Australian Quarantine Stations

Australia has a highly favourable animal health status and is free from a number of cat and dog diseases. In order to protect this status cats and dogs entering Australia are required to undertake a period of quarantine on arrival. This quarantine period allows the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to monitor the animal’s health and become aware of any disease concerns prior to the animals release into Australia.

AQIS operates three animal Quarantine Stations. The information on this page is relevant to all three Quarantine Stations. Specific information on each quarantine station can be found at the bottom of this page.

Staff at Quarantine Stations

Our staff are experienced and carefully selected, ensuring that cats and dogs receive expert care and attention throughout their stay in quarantine. Staff are fully trained and in many cases have prior experience as veterinary nurses and boarding kennel attendants. Cats and dogs will be assigned a carer who will attend to them throughout their stay.

Our staff are Commonwealth government employees and are unable to accept gifts. If you wish to express your thanks to staff members, Client Feedback forms are available at the stations or from the AQIS website.

Bookings

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) wishes to advise that there is currently a high demand for kennels at some of our Australian Animal Quarantine Stations. Due to this demand the Quarantine Stations may not have kennels available at the intended import time.

People wishing to have their cats and dogs accommodated at an Australian Animal Quarantine Station should contact the relevant Quarantine Station directly to confirm availability.

An import permit does not guarantee a space at an animal Quarantine Station.

To book a space at an Australian animal Quarantine Station, a valid import permit is required. Once an import permit has been issued, contact the relevant animal Quarantine Station to make a reservation for the animal with the valid import permit number.

Provision of an Air Waybill number to the animal Quarantine Station will be required to confirm the reservation closer to the date of departure.

Animal Arrivals

Once your animal is booked onto a flight to Australia the airline will notify the relevant Quarantine Station of your animal’s import permit number, arrival date and time.

Your pet will be met at the airport by an AQIS officer. You will not be able to visit your pet at the airport. When a plane lands there are a number of formalities that must occur before your pet leaves the airport and is taken to the Quarantine Station. Your pet will need to be cleared by the Australian Customs Service. To avoid any delays with this clearance your physical/home address in Australia (rather than a post office box number or the Quarantine Station address) should be noted on the Air Waybill. Once formalities are complete, your pet will be transported directly to the animal Quarantine Station by an AQIS officer.

Staff will always endeavour to get your pet to the station in the shortest time practicable.
On arrival at the station your pet will be introduced to a Quarantine Officer. The officer will weigh your pet and check for signs of stress and illness before settling the animal into its accommodation.

Your pets’ transport container will be disinfected and stored awaiting collection.
Animals must not arrive on weekends or public holidays or outside station office hours. Please refer to the individual Quarantine Station information sheet for further details.

Fees

The Quarantine invoice will be forwarded to the importer address details as listed on the import permit within approximately 10 days of the animal’s arrival.

If your postal address has changed since you received your import permit, you must contact the Quarantine Station directly to update your records.
The account must be settled prior to the animal’s release.

If the animal is due for release on a weekend or public holiday ensure that you have settled your account on a business day prior, as payment cannot be taken on a weekend.

AQIS will accept payment via EFTPOS, cash, Visa, MasterCard or AMEX. Payment by bank cheque must be received at least 14 days prior to collection. No personal cheques will be accepted.

Visiting your Pet

You can visit and interact with your pet during its stay in quarantine. As visiting hours differ between stations, please refer to the individual Quarantine Station information sheet for further details .

AQIS does not allow the visiting of animals on the day of arrival.
Staff are busy making the trip to and from the airport, checking your pet into the station, providing food, and water and settling the animal into the accommodation.

Bedding

Bedding which travels in the crate with your pet is generally soiled and may be destroyed on arrival. If you wish to send bedding for your pet’s stay in quarantine it should be attached to the outside of the crate.

Alternatively bedding can be sourced in Australia, and mailed to the Quarantine Station or supplied by you during a visit to the station. Beanbags and hammock beds are not a permitted form of bedding.

Toys and Treats

If you wish to bring in treats for your pet, you will need to discuss with staff their suitability to ensure they are not overfed.

Some toys can present a hazard to your pet. Avoid toys that are easily destroyed by biting or chewing (as they are a choking hazard) and those suspended by string. You will need to discuss the suitability of toys with your animal’s attendant. Suitable toys can be sourced in Australia and sent to the Quarantine Station once the animal has arrived.

Feeding

Your pet will be fed a nutritionally balanced commercial dog or cat food. As feeding differs between stations, please refer to the individual Quarantine Station information sheet for further details.

It is the importers responsibility to provide any special dietary requirements including prescription diets to the Quarantine Station for your pet/s if required.
Do not send food with your animal/s.

