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Transporting or Relocating Your Pet
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Tips, guidelines and resources on transporting your pets to Peninsular and East Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia. Compiled through various websites and contributions by PetFinder.my forum members.

Submitted by ManekiNeko on 2012-01-11


Introduction

PetFinder.my receives many questions from members wishing to relocate their pets. This is my initial attempt to compile information on pet relocation into one article. Obviously, I cannot address the details of migrating to and from every country in the world, so I have focused on those for which we receive the greatest number of queries:  Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and West and East Malaysia. Although the eastern states of Sarawak and Sabah are part of Malaysia, each has its own requirements for importing pets, and so East Malaysia must be considered in its own section.

In very general terms, whether you are relocating a cat or a dog, you will need to ensure that your pet receives certain vaccinations. In some cases, you'll need to send your pet's blood for tests, sometimes to overseas laboratories. You will need to complete paperwork at government offices in both the originating and destination countries.  Typically, you'll need at least a general health certificate from your starting point and an import certificate from the end-point, and possibly more documents besides. Many countries require arriving animals to spend time in quarantine upon arrival; sometimes quarantine centres require advance reservations. Some countries require that animals arrive on specific airlines.  Bear in mind that some of these things are time-sensitive. For example, the export health certificates often expire after 30 days. Many countries want proof that rabies vaccine was administered 4-6 months before the animal arrives.

In short, if you plan to transport your pet overseas, you should:

  • Research the requirements very thoroughly, as far in advance as possible
  • Set up a time-line to ensure that all vaccinations and paperwork are done at the correct time
  • Confirm air and quarantine reservations, if applicable
  • Consider whether your pet will travel as carry-on or as cargo
  • Consider the pros and cons of using a pet relocation service or agent to help

I have gathered the information in this article from a number of sources - government web sites, pet-related forum posts by people with first-hand experience, newspaper articles, and email correspondence. I have not independently verified every bit of information here, and I know that policies and procedures change from time to time.  If readers spot something in the article that is inaccurate, or if they would like to contribute more information on the topic, I would be very pleased to correct and update the article!  




Resources

Here are some companies and individuals who may be able to offer more information and assistance to you regarding pet relocation.

MASKargo:  Malaysian Airlines offers many services for pet transportation, including a 5-star pet hotel.  If you are planning to use MAS to transport your pet, either as carry-on or cargo, contact them well in advance to see what other services and advice they can offer!  

http://www.maskargo.com/animalhotel/services/import/
 

PetRelocation.com:  This is a global pet relocation service. Their website has a great deal of information, searchable by destination country, and you can also hire them as an agent.

http://www.petrelocation.com/frontpage/


Air Animal:
This is a US-based company, but they seem to have extensive experience shipping pets around the globe, including Malaysia. This company seems like a good option if you want or need someone to handle most of the process for you. 

http://www.airanimal.com/

 

G-Pet:  Among other pet-related services, G-Pet offers a relocation service. This is a Malaysian company.

http://g-pet.com/s-relocation.html

 

Pet Travel: This is an informational web site, not an agency or relocation service.  It contains a great deal of helpful info, especially about preparing your pet for air travel.

www.pettravel.com

 

Nirmala Devi Sinniah (Nirmala):  One PetFinder.my forum member recommends this vet as a KL-based agent to help with pet transport. Another member claims that AMC is unreasonably expensive. I will simply post the details; you may investigate further.

Animal Medical Centre Sdn Bhd - Group of Hospitals
Wisma Medivet, No. 8 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Mobile: +6019 3538645 / Tel: +603 40435113 / 40432420 / Fax: +603 40413660
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.animalhospital.com.my
Skype: Medivet.Nirmala

 

Dr Hii King Leong:  Dr. Hii is a veterinarian and pet transport agent in Miri, Sarawak. If you are bringing a pet into Miri, you may wish to contact him for further information.

Angel Animal Clinic
Lot 163, Jalan Tanjung,
98000 Miri, Sarawak.
[email protected]
Tel: 085-417128
Fax: 085-427128




Importing To West (Peninsula) Malaysia

Again, when it comes to pet transportation, we need to consider West and East Malaysia as if they were two separate countries.  In other words, people wishing to send pets from Sabah and Sarawak to the peninsula must also obtain import permits, just like those from other countries.

The Department of Veterinary Services publishes a very clear page of Frequently Asked Questions, which is an excellent starting point.

The FAQ page includes a link to the official import regulations. That link, however, is out of date. The full regulations are here:

http://www.jpvpk.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=268&Itemid=188&lang=en

According to the MASKargo web site:

All arriving animals are required to be quarantined at the Quarantine Centre in KLIA for 7 days, except those from the following countries.

