Home » Moving to New Zealand with your pets – what you need to know

Moving to New Zealand with your pets – what you need to know

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Moving to New Zealand with your pets will the most rewarding part of your move to NZ. As we all know, pets play a huge part in our lives, and moving to a new country often means that they will have to make the trip too.

If you are thinking of moving to New Zealand and you want to take your pet with you, there are a few things that you will need to know. We’ve decided to help you out by giving you the essential information that you need to know before boarding the plane.

In this article we will cover:

  • What type of animals you can bring into the country;
  • Health declarations for your pet;
  • Quarantine for your pet once they arrive into NZ;
  • Information on Pet Removal companies;

Which animals can you bring into the country?

Cats and dogs are the most popular pets, and they are also the most commonly imported into New Zealand. If you are bringing your cat or dog from Australia, you will only need a post-arrival inspection, but for all other countries, there are more specific requirements that need to be met.

Apart from cats and dogs, the only other common household pets that can be imported are rabbits and guinea pigs from Australia and chinchillas from the UK. There are different criteria for aquatic animals and horses, as set out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Please Note: 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.

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Moving to New Zealand with your pets -Know the health requirements

Most countries around the world have specific health requirements that must be met before you can bring your pet into the country, and New Zealand is no different. You will need to pay for numerous visits to your local vets before you leave, and you include these pet visits into your moving budget.

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 (IHS) 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 form 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.

Get a veterinary certificate

To keep track of and certify your pet’s travel into New Zealand, there are several pieces of paperwork that need to be filed before they can enter the country. The first of these is a veterinary certificate for your pet (model certificates can be found in the HIS document mentioned previously). These certificates outline the treatment your pet needs, and by signing them, your vet is declaring that they have all been completed.

Book an MPI-approved quarantine facility and apply for your import permit

Unfortunately, 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 after all of the upheavals of moving to New Zealand, but just remember that this is for their 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.

Notify the MPI before arrival

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 need to receive as well as the email addresses and phone numbers you can use to contact them.

Using a professional pet mover

If this all appears a little confusing for you, then your not alone! New Zealand MPI requires you to use a professional pet mover (you have to use one) and this can make the process a whole lot easier to understand as you go with their guidance.

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. If you are moving from the UK, there are companies like Pickfords who offer this service and have specially trained staff who are experts in the field.

For more information on moving to New Zealand with your pets, you can purchase our guide about moving to NZ. Check out the contents of our guide here. 

We wish you good luck in your endeavour to bring your best friend/s to NZ with you, it can be stressful but it is so worth it!