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…

Visa Assessment Service
{ 455 comments… add one }
  • Ling Chua October 29, 2022, 7:59 am |

    The Department of Agriculture is proposing that quarantine should be increased from 10 day to 30 days. They are gathering feedback now but requests that all feedback should be backed by scientific research. Do you have any links to scientific research that I can share to the government review body? 30 days is very tough for dogs and I hope their new change doesn’t pass as 10 days is already very tough. Thanks.


    • BobinOz November 1, 2022, 4:00 pm |

      Seriously? They are considering going back to 30 days in quarantine? As you no doubt know, it always used to be 30 days, but that all changed towards the end of 2013, when it was reduced to 10 days. Sad to hear it is now potentially going back to 30 days again.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any scientific evidence of anything when it comes to dogs and cats in quarantine, so I can’t help, but I do hope somebody can. This sounds like a backward step to me, but on the other hand, it also sounds like the government have real fears that rabies may enter this country, and that would not be good either.

      DAFF will always put this country’s bio security above all else, which I 100% agree with, so hopefully they will come to the correct decision at the end of this process for the good of us all.

  • Macy July 28, 2021, 4:18 pm |

    Hello fellow pet lovers. My cat is currently in PEQ Mickleham and he is still not eating. It is Day 3 at the facility. The last time he has eaten anything was on Sat noon prior to flying. Does anyone has experienced similar situation before and care to share? I am very anxious.

    • Sarah Lueth July 28, 2021, 4:54 pm |

      I would organise a vet visit.

  • Sarah March 13, 2020, 11:08 am |

    We just picked our cats up and they are absolutely fine. I took as many videos as I could of the place and people. We had a vet attend to one cat as she needs fluids regularly and they were awesome too. I met the folks who helped with my cats and they seemed fine. I saw some other dogs greeting their owners and they were happy and jumping all over them on the ground. I have no complaints. If anyone wants the photos and videos of the facility, please feel free to post an email and I’ll happily send them over. You can do it yourselves. Just pay careful attention to the details and check everything over and over til you can see it in your sleep. If you fly them qantas, you don’t need a pet shipping company as qantas let’s you drop them off yourselves. Most airlines won’t allow that. Qantas were great too. We drove out from Las Vegas and did it personally. You’ll save money. We had three cats so had to scrimp when possible as it was all about $15,000 USD when said and done for 3 cats.

    • BobinOz March 16, 2020, 7:32 pm |

      Great to hear that your cats are OK and that you were happy with how things went in quarantine. Also very interesting to hear that Qantas let you drop off the pets yourself, I never knew. That can save quite a bit of money on its own.

      Thanks for posting this, I’m sure you have put a few worried pet owners minds at rest.

  • Bob February 25, 2019, 10:01 pm |

    Hi again,

    So my relocation plans are moving on now and I have been in touch with one company and they use the Quantas direct flight from UK to Melbourne with a stop in Perth so all in it could be 24+ hours in the crate for my dog.
    I was preferring the direct option instead of multi flight route because then she doesnt get taken off a plane put somewhere new then back on the plane and plus I dont want her to be forgotten or loaded on the wrong plane etc etc

    Does anyone have experience or recommendations?
    My vet agreed about the direct flight but then the company I’m using to get her to the UK said the multi flight is better as there are fight time restrictions, but I don’t think they are experts on the UK to Oz route as they only do short haul flights.


    • Sarah February 26, 2019, 6:02 am |

      No experience but planning it for my cats soon. I personally would never do it without a direct flight but that’s me. It’s rough enough. Do you have that optiOn? Why can’t you? Not understanding sorry.

      • bob February 26, 2019, 6:08 am |

        I have always been looking at the direct option until another company said they didnt think that was allowed or something like that, but think I’m going to stick with the direct option makes most sense to me

        • BobinOz February 27, 2019, 6:07 pm |

          I don’t think you can get a direct flight from the UK to Melbourne, I just don’t think they happen. They all stop off somewhere to fuel up, as far as I’m aware. I think they have just started a direct flight from London to Perth, but that’s it I think.

