Unhappy Cats and Dogs in Australian Quarantine…

… and a lot of unhappy cat and dog owners as well.

unhappy dogIt was only a few months ago that I wrote my post Dogs and Cats in Australian Quarantine: It’s Good News, and it was very good news indeed. The big announcement was that for some qualifying dogs and cats, their stay in quarantine was to be reduced from 30 days to just 10.

Well, on 3 February 2014, those new rules came into force, which IS great. At the same time, DAFF announced on their website that visiting and exercising would continue as before.

Which was even better!

This meant that owners or their representatives could continue to visit their pets twice a week to say hi and have a smooch, and a further twice a week to walk and exercise their dog in one of the paddocks for 30 minutes.

Regular readers will know that my wife set up her company Dog Walks Pty Ltd six years ago so that she and her staff could offer visits and walks and much more. Her company has also provided special food for dogs and cats, they don’t all like the standard dry food offered by quarantine.

Dog Walks also provided toys for pets to play with, additional bedding where required and photographs of cats and dogs from every visit offering great comfort to anxious pet owners concerned about the welfare of their furry friends.

For some, their pets are like their children, and the feedback that the Dog Walks team were able to give pet owners was, in some cases, invaluable. Mrs Bob has an email folder full of customers who said “We couldn’t have got through it without you.

So what’s the bad news?

Then, just a couple of weeks later, came a second announcement. Going forward under the new ten-day arrangement, visiting and exercising either by the owners or their chosen representatives would come to an end, taking effect as at today, Monday, 3 March 2014.

Under the new rules there will be no…

  • Walks for dogs
  • Cuddles for cats
  • Visits for either dogs or cats
  • No special foods
  • No extra bedding
  • No toys
  • And of course, no photographs

Nothing. You cannot even telephone to ask how your dog or cat is doing.


There are exceptions to the above, of course. If you feel your pet does require a special diet, and remember anything that is wet and comes in a tin is regarded as special by quarantine, then you can complete a “special needs” requirement when applying for your permit.

You will need to get your vet to make a statement outlining the animal’s condition and therefore the reason for the special diet though. Once you’ve done all that, quarantine’s own vet will have to approve your request and if all goes well, who knows, maybe Rover will get his tin of Pedigree Chum after all.

Want your pet to be exercised? Again, you will need to go through the veterinary approval process for that.

For further details on the rules, see this page on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

Mrs Bob did do some research on this, she looked at quarantine stations in the USA, Europe including the UK, South Africa, Singapore and even our close neighbours, New Zealand.

Every single one of those quarantine stations allow visiting during the quarantine period and some of them also allow exercising as well.

But no, not here in Australia.


shocked catSo now when a cat or dog enters Australian quarantine, it really is like going to prison. A prison with solitary confinement.

Welcome to the dark ages.

Mrs Bob has lost her business due to this simple rule change, but she is not the biggest loser here. All the thousands of dogs and cats who come through quarantine in the near future and their owners are the ones that will suffer the most.

AQIS and DAFF, for their Draconian attitude combined with their sheer laziness (Oh, do we really need to get involved with pet owners? Let’s just lock the doors.) can now join the likes of the English FA, wasps, cockroaches and some other critters as an Australian Bad Thing.




Update: April 2014

Thinking of Exporting Your Pet to Australia?

As I have mentioned above, my wife’s Dog Walks team can no longer physically visit pets in Australian quarantine. With no contact allowed at all, this can be quite a traumatic experience, mainly for the pet owners.

In fact, the whole process of exporting your dog is quite daunting, so Karen has now written a book on the subject.

For more information, visit…

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{ 429 comments… add one }
  • Chantelle Johnson January 13, 2019, 12:44 am | Link

    My two kitties are there at the moment as we co-ordinate or move back from the USA. One of our kitties is on Prozac for stress and a special diet for urinary issues. I am so worried they won’t feed him his special diet 😪 every review I have read states their cat came out in a horrific state…. Terribly thin, covered in urine and chunks of fur missing for from stress. It’s awful you can’t get through to the facility!!! It’s awful there is no other option!!! We went through an experienced 3rd party relocation specialist for this and they suggested we call for updates…. Well that would be great if we could get through!!!! I emailed and got an automated response that you would get a reply in 5 business days…. WHAT!?? So for 10 days you literally have no idea how your beloved pets are?!!?!! And I have to pay a ridiculous amount for the privilege!!!

    • BobinOz January 14, 2019, 5:24 pm | Link

      I’m intrigued, where are you reading all of these reviews about thin cats in horrific condition, covered in urine with chunks of fur missing?

  • Bob December 5, 2018, 10:31 pm | Link

    Thanks for your reply.
    I missed the link in your post but I think I had already read it but either missed or forgotten that part, info overload at the moment!! I’ve been in touch with an agent and shes answered a lot of my questions so its starting to make a bit of sense now.
    Going to get a couple more quotes as well, just seen the advert on your page


    • BobinOz December 6, 2018, 6:34 pm | Link

      Yes, definitely get in touch with them for a quote. They’ve been around for some time now, they’ve been advertising here for more than six years. It’s a family business run by pet lovers. Good luck, Bob

  • bob December 2, 2018, 4:08 am | Link

    I am possibly moving to Oz and obviously I’m bringing my dog, 13 year old Labrador, she is a howler when she is left alone in a new place like when I moved house she howled for days or weeks when I left her until she felt ok. I’m really worried she is going to be like this for the 10 days and really stress herself out, at least before I came back to her after a few hours max and she was never left on her own.
    Is it still true the dogs arent allowed their own bed or toys? She really loves her many beds and being a lab has to carry a toy with her everywhere as well.
    I’m not leaving her behind so we either both go or neither of us, but I am really worried she will hate quarantine.
    Any thoughts or ideas?


    • BobinOz December 3, 2018, 4:55 pm | Link

      If you look at the section in the above article under the heading of “Exceptions”, you will see a link that goes to a page on the government’s website covering quarantine rules.

      Unfortunately it still says no toys and that any toys or bedding that does turn up with your pet from the journey will be destroyed. They say they have to do this because they would have become soiled.

      That same page does confirm that quarantine does provide bedding.

      My thoughts, for what it’s worth, is that it is only 10 days and your dog will get through it. She will also know that she isn’t alone, and that there are many other dogs around and as they are pack animals, this may give her some comfort.

      Hopefully someone who had similar concerns about quarantine who has been through this will see your comment and let you know what they think.

      Good luck, Bob

      • sarah December 4, 2018, 5:24 pm | Link

        Maybe start leaving her more. Get her used to it. I have one cat that used to handle 4 hour drives regularly and another one that goes boating with me.

        • Bob December 5, 2018, 10:34 pm | Link

          She’s used to being left alone during the day at random times and for random lengths of time because I am self employed, some days I might be out all day others home all day. Obviously she knows I always come back every night. She doesnt have a set routine so that might help her.

          • Julia December 14, 2018, 6:52 pm | Link

            Hi Bob, it might be worth contacting the quarantine facility in Melbourne and asking whether you are allowed to purchase some toys in Australia and have them delivered to the facility for your dog. You may find that they are quite accommodating when it comes to managing anxiety in some dogs. If you are using an Agent (we used Simone at PetExpress and she was amazing), they can find this information out for you.

            • Bob December 20, 2018, 3:44 am | Link

              I emailed the quarantine facility directly to ask them if I could send them one of her blankets and some toys, they didnt seem too keen on the blanket idea but said a toy was ok but couldnt guarantee I’d get it back at the end without saying why. But looks like I can send her a couple of her not quite favourite toys just in case we dont get them back

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