Bringing Pets To South Africa

Bringing Pets To South Africa


Pet Microchip

Dog and cat with a pet microchip each and a chip scanner scanning them

Dogs and cats imported into South Africa must have an ISO 11784/11785 microchip. The microchip must be implanted before or with the rabies vaccine.


Pet dog getting vaccinated at the vet

Dogs and cats imported into South Africa must have a valid rabies vaccination. The vaccination should be given not less than 30 days before the import date. The rabies vaccine is valid for 12 months.

If your cat/dog is coming from Australia, New Zealand, the UK or Northern Ireland, you don’t need to vaccinate it against rabies. We do, however, encourage you to vaccinate your pet against rabies.

Puppies and kittens less than 3 months old, don’t need to be vaccinated against rabies. Puppies and kittens can only travel to South Africa if their mother was vaccinated for rabies more than 30 days and less than 1 year before their birth. Once these puppies/kittens enter South Africa and once they are 3 months old, they must be vaccinated against rabies.

Furthermore, we highly recommend vaccinating you dog/cat with all the necessary annual vaccinations given in your country. Kennel cough vaccinations are also recommended.

Rabies Antibody Titer Test

Blood serums for Rabies Titer Test

Dogs and cats don’t need to pass a rabies antibody titer test to enter South Africa.

Other Blood Tests Needed To Enter South Africa

Hand holding blood serum

If you would like to import a dog to South Africa, your dog needs to pass the following blood tests within 30 days of the export date: Brucella canis, Trypanosoma evansi, Babesia gibsoni, Dirofilaria immitis and Leishmania.

If your country is free from one or more of the above diseases, your dog won’t need to pass a blood test for the disease that your country is free from. Please note that the veterinary authorities of your country will need to officially state this.

Dogs with a positive result for any of the five diseases won’t be able to enter South Africa.

Dogs that require quarantine in South Africa will be retested for the five diseases. While in quarantine, if your dog is found positive for Brucella canies, Babesia gibsoni or Leishmania, your dog will need to return to its exporting country. If, while in quarantine, your dog is found positive for Dirofilaria immitis or Trypanosoma evansi, you will be given the option to treat your dog with the necessary treatment. Once the treatment is done, your dog will need to be retested and it will only be released from quarantine if the results are negative. If you decide not to treat your dog, you will need to resend it back to its exporting country.

It is important to note that all the costs (such as quarantine, testing, treatments and resending the dog) will be incurred on the owner.

Unlike dogs, cats imported into South Africa don’t need to pass any of the above blood tests.

Health Certificate

Pet Health Certificate need for pet travel

A veterinary health certificate, which is issued with the import permit, must be completed within 10 days of the flight. The health certificate must be filled in by a private vet. The health certificate should be endorsed by the veterinary authority of the exporting country. The original health certificate must be presented to the South African State Veterinarian at the port of entry.

Dogs and cats entering South Africa from Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland need to pass a health check within 7 days of the flight.

Import Permit

Certificate getting an approved stamp

Dogs and cats entering South Africa must have a veterinary import permit. Import permits are usually issued within 2 to 5 working days. The original import permit must be presented to the South African State Veterinarian at the port of entry.

Dogs and cats entering South Africa from Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland don’t need an import permit.

Entering South Africa With A Pet

Cartoon dog flying a plane

Dogs and cat can only enter South Africa as manifest cargo. Owners can’t fly their pets as excess luggage or in cabin.

Dogs that need to be quarantined can only enter South Africa through OR Tambo (Johannesburg) or Cape Town international airports. Dogs that don’t need to be placed in quarantine and cats can also enter South Africa through Durban international airport.


Dogs in quarantine

Dogs entering South Africa from the following countries won’t be quarantined: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Comoros, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungry, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Reunion, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, United States and Zimbabwe.

If your country isn’t in the list above, your dog will be quarantined for 14 days.

If your dog is coming from an island, you should contact the South African authorities to find out if your dog will be quarantined upon arrival.

Cats entering South Africa are usually not quarantined.

Need Help Bringing Pets To South Africa?

Business man and woman near a big computer screen showing us Pets2Fly's site

Beginning a pet move can be very complicated. Pets owners who intend to move their pets without the help of a professional pet shipping company should think twice before doing so. We don’t want to frighten you, but one tiny mistake could cause you and your pets a lot of trouble.

We are here to assist! The information provided above was written so that pet owners could get a good idea about the process of bringing pets to South Africa. The internet is filled with conflicting information so our goal is to give pet owners the up-to-date information.

There is nothing wrong with seeking some help. When your pet’s safety is at stake, it’s best to trust Pets2Fly.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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