Moving to Australia with your pets

Moving to Australia with your beloved pets has become much easier since a shorter quarantine period for domestic animals was introduced in Australia in February 2014. If your dog or cat is healthy and tick free you can expect to be reunited with them after only 10 days of their arrival in Australia.

Australia is a very pet-friendly place and it is a popular destination for people moving with their pets. Dogs are allowed in most public places. Places where dogs are not welcome are usually clearly marked with ‘Dogs not allowed’ signs. In some public places dogs must be kept on a leash. 

While there is quite a bit of organisation involved (paperwork, vet checks, micro-chipping) and a long haul flight for your pet, with a little bit of planning and some expense your pets can move to Australia with you to enjoy the outdoors lifestyle.

Importing your pet

To import your pet you must comply with certain conditions which are set by the Australian Department of Agriculture. These conditions differ depending on which country you are moving from. The purpose of these conditions is to ensure that Australia remains free of diseases such as rabies.

Did you know that if you are moving to Australia from New Zealand your cat or dog does not require an import permit to enter Australia?

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture has a very helpful online tool you can use to enter your pet (dog or cat), your country of origin and the expected date of your pet’s departure. You are then provided with a tailored step-by-step guide of exactly what you will need to do to import your pet including all the necessary veterinary visits, permit applications and quarantine bookings you will need to make.

In all cases, except for NZ, to move your pet to Australia you will need to fill in an import permit application form and pay an application fee in AUD. Your application can be lodged and paid for online. The average application processing time is 20 days. You will also need to pay for your pet’s accommodation in a quarantine facility.

To enter quarantine in Australia your dog or cat will need to have been granted an import permit prior to their arrival in Australia.

The Department of Agriculture runs two quarantine facilities – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne. It is advisable to book ahead as places can be limited.

Note that importation fees increased in July 2014. For up-to-date fees visit this page on the Department of Agriculture’s website

Tips on how to transport your pet

Space in the livestock hold of aircraft is limited so book with your airline of choice well in advance. Pets must travel in International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved air kennels. Visit the IATA website for more information.

Tip 1: Getting your pet used to the kennel prior to the flight can help make them feel more secure during the flight.

Tip 2: Sedatives are not recommended – speak to your vet if you have concerns about how your dog or cat will cope with the flight.

Visit the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association's website if you plan to move to Australia with your pet. It has contacts for pet transportation companies plus information on all the other aspects of shipping your pet.

This article covers general information about Moving your pets to Australia , and doesn't take your individual circumstances into account. Please use it as a guide only.

photo credit: fra.ps via photopin cc