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Cost of Bringing a Dog to Australia [2020]

Bringing a dog to Australia can be a rather difficult and expensive process. There are many different costs and fees to take into consideration, which we will list in detail below.

The total cost of bringing a dog to Australia is around $4,000 (USD) / $5,600 (AUD). The cost is broken down into the following fees:

  • Vet fees – microchipping, vaccinations and treatments varies on your veterinarian centre’s fees and home country (average $300 (USD) / $425 (AUD))
  • Airline fees for shipping a dog – varies widely depending on the airline, size and weight of your dog
  • Import permit fees – costs around $480 (AUD) for one dog and $240 (AUD) for additional dogs
  • Quarantine fees – costs around $2,200 per dog (AUD)
  • Government endorsements – varies depending on home country
  • Travel gear – costs between $40 – $150 (AUD)

Of course, this is an approximate number as the real cost will depend on where you are traveling from, the species, size and weight of your dog, and your mode of transport.

In this article, we will discuss each cost in detail.

VETERINARIAN FEES

The veterinarian fees to bring a dog to Australia will vary depending on which veterinarian center you visit, your dog’s age and where you are traveling from. The entry requirements can include any of the following:

  1. Dog microchipping – $30 (USD) / $45 (AUD)
  2. Rabies vaccination – $20 (USD) / $25 (AUD)
  3. Rabies blood test (rabies titer test) – $120 (USD) / $170 (AUD)
  4. Additional vaccinations – $50+ (USD) / $70+ (AUD)
  5. Parasite treatments – $40 (USD) / $55 AUD
  6. Health certificate / vet visit – $40 (USD) / $60 (AUD)

TOTAL – $300 (USD) / $425 (AUD)*

*Of course, the prices above are approximate prices, as these vary between countries, veterinary centres and the size of your dog. Furthermore, many vet centers will charge additional fees for booking an appointment for treatments and vaccines.

The entry requirements depend on which of the following country groups you are traveling from:

Group 1 Countries: New Zealand; Norfolk Island; Cocos Island

Group 2 Countries: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Christmas Island, Cook Island, Falkland Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Iceland, Japan, Kiribati, Mauritius, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

Group 3 Countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary and Balearic Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Netherlands-Antilles, Aruba, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, the Republic of South Africa, Reunion, Saipan, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland (including Liechtenstein), Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States (including the district of Columbia, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (but excluding Guam and Hawaii), Uruguay.

a) Microchipping will cost approximately $30 (USD) / $45 (AUD)

All dogs must be microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 dog microchip that is a 15 digit and non-encrypted.

A microchip is a small chip the size of a grain of rice that holds a unique number which can be detected by a microchip scanner. It is implanted just under your dog’s skin in between its shoulder blades.

This should be the first step you take. Your dog’s microchip must be implanted before its rabies vaccination is administered, otherwise the vaccination will not count. We will discuss the rabies vaccination in detail in the next section.

Your dog’s microchip number must be present on all documentation required to enter Australia. Your veterinarian must scan your dog or cat’s microchip before any tests or treatments required to enter Australia.


b) Rabies vaccination will cost approximately $20 (USD) / $25 (AUD)

Dogs residing in and entering from Group 1 and Group 2 Countries do not require a rabies vaccination. However, it is a requirement for dogs entering Australia from all other countries.

Dogs must be more than 12 weeks old at the time of vaccination.

Be sure to obtain certification of the period of validity for the particular vaccinations that you obtain, as some are good for two years, others for only one. The vaccination must be valid at the time of entering Australia. Australia accepts the 3 year rabies vaccination.

The 3 year vaccination usually costs more, on average around $40 (USD) / $56 (AUD).

Dogs may also require a rabies blood test, also known as a rabies titer test. Refer to the next section.


c) Rabies titer test / rabies blood test will cost approximately $120 (USD) / $170 (AUD)

The rabies blood test ensures their rabies vaccine has provided your dog with adequate levels of the rabies antibody.

A licensed vet will need to take your dog’s blood at least three to four weeks after receiving their rabies vaccination. Their blood sample must then be sent to an approved lab for testing. Their blood results must show at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody to pass.

Once you have your positive results back, your dog can enter Australia no sooner than 180 days after date that the lab receives the blood sample. The titer test is valid for 730 days after that date.

If your dog is currently living in a non-approved country, you can have your dog’s rabies titer tested in your country. The blood sample must be processed in an OIE-approved laboratory in either China, France, South Korea, Mexico, United Kingdom or South Africa. However, before applying for the import permit, your dog must have another rabies titer test once it has moved to an approved country. The sample from the second test can be processed in an approved lab in that country.


d) Additional vaccinations will cost approximately $50+ (USD) / $70+ (AUD)

As mentioned above, the prices for additional vaccines will vary depending on the veterinary centre you visit. On average they cost around $10 (USD) per vaccine.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment REQUIRES that dogs traveling from Group 2 and Group 3 countries are vaccinated against the following:

  • Brucellosis
  • Ehrlicia canis – requires a blood sample to be taken.
  • Leishmaniosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Babesia canis (dogs that have visited Africa)

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment RECOMMENDS that dogs traveling from Group 2 and Group 3 countries receive vaccinations against the following:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Para-influenza
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Canine influenza*

*Dogs entering from Canada, the United States and Korea must be vaccinated against Canine influenze between 14 days and 12 months prior to travel, and it is advised that dogs entering from other countries also receive the vaccination if it is available.


e) Parasite treatments will cost approximately $40 (USD) / $55 (AUD)

Before you can bring your dog to Australia, they must be treated against parasites. The cost of treatment varies between veterinary centers and the size/breed of your dog.

