How to Move to Australia With a Pet?

How to Move to Australia With a Pet

Moving countries isn’t just a drastic change for you and your family, but one for the pets too. Before sealing your fate in Australia, it’s worth making sure that your pet will be able to cope with the move, which isn’t easy. It’s also worth taking into account the blistering heat – perhaps pets that evolved for cold climates may really struggle with the heat there. 

It’s also difficult as a pet owner. Moving can be a stressful time, but add on top of that moving to a new country as well as all the protocols and care for your pet, and you have a real challenge on your hands.

Once you’re set in moving with your pets, the next step is figuring out how you’re going to move them. Of course, the least stressful way for the pet might be via ferry but that isn’t an option for the majority of immigrants going Down Under, due to how far away and remote it is. The likely option is flying, in which you will have to conform to a series of requirements, such as cage size and such.

This article will cover the key aspects of moving with a pet – the protocol, the regulation and the logistics.


There’s an extensive amount to do here – so you want to start this process at least 6 months before you’re set to fly. If you can start 9 months before, then do that, as it will allow for more contingency in case anything goes wrong.

The first thing to do is to inform your vet that you’re moving to Australia. If you’re in luck, they will be aware of the process and can thus be a huge help. 

The first absolute requirement is that your pet is microchipped, so get that out of the way. Many pets are usually already chipped, so you may want to check beforehand.


The next requirement is to get them vaccinated against rabies. This can be done on cats and dogs that are older than 90 days. If they’re not, then you’re going to have to wait and think about postponing when you move.

The next step (a month after vaccination) they should be tested for rabies with a RNAT test. This usually takes around two weeks for results. The vet must then complete the RNAT test declaration, giving it credibility and evidence of which testing lab performed this. 

Permit and quarantine

The next step is to apply for the import permit. This will cost you AUD$480 for your first pet, and around half that for each additional pet. This is expensive, so this must be taken into account from the very start. When applying, provide documents of the RNAT declaration form, lab test report, as well as a letter from the vet detailing the medical conditions of the pet.

Book the post-entry quarantine accommodation too. Your pet will have to spend over a week in quarantine, but there are limited spaces so this should be done as a factor in settling on a moving date. 

Looking after your pet

It’s a good idea that during the moving days, you may want to have a friend or family member to look after your pet. Tipping a house upside-down is a sure way to stress out the pet before it’s had to endure the journey and quarantine, so it’s best to get them in a safer, more relaxed space.

Additionally, you may have a dedicated pet moving company which you can pay a lot of money for (up to thousands). These will provide the boxes, care and transport to the new place. If you want to keep costs down though, you can somewhat do this yourself. Firstly, you’ll need to find a list of airlines that allow pets. Secondly, if your pet is in a cage that could fit under the seat in front of you on the flight, it’s actually possible to bring them on some planes with you. Otherwise, if it goes in a designated area, you’ll have to conform to cage size requirements and health requirements (i.e. the pet must be able to fully stand and turn around).

It’s good to remember to not pack all of your pet’s possessions when moving. This is a very stressful time for them, so they may greatly benefit from having their most beloved toys with them at all times (i.e. in their moving cage).

After your move

Phew, if you’ve made it this far you can relax. The only thing left to do is to make your pet feel as if you’re back to normal. Try keeping to the same schedule as you were before if there was one, i.e. feeding times. It may be a good idea to give the pet some space after it’s been trapped in nasty environments for so long, so give them time to breathe. 

The last piece of this puzzle is to contact the new local vet and get registered there. This is so you can attend to any situation that may arise from now on, and you’ll feel better knowing you’ve already made contact with your local vet – just like how you’ll sign up for a local doctor once arriving.

The two factors in how the process goes for your pet is both down to how you go about it, and the pet themselves. It’s worth really taking into account the nerves and personality of the pet because a move across the world along with the quarantine situation is going to be a lot of stress. Some dogs, for example, will breeze through it, others will have serious anxiety.

Other than that, it’s just a matter of being on time regarding the schedule of regulations, and mindful of giving your pet the nicest, calmest environment possible, such as a nice big cage with their favourite toys and blankets. They want familiarity, after all.