Moving from the UK-Oz with a Dog

Hi guys

We have one of our beautiful Joy ladies sharing her experience of moving with her dog Tia around the world .

Thanks Shelly

Our decision to move to Australia was quite an easy one, as was our choice to bring our 9yr old chocolate Labrador, Tia. Anyone who has ever owned a dog will understand that leaving her in the UK was not an option, and would have been like leaving a child behind…..(which I actually did contemplate!!! Ha ha)

We had a few concerns over her age, but our vet assured us of her good health and gave us lots of advice. we used a reputable veterinary clinic, so we had a good relationship with them, and they had a vet who was registered with the UK Animal Quarantine Services and AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Immigration Service). He had good experience and knowledge of dealing with animals going through the Quarantine Service, which was invaluable to us.

Our first hurdle was that we had planned to leave the UK at the end of August 2014. However, due to my husband’s job position in Brisbane requiring him to move out to Oz earlier, we had to agree on leaving the UK in April 2014, some 4 months earlier than planned.

This had a knock on effect with Tia’s immunisations as dogs have to have a rabies vaccination,

and then 6 months later have a blood test, to test that her anti-bodies to the disease are sufficient enough that she can be admitted to Australia and confirm she did not have rabies in her system.

She had the rabies vaccination end of January 2014, so this meant she could not have the blood test until end of July at the earliest.

Then the paper work would have be completed (takes about 3 weeks) which meant she could not get on a flight until the beginning of September 2014.

We had scheduled this into our original plans, that we would have her collected from us by the company “Pet Air UK” and they would construct her travelling box, deal with all her paperwork, book her into a few days of kennelling near to Heathrow, organise her flights to Sydney, and then her quarantine for 10 days in Sydney. (luckily the AQIS rules had just changed in February 2014, so that quarantine from the UK for dogs was reduced from 30 days to 10 days)

After that Pet Air UK had booked her a flight from Sydney to Brisbane, so she would arrive with us around the third week in September, and we could collect her directly from Brisbane Airport. We were very impressed with Pet Air UK, they were knowledgable and reassuring all throughout the process, especially once she was travelling.  

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Tia left the UK on the 7th September, as flights are limited to specific airlines that cater for animals, she could only fly on a Tuesday or Thursday. Pet Air UK kept us informed, with emails and photos of her as she was in the UK kennels, and then as she arrived in Sydney in the Quarantine.

She seemed to cope well with the flight, her custom made box was secure and well made and although they don’t feed them in flight (all animals are just allowed water) she was fed on arrival in Sydney, and the 10 days quarantine went smoothly. She then had to have a short one hour flight up to Brisbane where we collected her and decided to keep her travel box, in case we needed it for future travel.  It was a little difficult putting it on the roof bars of the car when we drove home, but we were glad we kept it!!

Tia was overjoyed to see us, she was extremely tired for the first few days in our house in Brisbane. But after a few days she had settled well and was back to her old self, intently watching the lizards and water dragons in our garden and wondering what they were!!!

The cost to fly a dog from the UK was a cost we had factored into our move and although it was high, we don’t regret it.

Pet Air UK quoted us 3200 GB pounds to deal with everything (and we feel they were well worth it) 

Australian Quarantine, which was $150 per day for 10 days, payable locally in Australia.

So in total, Tia cost us about 4000 GB pounds to get her out to Brisbane.

Unfortunately, our time in Australia became a lot shorter than we had ever imagined and in January 2015 we had to return to the UK. This meant flying Tia back home, but the process going back home was a lot simpler, but not a lot cheaper!!

Tia did not have to do UK quarantine, as she had passed the Australian quarantine within 12 months, and we had luckily kept hold of her travel crate, so we needed to find a company who could fly her home directly from Brisbane to London, and then transfer her to our Kent address. The company we researched and used was Dogtainers, we had actually already had contact with them on Tia’s journey out. (they had handled the internal flight from Sydney to Brisbane as a partner company to Pet Air UK)

They were a professional, friendly company who reassured us over Tia’s travel arrangements and kept us updated with her travel progress. Her immunisations were still up to date, and the Australian quarantine regulations hadn’t changed. So her trip home was straight forward. 

The price for her to fly home and management of her paperwork in Oz cost us $2200,

which was cheaper only because it was a direct flight and we didn’t have to buy a travel crate.

Although it was an ordeal for a now 10 year old labrador, Tia seemed to cope well and we have no reservations about her journey despite it being a rather short experience for her in Brisbane. Had we known that our adventure would be so short we may not have brought her with us, but at the time of leaving the UK we had it in our minds we were leaving for good.  It’s strange the way things turn out, but we don’t regret any of it, its all life’s great tapestry and we may return one day. Tia certainly enjoyed her time there, and now probably goes down as one of Kent’s most expensive travelled dog 🙂

Thanks Shelly


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