External parasite treatment

Dogs must be given a product that kills ticks and fleas on contact by a vet at least 21 days before a blood sample for Ehrlichia canis is taken (mentioned above)

All treatments should be administered by a government approved veterinarian.

Continuous protection from external parasites must be maintained until the time your dog leaves Australia. At each subsequent veterinary visit, your approved vet should examine your dog for external parasites. If fleas or ticks are found they must be removed. Thus, the treatment will be restarted and dogs must be tested for Ehrlichia canis antibodies 21 days later.

Internal parasite treatment

All dogs are required to be treated against nematodes and cestodes.


f) Health certificate will cost approximately $40 (USD) / $60 (AUD)

The cost of a health certificate will just be the cost of a visit to the vet. This varies widely depending on which center you visit. 

Your dog’s veterinary health certificate will be Appendix 1 of your import permit (compulsory fee 3).

Upon arrival in Australia, customs officials will need to see a valid import permit, with a veterinary health certificate completed by an Official government veterinarian in the country of export.

An official government veterinarian must:

  • Complete, sign and stamp all pages of the veterinary health certificate
  • Give you a seal to be placed on your dog’s travel crate at the time of export. The seal number must be recorded on the veterinary health certificate.

AIRLINE FEES

If you are flying to Australia with a dog, you will need to pay airline fees. 

Of course, the cost varies depending on where you are flying from, which airline you use and the size/breed of your dog. Airlines calculate your pet’s air freight based on weight/size of the crate, so the bigger your pet, the more expensive the international ticket will be.

For example, if traveling to Australia from LA, USA, you can expect to spend at least $1,100 (USD) for small dogs and significantly more for extra large dogs going from Los Angeles to Australia.

IMPORT PERMIT FEES

If you want to bring your dog to Australia, you will need to apply for an import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. This will cost you approximately $480 (AUD), and an additional $240 (AUD) for any additional dog.

Your dog’s veterinary health certificate (mentioned above) will be Appendix 1 of your import permit. Upon arrival in Australia, customs officials will need to see a valid import permit, with a veterinary health certificate completed by an Official government veterinarian in the country of export.

You must ensure that your permits are applied for well in advance of your expected arrival date in Australia. You can file for an import permit as soon as your dog rabies titer test is passed, and no sooner than 42 days before import. An import permit is valid for 12 months after issue date.

Once you have submitted your application, The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment will assess it and may decide to grant an import permit subject to any conditions deemed necessary to safely import your dog.

It is important to note that applying for an import permit does not automatically result in an import permit being issued. The department will inform you why your import permit was not granted.

You can lodge an import permit application online.

Before submitting an import permit application, we highly recommended that you double check the import requirements for your dog on BICON.
Online lodgement of import permit application

Service

Lodgement

Assessment

Total (AUD)

First dog in a consignment

$120.00

$360.00

$480.00

For each additional dog thereafter in the same consignment

$120.00

$120.00

$240.00

 

It is important to note that the assessment fees are provided as a minimum charge. If applications are incomplete or require additional effort, further fees may be payable by the importer.

QUARANTINE FEES

The typical 30 days in Australian quarantine for one dog will probably cost you at least $2,200 (AUD)

Dogs traveling from New Zealand will not be subjected to quarantine. However, all dogs traveling from outside of New Zealand will be subject to a 10 day quarantine period upon arrival. When entering Australia from another country through New Zealand, dogs must be quarantined in New Zealand, then remain on the island for 90 days after quarantine prior to entering Australia.

The most expensive cost of bringing your dog to Australia, is quarantine. The minimum stay in quarantine is 10 days, however you should prepare for a 30 day stay. The fees for quarantine are broken down into the following:

  • $33 (AUD) entry per dog
  • A daily rate of $27 (AUD) per dog
  • $30 (AUD) document clearance per dog
  • $30 (AUD) per 15 minutes of veterinary examination per dog
  • $1,200 (AUD) post-entry quarantine (PEQ) charge

Full details of fees and charges can be found in the department’s charging guidelines.​​

The quarantine facility at Mickleham will be closed for the last 2 weeks of December and the first day of January. No dogs will be accepted for quarantine during that time.

GOVERNMENT ENDORSEMENTS

Often proof of required vaccines need to be verified with a government endorsement. The cost of which varies depending on your home country. 

For example, this is the case if you are bringing a dog to Australia from the US. USDA endorsements for pets going to Australia need to be secured during the preparation process and also once again at the exit port (most likely LAX).

These endorsements will vary based on the number of pets but will likely exceed $200 USD.

