Moving a dog or a cat to Australia


Moving a dog or a cat to Australia

If you are planning to move to Australia, you will have a whole range of activities to plan, which could include selling your home, finding a property in Australia, locating a school and the planning of the shipping of your goods.  If you have a pet and you plan to take this important family member with you, you will need to contact the experts and understand the details.

If you are moving to Australia, the government has set rules regarding the import of animals and which vary depending on the type of animal and the country the animal is originating from.

These rules are set out by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Dogs, cats and horses are generally always allowed into the country if they have followed the correct procedures.

Importing dogs and cats tends to be relatively straight forward if you follow the procedure outlined by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service.    The procedure for importing a pet to Australia from the UK is outlined below:

Step 1:  Confirm that your pet is eligible to enter Australia,  some breeds of pet are banned  .

Step 2:   Arrange with your vet to have your animal micro chipped and vaccinated against rabies. (The initial rabies vaccination, or booster if pet has been previously vaccinated, must be no more than a year old at the time of export.)

You will then need to arrange a Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test. The quarantine ‘period’ will start from the date of blood sampling for the RNATT test (providing results are satisfactory). Total quarantine period is 180 days.  Pets must spend a minimum of 60 days in the UK after blood sampling and a minimum period of 30 days in the quarantine station upon arrival in Australia. The remaining 90 days to make up the 180 day total, can either be spent in the UK, or added to quarantine time spent in Australia.

Step 3:   Apply for an import permit- permits usually take around 14 working days to process and once issued, are valid for 6 months.

Step 4:   If your animal is approved, AQIS will issue a permit, which will need to accompany your pet during travel.

Step 5:  Book quarantine accommodation – there are quarantine stations in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne and demand for accommodation can be high, so it is advisable to book quarantine in advance.

Step 6:   Locate a Government Approved Vet in your home country and arrange to apply for a DEFRA (Department for environment, food and rural affairs) Export Health Certificate (Your pet travel agent will assist you with this).

Step 7:  Contact a pet shipper to get the cost of shipping to Australia.  Measure your animal so an air kennel can be built of the right dimensions.

Step 8:   Ensure the necessary vaccinations have been administered no more than one year and no less than 14 days prior to export. For dogs, further blood tests and treatments will need to be arranged within the 30 days prior to export.

Step 9:  Your animal should have parasite treatment within four days of export

Ste0 10:  Your pet will need a final check-up no more than 4 days prior to export, at which point your vet will sign off part A of the DEFRA Export Health Certificate.

Step 11:  Part B of the DEFRA Export Health Certificate will be completed by the airport vet once the pet has checked in for the flight (your pet shipping agent will arrange this)

As well as following this procedure, there are other things that you will need to consider when moving a pet to ensure comfort.

You need to ensure that you have the right sized travel kennel for your pet, there are strict rules and regulations regarding kennel size and your pet travel agent will be able to assist and advise on a suitable sized travel crate. It is extremely important to get your pet acclimatized to its travel kennel prior to flight. Always double check your pet’s health documents before leaving as there may be something that you have missed and this could result in your bet not being granted admission to Australia.

Your pet is an important part of your move and your removal company should be able to build your pet move into your move plan.

Pickfords works with specialist pet shippers to help take care of this important details when you plan to move overseas.

For more information visit  and

For more information on moving to Australia contact your local branch of Pickfords on 0800 289 229

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