          Anyone know any different?

          • Bob February 27, 2019, 9:35 pm |

            Yeah thats what i mean, Heathrow to Melbourne with refuel in Perth, by direct I mean she doesnt get off the plane

            • BobinOz March 1, 2019, 7:19 pm |

              Don’t know for sure, but I would have thought the plane that takes you from Perth to Melbourne will be different from the one that would have brought you from Heathrow to Perth. So I’m pretty sure your dog will need to get off the plane, but if you get the flight timings right for the connection, she may not have to do wait too long.

              • Bob March 1, 2019, 9:05 pm |

                They just said its a 90mins refuelling stop so pretty sure its the same plane as theres no point refuelling a plane if its not flying again

              • Bob March 1, 2019, 10:08 pm |

                yeah its the same plane for the whole journey, just a quick refuel and take off again

                • BobinOz March 4, 2019, 6:38 pm |

                  And so it does. I just found this online on the Qantas website…

                  “QF10 departs London Heathrow at 13:15, arriving into Perth at 13:00 the next day. The Qantas Dreamliner then flies on to Melbourne.”

    • Peter March 15, 2019, 7:31 pm |

      Hello Bob,
      You’re mentioning that you first have to bring your dog to the UK. I’m in the same position moving to Melbourne from The Netherlands. So I have to get my dog to London someway. My plan was bringing him myself by car. The agent in London told me I have to bring the dog in a sealed quarantine box. Is that true?

      • Bob March 16, 2019, 4:57 am |

        Sorry I have no idea, my dog is flying from Tenerife to the UK

      • Bronnie March 16, 2019, 5:41 am |

        I would double check this information if I was you, If you take him to London I am pretty sure that the dog then has to stay in that host country for three months before he can leave and then enter australia. if you fly from schiphol with quantas , it is via dubai then direct to melbourne,

        • sarah March 16, 2019, 1:03 pm |

          I am pretty sure too. I think it might even be six. Can’t spend any time in the UK from another country and go straight to Oz.

      • BobinOz March 18, 2019, 9:33 pm |

        Peter, I think, and perhaps Bob can clear this up, that he has chosen to fly from Tenerife to the UK and then direct from there to Melbourne, because the flight would actually be quicker with fewer stops that way. I don’t believe he had to return the dogs to the UK first.

        As long as The Netherlands is an approved country, I believe you can fly your pet direct to Australia from there. Maybe I’ve misread this situation, but as I say, this is what I think is happening. Can you confirm Bob?

    • Brian McDonald March 13, 2020, 10:14 am |

      I have just had my cat on Emerites come from UK to Australia she went to Dubia then taken off to air contined kennels while awaiting plane in 4 hours to Melbourne into quarantine for ten days then flight to Brisbane.
      The quarantine station is in Melbourne and emailed me straight away to saw she was there and O.K
      So next time I see her will be in Brisbane keep fingers crossed with Corana virus.
      Animals are very resilient much more than humans this Siamese girl cat has travelled this journey before and hope it’s her last time.
      Best Regards Jeanette and Brian McDonald

      • BobinOz March 16, 2020, 7:34 pm |

        Hi Brian, good to hear that your cat went well with the journey and hopefully will do as well in quarantine. Coronavirus permitting, as you say fingers crossed, you’ll be picking them up from Brisbane in about a week from now.

        Hope it all goes well, and thanks for posting this, Bob

  • Chantelle Johnson January 13, 2019, 12:44 am |

    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 |

      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 |

    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 |

      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 February 25, 2019, 9:55 pm |

        I contacted them, took ages to reply to first email, then eventually did when I emailed them again but never replied to my second email, so seem pretty useless

        • BobinOz February 27, 2019, 6:03 pm |

          That is very strange, and unusual. Not sure what’s going on, but I probably will be speaking to them sometime soon, I’ll mention it to them, see what they say.

  • bob December 2, 2018, 4:08 am |

    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 |

      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 |

        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 |

          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 |

            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 |

              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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