5 Myths About Pet Quarantine

Sembawang QuarantineWhat is Pet Quarantine Really Like?

We field lots of questions from pet owners who are starting to plan their international pet travel adventures, and more often than not concerned pet parents wonder about quarantine. Is it necessary? Is it terrible? How can it be avoided, or at least handled safely?

Read on to see a few common misconceptions about pet quarantine along with our tips and advice for carrying out quarantine with as little stress as possible.

Most people feel better once they've faced these myths and facts head on (and we think you will, too).

Myth #1: Every country requires pet quarantine upon arrival.

Many pet owners researching international pet travel assume that every country requires quarantine upon arrival, but the truth is that only a handful really do.

Moving to strict rabies-free countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore means fulfilling a few days’ quarantine, but for most places in North America, South America, the EU and much of the rest of Europe and Asia, there is no quarantine. Look up your destination country or check with the relevant Ministry of Agriculture to find out if there is a quarantine. (Note: Sometimes the quarantine requirements depend on the country of origin.)

Myth #2: Quarantine facilities are basically like jail.

Not true. Quarantine facilities are government run facilities staffed by trained professionals, and while they’re not as posh as a nice pet hotel, they are simple, safe and sufficient—they'll probably just remind you of a standard boarding facility with dog runs, separate cat areas and outdoor yard space allowing for fresh air and exercise. Want to see some examples? Read about Archie’s time in Malaysia quarantine and check out this video of Tilly in Australia quarantine for a look behind the scenes.

Myth #3: Pets are forever changed after spending time in quarantine.

dogs in Singapore quarantine

In our experience, pets do just fine during and after fulfilling their quarantines. Time and again through post move updates, pet owners tell us that it was tough to be apart from their pets, but their furry family members stayed healthy and ultimately life was able to go back to normal very quickly upon their release. (Just ask Kuro, a Pomeranian who moved to Perth and “Singapore kitty” Purrla.)

Myth #4: If I pay extra fees or get “special” paperwork, I might be able to avoid quarantine.

No matter how rich or famous you are, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to be excused from a country’s official pet import rules. If you plan everything correctly your pet will only need to face the minimum quarantine (which is often just 7-10 days), but never count on finding a way to skip it altogether.

Myth #5: Pets won’t be able to get their own food or medicine while in quarantine.

Each station has its own rules, but health and safety are priorities at each. Examples: Kuala Lumpur Animal Quarantine Station (KLAQS) allows visitors each day, so we recommend that you or your pet agent administer any necessary medication during visits (this facility also accommodates special food requests).

Australia quarantine stations do not allow visitors at this time, but the staff will administer medication provided you supply detailed instructions, and you'll have the opportunity to make a special dietary request when you apply for your import permit. Overall, when making reservations, find out the rules of the facility well in advance so that you can adequately prepare.

Chunk in quarantine


  • Research the import requirements via the USDA or Ministry of Agriculture for the country to which you’re moving to find out if quarantine is necessary; if it is, find out as much as you can about the facility and its procedures in order to streamline the process and avoid problems.

  • Start this research early in the process, as many facilities see high numbers of pets passing through and have waiting lists during busier times of the year.

  • Quarantine rules can change at any time (just like general pet import requirements), so make sure you’re working with the most up-to-date information.

  • Read about the experiences of others by searching online for expat blogs, and check out our customer experiences for detailed insights.

Finally, especially when a pet move involves quarantine, we recommend hiring expert help to guide you. With experience navigating the quarantine process, pet travel specialists can facilitate a less stressful quarantine and overall relocation for pets and pet owners.

Have questions about pet quarantine or pet travel in general? Contact us for a consultation.


(Picture #1: A dog at Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station in Singapore; Picture #2: Lucky and Diesel at London & Essex International Quarantine Kennels; Picture #3: Chunk the French Bulldog at Eastern Creek Quarantine in Sydney, Australia)


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Ask the Experts, Quarantine


Cats, Dogs


United States, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore


Add a Comment

By Sara on March 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

Hi,I am moving from india to London, and would like to take my 3 year old beagle girl with me. She’s microchipped and vaccinated already. Yet to begin the rabies test process. But I’m supposed to travel in a month!Can you advise pls?!

By Christina at PetRelocation on March 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Hi Sara!

Your Beagle will have to complete the waiting period for her titer test to be officially imported into the UK, which means you have a couple options to work with the discrepancy in your timeframes. You could have her stay in India (with a friend, family member, or boarding facility) while she completes the waiting period, and then book her on a flight into the UK after your move there. Since you would not be travelling within five days of each other, this would be classified as a commercial move and different rules would apply. Your other option is to book her flight within five days of you move, but schedule a four-month quarantine for her in the UK. This would be required if she arrives before her titer test waiting period is complete. For more information on scheduling quarantine and what that would entail, you can email DEFRA at imports[AT]apha.gsi.gov.uk. The third option (although I know it may not be possible in this instance) would be delaying your move until she is able to travel at the same time as you, and after her test is complete. Although none of these options are ideal, they are all potential solutions for your situation. You will just need to pick the one that works best for you and your pet! Hope this helps.

By Olivia C on March 1, 2018 at 11:34 am

I am moving to Hawaii (Honolulu) in the first week of May. I have to redo the OIE-FAVN test as the vet did it the same day as the 2nd rabies shot. Now realizing that there is a waiting period of 120 days and he will only have around 50-60 days when we move. After reading some comments, I was wondering if the remainder of the days till 120 will be spent in quarantine or if there is a possibility they can come home with me sooner. Please clarify, thanks!

By Jennette Malsbury on February 5, 2018 at 7:56 am

Hello,We are looking to move from the UK to the US. We have a German Shepard who does not like new people and is very aggressive in new situations. Is it possible to sedate him knowing that there are risks to consider? He was originally shipped from the US to the UK and that did not go very well.