  • United Kingdom
  • Eire
  • Northern Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • Sabah
  • Sarawak
  • Labuan
  • Brunei

Petrelocation.com also has some excellent information on importing into West Malaysia, including details about the quarantine facilities: http://www.petrelocation.com/resources/international-regulations/malaysia


A PetFinder.my forum member posted his own experience of transporting his dog from Sabah to Kuala Lumpur:

I started this thread many months ago. Now that I've actually moved and brought my pet along with me, I've decided to update this thread with the relevant details. Note that all this applies to bringing a dog from Sabah to West Malaysia. The following are what you will need:

1. You will need an Import Permit from Kuala Lumpur. In my case, I went to the Department of Veterinary Services at 4, Jalan Selar, Taman Pertama, 56100 KL. You will need to fill out a form and pay a modest fee, like RM10 or something. In my case, they also asked for photos of my dog standing up, front and side view. Note that the permit is one-use only and you must import the animal within 30 days of the issuing date of the permit so you can't apply for it too far in advance. You will not get the permit in one day. You'll have to submit the application and come back for it once it is ready.

2. Once you have the Import Permit, you need to apply for an Export Permit from Sabah. Luckily you can begin the process online as the Department of Veterinary Services of Sabah has an online portal for this purpose:

http://www.davetsa.sabah.gov.my/app/

You will need the number of the Import Permit from KL and fax them a copy of it and you will need to fill out all of the relevant information. Once it has been processed, they will ask you to go to their offices at Wisma Pertanian, Kota Kinabalu to pay the fee of RM5. Then you go home and once again wait for them to call you to come collect it when it is ready.


3. Finally, you need a Health Certificate for your animal from the Department of Veterinary Services. I went to the offices at Kepayan, Kota Kinabalu. I also bought a microchip for my dog and had it injected at this time. Then you pay the fee of RM30 and once again wait for them to call you to pick up the certificate when it is ready.


4. We traveled on MAS and treated our dog including her cage as check-in luggage. The usual rate is RM15 per kg. Apparently MAS Kargo can do it for slightly cheaper but the procedures are different and we had a hard time getting consistent information from MAS, so we opted just to do it the simpler way. They allowed us to count the weight against the usual luggage allowance of 20 kgs and charge us only the excess. However we were earlier told that we would need to pay the full amount for the recorded weight for live animals. That's just MAS being inconsistent again so I have no idea what the correct way is. We weighed all our stuff at the normal check-in counter and then took our dog in the cage to the oversized luggage counter.


5. Once we arrived at KLIA, the quarantine officer collected all three documents and kept the original copies of all of them, so if you want to keep a photocopy of them in case there is any problem you should do it beforehand. I was also asked to pay RM40. I don't know what that was for but I did get a receipt for it. The quarantine officer also verified the microchip's registration number against the number stated in the permits.

I hope this account will be useful to whoever needs to do something similar. Overall it wasn't as expensive as I feared but it was very troublesome as you need to visit multiple offices and you can't get your documents in just one visit.

 



Importing To East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) 

Let me begin by saying that information on importing into East Malaysia - Sarawak in particular - is more difficult to find.  Those wishing to bring pets into Sarawak may need to visit the state's veterinary services department or employ an agent to help. 


PetRelocation.com has some information about E. Malaysian policies on their web site: http://blog.petrelocation.com/blog/pet-travel-advice/moving-pets-to-malaysia-importing-pets-to-sabah-and-sarawak

 
The following 2010 blog entry contains a very informative first-hand account of importing cats into Sarawak. It includes the official policies regarding import from other countries and West Malaysia, including specific information about quarantine periods.

https://september152010.wordpress.com/tag/pet-import-to-sarawak/

The following article originally appeared in The Star in 2010. It includes some good information about importing pets into both East Malaysian states, as well as some excellent pointers about the timing of vaccinations.

http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2010/10/23/sarawak/7281283

From PetFinder.my forum members' posts, it seems that Sabah is slightly more relaxed about quarantine than Sarawak. Some members have reported that Sabahan officials occasionally agree to 'home quarantine' if the owners can guarantee that the animal will be kept safely isolated.  You can apply for your import permit to Sabah on-line by creating an account on the state's  Veterinary Services web site.

As for transport, MAS is the only airline permitted to transport pets from West Malaysia to Sarawak




Importing To Indonesia

The guidelines for bringing pets into Indonesia depend upon the originating country, and whether or not that country is designated "rabies-free".  These designations change from time to time, but at present, Sarawak and Sabah are deemed rabies-free, and West Malaysia as having no reported cases within the past two years. As such, all animals traveling from Malaysia (East or West) will, provided all their vaccination records are in order, be allowed into Indonesia.  All animals are required to spend a minimum of 14 days in quarantine on Java.

Those bringing pets into Indonesia are advised to fly them first into Jakarta, on Java. They should then be aware that other Indonesian islands, such as Bali and Sumatra, may have additional or different requirements.

