Bringing Your Pet to Australia

Can I bring my pet dog/cat/rabbit?

Rabbit? No! Australia is not keen on rabbits, but they definitely are a pet loving nation with dogs and cats at the top of the list. Thousands of pet owners bring their dogs and cats with them when they migrate to Australia, dogbut….

Is it a good idea?

We brought our pet dog Baggy with us, but it wasn’t cheap. But had we left him behind, we would have paid a bigger price. My wife and daughter both dote on him and, in the early stages, it can be quite tough adapting to your new Australian surroundings.

You’ve said goodbye to your friends and family, you’ve left your hometown, your children have had to leave their friends and their school behind, so if you can help it, don’t leave the dog behind (or cat!).

All dogs and cats coming into Australia need to spend a period of time in quarantine. Quarantine is run by AQIS, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. They, in turn, are part of the Department of Agriculture and they are all part of the Australian Government.

How long your pet will spend in quarantine depends on which country you are coming from, but, for example, it’s just one month 10 days (for qualifying pets as of March 2014) when coming from the UK.

To find out more…..

Visit cat-dogs

…which covers cats and dogs. For other pets…..

Visit all imported livestock

I regret to inform you, that at the time of writing, spiders and snakes cannot be imported into Australia. Perhaps it’s because we already got some. Hehe!

Thinking of Exporting Your Pet to Australia?

When we brought our dog with us, we arranged for somebody to go in to the quarantine station to see him regularly and take him for walks. But it wasn’t easy to organise. Since we’ve lived here, my wife started a company that did do just that called Dog Walks Pty Ltd.

The company was established in the middle of 2008 and she has made hundreds and hundreds of dogs and cats very happy. We have now closed the DogWalks Gallery, but we used to have literally thousands and thousands of pictures of smiling doggie faces on display.

Sadly, her Dog Walks team can no longer physically visit pets or walk dogs in quarantine. Rule changes by the Australian Government put an end to that which now means…

  • No visits
  • No exercise
  • No treats
  • No idea what the facilities are like inside quarantine
  • No photographs
  • No updates (even telephone calls to quarantine staff are not allowed)
  • No playtime
  • No toys
  • Absolutely no contact whatsoever

ebook_coverA scary prospect for a loving pet owner, for sure. In fact the whole process of exporting your pet from beginning to end is quite daunting. To help you though, Karen has written a guide, to find out more please visit Dogwalks for more information, see…

More Useful Links:

You can read Baggy’s Story here.

…and even more about Baggy here.

I also have a post about rabbits in Australia.



Warning! If you are bringing your own pet, you’ll want to know how much it costs. Sit down before reading this, is a bit of a shocker. This is how much it cost us to bring Baggy to Australia.

Also, be sure to read Pravdaseeker’s comments below about how much it cost to bring his to dogs over from the USA.

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{ 305 comments… add one }
  • scott October 11, 2016, 10:19 pm | Link

    I was wondering if anyone could help. I am looking into taking my cat and dog over to Australia when I go over next year, but I have been advised to check if my animals have had (lepto vaccine) because this can be an issue about their travel to OZ, just wondering if anyone has ever encountered this before.

    kind regards


    • BobinOz October 12, 2016, 8:35 pm | Link

      I’m not sure what it does exactly, but I think it’s a vaccine that pets generally have here in Australia once a year. I would ask your vet about it, I’m sure they have this vaccine where ever you are at the moment. Hope that helps, Bob

      • Leon Raath October 15, 2016, 4:11 am | Link

        Hi we are wanting to bring a female alsashin into Australia from south Africa next year some time do you know what the cost is for the whole process and how long does it take

        • BobinOz October 17, 2016, 5:11 pm | Link

          The biggest part of the cost will be your flights from South Africa to Melbourne, and I have no idea how much they will cost you. The best way for you to get an idea of the cost would be to approach a pet exporter in SA who is IPATA registered to ask them for a quote.

