Pet quarantine used to be commonplace when travelling with cats and dogs. But, following the introduction of the European Union (EU) Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) on 1 October 2001, quarantine gradually became a distant memory in Europe. But, it did take a while for all EU members to get up to speed with PETS. For example, the United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland) didn’t have measures in place until 2011! These days, provided that your cat or dog meets your chosen destination’s pet travel laws, the dreaded stay in pet quarantine is only required when taking a cat or dog to some international destinations. Here, we’ll cover the global countries that still require mandatory pet quarantine for cats and dog arrivals in 2023.
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Table of contents
- Why Do Some Countries Still Have Pet Quarantine?
- Rabies Vaccine for International Pet Travel
- Tapeworm Treatment for Dogs
- Quarantine Laws for Assistance & Service Dogs
- Countries that Require Mandatory Cat & Dog Quarantine
- 1. Australia
- 2. Hawaii
- 3. Iceland
- 4. New Zealand
- 5. Singapore
- 6. South Africa
- 7. Japan
- Related Pages
Why Do Some Countries Still Have Pet Quarantine?
Despite pet travel rules in most countries abolishing cat and dog quarantine for arrivals from many locations, some worldwide countries, states and territories still require pet quarantine in 2023 for biosecurity reasons. Therefore, when pet quarantine is necessary, it is usually required by a location that is rabies free. The quarantine laws are in place to protect the spread of infectious diseases to humans, pets and wild animals.
Wherever your destination, you need to ensure your cat or dog has all required paperwork, treatment and vaccines under the country’s pet travel scheme regulations.
A Rabies Vaccination is necessary to take your cat or dog on holiday, or a permanent relocation to most global destinations. However, the preparations and timescales vary depending on your country of origin and destination.
Rabies Vaccine for International Pet Travel
When travelling internationally with your cat or dog, they have to be vaccinated against Rabies.
Puppies and kittens must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving their first Rabies Vaccine. You then have to wait at least 21 days after the vaccination before travelling with your puppy or kitten. If your cat or dog receives their regular rabies booster, at the intervals set by the vaccine manufacturer (usually either annually or every three years) there’s no waiting period after their booster.
However, in some cases, the waiting time is more than the standard three week incubation period after a first vaccination, and many international destinations also require a rabies titer test prior to travelling from certain countries.
In addition, sometimes additional requirements are in place depending on your departure and arrival countries.
For instance, if you’re entering the EU from an unlisted country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, the following timescales apply to the Rabies Vaccine:
- Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
- Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory from either inside the EU or outside the EU.
- The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
- You must wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel – you do not need to wait if your pet was vaccinated, blood tested and given a pet passport in the EU before travelling to a country that is not listed.
- The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in the Animal Health Certificate.
In most cases, pet travel rules for worldwide pet friendly destinations require that your cat or dog is microchipped prior to their Rabies Vaccine. However, pet travel rules in the USA for example, don’t need your furry friend to be microchipped before entry.
It’s vital to adhere to every requirement for your cat or dog to travel to your chosen pet friendly destination. Otherwise, should your cat or dog fail to meet the rules of the relevant pet travel scheme, they will be refused entry, or have to spend time in quarantine.
Tapeworm Treatment for Dogs
Dogs can be particularly prone to Tapeworms from infected fleas. Subsequently, many areas that are currently free from fleas carrying Tapeworm require that dogs are treated for the virus prior to entry. Therefore, before taking a dog to any of the following countries, remember that they must be treated for Tapeworm within 1-5 days prior to arrival:
Dogs that aren’t treated for Tapeworm within the specified timescales can be refused entry, or may be placed in quarantine.
Quarantine Laws for Assistance & Service Dogs
If you’re travelling to a place that requires all dogs arriving from your country of origin to be quarantined, be aware that this applies to Assistance & Service Dogs too. In some cases, procedures are in place to allow your Assistance or Service Dog to carry out the quarantine period at your place of residence.
Countries that Require Mandatory Cat & Dog Quarantine
Now, even though you’ve ticked all the boxes and your pet has been vaccinated for Rabies, along with any other requirements, unfortunately some countries still enforce pet quarantine. As mentioned, this tends to be areas that have intense biosecurity measures in order to protect any outbreaks of infectious diseases. So, if you’re travelling to any of the following countries, states or territories with your cat or dog, they will normally have to spend a minimum period in the local quarantine facility.