TRAVEL GEAR

Your dog will need a suitable dog carrier to ensure that he or she is comfortable, and that you are in-line with airline policies. The cost of dog carriers vary widely, but will cost you anywhere between $30 and $100 (USD).

You must get an International Air Transport Association (IATA) approved crate for dogs. The crate must meet IATA standards to ensure your animal’s safety as crates that are too small, low or narrow may harm your dog.

If you are flying to Australia with a dog, your pet carrier will need to be in line with your specific airline’s policies. The size of your dog’s travel carrier will depend on which airline you are traveling with and whether your dog will be traveling in the cabin or cargo area of the plane. Most likely, your dog will need to travel in the cargo section of the plane.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

1. How can I save money when bringing my dog to Australia?

There are some costs that are unavoidable, when bringing your dog to Australia. For example, the import permit, government endorsement and quarantine costs are all compulsory. However, there are ways to save some money and cut costs.

The easiest way to save money when taking a dog to Australia, is to spend less on your veterinary fees.

  1. Compare prices of different veterinary centers – different veterinary centers have different costs.
  2. Try to get free microchipping and vaccination with local charities – many charities will offer this service for free!
  3. Check for deals or bundles – some veterinary clinics offer deals or bundles on vaccinations and treatments.
  4. Look into pet plans – if you are planning on traveling with your dog a lot, then it may be worth looking into pet plans. Many vets offer a yearly or monthly subscription to discounted treatments and vaccines.


2. What is the process of bringing a dog to Australia?

The process of bringing a dog to Australia is as follows:

  1. Research – the process depends on the age of your dog, and where you are traveling from. Therefore, ensure you are aware of the specific requirements for taking your dog to Australia. It’s also important to check that your dog is allowed to be imported to Australia, as they have very strict rules, prohibiting some dog breeds visiting.
  2. Visit the vet – most dogs will require a microchip, vaccinations, parasite treatments and a rabies blood test. However, the requirements vary depending on your dog’s home country. We will go into more detail in the requirements section below.
  3. Apply for import permit (if necessary) – to bring a dog to Australia, you will need an import permit. You need to apply for this before traveling to Australia as it will be required to pass customs.
  4. Organise quarantine (if necessary) – as soon as you have your import permit granted, you should get in contact with the The Mickleham Center in Victoria to make arrangements for your dog.


3. How long will it take to bring a dog to Australia?

The process of importing a dog to Australia can take between 1-12 months to complete. This depends on where you are traveling from.

If you are traveling from New Zealand with a dog, the time scale will be shorter. This is because they will not require rabies blood tests or import permits. However, if you are traveling from a country other than NZ, it will likely take you longer to bring your dog to Australia.

The most timely steps of bringing a dog to Australia, are getting your dog’s rabies blood test results back, and applying for an import permit.

Getting your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies will just take a quick appointment to the vet. The appointment should take no more than half an hour. If your dog requires additional treatments and vaccinations, the appointment may take a little longer.

As mentioned above, your dog’s rabies blood test will be one of the most timely steps. This is because you must wait at least three to four weeks after your dog’s rabies vaccination, before taking its blood sample. Not only can it take up to 30 days to get your dog’s blood test results back, but you will then have to wait 180 days before entering Australia.

Furthermore, the process of getting an import permit can be lengthy. The majority of permit applications are processed and decided within 20 days. However, in more complex cases, the process takes longer. In fact, under the Biosecurity Act 2015 and Biosecurity Regulation 2016, the department has a maximum of six months (123 business days) to either grant or refuse a permit.


4. Can I avoid my dog staying in quarantine?

Dogs traveling from New Zealand will not be subjected to quarantine. However, all dog traveling from outside of New Zealand will be subject to a 10 day quarantine period upon arrival. 

Don’t worry, quarantine isn’t as scary as it sounds. Dogs will have great caretakers and special food/medication accommodations if your dog needs it.

Sadly, due to repeated forest fire damage, there is just one quarantine center – The Mickleham Center in Victoria. Therefore, upon arrival, departmental staff will collect your dog and transport them directly to the Mickleham post-entry quarantine facility.

As there is just one center, we advise that you make reservations for your dog as soon as you receive your dog’s import permit.

When entering Australia from another country through New Zealand, dogs must be quarantined in New Zealand, then remain on the island for 90 days after quarantine prior to entering Australia.

The quarantine facility at Mickleham will be closed for the last 2 weeks of December and the first day of January. No dogs will be accepted for quarantine during that time.


Bottom Line

The total cost of bringing a dog to Australia is around $4,000 (USD) / $5,600 (AUD).

This cost is just an approximate number to give you a rough guide of how much it might cost you. The cost of bringing a dog to Australia varies widely depending on where you are traveling from, which airline you fly with, and the breed and size of your dog.

Depending on which country group you are traveling from, your dog may require additional or different vaccines, treatments and tests. Additionally, different airlines will charge different amounts depending on the route, size and weight of your dog.

The most expensive part of bringing a dog to Australia, is quarantine, costing at least $2,200 (AUD) . Luckily for those traveling from New Zealand, this fee may be avoidable.

Hope you have found this helpful.

Happy travels!

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