          You can also use the links on this page to visit the government site to find out the fees for quarantine. Hope that helps, Bob

  • Tara July 20, 2016, 8:52 am | Link

    Main point – is there any kind of agency or assistance for bringing my cat, Zoe, from Canada to Brisbane? Anyone who can answer questions and possibly help me with any possibility of expediting the process?? (dreaming with fingers crossed)
    I was born in Calgary, grew up in Brisbane, have lived in Calgary again and am headed back “home” again. Though I am lucky to have dual citizenship, my fur baby will not receive the same luxury it seems.
    Your website has proven wonderful with so many avenues of information. It has given me good and bad news about Zoe coming home with me. I can’t believe 3 months is not long enough & I should have started the process in March to bring her with me in October. I am heartbroken as she is such a “people” cat, she is disturbed if I am away for a week, let alone 4 months without me (and let’s not even start how I am going to cope without her furry hugs). Then the 10 days without visits !!!!! 🙁
    I am a little lost today and need to process this information further. Please please direct me to any other companies or agencies that might offer the help I mention (not the travel companies. Though they are great with logistics, they can’t help much with actual options or possibilities of special consideration etc).
    Thank you again.

    • BobinOz July 20, 2016, 11:40 pm | Link

      Unless anybody else knows anything different, I think you’re best options for assistance with this would be by firstly using a vet who knows exactly how this whole process works. I believe there are vets that are somehow endorsed by Australia for this purpose in some way.

      Secondly, you will also get help from a good pet exporter company. They don’t just help with the transport, they do also know how this process works. What you need to do is find a company local to you, preferably one that is IPATA registered, if you Google that you will see who they are.

      There are no shortcuts I’m afraid, so I think you’ll need to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. Good luck, Bob

    • Sean July 21, 2016, 3:25 pm | Link

      Hi Tara,

      Bob is correct. There is no way to shorten the process and as Canada is a Category 3 country it will take at the bare minimum 7-8 months for the process to be completed. Any attempt to try to shorten the process will see part all all of it rejected by the Department of agriculture and the process will have to be started over. Any attempt to bring the Cat in without completing the process will see it returned to Canada or destroyed. Nobody would want that.


  • Ederlee Anne Rodrigo July 2, 2016, 2:44 am | Link

    Hi! I would like to ask what is Baggy’s breed? Im planning to bring my 5 furry babies which are shih tzu from Philippines to Australia 🙁 what airlines shipped Baggy? Thank you so much

    • BobinOz July 3, 2016, 1:25 am | Link

      Baggy was a chocolate lab, and I think he flew with British Airways. We came from the UK to Australia though, so I’m sure you would probably need to select a different airline to bring your pets over from Philippines.

      • Ashleigh September 13, 2016, 6:54 pm | Link

        Hey BobinOz,

      • Ashleigh September 13, 2016, 6:56 pm | Link

        Hey BobinOz, I’ve also got a chocolate lab and want to bring him to Australia. If my company are looking to get me over there by the end of the year, how long did your process take (was it recently you done it?), and whats the rough costs I’d be looking at? – any help apprecaited! 🙂

        • BobinOz September 13, 2016, 11:42 pm | Link

          I think we started the process about six months in advance, maybe more, but for us it was nine years ago now, things may well have changed. If you click through on the ‘Visit cat-dogs’ link in the above article and go through the calculator, it will tell you exactly what the timeline is these days. As for cost, that depends where you’re coming from, but if your company wants you to move for them, maybe they should foot the bill? 🙂

    • J September 27, 2016, 4:59 pm | Link

      Hi! I flew my shih tzu from Aus to america in cabin! If you fly through united airlines and provide them with a medical certificate stating they are your emotional therapy dog then they can fly cabin with you..but this would be to one dog..unless your other family members do the same..i would not put them in cargo..too risky given their smoothed faces! and they are very sensitive dogs too!

      • BobinOz October 2, 2016, 6:04 pm | Link

        That may have worked for you Australia to America, but I don’t think it will work for anyone wanting to arrive in Australia with their dog. As far as I am aware, all dogs and cats arriving here on international flights would need to be in the designated cargo area under quarantine conditions.