All cats and dogs must stay at the Mickleham post entry quarantine facility in Melbourne for at least 10 days under the strict Pet Import Scheme in Austraia. However, they’ll have to extend their stay if there are issues that increase the biosecurity risk. For example, if a tick is found on your dog, they’ll need to stay for 21-30 extra days until blood testing is repeated. In this case, the pet owner is responsible for any additional costs.
However, dogs and cats arriving in Australia from New Zealand or Norfolk Island don’t need to spend time in quarantine.
Pets arriving from a Group 4 Country under Australian pet importation laws may have to spend more than 10 days in quarantine.
In add, it’s important to be aware that your pet isn permitted to enter Australia in the passenger cabin of a plane.
While the USA, in general, doesn’t require cat and dog arrivals to be microchipped, this is a necessity if your pet is travelling to Hawaii. So, if you’re flying to Hawaii with a cat or dog, they must have an ISO compliant pet microchip. The microchip must be implanted before the rabies blood test is performed by your vet.
To enter Hawaii, you must ensure that your cat or dog’s microchip is working, and can be scanned and read by your vet.
As Hawaii is the only zero rabies US state, there are rules in place to protect humans and animals on the islands from possible rabies transmission.
Therefore, you take a cat or dog to Hawaii, be aware of the following laws:
- All cats and dogs, including puppies and kittens, must be vaccinated against rabies
- Mandatory quarantine is necessary for all pet arrivals
- Quarantine ranges from 5 days or less, which includes possible release at airport, up to 120 days
For your pet to enter Hawaii, they require two rabies vaccinations, not less than 30 days apart. The most recent vaccination has to be within 14 days before departure to Hawaii. While a pet doesn’t have to remain outside Hawaii for 30 days, they must have passed the OIE-FAVN rabies blood test no less than 14 days before departure to Hawaii. The OIE-FAVN rabies test result is valid for 36 months from the day the blood was received at the laboratory.
Provided that your pet meets the import rules of the Hawaiian government’, cats and dogs arriving from the following countries and territories are exempt from quarantine laws in Hawaii:
The bad news is that there’s no prospect of your cat or dog skipping pet quarantine if you taking them to Iceland. But, on the brighter side, in 2021 the Icelandic government halved the minimum mandatory pet quarantine period from 28 days to 14 days.
Although there isn’t a minimum age set for cats and dogs being imported to Iceland, by the time all travel requirements are met, they will be at least 4.5 months for Category 1 countries, and at least 7 months old for Category 2 countries. In addition, pets can only enter Iceland via Keflavik international Airport, as there aren’t any authorised ferry ports for pet arrivals.
The two pet quarantine stations in Iceland are:
However, when entering Iceland with a trained and certified Assistance or Service Dog, you can apply for your dog to undergo the 14 day quarantine at home.
4. New Zealand
As with Australia, upon arrival in New Zealand, your pet cat or dog will be transported directly to the quarantine facility, for a minimum of 10 days quarantine. Your pet will be inspected by a veterinarian at the beginning and end of their quarantine in New Zealand.
Only cat and dog arrivals from Australia and Norfolk Island don’t need to be quarantined to enter New Zealand.
Be aware that you can’t take a pet to New Zealand in the cabin of a plane.
Cats and dogs travelling from Category A countries, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland), aren’t obligated to undergo mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Singapore. In addition, pet arrivals from the following Category B countries can give quarantine a wide berth if all travel requirements are met:
- Cayman Islands
- Hong Kong
- New Caledonia
- USA (Hawaii and Guam only)
If you’re taking a feline or canine travel buddy to Singapore from any other location, they’ll need to be quarantined for at least 10 days.
6. South Africa
If you arrive in South Africa from any of the following countries, your cat or dog does not have to spend time in quarantine, but they must have a Rabies Vaccination:
Botswana, Comoros, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Reunion.
Australia and New Zealand
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland , UK, Norway and Hungry
Canada and the USA
From any other country of origin, cats and dogs are quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.
Slightly different from the others so far, Japan actually takes all animal arrivals to quarantine for inspection. Therefore, if you take a pet cat or dog to Japan, they will spend up to 12 hours in quarantine to undergo an initial inspection.
From there, if your furry friend passes the inspection at the quarantine facility, they will be released to you to enter Japan. The authorities aim to ensure this process is completed within 12 hours of arrival.
Otherwise, if your cat or dog fails the initial inspection, they will either have to spend up to 180 days in an animal quarantine facility, or they’ll be refused entry to Japan.
Even when travelling between places that state no quarantine is necessary, remember that this is only the case provided that your cat or dog adheres to the local pet travel laws. And since they can’t do that themselves, it’s all up to you and your vet!