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Emigrating to Australia with your Pet

If you want to relocate with your pet, this will also require planning, documentation and costs. There are several rules and regulations in place to manage biosecurity risks.

Microchip and Vaccinations

To start with your pet will have to be microchipped and have the required vaccinations and certificates thereof from a registered vet. Rabies vaccinations are particularly important for South African pets and need to be done less than a year prior to departure. The microchip needs to be implanted before the rabies titer test is carried out. Don’t forget to get your certificate. Once everything is added up you will require 4-5 vet visits. 

Australia does accept the 3 year rabies vaccination. It is recommended that cats receive a vaccination that protects against feline enteritis (also known as feline panleucopenia or feline distemper), rhinotracheitis and calicivirus. The vaccination should be valid for the entire post-arrival quarantine period. It is recommended that your dog receives a vaccination that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Para-influenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica and is valid for the entire post-arrival quarantine period.

Blood Test

All animals entering Australia need to have a Rabies Antibody Titer Test after receiving an inactivated rabies vaccination. The point of this is to check that the vaccine has provided your pet with the right levels of the rabies antibody.


There is a 10-day quarantine period for dogs and cats in Australia and the only quarantine centre is in Melbourne. It is advisable to make reservations for your pet as soon as you receive your pet’s import permit. The quarantine facility at Mickleham will be closed for the last 2 weeks of December and the first day of January. No pets will be accepted for quarantine during that time.

Restricted Breeds

The following dog breeds are not permitted to enter Australia: Dogo Argentino, Fila Brazileiro, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull, Perro de Presa Canario or Presa Canario.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is not included in Australian legislation. The laws only apply to pure bred dogs and does not apply to cross breeds or mixes.

Wolf and 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 are generally not eligible for import. Hybrid cats include, but are not limited to: 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).