Our clients are often surprised to learn that the process of shipping a pet to New Zealand requires a significant amount of time and preparation. Our team of experts can provide an explanation of what this looks like, in addition to managing your pet's entire move so you don't have to navigate it alone!
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What to Know Before Moving Dogs and Cats to New Zealand
Microchip and Vaccinations
The 180 day timeline for moving a pet to New Zealand begins with a microchip and primary rabies vaccination.
Non-Approved Countries and Banned Species
Species restrictions apply. If your pet is not a dog or a cat, chances are you may not be able to import them here.
An official government veterinarian must complete the rabies vaccination and the RNAT test declaration.
Blood Tests and Other Treatments
A rabies antibody test must be performed 90 days prior to departure.
Once your pet's blood test is completed, the documentation process begins!
All pets entering New Zealand must complete ten days of quarantine upon arrival.
New Zealand Pet Import Requirements and Timeline
Microchip and Vaccinations
Time frame: at least 6 months before departure
Pets must have microchip identification, and the microchip must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is administered. Be sure to obtain certification of the period of validity for the particular vaccinations that you obtain (some are good for two years, others for only one). Pet must be at least 90 days old at time of first vaccination.
How We Help with Vaccinations and Vet Records
- Does your pet have records in multiple locations? Is your veterinarian properly accredited? Are all required vaccinations in line with import and export regulations? There is a lot to consider. We’ve got you covered!
- New Zealand requires a compliant microchip, rabies vaccination, and multiple tests, which typically results in 4-5 vet visits, all of which we will manage. Our team also provides sample documents to help ensure everything is properly filled out and signed the first time. Failure to meet all of these requirements can potentially result in the 180-day quarantine or return of a pet to its origin country.
- Our relocation coordinators manage an average of 190 vet visits per month, consult veterinarians through each requirement, and stay up to date on regulatory changes so you and your vet don’t have to.
In preparation for quarantine, pets must get the following vaccinations:
- Dogs be given DHPP/Bordetalla within a year of their departure, and at least 14 days before their departure.
- Dogs be given Canine Influenza H3N2 and H3N8 within a year of their departure, and at least 21 days before their departure (keeping in mind the CIV requires a booster and they want the booster to be given 21 days before they depart, so the initial vaccine needs to be given 3-4 weeks ahead of time).
- Cats be given FVRCP within a year of their departure, and at least 14 days before they depart.
Non-Approved Countries and Banned Species
Certain pets and countries of origin may require a different travel plan, or prevent you from moving your pet to New Zealand
Only dogs and cats may be imported to New Zealand at this time with very few exceptions. Also, depending on your country of origin you may need to take some extra steps.
Do you know how to move from a non-approved country?
- While we can't manage the import of a banned species or breed, we can work with you on a plan for importing a pet from an "unlisted country". These are countries that are not listed as a category 1, 2, or 3 by the New Zealand MInistry for Primary Industries.
- Banned dog breeds/types include: Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Perro de Presa Canario, and American Pit Bull Terrier.
- Dogs diagnosed with Babesia gibsoni or Brucella canis are not eligible for import regardless of treatment.
- Not sure if your pet is eligible? Consult with one of our experts to determine if your pet can be cleared for import!
Time frame: before applying for your import permit
Your veterinarian must: check the RNAT test laboratory report and rabies vaccination certificate; complete, sign and stamp the declaration; and ensure completed RNAT test declaration contains all required information.
What happens if your veterinarian isn't accredited?
- Your dedicated relocation coordinator has likely already worked with an accredited vet in your area, or can recommend one.
- At this stage, we provide detailed templates and a step-by-step guide for your veterinarian and answer any questions regarding the proper completion of the form.
- It's not uncommon for a client's veterinarian to lack these required credentials for import. However, we can provide guidance with this process if they'd like to become accredited.
- Did you know about the timeline for the final vet visit? In order to avoid delays, we include this in our service with a veterinarian we know and trust with international travel preparation!
- The endorsement for NZ is called an OVD (Official Veterinary Declaration). We send that, proof of microchip, rabies, and TITER all to the USDA to get the OVD endorsed for your pet's trip.
