Importing dogs into Australia

​Key points

  • To manage biosecurity risks, strict conditions apply to importing dogs (and other pets) into Australia.
  • These rules are based on science and are design to keep everyone safe—you, your dog, and the Australian people, animals and environment.
  • If you’re planning to bring your dog to Australia, you’ll need to complete some steps to meet import conditions, including applying for an import permit.
  • You can find step-by-step guides on how to import your dog into Australia on the Department of Agriculture website.

Dogs can be imported into Australia under strict conditions to manage biosecurity risks.

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture is the government agency responsible for managing biosecurity risks from imports.

So if you’re planning to bring your best friend with you to Australia for a holiday or permanently, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

This fact sheet outlines what the Department of Agriculture requires when importing dogs and explains why the rules are important.

Pre-export

The Department of Agriculture requires you to complete some mandatory steps before you set out on your journey. You will need to ensure your dog is exported from an approved country, has a microchip, has had its appropriate vaccinations, and has been tested and served the qualifying waiting period for diseases like rabies.

You will also need to arrange for a valid import permit with the Department of Agriculture. The import permit will outline the specific conditions you must meet to import your dog.

Once your dog has had all the necessary health checks, including being treated for ticks and other parasites, and has had a final check up from the government approved vet, he or she will be ready to come to Australia.

Travelling to Australia

Unfortunately, there’s no doggy first-class. And except for guide dogs and other assistance dogs, dogs are not permitted to travel in the cabin. But that doesn’t mean your best friend won’t be well looked after.

On the day your dog departs for Australia, he or she will be sealed into an approved container and checked in at the freight terminal, not the passenger terminal.

He or she will then be transported to Australia in the cargo area of the aircraft.

Arrival in Australia

Once you arrive, your dog must complete a minimum 10-day period in an Australian Government post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facility operated by the Department of Agriculture.

Biosecurity officers from the Department of Agriculture will collect your dog at the airport and transport him or her to the government PEQ facility.

Prior to release from quarantine your best friend will be checked by a government vet, and if there are no issues, they will be free to join you for your stay in Australia! (But remember there are requirements your dog may need to meet to get back home if you’re in Australia for a visit.)

Guide dogs and other assistance dogs

There are special conditions for guide dogs and other assistance dogs that mean these animals can continue to do their essential work from the moment they arrive in Australia. If you’re travelling with your assistance dog, contact the Department of Agriculture or visit our website for more details about this.

Why are these rules important?

Around 6000 dogs are imported into Australia each year, and there are very few incidents of biosecurity concern that result from dog imports.  This is because the Department of Agriculture enforces strict biosecurity rules. This is for the safety of dogs and other pets in Australia, as well as other animals, both farm and native, and our people.

Rabies is the most significant disease associated with the importation of dogs and it can be fatal in all mammals, including humans. If canine rabies were to establish in Australia it would have devastating consequences.

There are other diseases and parasites dogs can carry that would have a serious impact if they were to establish in Australia. These include ehrlichiosis, leishmaniasis and leptospirosis.

Put simply, the rules the Department of Agriculture administers are based on science and are designed to keep everyone safe: you, your dog, and the Australian people and environment.

Where can I find out more?

To check if you are allowed to bring your dog into Australia, and exactly what you need to do, including applying for an import permit, and how much it will cost, visit the Department of Agriculture website.

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