Australia Pet Travel Spotlight: Why Does It Cost so Much to Move Pets to Australia?

Australia pet travel spotlight part two

After starting our Australia Pet Travel Spotlight with a look at the Australia quarantine process, we now turn to another key issue: costs. Australia tends to be more expensive than many other countries when it comes to importing pets, but the more you know up front, the more you can prepare and manage some of those expenses.

Read on to find out why Australia pet travel isn't cheap and learn a few of our tips for keeping costs lower. Want to discuss these issues in more depth with one of our Australia Specialists? Contact us.

(Note: All pricing estimates included in this article are geared towards pets originating in the United States and reflect information accurate in October 2015.)

Vet Visits

Since Australia is a rabies free country, in addition to an up-to-date rabies vaccine pets also need a rabies titer test. This is a blood test done two to three weeks after the rabies vaccination is given and the test must be sent to an approved lab.

Additionally, dogs traveling to Australia also need to be vaccinated against Leptospirosis and Canine Influenza Virus. When all vet visits and testing fees need for Australia are added up, most pet owners end up spending around $1,000 USD.

Import Permit

When traveling internationally, pets often need to secure an import permit that will allow them legal entry. For pets coming from the United States and going to Australia, the necessary import permit will start at around $400 USD for the first pet and costs will increase with each additional pet.

Government Endorsements

Often proof of required vaccines need to be verified with a government endorsement. In this case, 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.

Pet's Plane Tickets

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. Generally speaking, you can expect to spend at least $1,100 USD for cats and small dogs and significantly more for extra large dogs going from Los Angeles to Australia. Also, unless you live in L.A. you'll need to arrange travel from your origin city, so be sure to calculate the cost of that additional plane ticket from Boston, Kansas City, or wherever you may live.

Pick-Up & Airport Check-In

The airport drop off and check-in process is especially complex for Australia due to the specific timing of pet flights and time zone issues. For example, when departing from the United States, a night of boarding in Los Angeles is usually needed along with a final vet check and check-in at the airport.

If delegated to a pet transportation service, these transit arrangements (pick up at the residence/starting point, transfer to the boarding facility, pick up the next day for final vet visit and check in) will probably cost a few hundred dollars for one pet.

Customs Clearance & Quarantine

One of the biggest factors in making Australia a pricey destination is the country's quarantine requirements. All pets must fulfill a minimum 10-day quarantine upon arrival, and the fees for this currently start at $1,400 USD. Remember, no matter where you're coming from this quarantine is necessary, and depending  on the date you'll be traveling it's important to check the status of the quarantine facilities and arrange accordingly. As we discuss in our Australia quarantine overview, after the situation being in flux for a while eventually all pets will pass through one consolidated quarantine facility in Mickleham, Victoria.

Personalized Planning & Assistance

Because there are so many moving parts and precise details involved with planning a smooth pet relocation to Australia, many pet owners decide to hire professional assistance with their move so that they can focus on their own logistics and leave their pet's details to an expert. Also, in case something goes wrong (a flight delay or a paperwork snafu, for example), it's invaluable to have a pet travel expert on hand to deal with the situation and find a solution as soon as possible. Hiring help makes an expensive process even more pricey, but most people ultimately find this addition to be well worth it.

Now we'll get to what you can do to trim some of the costs of pet travel to Australia. Unfortunately things like government endorsements and air freight are not negotiable, but there are a few areas where you can possible save a few dollars.

3 Ways to Control the Costs of Your Pet Move to Australia:

  • Plan vet visits carefully to keep them to a minimum. If you read over the requirements carefully early in the process and understand exactly what you need to do, you're less likely to make mistakes that will end up costing you money. Even one extra vet visit or needing to redo a form can add up to quite a bit of money, so plan well to avoid paying more than you have to.

  • Buy the correct travel crate and look for a used one if possible. Once you've measured your pet and found out what size airline-approved travel crate you'll need, search eBay or Craigslist for possible bargain buys. Even if you can't find one, checking with an expert to make sure you have the right travel crate can prevent the stressful and costly mistake of needing to purchase another one at the last minute. Again, advance prep work makes all the difference and can often save you money.

  • Handle some of the transportation yourself. Getting your pet to Los Angeles on your own and picking your pet up from quarantine for the eventual ride home will shave a little off the overall price of your pet's move. Feel free to discuss various options with your pet travel specialist to find out what your choices may be.


This is Part Two of PetRelocation's Australia Pet Travel Spotlight series. Check back soon to learn more about this process and contact us if you have questions about moving your pet safely to Australia.


Banner Photo: Shayan (USA)/Flickr


PetRelocation Team




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