Moving pets overseas

Moving pets to Australia

Abels Moving Services can provide a comprehensive service when moving pets to Australia. Pet shipping over such a distance is a specialist service and Abels uses the services of its partner AirPets, a company it has worked with for over 15 years. To assist, the following guidance on moving pets to Australia has been prepared:

Moving pets to Australia

Australia is free from many animal-related diseases that exist in other parts of the world, and the country has strict pet import laws to protect its environment.

Generally speaking, dogs, cats, and horses may be imported to Australia, but they are subject to quarantine controls. The import of most other household pets (including hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, and caged birds) is generally prohibited. In addition, the following breeds of dog are not eligible for importation into Australia: dogo Argentino, fila Brazileiro, Japanese tosa, pit bull terrier, and American pit bull.

You must apply for a permit to import your pet into Australia. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) issues import permits that are valid for only six months from the day AQIS receives your application. Dogs and cats must also be permanently identified (by micro chip), treated against internal and external parasites and be accompanied by a Ministry of Agriculture Export Health Certificate signed within 48 hours of export.

Dogs must undergo blood tests for Leptospirosis, Brucella Canis, Leishmaniasis and Ehrlichia within 30 days of export. Blood samples are carried out by your local vet in the UK then sent away for testing. These tests cost approximately £150-200 per dog; your vet will be able to give you a quote. Your dog will require treatment with a long-acting Acaricide (Frontline) within 24 hours of sampling, with vaccination certificates noted accordingly.

Dogs should not be vaccinated for Leptospirosis as it could affect the blood test results. However, they should be treated for: Distemper; Hepatitis; Parvo Virus; Para Influenza and Bordetella (this is not included in the normal annual booster, it is the additional “kennel cough” vaccine). Vaccinations must be given at least 14 days and not more than 12 months prior to export.

Cats must receive vaccinations for Feline Flu and Enteritis. Vaccinations must be given at least 14 days and not more than 12 months prior to export.

Upon arrival in Australia, it is likely that your pet will be quarantined for up to six months. There are three animal quarantine stations, one each in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. The good news is that you will be able to visit and interact with your pet during its stay. You can even bring in toys, bedding, and treats for your pet. Of course, the treats must be approved by AQIS staff. You can also exercise your dog in an outdoor exercise yard. Note that the AQIS does not allow the visiting of animals on the day of arrival.

Unfortunately, there is currently high demand for kennels at some of Australia’s pet quarantine stations, particularly Perth and Melbourne. For this reason, the AQIS cannot guarantee your pet a space at a quarantine station, even if you have the appropriate import permit. You should try to give as much notice as you can to make sure that a space is reserved for you; to confirm availability, immediately contact the relevant quarantine station.

A PETS passport is not required to move your pet to Australia, however, if you feel that you may be returning to the UK at some point, it may be wise to obtain a full PETS passport. This can be arranged through your local vet practice.

For more information, please visit the AQIS website or contact our Customer Services Centre on 01842 816 600 or email.


Click here to get a quote for relocating your pet to Australia