Travelling to Australia is pretty straightforward for us humans – just hop on a plane and relax until we arrive. Unfortunately, the process is a little more complex if you’re bringing a dog to Australia.
If you’re migrating to Australia and want to bring your dog or cat along, you’ll need to adhere to strict import conditions. Our four-legged friends can present a biosecurity risk, so it’s essential to find out what import conditions apply to your particular pet.
If you’re bringing a dog to Australia from New Zealand, Norfolk Island or the Cocos islands, you will not require a special import permit, but some rules may still apply.
There are also separate conditions for bringing guide dogs into the country.
Step-by-step instructions are available on the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture website. Countries are categorised into four groups.
Category 1 – Countries that do not require a permit.
Category 2 – Rabies-free countries where an import permit is required.
Category 3 – Countries or areas where rabies is controlled or absent. An import permit is required.
Category 4 – Countries that are not approved for direct import.
Different rules apply to cats and dogs, but generally your pet will need to complete a stay in an Australian quarantine centre. You may also need to have your pet micro-chipped and ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date prior to export. A pre-export examination of your pet will take place before it travels.
A number of airlines offer pet-friendly travel arrangements, including Australia’s national carrier Qantas. Generally, pets must be contained in cages that meet International Air Transport Association guidelines. Large pets must be contained in an approved cage and maximum weight limits apply.
Restrictions may be placed on certain breeds, depending on the airline you are flying with. For example, Qantas does not permit snub-nosed dogs such as pugs and British bulldogs to fly for over five hours on international flights unless a Form of Acknowledgement and Indemnity is signed and lodged by the dog owner. Restrictions also apply to other breeds and to pets under a certain age. Most airlines reserve the right to refuse pets if they have any safety or security worries.
With Qantas, only service dogs are able to traveller in the passenger cabin of a plane.
Read more about flying with your pet here.