By Christina at PetRelocation on February 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Thanks for your question, Jennette!

Many airlines will not allow sedation due to the health risks it presents. With pet friendly airlines like Lufthansa, KLM, United, and British Airways that have specific pet programs in place, behavioral issues like this have likely been encountered before. We recommend contacting your airline to discuss this prior to booking pet travel to see how they handle these situations.

Crate training and plenty of exercise before a trip can also go a long way to relieve travel anxiety. If your dog is not already crate trained, you can find some helpful tips for introducing a travel crate here.

You ultimately know your pet best, so if you feel that it is best for him not to travel due to what happened in the past, that may also be something to consider. For more information on importing a dog to the US, you can view our United States country page. Hope this helps!

By Clare on January 21, 2018 at 1:18 am

Hi, I am looking to move with my pug cross to the Seychelles. What is the quarantine time she’ll have to undergo? Thanks, C

By Christina at PetRelocation on January 22, 2018 at 10:28 am

Hello Clare,

Depending on your country of origin, quarantine can last up to 180 days (this time frame is for rabies-affected countries). The quarantine period for rabies-free countries is 14 days, and 30 days for animals originating from countries in which rabies is well controlled. I suggest contacting the Agricultural Agency in Seychelles directly to confirm the status of your country and additional requirements on importing pets. If you are looking to hire a professional to help with this move and would like to speak with a relocation specialist, please fill out our Arrange a Move form and someone will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks!

By Nikko in New Zealand on October 13, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Myth number 2 is not accurate. In many facilities your dog will not have any fresh air or sunlight or walks like they are accustomed to. My dog is currently going through 10 days of quarantine in New Zealand and is In a facility where he is essentially in solitary confinement. He is fed and has enough water but only gets released twice a day to relieve himself into a hallway. I am going to write a complaint letter to MPI after this experience because their biosecuritu rules are causing animal suffering. It may. be quarantine but it is also prison for dogs..

By Sylvia Mate on October 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

I socked about your experience in NZ' quarantine place as we just started to explore how we can move there from UK with our bigger size of dog in the summer of 2019. Our dog never been in kennel and even he is getting older he has walks outside... He is completely house trained so not sure he will even lift up his leg on a corridor to relief himself... Getting really petrified now...

By bethany@petrelocation.com on October 23, 2017 at 8:53 am

Hello Sylvia, thanks for reaching out.

We have had many house trained dogs go through quarantine in New Zealand without any trouble. If you are able to, please try to visit the different quarantine locations you are interested in to determine the best fit for your dog.

Also, since your dog has never been in a kennel, we would recommend looking into crate training tips here. The sooner you start getting him comfortable with his kennel, the easier the trip will be on him.

We hope this helps, Sylvia! Feel free to reach out to us here if you would like more guidance or a quote for our services.

By bethany@petrelocation.com on October 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Hello Nikko, thanks for reaching out!

It is important to keep in mind that the quarantine facilities in New Zealand are privately held. In our experience with the facilities we've worked with in New Zealand, dogs are taken out on walks or let out in an enclosed outdoor run quite regularly. The same can be said for many other quarantine facilities, like in Singapore or Australia.

We're sorry to hear that your dog wasn't provided the same treatment during his quarantine stay and are glad to hear you are taking the steps to report it. We hope he is doing well at home with you now.

By Carolina on October 13, 2017 at 10:35 am

Regarding quarantine, your comments were: "sometimes the quarantine requirements depend on the country of origin." Can you please me if a mix lab coming from Peru will require to quarantine upon arrival?Thank you - Carolina

By bethany@petrelocation.com on October 16, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Hello Carolina, thanks for your question!

We would also need to know what country you are going to. For example, when moving a pet to Australia, only pets coming from a country like New Zealand can avoid quarantine. Your dog will be required to go to quarantine if you are traveling to Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and a few other countries.

If you need help with your move or would like further guidance, please let us know here and we'd be happy to help!

By Renata on September 25, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Hi, im planning to fly from suriname to french guyana, but its not the final destination, next day there is a separate flight from french guyana to spain with a layover of 8 hours in paris, will my dogs have to stay in quarantine and in which country and for how long is more possible, Thanks

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 26, 2017 at 10:39 am

Hello Renata, thanks for the question!

If all import rules and requirements are followed properly, there will be no quarantine required.

However, there are a few other things to look out for with your dogs' travels. For example, you may need a transit permit for your dogs' time in French Guyana, if you are not flying with Delta.

I hope this helps! Let us know if you need more guidance or would like a quote for our services by filling out this form here. One of our consultants would be happy to speak with you!

By Katharine on September 22, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Hi! We may be moving to dogs to Brunei this winter. One is a 75 lb Labrador and one is a 14 lb pappilion. Was wondering if the quarantine restrictions in Brunei are really 6 months long? Also, hoping that the small dog can fly in the cabin with us but with dogs being culturally considered dirty would that not be allowed (mainly regarding the flight entering Brunei)?

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

Hello Katharine, thanks for reaching out!

Brunei does have a 180 day quarantine period upon arrival, unless you're coming from certain "rabies-free" countries (like Australia). Here are the rules and requirements for entry into Brunei for further detail.

To be honest, it is unlikely your Papillon will be able to travel in cabin, due to weight restrictions airlines have (most require that the pet traveling and the travel carrier must weigh less than 6kg or 8kg total). Regardless, we find that cargo is actually a better experience for pets -- the cabin is full of additional noises, smells, and sights that they wouldn't come across in cargo. If you're nervous about cargo travel, I would recommend reading this blog to gain more insight on the experience.

I hope this helps, Katharine! You are more than welcome to reach out to us here if you need further help.

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