Our clients are often surprised to learn that transporting a pet to New Zealand requires significant time and preparation. Our team of experts can provide an explanation of what this looks like, in addition to coordinating your pet's entire move so you don't have to navigate it alone!
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What to Know Before Transporting 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
- Keeping your pet safe and healthy is a top priority; proper identification and vaccinations are crucial for their well-being.
- Before administering the rabies vaccination, all pets must be implanted with a microchip to identify them easily.
- Additionally, it's important to obtain certification for the specific vaccinations you obtain, as their validity period can vary between one and two years. Administering the first vaccination when your pet is at least 90 days old is recommended to ensure maximum effectiveness.
How We Help with Vaccinations and Vet Records
- If you're planning to move your pet to New Zealand, there are several requirements you must meet to ensure a smooth transition. Our team understands that this can be overwhelming, especially if your pet has health records in multiple locations or if you need clarification on whether your veterinarian is correctly accredited. That's why we're here to help.
- New Zealand has strict regulations requiring a compliant microchip, rabies vaccination, and multiple tests, typically resulting in 4-5 vet visits. Don't worry; we'll coordinate all of this for you. Our relocation coordinators handle hundreds of vet visits monthly, consult with veterinarians to ensure every requirement is met, and stay current on regulatory changes, so you and your vet don't have to.
- We provide sample documents to help ensure everything is correctly filled out and signed the first time. It's crucial to meet all requirements, as failure can result in your pet's 180-day quarantine or return to its origin country.
In preparation for quarantine, pets must get the following vaccinations:
- Dogs are given DHPP/Bordetella within a year of departure and at least 14 days before departure.
- Dogs are 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 are given FVRCP within a year of departure and at least 14 days before departure.
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
New Zealand only allows dogs and cats to be imported, with very few exceptions. However, depending on your country of origin, there may be additional steps you need to take before importing your pet to New Zealand.
It's important to research the specific import requirements based on your country of origin and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to avoid delays or issues with importing your pet. Our team can guide you on the requirements for your specific situation and help you navigate the process, so you can know that your pet's transportation is in good hands.
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 countries are not listed as category 1, 2, or 3 by the New ZeMinistrynistry for Primary Industries.
- Banned dog breeds/types include Brazilian Fila, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, 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 undertake a few critical steps to ensure your pet is safely and successfully imported to New Zealand.
- They must check the RNAT test laboratory report and the rabies vaccination certificate, complete, sign and stamp the declaration, and ensure the RNAT test declaration contains all the required information.
What happens if your veterinarian isn't accredited?
- We have a dedicated relocation coordinator who 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 to assist your veterinarian and answer any questions regarding adequately completing the required import form.
- It's not uncommon for a client's veterinarian to lack the required credentials for import, but we can guide them through the process if they want to become accredited with the USDA.
- We understand the importance of timing when it comes to your pet's final vet visit, so we include it in our service with a veterinarian we trust for international travel preparation. This ensures that there are no delays in the process.
- The endorsement required for import to New Zealand is called an Official Veterinary Declaration (OVD). We submit proof of your pet's microchip, rabies, and TITER 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
- To transport your dog or cat to New Zealand, they must undergo a Rabies Antibody Titer Test at least three to four weeks after receiving an inactivated rabies vaccination.
- This blood test is critical as it verifies whether your pet has adequate rabies antibody levels after receiving the vaccine, and it must be reviewed at an approved lab.
- In addition, dogs and cats require additional treatments and blood tests before departure to meet the import requirements of New Zealand.
- Our team can guide you through this process and provide detailed information to ensure your pet is fully prepared for transportation to New Zealand.
Make sure the strict time frames for testing are met
Rabies Antibody Titer Test
- 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 ensures that the vaccine has provided your pet with adequate rabies antibody levels.
- The test must be reviewed at an approved lab, and only USDA-accredited veterinarians can perform it.
- 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.
Tests and Treatments for Dogs and Cats
- Dogs and cats must undergo additional treatments and tests before departure to New Zealand.
- Our relocation coordinator will work closely with your vet to ensure all required tests and treatments are done correctly and within an acceptable timeframe, preventing repeat vet visits and keeping your move on schedule.
Additional Tests for Dogs
- 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 using a serum agglutination test. Once blood is collected for this test, your dog must not be mated or inseminated before 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 before shipment) in place of a Leptospirosis test. We recommend the doxycycline option since a vaccination against Leptospirosis within six 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 Dogs and Cats
- Internal Parasite Treatment: Dogs and cats must be treated with a product approved for treating nematodes and cestodes, e.g., Drontal. The active ingredient, dose rate, and treatment date for this treatment must be recorded on Veterinary Certificate A.
- 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 this treatment must be recorded on Veterinary Certificate A.
Rabies Antibody Test Date Requirements
- The date the blood was drawn for the Rabies Antibody Titer Test should be at least three months and within 24 months of entry to meet the minimum 10-day quarantine requirement.
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
When relocating with pets, it's essential to plan and ensure that all necessary documents and applications are completed promptly. Here's what you need to know about the pet import application process.
Completing the Import Application:
- Our team will handle the completion and submission of your pet import application and any necessary supporting paperwork. This application process can take up to 20 days, depending on your pet's species, breed, and other medical factors.
Importance of Timely Submission:
- To ensure that the application is approved on time, it's crucial to submit it well in advance. Unanticipated government delays or setbacks have been known to extend the process up to almost two months. Therefore, timely submission of the application is highly recommended.
Booking the Quarantine Facility:
- Once the import application is approved, you can book your pet(s) at an MPI-approved facility. Completing the import application process is mandatory to book your pets at the facility.
A 10-night stay is required for all pets
Ten Days in a Safe and Caring Environment
While the thought of quarantine may seem daunting, it's a necessary step to ensure your pet's health and safety.
- Your pet will stay in a designated boarding facility for ten days with trained professionals who will care for them well.
- The facility provides special food and medication accommodations if needed, so your pet's needs will be met during their stay.
- With the proper care and attention they will receive, your pet will emerge from quarantine healthy and ready to begin its new life with you.
What is the quarantine experience like?
- If you're transporting a pet to New Zealand, you'll need to arrange for them to spend a 10-day quarantine before they can join you. Here's what you need to know to make that happen:
- Choose a Quarantine Facility: Before applying for an import permit from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), you must decide where your pet will spend its quarantine period. Unlike in some countries, New Zealand's quarantine stations are privatized, so you have options to choose from instead of one mandatory government-owned facility. You can find a list of MPI-approved facilities by city on the MPI website.
- Obtain Booking Confirmation: Once you've chosen a facility, you'll need to obtain a booking confirmation letter from them. This confirmation is required to apply for your pet's import permit.
- Let Our Team Help: Our team can assist you with every step of the process. We'll ensure that your pet is booked for and delivered to their designated quarantine facility, and we'll arrange post-quarantine destination services such as forwarding flights and home delivery.
- With our help, you can rest assured that your pet's quarantine period will be taken care of smoothly and efficiently.