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Moving pets to Australia

Learn more about Pets Abroad UK and how they can help with moving pets to Australia safely! If you’re moving pets to Australia, Pets Abroad tell us what you need to prepare.

Tell us what your roles are and how you started Pets Abroad

We decided to leave Australia in 2016 and wanted to start up Pets Abroad, having a history involved in pet travel as former Melbourne Quarantine vet and sending many animals around the world from Australia!

When we arrived into the UK we just got into it and spent several months exploring what we needed to do and sent our first pet, a cat named Fatama to Los Angeles on 05 SEPT 2017 – however our history in the pet travel field from Australia really helped us set up quickly and being a vet/nurse team, we were able to offer a unique service to clients, particularly sending pets to Australia where I had spent nearly a decade as the quarantine vet in Melbourne!

Pets Abroad therefore offer something unique for UK origin pets – we can help people directly with their vet preparation, liaise confidently with their own vets to ensure the complex preparation is done correctly!

You need to start the vaccination process early, but how soon do you need to get your pet vaccinated before emigrating?

MINIMUM 7 months preparation – When moving pets to Australia, pets need a rabies vaccine a month before a rabies blood test. The blood test needs to be done more than 180 days before eligible travel. Most UK vaccines are 3 year rabies vaccines, but the blood test only lasts 24 months from the day of blood draw, provided it’s a positive result of course! Then there is a series of vet visit for cats and dogs in the 6 weeks prior to travel, and we would work with clients own vets to set a vet plan based on the actual travel date we organise for you!

If you think you will travel in the next 12 months then start ASAP with vaccines and blood tests – no need to commit to a date until about 4 months prior to actually travel but at least you start the mandatory 6 month countdown from blood draw date.

How long does it typically take to get a pet to Australia, do they have to stay in quarantine for long?

Usually it is a 6-12 month process when people decide to make the move – they need that full 7 months to get the minimum dates for entering Australia, but in reality its usually a little longer – requires a lot of planning, many vet visits etc and a lot of contact with us!
Pets usually fly on a broken journey such as London to Middle East (UAE/Qatar) then to Melbourne – the routes are subject to airline availability and often have 6-18 hours transit pending flight connections available.

PEQ – Quarantine is 30 days from the date of entry (for most pets coming from the UK) and then they are released for collection or transfer around the country! There used to be a facility in Sydney and Perth, but these were closed a few years ago and ONLY Melbourne exists for the foreseeable future.

What is the process of shipping your pet to another country?

Australia have 4 main classifications for countries that regulate the preparation:

  • Category 1 (NZ, Cocos Islands, Norfolk Island) where pets can move freely with minimal requirements
  • Category 2 (most Pacific, and some Caribbean islands that are rabies free – with minimal rabies requirements)
  • Category 3 (most of the developed world where rabies is well controlled and government vet services are provided) – THE UK/EU/North America etc
  • UNLISTED countries – many poorer or developing countries where rabies is not controlled or vet services are poorly developed – these pets must travel to a category three country first and then repeat rabies vaccines and blood tests before traveling to Australia

Are there any pets that can’t be shipped to Australia?

Most dogs and cats can and that’s about it really – Australia restrict most other animals or the biosecurity requirements are essentially prohibitive (ie. costs about $45,000 to secure the avian PEQ facility if you wanted to try to import a single bird!).
MOST fighting dogs and hybrid dogs are also banned:
Domestic/non-domestic animal hybrids (e.g. wolf-dog crosses) are not eligible for import. This includes, but not limited to:

  • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak
  • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound
  • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog
  • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog
  • Domestic/non-domestic animal hybrids (e.g. wolf-dog crosses) are not eligible for import. This includes, but not limited to:
  • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak
  • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound
  • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog
  • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog.

AND for cats:

  • Savannah cat, derived from crossbreeding domestic cat (Felis catus) with Serval cat (Felis serval)
  • Safari cat, domestic cat crossed with Geoffroy cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi)
  • Chausie, domestic cat crossed with Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
  • Bengal cat, domestic cat crossed with Asian Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).

Bengals are allowed if proven more than 5 generation pedigrees can be provided.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and snakes are forbidden.

Are there any age restrictions for pets?

Yes – pets must be minimum 10-12 weeks of age to be accepted by an airline but the restriction is actually based on how long it takes to get the rabies work done. Essentially they must be 90 days minimum to get a rabies vaccine and pass a blood test a month later and then wait 6 months to travel – that works out to be a minimum of approximately 10 months of age to get a dog/cat into Australia.

As we all know very well, Coronavirus has had a huge impact on everything, what happens if you ship your pet and your flights have been cancelled?

Yes, it happens for sure but it’s actually quite rare. We are well prepared for delays if they do happen from time to time, but COVID really hasn’t caused many issues – indeed most flights are cargo only so COVID restrictions don’t really impact the necessary cargo flights.

We have kennels on site so can board pets as needed, but usually the airlines just move to the next flight is there is an issue with a particular flight. PEQ as well are very good at accommodating last minute changes if needed.

Can pets travel with their favourite toy or blanket?

Pets are not allowed toys or leads or harnesses or collars etc IN a crate, but we often do attach these items to the outside for use in quarantine. Heavily soiled items may be destroyed by PEQ so you may not get them out of quarantine!

Pets Abroad crates

What happens before, during and after the flight?

Well pets go through the same security checks, weighing and X-RAY screening as most other cargo – they are kept once checked in, at the airlines pet reception facilities in the cargo area of the airport before being taken to the aircraft 90 min before the flight.
On the aircraft they are loaded in the specific area dedicated area of the belly and water bowls topped up. Lights are dimmed, air conditioning set at about 22C and they rest for the journey!

Move your pets to Australia

What is your customer care code?

We care like no other – we have deliberately employed and made up of several vets and vet nurses in our team, at our kennels and people that care for pets is theirs and our focus, goal and dedication. We will make sure that we look after your pets like no other company and this becomes really important where pets are anxious or on medication where our team really understand what vet care provides to the preparation for a journey!

Finally, do you have any advice that you would give to our clients thinking of bringing their pets with them?

DO it! They are your family!

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