different set of permits required beyond an import permit. First, you will have to provide evidence that the pet is trained to assist a disabled person and that it meets the standards of hygiene and behaviour required for an animal in a public place. Then, supporting documentation must be submitted, including a declaration form and training form for the pet and a medical history form for its disabled owner (handler).
All pets entering Australia need to be implanted with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant microchip that can be read by an Avid, Destron or other ISO compliant readers. The microchip must be scanned after implantation, and the number must be recorded correctly on all your pet’s documents. Implanting the right microchip is critical because if the biosecurity officials cannot read it, or if the number is not recorded correctly in the documentation, your pet will not be allowed to enter Australia.
6. Preparing for the actual move
Acclimatising your pet
Space available for livestock is limited in each aircraft, so do make a booking for your pet well in advance. In addition, ensure that your pet travels in an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved air kennel.
Try to get your pet acclimatised to the kennel with their favourite toys or blanket before the flight so that it can feel more secure! As much as possible, try to avoid sedatives unless recommended by a licensed vet.
Whilst this is by no means the definitive list of the possible costs you could incur when moving your pets to Australia, this chart should help you in understanding what to be prepared for when budgeting for a pet’s move. Our suggestion? Engage the services of a trusted relocation service in order to streamline the experience for both you and your pet.
|Cost (in USD)
|Includes vaccines, blood work, and final health certificates.
|Cost for first pet, required to reserve quarantine.
|For additional pets.
|Includes entry fee, stay, daily feedings and other accommodations.
|Dependent on the size and weight of your pet.