Are you planning to relocate to Australia in the near future? If you are planning to take your dog with you when you move to Australia, prepare yourself because the requirements and paperwork needed can seem daunting. It’s not impossible though! That’s why we have put together for you this handy little guide on bringing your dog into Australia so that you can move forward without leaving your precious pup behind!
Just moving to another city with your dog can be hard, let alone moving to an entirely new country, and in this case, continent! But, if you care about your dogs though, any and all trouble that you need to go through to make this move together, is well worth it.
Table of Contents
- 1 Bringing your dog into Australia
- 1.1 Start early
- 1.2 Restricted breeds
- 1.3 Budget wisely
- 1.4 Find a vet with experience
- 1.5 Steps that will need to be followed to bring your dog to Australia
- 1.5.1 Check into a new microchip
- 1.5.2 Get your dog vaccinated against rabies
- 1.5.3 Return with your dog for a rabies test (180 days to 24 months before planned move)
- 1.5.4 Submit and pay for your import permit application
- 1.5.5 Schedule transport
- 1.5.6 Update all other vaccinations
- 1.5.7 Get your dog tested for external parasites
- 1.5.8 Give your dog internal parasite preventative
- 1.5.9 Get your official pet health certificate
- 1.6 What websites should you check before bringing your dog into Australia?
Bringing your dog into Australia
Before you had decided to make this move, you probably did a ton of research for yourself, right? It’s no different with your dog. It is imperative to know the steps to take before you pack up to leave. You do not want to risk any troubles with your poor dog in tow because you are missing some procedure or paperwork.
If you are ready to start your journey to settle in the Land Down Under, here are the steps that you need to take before bringing your dog into Australia. The rules and requirements may be different if you are bringing over a service dog.
When I say start early, I’m not meaning a couple of months, I mean that you need to start the process of moving your pet to Australia at least 8–12 months early. Some people say as little as 6 months, but this added time leaves a little extra cushion just in case something were to go wrong with your application. This is for several reasons:
- All dogs entering Australia have to spend at least 10 days in quarantine at Australia’s official facility—Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility. There is only one official facility in the entire country and the waitlist is long. You can expect to wait of at least a couple of months to get a spot for your dog.
- You have to prove that your dog has been rabies free for at least 6 months before you can enter Australia.
- Paperwork, especially in recent times, takes time to process. You simply never know how long it will take to complete, so it’s best to start early.
Australia does not allow certain breeds into the country. This includes wolf-dog crosses, dogo Argentino, fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, American pit bull terrier, or Presa Canario.
In addition to all of the vet visits required (more on that soon), there are quite a few fees that come along with bringing your dog into Australia. Here are just a couple of the fees that you should consider before starting the process:
- Vet fees (varies)
- Permit fees ($500)
- Quarantine fees ($2,000)
- Transport fees ($5,000)
Of course these numbers are just estimates, but it’s good to err on the side of caution and over budget.
Find a vet with experience
There is a lot of specific paperwork that you will need to get before you can bring your dog into Australia. And you will also need a veterinarian to fill out part of your import application. Many veterinarians are familiar with this process, but may not have the appropriate accreditation. That’s why it makes sense to call around and find a approved vet and get an appointment.
Your vet has to have a special approval/accreditation by the government of the exporting country. This shows that they have the knowledge prepare (for example, scanning for microchips, clinical inspections, collection of blood samples, and treatments) dogs for export. They must prepare paperwork for presentation to the official government veterinarian to give them confidence that the export preparations have been performed in accordance with the import conditions.
Steps that will need to be followed to bring your dog to Australia
Check into a new microchip
Even if your dog is already microchipped, you might need to have it upgraded to one that can be read by the chip readers that they have in Australia. Australia does require your dog to have a microchip to enter the country, so this is an imperative step. Your dog will need a microchip that can be read by an Avid, Trovan, Destron or other ISO compatible reader.
Your vet will need to scan your dog’s microchip at each and every visit. And this microchip number must be correctly recorded on all documentation.
