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Importing Your Pet

New Zealand - Importing Your Pet

As with all countries, pet owners need to comply with a number of regulations before being able to import animals into New Zealand. There are strict quarantine regulations which have help to keep the country free from diseases such as rabies.

For the residents of most countries, it is only possible to import domestic cats and dogs. Other animals such as birds and hamsters cannot be brought into New Zealand although it is possible to bring other small animals such as rabbits from Australia if the health regulations are followed. Those who wish to bring a chinchilla into New Zealand may only do so from the UK.

If you are bringing in a cat or dog you must use transit kennels which have been approved by the International Air Transport Association. These allow the animal freedom of movement during the journey. Animals cannot be shipped into the country as excess baggage but must be taken there as cargo. The quarantine period is for a minimum of 10 days unless the animal is being shipped from Australia. Quarantine must take place at an approved facility and cannot be done in the owner’s home. All pets need to have been tested for hookworm before they are shipped to New Zealand and treatments for parasites must have been administered within 3 weeks of travel to the country.

All animals being brought into the country must arrive at Auckland. They need to have been resident in the country they come from for at least 6 months and must have all the required vaccinations. All pets must be micro chipped before they arrive in the country. For a time there was no requirement for an import permit but this has been reinstated. An application form for an import permit can be downloaded from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry website. When the import licence is issued it will be sent to the applicant electronically. When importing a pet from the UK you will need to have an Export Health Certificate issued by DEFRA. Similar certificates are required from the authorities in the US and other countries.

An assistance dog will also need an import permit but will be allowed to travel with the owner if the airline permits this. Documentation will need to be produced which proves that the dog is a fully trained assistance dog and has been with the owner for a minimum of six months. It is essential that the arrival of assistance dogs is arranged in advance so that clearance can be obtained immediately.

Dog owners should be aware that there are a number of dog breeds which cannot be imported into New Zealand. These include the Brazilian Fila, the Japanese Tosa, the American Pit Bull Terrier and the Dogo Argentine. Dogs must undergo tests and treatment if required for brucelle canis, eherlichia, leptospirosis and direfilaria. Test results must be negative before the animal is allowed to fly so if treatment is required further tests will need to be done at a later date to prove that the pet is no longer infected. It is also essential to undergo babesia gibsoni testing 10 days before the animal is shipped to New Zealand. Other tests which are essential include heartworm tests, microfilaria tests and antigerm elisa tests.

Cats need to have a number of vaccinations before they can be imported into the country. These include rabies, panleukopenia, calicivirus, Chlamydia psittaci and rhinotrachetis.

When the pet arrives in New Zealand it will be checked by a vet at the airport. The original health certificate from the country of origin must be available so it can be signed by the vet and the pet can be released to the quarantine facility. A fee will be charged for the examination and the clearance.

When you arrive in New Zealand you will find that there is a comprehensive animal welfare system in place, so pet supplies are available at supermarkets, specialist pet stores and veterinary surgeries. All towns have veterinary practices although in rural areas you may need to travel for veterinary assistance.

Useful Resources

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6140
New Zealand
Tel: 0800 00 83 33 (from New Zealand)
Tel: +64 4 894 0100 (from overseas)
Email: enquiry form on website

Read more about this country

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