Thinking of Bringing Your Pet to Australia?
I don't know where to begin but start the process early and be prepared probably is the best advice. My personal experience bringing my dog to Australia from California arriving in October started about February 2019 with some research and information gathering before that.
Australia probably has the strictest requirements when it comes to importing animals.
Most important is to be sure for all vet visits that you use a USDA accredited vet for vaccinations, blood work, and external/internal parasite treatments. Everything is on a strict timeline, all must be documented and the microchip scanned at each visit only by a USDA accredited vet.
Rabies vaccination and RNATT (Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titer) blood test are the most critical and time sensitive requirements. Three to four weeks must be allowed between the vaccination if needed and the blood test. After the test is completed the dog is not eligible for export to Australia until at least 180 days (up to 24 mos.) after the blood sample arrives at the lab for this RNATT test (with a satisfactory result).
Other than rabies, required vaccinations include bordetella, CIV, and DHPP.
Blood tests other than rabies include leptospirosis, leishmania, erlichia, and brucellosis.
In addition, there are specific flea and tick and worming treatments that must be performed by vet or vet tech.
Note: blood tests are done at specific labs at at specific times of departure.
Needless to say, it is important to visit www.agriculture.gov.au as early as possible before your expected departure - 6 months is what is advised. The website will provide detailed step by step instructions and requirements (depending on the country you are departing from) which you should know regardless of whether you will hire a pet transport company or arrange all yourself.
Because it was such a lengthy and difficult process and because there are serious consequences if all is not done according to the guidelines and timelines, we decided to work with a pet transport company. After having gone through the process, I can't imagine doing it all myself. In addition to assisting with all requirements, the pet transport company will arrange travel, collect your dog at your home, and deliver him/her to quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days upon arrival in Australia. They will also deliver your dog to your home when quarantine is over. We had a very good experience and were kept up to date with emails, texts, and photos from the time he was picked up to arrival in Australia including the quarantine and delivery to our home after quarantine. It was also a comfort to know that he would be receiving regular vet checks along the way.
Obviously when you are considering pros and cons, the cost can definitely be a factor. To give you an idea, my dog is a 23 lb. Norwich Terrier and to transport him from San Diego to Australia was $5,500 (expect larger dogs to be more expensive). This included the crate and the quarantine in Melbourne (the only quarantine location). In addition to the cost of transport, there are vet expenses as noted. There also is a final pre export clinical exam and completion of the USDA approved Australian Vet Health Certificate which was included in my pet transport cost.
It's difficult not to be overwhelmed by all of this but once you decide which way you will go, if you follow the steps one at a time and work with your vet (and transport company if you use one), it can be easier than it seems.