Blood Tests and Other Treatments
Making sure testing and treatments are done on time
All pets relocating to New Zealand must undergo a Rabies Antibody Titer Test at least three to four weeks after receiving an inactivated rabies vaccination. This blood test, which ensures the vaccine has provided your pet with adequate levels of the rabies antibody, must be reviewed at an approved lab. Dogs and cats must undergo additional treatments and blood tests before departure.
Make sure the strict time frames for testing are met
- Do you know that if your travel plans don’t align with the timeline of the titer test window, you may need to leave your pet behind with a caretaker? And that only a USDA-accredited veterinarians can perform it?
- Your relocation coordinator will work with your vet to ensure all required tests and treatments are done properly, and within an acceptable time frame, preventing repeat vet visits and keeping your move on schedule.
- After a primary rabies vaccination, the pet must receive a booster. You will then need to wait 2-3 weeks to obtain a Rabies Antibody test, also known as a Rabies TITER test, to ensure that your pet has adequate antibody levels.
- The date the blood was drawn should be at least three months and within 24 months of entry in order for the pet to serve the minimum 10-day quarantine.
Additional tests for dogs include:
- Ehrlichiosis – Your dog must produce a negative result using the Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Test at a dilution of 1:40. Within 24 hours of the blood draw, treat your pet with external parasite treatment against ticks.
- Brucellosis – Your dog must produce a negative result by means of a serum agglutination test. Once blood is collected for this test your dog must not be mated or inseminated prior to export.
- Leptospirosis – The New Zealand health certificate provides an option for treating your dog with a therapeutic dose of doxycycline for 14 consecutive days (within 30 days prior to shipment) in place of a Leptospirosis test. We recommend the doxycycline option since a vaccination against Leptospirosis within 6 months of export could result in a pet’s high antibody response, a failed test, and ineligibility for export to New Zealand.
- Heartworm – Your dog must produce a negative result on a Lab Report Form for Canine Heartworm. This test can be run with the tests listed above. All original results will need to travel with the dog and will also need to be recorded on the Import Permit (Veterinary Certificate A).
Additional treatments for both dogs and cats include:
- Internal Parasite Treatment – Dogs and Cats must be treated with a product approved for the treatment of nematodes and cestodes e.g. Drontal.
- External Parasite Treatment - Pets should be treated with medicine effective against ticks and fleas. (Note product and concentration.) Oral products, injections and medicated collars are not satisfactory, neither are products that rely on the parasite biting your pet. Washes and rinses that prevent ticks and tick bites are acceptable.
*The active ingredient, dose rate, and treatment date for the above treatments must be recorded on Veterinary Certificate A
Time frame: after quarantine is booked
This process can take up to two months to complete, so it's important to be prepared.
Avoid paperwork headaches by hiring experienced pet movers
- Our team will complete and submit your import application, including supporting paperwork, for approval.
- Depending on your pet's species, breed, or other medical factors, this document can take up to 20 days to process.
- It's crucial that the application is submitted with plenty of time, as unanticipated government delays or other setbacks can and has extended this process to almost two months.
- The completion of this process is required to book your pet(s) at a MPI-approved quarantine facility.
A 10-night stay is required for all pets
Quarantine seems like a scary word, but it's really not! Your pet will be required to spend ten days in a designated boarding facility, but will have great caretakers and special food/medication accomodations if needed.
What is the quarantine experience like?
- Before you can apply for an import permit from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), you have to decide where you want your pet to spend the 10-day quarantine period and receive a booking confirmation letter from that facility.
- In New Zealand, the quarantine stations are privatized which means you have options to choose from rather than one mandatory government-owned facility. The various quarantine facilities are listed by their cities on the MPI website here.
- Our team makes sure your pet is booked for and delivered to quarantine, and arranges post-quarantine destination services such as forwarding flights and home delivery.
Our New Zealand Team
Meet the people behind your pet's move! Our pet relocation experts are here to plan and manage every step of a successful journey to New Zealand (and Australia!).