Wendy Harris holding her cross-breed Saluki that she relocated to Australia recently. Image Credit: Supplied


If you are planning to relocate your pet, be forewarned — it could be a long haul.

If you are looking at the Far East, particularly Hong Kong it could take up to 10 months.

“There is a long waiting list in Hong Kong and booking for a quarantine facility alone can take around four months. The pet then has to spend four months in quarantine. Add to this the time spend in completing various formalties and you could be easily looking at 10 months,” said Bethany Garner, a pet relocation expert at the British Veterinary Hospital in Dubai.


“Moving your pet out of the UAE can be cumbersome, mostly due to strict policies in the receiving countries. Countries such as Australia, Iceland and Japan have particularly strict conditions. Increased restrictions are being implemented by airlines too with some carriers banning snub-nosed and other dog breeds,” she said.

For countries not considered ‘rabies-free’ the incoming pet must be vaccinated against rabies and have had a rabies antibody blood test within three months of travel

Garner said in the last few months, the British Veterinary Hospital has received over 500 enquiries from UAE residents wanting to relocate their pets.

“We have warned people who may be required to move at a relatively short notice period, that it may take a while for their animals to move into the new place with them,” she said.

Six months

Former Aussie expat Wendy Harris who returned to Melbourne with her 10-year-old saluki last fortnight said it took her over six months to complete all the paperwork.

“Among the requirments in Australia is a special blood test the result of which comes after six months. It was very taxing,” said Harris.

A British expat who recently moved his five pets to the UK said he had to suffer a similar ordeal. “There were some documents and tests missing for my pets and it took me six months to shift them,” he said