Grooming

Staff provide basic grooming and washing to ensure that your pet’s coat remains clean and un-matted.

Importers are welcome, by appointment, to groom their pets during the quarantine period or to arrange for a private groomer at their own expense.

Importers of long coated dogs and cats should arrange for private grooming.

If an animal arrives at the Quarantine Station in a matted condition or is difficult to groom, it is the responsibility of the importer to arrange for a private groomer at their own expense.

Exercise

Whilst Quarantine staff do not generally exercise pets, each station is equipped with outdoor, exercise yards for dogs. Importers may exercise their dogs, weather permitting, subject to the availability of the yards.

Contact the relevant Quarantine Station directly to find out more information about when your dog/s can be exercised.

Veterinary Attendance for Animals

An AQIS quarantine veterinary officer examines your animal within three days of arriving at the station. Quarantine veterinary officers only investigate exotic disease symptoms. A private veterinarian must provide any other veterinary attention should it be required.

A Veterinarian Attendance Authorisation form is required to be completed at the time of submitting an application. This form gives AQIS the authorization to seek veterinary services for your animal if required, during its stay. It also allows you to nominate a private veterinarian of your choice. If you do not have a private veterinarian, the station will engage one on your behalf. Veterinary bills are not included in your station fees. If a veterinarian is engaged for your pet, they will invoice you separately.

In the event that your animal requires veterinary attention, the station will make every attempt to contact you. If this is not possible the station will not hesitate to call a veterinarian.

Each station has a small veterinary clinic for use by private practitioners if medical treatment or surgery is required.

It is important that the Quarantine Station has a name, address and phone numbers of a contact based here in Australia, in the event that your pet experiences any feeding or health problems.

(Include these details on your permit application form).

Medicating Animals whilst in Quarantine

AQIS discourages, on welfare grounds, the importation of chronically ill animals.

Importers should also take into account the age and condition of their animals as well as travel and climatic stress when deciding to export their animals to Australia.

If your pet has any veterinary problems or requires medication (eg. diabetes/ epilepsy) contact the Quarantine Station prior to submitting an application to discuss this with an AQIS officer or veterinarian. This medical condition should also be specified at the time of submission of your import application.

AQIS does not provide any medication. If the pet is on any kind of prescription medication a letter from your pet’s veterinarian must be submitted outlining your pet’s medical history, the type of medication required and the dosage rate prior to export. Quarantine staff will administer medication to your pet.

Medication can only be administered between the hours of 8:00 am to 4:30 pm – 7 days a week. There is no medication administered outside these hours.

These are NOT the hours that the Quarantine Station is open to the public.

Importers of animals that require the administration of therapeutics (eg. Diabetic/epileptic animals) outside the medication hours should discuss alternative treatment intervals with the animals’ veterinarian prior to importation to Australia.

If attendance is required after hours in the case of an emergency, additional overtime charges will apply.

Pregnant Animals

Female pets must not be more than 3 weeks pregnant nor be suckling young and must be eligible for the minimum 30 days in quarantine at time of export.

Heartworm for Dogs

Heartworm disease for dogs is endemic in Australia. Its occurrence varies widely in different areas of Australia. Heartworm is caused by the microorganism Dirofilaria immitis and is spread by mosquitoes. The larvae migrate to the heart and develop into worms over a period of about 6 months. No testing or treatment is required for your dog to be eligible for importation to Australia.

A range of drugs is available to prevent heartworm disease. For dogs that have never been exposed to heartworm, there is at least a four month window during which preventative treatment can be safely started. For most dogs there is no need for treatment during quarantine.

Importers should talk to their dogs’ veterinarian about whether treatment is necessary in their area and type of drug that is most suitable after the dog is released from quarantine.

Alternatively, if your dog has an extended quarantine period and if you would like your dog to be placed on heartworm medication you can arrange directly for a private veterinarian to examine your dog, to take a blood sample, if necessary, and to prescribe the most appropriate medication.

The private veterinarian will bill you directly for all costs.

Animal Departures

Animal departure hours differ between stations. Please refer to the individual Quarantine Station information sheet for further details.

Importers are responsible for the collection of their animals from the Quarantine Station.

The animal will only be released to the importer or to an authorized agent. This authority must be arranged with the Quarantine Station prior to the collection of the animal.

Photo identification must be presented at the time of release.

If you are unable to pick up your animal on their release date, you must contact the Quarantine Station prior to the specified release date.

In most cases it is not possible for your animal to stay beyond its designated release date.

Many pet transport companies offer the service of collecting your animal from the Quarantine Station and provide boarding until you are able to take them yourself.

For more information please visit the Department of Agriculture website.