Get your dog vaccinated against rabies
Your dog needs to be vaccinated against rabies to enter Australia. Additionally, this needs to be a specific type of rabies vaccination (inactivated or recombinant vaccine). Be sure that your vet can offer the required vaccine and can provide you with written confirmation as well.
Return with your dog for a rabies test (180 days to 24 months before planned move)
Before your dog can enter Australia, you have to show that he has been free of rabies. You will need to wait three to four weeks between the rabies vaccination and blood sample collection for the RNAT test. Australian officials require the rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test. The result time on this test is approximately 14 days.
The RNAT test is valid for 24 months from the date of blood sampling. If the RNAT test is more than 24 months old at the time of export it is not valid and you cannot export the dog to Australia. You must have your dog retested.
Submit and pay for your import permit application
This should be done after you receive your completed rabies and RNAT test certifications and at least 45 days before you plan on moving. You can submit everything online through the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON).
They aim to process all applications within 20 business days but could technically take up to 123 business days. The import permit is valid for 12 months or until the RNAT test expires, whichever occurs first.
In order to enter Australia, your dog needs to be transported in very specific conditions. These conditions include the size of the kennels, your dog’s ability to move around, and they also need to be transported as manifest cargo as opposed to excess baggage (in the cabin). I know we mentioned fees already, but this process is not cheap, so be prepared to spend roughly $5,000 on this process alone.
And remember, your dog must also arrive directly into Melbourne International Airport in order to start their 10-day quarantine at the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility.
Update all other vaccinations
In addition to rabies, all dogs will need to be vaccinated for Bordetella bronchiseptica, parvovirus, distemper, parainfluenza, and hepatitis. Depending on some conditions and where you are coming from, you may be required to vaccinate for the following as well:
- Leptospira interrogans: If you choose to vaccinate your dog, this is usually an initial course of two vaccines 2–4 weeks apart followed by yearly boosters, at least 14 days before export. If you do not vaccinate your dog, your dog will need test negative for Leptospira interrogans within 45 days before the date of export.
- Canine influenza virus (CIV): given between 12 months and 14 days before export
Get your dog tested for external parasites
- Ehrlichia canis: You will need to give your dog a product that kills ticks and fleas on contact. Then 21 days later have a blood test for Ehrlichia canis antibodies (and within 45 days before export). And you must keep your dog on preventatives at least until you arrive in Australia. At each veterinary visit, your vet must check your dog for parasites. If you find fleas or ticks on your dog, you will have to restart the treatment process. You will then need to test your dog Ehrlichia canis antibodies 21 days later.
- Brucella canis: If your dog is not neutered/spayed, they will need testing for Brucellosis within 45 days before the date of export.
- Leishmania infantum: Your dog must test negative for Leishmania infantum within 45 days of leaving for Australia.
- Babesia canis: Your dog will need to get imidocarb dipropionate within 28 days before export, if they have ever been to Africa.
Give your dog internal parasite preventative
While at the vet, create an treatment plan to give your dog treatment against parasites such as tapeworms. This is one step that needs to be followed in very specific timing. You must treat your dog twice with an internal parasite treatment effective against internal parasites (nematodes and cestodes). Your dog will need to have two treatments at least 14 days apart and within 45 days before export. Your dog will need to receive the second treatment within five days of leaving for Australia.
Get your official pet health certificate
Within five days of when you are due to leave, you will have to a final vet visit. Your dog will be checked to see if they are still healthy and free from external parasites.
Your vet will also complete a veterinary health certificate. And they will need to sign and stamp every page of the following:
- Ehrlichia canis laboratory report.
- Leishmania infantum laboratory report.
- Brucella canis laboratory report (if needed).
- Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola laboratory report (if not vaccinated).
- RNAT test declaration
- RNAT test laboratory report.
What websites should you check before bringing your dog into Australia?
It is important to continually monitor the requirements and any updated restrictions for your destination country.
APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
This is an official website and is the absolute best resource to keep track of any current, new, or changing requirements for bringing your dog with you into any country from the United States.
The Australian Government website is another website that you should visit often in the months/days leading up to your move to Australia. Here you will find relevant information for your move as well as all quarantine and booking information.