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As April is National Pet Month we decided to look at how to relieve stress for you and your lovable companions when you relocate to another country this year. When it comes to emigrating with pets a lot of thought will go into what is best for your pet during the move. There is so much to manage on top of your own relocation, if not managed properly it can be a very stressful time for you and your pet. We detailed the basic process of any pet relocation to Australia or New Zealand along with tips to help alleviate some of that stress.

Check your pets eligibility to relocate with you

Make sure that you check as early as you can if your pets are eligible to relocate with you. Both Australia and New Zealand have strict rules about which animals are permitted. Currently New Zealand is only accepting dogs, cats and chinchillas from the UK. Australia currently accepts cats, dogs and horses. Certain breeds are not allowed in either for the latest information visit New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. Or Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) website.

Travelling with an assistance dog

If you are relocating to Australia or New Zealand with your assistance dog the process will be slightly different. If you are relocating to New Zealand you will need to prove through documentation that the dog is fully trained as an assistance dog and has been with you for at least six months.

Relocating to Australia you will need a doctor’s note that states details of your disability and how your assistance dog improves your quality of life. Your assistance dog will need to registered with either the International Guide Dog Federation or Assistance Dogs International.

Check with your airline as many airlines will permit your dog to travel with you rather than in the cargo hold.

Visit your vet for guidance on how to prepare your pet during the move

Make sure that you visit your vet and discuss the health requirements you will need to prove to make sure your pet can relocate easily.

Ask your vet about what the tests and treatments needed will entail. Also to help you plan your schedule find out how long each result will be test valid for. You can find out more information about the tests and treatments required before your pets enter New Zealand in the Important Health Standards (IHS) for cats and dogs document which is issued by MPI. For Australia visit the DAWR website. Both countries will require the Rabies neutralising antibody titre (RNAT) test. This should take place 180 days before the date of export, so make sure to speak to your vet about this so it fits easily into your relocation schedule.

Look into pet shipping companies

It is strongly recommended by the New Zealand MPI that you consider using a professional pet shipping company. This will alleviate a lot of stress and allow you to focus on all the other aspects of your move. This means that all paperwork and logistics will be dealt with by a trained company who have day to day experience with pet relocations.

Prepare your pet for the big move

You are going to want to make sure that your pet during the move has a low stress experience. To do this you should familiarise your pets with the crates they will be travelling in as soon in advance as you can. You are going to want to try and help your pet have a positive association with the crate so that when they will be inside it during transit they remain calm. To do this leave it near their sleeping area when you have it so they can feel comfortable around it.

Leave treats inside to entice them in and let them sleep inside it if they so choose to. This will help it to feel like a familiar environment when the time comes for them to fly. A helpful tip is also to take your pets on car journeys in their crate so they can get used to what it’s like to be inside during motion. All of this will help them prepare your pet during the move for the big departure day.

Departure day

For you this will be a very tough time, it’s always going to be hard to say goodbye but try to remain calm. Animals are susceptible to heightened emotions, if you remain calm so will they. If you feel like they will need calming on the day plan to add a recently worn t-shirt to their travel crate before they depart. An owners scent during transit will help to calm any nervous flyer.

For peace of mind, discuss in advance with the airline, or pet shipping company any concerns or questions you may have about your pet during transit and how you will be notified of their safe arrival.

Time in quarantine

When your pet arrives in Australia or New Zealand they will need to spend at least 10 days in an official quarantine facility. If you are using a pet shipping company they will book your pet into a nearby facility and you will be able to discuss any issues or concerns with them. If you are arranging your pets stay independently visit the MPI or DAWR websites dependant on where your nearest approved facility is. You will able to reach out to the manager of the facility ahead of time and during your pets stay to discuss any issues you may have.

New home bound

After a minimum of ten days you will be reunited with your pets and ready to begin the next step in your families adventure. Make sure that you visit a local vet to update your pets microchip to the local database for your new home.

After what was hopefully minimal stress, you all should be ready to settle in to your new life in Australia or New Zealand.

As featured in Australia and New Zealand magazine

*The information for moving to New Zealand is correct as date states on the 7th January 2021. 

*The information for moving to Australia is correct as date states 18th March 2020.

If you are planning to relocate this year with your furry friends click here to find out how Crown Relocations can help you.


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