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5 Important Things You Must Know Before Bringing Your Pets Along To New Zealand

5 Important Things You Must Know Before Bringing Your Pets Along To New Zealand

Pets to travel

When traveling to New Zealand or thinking of moving to this beautiful country you need to decide whether you wish to bring your pet along or not. Obviously, your pet is like your family member so it should too be considered to travel along with you if there is no one back home to look after. Also if you are permanently moving to this country then also it is better to bring your loving pet along.

Although dogs and cats can be taken to New Zealand, most other pets are banned. Here is some basic understanding about what and how you can bring your pet to New Zealand:

You can bring:

  • ornamental fish
  • horses
  • chinchillas — from the United Kingdom (UK) only
  • guinea pigs — from Australia only
  • rabbits — from Australia only.

The MPI can provide more details on the steps to importing pets other than cats and dogs 

You’re not allowed to import:

  • birds
  • ferrets
  • reptiles
  • mice and rats
  • snakes

The importation is governed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and they recommend that you use a professional pet exporter to enable you to bring your pet to New Zealand safely and most airlines require you to use one to make sure you’ve followed all the rules. They offer a range of services including arranging tests, treatments, flights, permits to import, shipping crates, and other requirements.

Failure to meet all of the requirements can result in your pet being held longer than the minimum of 10 days in quarantine, being required to complete extra testing or treatments, or even being shipped back to the country of origin or at worst being put down.  All of this would be at your cost.

Travel arrangements

Travel arrangements
Travel arrangements

Dogs will be transported in a crate in the air-conditioned cargo hold of the plane.  This area is temperature-controlled and pressurized just like the main cabin.  The crate must be as per IATA regulations and be clean, dry, and free of pests, and only have inert bedding.  Any bedding, toys, or clothing will be destroyed on arrival in New Zealand.

The following requirements must be met by anyone importing a cat or dog into New Zealand. Nearly all other animals, such as birds, turtles, and monkeys, are prohibited.

Import requirements

Import requirements
Import requirements

You can import a dog or cat from countries where rabies is absent or well-controlled.  An import permit is required unless the animal is coming from Australia. This must be applied for a minimum of 20 working days in advance, but can take up to eight weeks.  Your local New Zealand Consulate can provide information on applying for a pet’s import permit.

Where the dog or cat is coming from a country that is not approved, it will not be allowed entry unless it has spent six months in an approved country and you can provide a vet’s certificate.

Dogs diagnosed with Babesia gibsoni or Brucella canis are not eligible to come to New Zealand, regardless of treatment.

But there are few things to understand before you take this decision. It is because every country has its own rules and laws in case of transportation of animals and bringing in pets.

Here are 5 important things to know and clear your doubts in case you are bringing in pets to New Zealand.

1. Know the animals that you can bring in to New Zealand

Know the animals that you can bring in to New Zealand
Know the animals that you can bring in to New Zealand

This is very important aspect. Commonly cats and dogs are the pets that are allowed in New Zealand.  If you are bringing your cat or dog from nearby Australia, you will only need a post-arrival inspection, but for all other countries there are more specific requirements that need to be met. There are several breeds of dog that are banned from import — the American pit bull terrier, Brazilian fila, dogo Argentino, Japanese tosa, and Perro de Presa Canario. So that means no entry to these breeds.

The other pets that you can bring in are rabbits and guinea pigs which can be imported from Australia and UK.

There are different criteria for aquatic animals and horse, as set out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

2. Know the health requirements for your pets

Know the health requirements for your pets
Know the health requirements for your pets

There are specific health requirements that must be met before you can bring your pet into New Zealand. You will need to pay at least one visit to the vets before you leave. Both cats and dogs must be microchipped and fully vaccinated for rabies before you bring them to New Zealand; a rabies titre test is required for pets from most countries, including the UK.

All dogs also require a heartworm and babesia gibsoni test, and all dogs apart from those from Australia need a leptospirosis and Brucella canis test too. Both cats and dogs need to have internal and external parasite treatments, with cats also requiring a second internal and external parasite treatment. You can find information about all of the tests and treatments that cats and dogs must undergo in the Important Health Standards for cats and dogs document issued by the MPI.

If your cat or dog has any medication that you will need to bring with them, you have to declare them beforehand via a declaration of medicines and a copy of a vet’s prescription. Usually, the MPI will ratify up to a 3-month supply of medication.

Other animals permitted for entry into New Zealand have their own health standards that must be met before importing can take place. You can view these in the MPI’s individual guidance documents for rabbits from Australia, guinea pigs from Australia and chinchillas from the UK.

3. You should get a veterinary certificate

You should get a veterinary certificate
You should get a veterinary certificate

Now comes the documentation part for your pet. You need to keep track of and certify your pet’s travel into New Zealand and file the documents before they can enter the country. The first of these is a veterinary certificate for your pet. These certificates outline the treatment your pet needs, and by signing them, your vet is declaring that they have all been completed.

4. Pets need to undergo a quarantine period

Pets need to undergo a quarantine period
Pets need to undergo a quarantine period

All dogs and cats, apart from those coming from Australia, have to undergo a quarantine period at an MPI-approved facility. You can find a list of these for dogs and cats here. Other permitted pets do not usually require a quarantine period. You may feel worried about leaving your pet but this is for your own good and once it is over you will have completed the import process.

Once you’ve booked a quarantine period, you can apply for an import permit. This should be done at least 6 weeks before departure — there are two import forms for cats and dogs: one for rabies-free countries (category 2) and one for countries where rabies is absent or well-controlled (category 3). Rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas also have their own application form.

5. Inform the MPI before arrival

MPI of your pet
MPI of your pet

You will need to inform the MPI of your pet’s impending arrival at least 72 hours ahead of their arrival. The MPI’s import guidance page for cats and dogs lists exactly what information the MPI needs to receive as well as the email addresses and phone numbers you can use to contact them.

6. Hire a professional pet mover to avoid stress

Hire a professional pet mover to avoid stress
Hire a professional pet mover to avoid stress

It is advised by Te New Zealand MPI that you hire a professional pet mover to make the experience of changing countries less stressful for both you and your pet. These companies will take care of all of the paperwork and will be happy to walk you through all of the steps required to get your pet into New Zealand.

Synopsis

After these 5 important things, you can be happy to live with your pet in a wonderful country and enjoy life together. You might think this a bit too stressful for the pet and also a big task but the care and love that you show towards your pet is the ultimate thing in the world and with this process, you are safe to bring in your pet to New Zealand.