  • lea villani June 15, 2016, 9:04 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    Thank you for all info on your website
    I’m trying to bring my 2 cats from France to Sydney, and I found several answers on internet on how we can bring them. Can we choose the airlines company, or do we have to pay for an import company?
    Thank you again
    P.S: I miss so much my 2 pets :’)

    • BobinOz June 16, 2016, 9:32 pm | Link

      Hi Lea

      Thanks, glad you like.

      I think you can probably choose which airline your cats go with, but you may find it difficult to book it yourself direct. I think most airlines prefer that you go through an import company. That may be an obstacle you will need to get over or you may just need to use an import company and specify which airline you would like to use.

      That’s all I know, does anybody else have any information about this?

    • Kelly June 16, 2016, 10:18 pm | Link

      I am in the process of bringing my dog to Melbourne from Norway. I think it depends which country you are going from. In Norway there is only really one service provider who organises pet cargo and they have different airlines as partners. If you are going to deal with airlines directly, make sure they do have good pet hotels when they transit and that the pet doesn’t cross over to domestic area…because that is a no no for Australian authorities… And also that the crate is according to IATA standards.

      • Aldas September 26, 2016, 10:05 pm | Link

        Hei Kelly, did you use Sas to deliver your dog? How did it go or going? Can i concract you somehow? We also planning to go to Australia from Norway. We have toy poodle. What is yours dog breed?

  • Itak May 23, 2016, 6:50 pm | Link

    I am amazed how cruel is the Australian government to the pets and pet lovers. I understand there is native flora and fauna to be protected. But lets not over do it. In the last 200 years the Brits did an amazing job in destroying the Australian environment anyway. Rabbits, feral cats, 2/3 of forest gone…
    I believe it is just a money making machine for the Australian government.
    Hope it will change soon. If you have a look how the Aborigines were treated till 1969 (animals) and still many live in special reserves (zoos) – then you kind of stop wondering. Same with refugees living in concentration camps placed in remote areas, away from anyone, with no schooling provided for the children. But the world opinion and pressure will change it slowly. Hopefully. Cheers.

    • Sean May 23, 2016, 9:28 pm | Link

      Hmmm…well i have to agree we Aussies arent as easy going and nice to our pets as most European countries. The first hand stories of how the British Government allows pets into businesses and stuff is amazing and I wish our Governments allowed the same thing. Yes many un-australian animals were introduced that over the centuries have caused problems, its probably why our Quarantine laws are so extremely tight now and nobody is allowed to flout them…Johnny Depp with Boo and Pistol are good examples.

      As for the rest of your post, all I can say as a 5th Generation Australia of English origin and a Father with a Masters Degree in Aboriginal Studies and Culture is that perhaps you should do som wider reading. You actually may learn something. Nobody is saying how the aboriginies where treated Pre-1969 was a good thing but on the flip side in the right measure it did give them a chance to learn about how money worked. Stopping that has just worked so well for them hasnt it in their current “Communities”, oh yes, they are “Aboriginal Communitues” generally located on their traditional land. So im not really sure which political propaganda your reading but i suggest the bin is a good place for it because its fed you lies.

      As for the illegal immigrants that you claim are living in concentration camps in remote locations, I suggest you throw that book out as well. At present the illegal immigrants that chose to spend thousands of dollars (US Dollars ill add) to people smugglers are actually generally on manus island with quite a few PNG locals, they have schools for the children, a brand new state of the art hospital and three meals a day, along with relatively all the modcons they could need (except for when they decide to destroy or burn it all down, then they need to wait a while for it all to be rebuilt and replaced) at Australian TAXPAYER EXPENSE mind you.

      At least the deaths at sea of the people and children has stopped and the criminal people smugglers stealing the rest of what money they may have had left has stopped. Oddly though, those on the “leftist” side of politics seem to what those deaths to restart, which I find odd considering they believe they are “the most moral and hold the higher moral ground”. Never knew those that claimed they held the moral high ground would want people to die at sea and would want criminals to prosper from the misery of those they claim are less fortunate…odd dont you think??