The following web page, designed for expats with pets, offers very comprehensive information, including tips for helping pets adjust to life in Indonesia and links to official government web sites:

http://www.expat.or.id/info/pets.html




Importing To Singapore 

Singapore, being a rabies-free island nation, also has stringent pet import policies.  Import licenses are 50SGD per pet.  The minimum quarantine period is 30 days, and reservations at the quarantine station are required. 


The following is the Agri-Food and Veterinary guidelines for importing pets to Singapore:

http://www.ava.gov.sg/AnimalsPetSector/ImportExportTransOfAnimalRelatedPrd/PetsPersonal/


The web-site includes a link to a very handy "calculator" - a tool to lay out the specific requirements and time-lines, based upon the country from which your pet will be arriving. 




Importing To Australia 

Australia is perhaps one of the most complicated and expensive destinations for pets coming from Malaysia.  Pet owners who have all their documentation in order can import their dogs and cats into Australia with a minimum of one month's quarantine, but be warned - as one PetFinder.my forum member put it, "Do not expect any compassion or leniency. Believe them when they say they will send the animal back to Malaysia at your cost if things are not done correctly."  


I would suggest that readers start at the Australian Government's own web page on importing animals and the quarantine requirements.  


As Malaysia falls into the category 4 countries "in which rabies is absent or well-controlled", the list of specific requirements for Malaysian pets is here.


Note that some of the blood tests must be done at specific laboratories, many of which are outside Malaysia, and many must be done within a certain time-frame to minimise the animal's quarantine period.  For example, the Rabies Neutralising Antibody Titre Test (RNATT) must be performed at an approved testing facility. If the blood is tested more than 150 days before the animal arrives in Australia, the quarantine period is 30 days.  If, on the other hand, the rabies test is only 60 days before arrival, the animal faces 120 days in quarantine. It pays to plan far ahead! 
 

Here are some accounts of first-hand experiences from PetFinder.my members who have brought pets to Australia.  They range from general estimates of cost to very specific information about blood testing.

"Once you have made up your mind that your pet will be travelling to Australia with you, you will need to decide if your pet is worth the cost. Having the tests, required medical shots and flight + quarantine in Australia can be costly. It will/may total up to RM10k altogether inclusive of 30 days quarantine in Australia (not including any medical attention your pet may need to receive during quarantine yet)."

 

"I sent an email to AQIS asking about approved labs in Malaysia and this was the reply I received from them:

Quote:

Thank you for your email regarding approved laboratories in Malaysia. 

Unfortunately AQIS has not approved any laboratories in Malaysia and we recommend sending the blood samples to one of the following: 

Veterinary Laboratory Branch
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Division
Primary Production Department
Central Veterinary Laboratory
13 Jalan Seranggong Kechil
Singapore
Telephone: 46 1867 4000
Fax: 46 1830 9162


Alternatively, you can send samples to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) at:

Dr Stephen Prowse
Acting Director, AAHL
CSIRO Livestock Industries
Australian Animal Health Laboratory
Private Bag 24
Geelong VIC 3220
Australia

Phone: +61 3 5227 5000
Fax: +61 3 5227 5555
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.csiro.au/places/aahl.html
Web page for import/ export blood testing: http://www.csiro.au/services/ps62.html

Check out the rates of the tests in Australia:
http://www.csiro.au/resources/ps7p.html


It is quite expensive...


Ehrilichia canis - AUD $159
Brucella canis - AUD $63.64
Leptospira canicola - AUD $81.82
Leishmaniosis infantum - AUD $150
Overseas testing surcharge - AUD $110

Total: AUD $564.46

Excluding AUD $209.09 Nipah virus test, the special box you need to purchase to store the serum and the FedEx charges to Australia.

Only the Nipah virus test has to be done in CSIRO, Australia. The rest can be done in the Singapore lab."

 

Another user suggests an alternative for the RNATT test:

"Regarding the RNATT test, I did it at the Shah Alam government vet clinic.

They charged only RM $20 for each blood sample and RM $48 to insert a microchip into my dog.

The blood serum was sent to Biobest Laboratories in the UK. 

http://www.biobest.co.uk/ 

They charge 32.50 GBP per test. 

http://www.biobest.co.uk/forms/vet-d...-list-2011.pdf

 
I bought a plastic container with clips on the side and sponge for about RM $10 at Tesco to store the serum tubes. The FedEx charges to Biobest cost me RM $117.55."

 

Australia has three quarantine stations, in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.  Advance reservations are required, and the Australian government does not guarantee a spot in the quarantine station of your choice. So yes, in other words, you may be relocating to Sydney, and your pet(s) may spend at least one month in quarantine in Perth or Melbourne.  The schedule of quarantine costs is here, but the estimated total for 30 days of quarantine is AUD 1005 for a single cat, and AUD 1305 for a single dog. (There are slight discounts for multiple pets sharing one enclosure.)  






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