Pets - international travel

Things to consider

We strongly recommend using a specialised pet transport company for international pet travel due to the complexity of customs and quarantine controls.

Many pet travel companies are available at the international gateways we service. Just mention you’d like your pet to travel on a Qantas aircraft should you contact them.

These companies ensure compliance with origin, transit point and destination quarantine requirements, vet checks and that appropriate containers for shipping are taken care of.

Your responsibilities

Additional booking requirements may apply depending on the country your pet is travelling to, we suggest you email qfexportlivestock@qantas.com.au to check before making travel arrangements.

You should also keep in mind that different destinations and routes have specific quarantine obligations, some of which require arrangements being organised up to six months in advance. Australian vets and government biosecurity authorities can help with more information.

Fitness and eligibility to fly

Your pet needs to be fit, healthy and able to cope with being confined for an extended period of time. For this reason, we recommend talking to your vet and having an assessment carried out before booking any travel arrangements. 

If your pet appears sedated, unwell, injured, heavily pregnant or aggressive, we can’t accept it for travel.

You’ll need a certificate stating your pet is healthy enough to fly if:

  • Your dog or cat is older than 12 years
  • If your puppy or kitten is between eight and 12 weeks old. Be aware that at this age, your pet will only be able to travel for a maximum of 14 hours.

We cannot accept your pet for international travel if:

  • Your puppy or kitten is less than eight weeks old
  • It appears sedated, unwell, injured, heavily pregnant or aggressive.

Dog breeds - restrictions and conditions

Certain breeds of dogs cannot be imported into Australia as they’re classified as ‘dangerous animals’ under federal legislation, including:

  • Pit Bull and American Pit Bull terriers
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Brazilian Fila and Mastiff
  • Presa Canario.

American Staffordshire Terriers (full or cross breed) must be transported in a CR-82 reinforced cage or an airline approved guard dog cage before flying.

If your pet is a snub-nose breed, and thus prone to breathing difficulties, we recommend they travel in a cage that is twice the minimum required size to ensure adequate air circulation.

Snub-nosed dogs can only travel a maximum of two international sectors.

Greyhounds and dogs travelling with military or correctional facilities officers are considered working dogs and therefore must travel in a guard-dog approved crate.

Booked and actual flight may differ

We do all we can to make sure your pet’s air travel goes as smoothly as possible. However, due to the dynamic nature of international airport operations there may be rare occasions where a flight is subject to delays or your pet is placed on a different flight.

Insurance

Qantas Freight does not provide insurance for your pet’s international travel. Please contact an insurance company offering such cover to consider the conditions, premium, exclusions and options available.

Crate information

Your pet must be able to stand, sit, turn around and lie down in a natural manner within the crate. It must also have sufficient ventilation.

We sell selected crates at some of our major terminal locations but do not have crates for hire. If you intend to purchase a crate from us, we suggest you call 13 12 13 in advance to confirm availability.

It’s also a good idea to get your pet familiar with their crate prior to the actual flight to avoid any potential anxiety on the day of departure. If possible, try letting them sleep in the crate for a few nights before flying.

Multiple pets in the same crate

Pets may travel in the same crate if:

  • There are two of them over six months or three under six months (this is the maximum number allowed in one crate at a time)
  • They’re the same species, are similar in size and weight, and are used to cohabitation
  • Each pet weighs no more than 14kg individually.

If sending pets in separate crates you can request they be loaded together and placed side by side. Although this can’t be guaranteed, our staff will do everything to facilitate your request.

Inside the crate – do’s and don’ts

  • You can place absorbent material but no straw, kitty litter or newspaper. A puppy training pad is allowed.
  • One small toy is permitted
  • Please do not place food in the crate -  if it spills it becomes uncomfortable and messy
  • A water bowl firmly fixed in an upright position that your pet can comfortably drink from that also has a funnel on the outside for staff to refill is mandatory
  • Please provide your pet’s name and an emergency contact number.

Before travelling

Contact Department of Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) can provide information on procedures that must be followed prior to an animal’s departure. 

You may also require an Export Declaration Number (EDN) for the Australian Customs Service; details can be obtained on 1300 363 263.

Organise a travel crate

You’ll need to purchase a crate that complies with IATA specifications. They can be obtained from most pet transport companies or from our Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney ports. It’s a good idea to call ahead of time to check availability of stock.

Confirm booking

Once your pet booking has been processed you’ll receive an airway bill and confirmation.

Please check that the details are correct and ensure you make a note of the airway bill number as this will be required for all tracking and future communications.

Pre-flight checks

The day prior to your pet’s travel, bring it to the Qantas Freight international terminal after your final vet and/or DAWR appointments.

You’ll need to bring photo identification, your pet’s crate, export documents, and means of payment, assuming all requirements have been met.

Day of travel

For your pet’s comfort they should only have a light meal a few hours before departure. Plenty of exercise in advance can also help them to ‘rest’ during the flight.

What to bring

  • All export documentation and required paperwork
  • Current photo ID
  • A crate with a water bowl attached firmly on the inside in the upright position that complies with IATA and Qantas requirements. We do not allow rabbit style ‘sippy’ drippers for cats or dogs.

Check-in procedure

You must arrive no later than three hours prior to the flight departure time at the Qantas Freight international terminal.

Our ground team will ensure any water is topped up where needed but be aware they are instructed not to feed your pet or open the crate unless there is an emergency.

Arrival and collection

Picking up your pet is an involved process and will vary for each arrival country. You’ll need to ensure all licences, permits and health certificates are provided.

In most cases your pet will need to be ‘cleared’ by a local vet on arrival. 

It is your responsibility as the shipper to have confirmed all arrangements in advance for a consignee to take delivery at the destination. Keep in mind some countries require incoming pets to spend time in quarantine; time periods will vary.

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