      Oh, and opinion and pressure will not change it. Australia takes in more refugees per capita than ANY other country in the world followed closely by Canada and Europe has now realised our method is the best and will soon follow our example.

      Seriously…throw that book away its made you look silly.

      PS: Bob, i apologise to you for this reply but i cant stand so called moralist trying to lecture Australians on their country with obvious crap being sprouted by somebody that obiously has bothered to properly educate themselves at all. As a person who has had many Aboriginal friends over my life and a part aboriginal wife im not going to sit around and allow my beautiful, diverse and wonderful country be maligned by an imbicile.

      • BobinOz May 24, 2016, 5:20 pm | Link

        No need to apologise Sean, if somebody has a pop at Australia, you have every right to respond and defend our country. I am pleased you answered this person before I did, because you clearly have a much better understanding about this situation the most people and you are certainly far more knowledge about it than I do about it.

        I do know though, as do most people living here in Australia, that it wasn’t so long ago that the boats just kept coming and coming and it’s a very dangerous and perilous journey across those seas. Too many people died, and way too many children, so it’s hard to see how putting a stop to that can be a bad thing.

        At Itak, this post is about bringing your pet to Australia, please stay on subject. Any further politically motivated comments that are off subject, even with an attempted flimsy link to the real subject matter as you’ve used here, will be deleted in future.

  • Scott Watson April 25, 2016, 8:32 pm | Link

    Hi Bob
    Quick Question for you, How was Baggy after the long Flight? My wife and I are planning on relocating to OZ from UK and taking our cat and dog but im just worried encase the flight traumatises them? thank you

    • Leanne April 25, 2016, 10:49 pm | Link

      Hey Scott
      We brought 6 back to Perth from Mauritius via KL via Singapore via Sydney quarantine which was a very long trip for them all but I was impressed with the care they were given – especially the 11 year old dog and the very nervous freaked-out-by-everything cat by the Singapore quarantine and Sydney quarantine staff (& we were lucky enough to have a couple of Bob’s wife company’s staff visit the girls as well).
      I think the pets deal with things far better than we think they will. It is a long trip from the UK but they will probably sleep for the majority of it.

    • Sean Bennetts April 26, 2016, 7:26 am | Link

      Hi Scott,
      Pets seem to cope with the export much better than the humans I think. They shouldn’t have a problem and depending on the airlines you use they are usually extremely well treated on the flights and stop overs.

      Please be aware that you will be looking at from 9 to 6 months of preparation before you can export them, so its probably a good idea that when you know what date you want to relocate to Oz that you contact a transport company for details about what you need to do. If you would like to do most of it yourself and make it less expensive, then Petmoves Import Consultancy can do a personalise import plan to Austraila for you allowing you to do most of the process yourself and paying far less for the export over all, it will also give you the time frames that specific things need to be done before you and your pets leave. You can find out more about Petmoves Import Consultancy at:


      • BobinOz April 26, 2016, 5:07 pm | Link

        Scott, it’s not really a question I can answer, we were still in England when he arrived at quarantine in Sydney. We had him flown to us from Sydney into Brisbane 30 days later when we had arrived.

        All I can tell you is he looked fine, fit and healthy, the 30 days in quarantine didn’t seem to have done him any harm at all.

      • scott May 1, 2016, 1:59 am | Link

        thanks sean, I had a look on the link and I went to get a quote but for some reason it wont let me progress because it doesn’t recognise my postcode.

        • Sean Bennetts May 1, 2016, 12:58 pm | Link

          Hi Scott,
          Ohh…Thanks for that, I’ll get that fixed for you. We sometimes forget in Australia that not every country uses simple numbers as Postcodes, so thats probably what the problem was. I have organised for that to be fixed and it should be done in the next couple of hours to allow Letters and symbols as well as numbers. Thank you for letting me know. Alternatively you can email me personally with the information if you like.


    • scott May 1, 2016, 2:04 am | Link


      • scott May 2, 2016, 2:16 am | Link

        hi sean,
        I will try again and see if it works, I have also sent an email through the (contact us) tab on the website if that’s any help.


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