Introduction

New Zealand takes its biosecurity very seriously, which means a mandatory pet quarantine period is implemented. This is typically around 10 to 60 days for dogs. It’s all to make sure that the Kiwi environment is safe and sound, but it can be quite tough on our furry friends. 

To help you understand this better, picture your dog in a new place, away from you, and dealing with a whole lot of new and unfamiliar aspects. This is the perfect recipe for doggy stress. Dogs are inherently social beings, and being apart from their humans can be a real challenge. 

So, sit down and relax while we go through how you can make this experience an enjoyable one for your furry friend! 

Understanding Quarantine Stress In Dogs 

Dogs are the ultimate best friend and when they find themselves suddenly separated from their favourite humans, it can be quite confusing! The effects of this separation can range from a bit of confusion to a full-on case of the canine blues. We’ll talk more about how you can help your dog cope later in the blog. 

As if being separated wasn’t enough, dogs will also have to suffer through environmental shifts. Quarantine means new spaces, unfamiliar smells, and different vibes altogether. It’s like going on a holiday but without the holiday excitement. It’ll be foreign, exhausting, and confusing. 

Dogs have their own way of reacting to new scenarios. These behavioural changes could be restlessness and pacing, whining, or excessively loud barking, changes in appetite, withdrawal or clinginess, and excessive grooming or licking. Of course, every dog is different, and hence their reactions will be different. It is important to keep an eye on your pet and realise when they are behaving out of the norm. 

Preparing Your Dog Mentally Before Traveling

This is an important step when you travel with your dog. Here are some things you can include in your checklist to make sure your pet is comfortable before travelling with them:

  • Familiarise your dog with the crate that they will be travelling in. 

Every airline or train has its own restrictions when it comes to travelling with a dog. One of them is the type of crate you can use. This may not necessarily be the same crate that you have been using for your dog its whole life. So, it is important that you take the time to make sure that your dog is familiar with the crate that it will be travelling in. The dog will no longer consider it a foreign environment, but rather a safe space. 

  • Gradually expose your dog to new environments

Dogs are creatures of habit so introducing them to the idea of change helps ease travel anxiety. Take short trips to new places, gradually extending the duration. It will help your dog adapt to different surroundings, making the transition into quarantine smoother. Don’t forget to sprinkle those outings with positive experiences, treats, and playtime!

  • Use positive reinforcement training for calming behaviour

Turn calmness into a virtue by reinforcing it with positive experiences. Reward your dog when they display calm behaviour, whether it is during crate time or in a new environment. Use treats, praise, or their favourite toy to create positive associations. This will not only help with travel but also set the stage for a more relaxed quarantine experience. 

Creating a Safe Space 

Here are some ways in which you can create a comfy and safe space for your dog:

  1. Bring familiar items from home. Coming to a new place and still having your favourite toy or blanket that has the familiar scent of home can do wonders for your pet. 
  2. Set up a cosy and secure area in an Auckland quarantine for dogs. While most facilities have a generic room for pets, you can make it into a haven with a little bit of creativity. Arrange their bedding in a snug corner, and add a soft blanket and a few toys for a comfy nook to retreat to when they need some peace and quiet. 
  3. Use calming scents and toys. Dogs have a powerful sense of smell so take advantage of it! Bring along scents from home like your perfume or a room spray that you use frequently to help create a comforting atmosphere. You can also use calming toys infused with pheromones or lavender scents to help soothe anxiety.

The main aim is to transform a temporary space into a safe haven. 

Maintaining Routine & Consistency 

Dogs thrive on predictability and routine, so keep their meal times and exercise routines as close to the norm as possible. Consistency in these daily activities provides a sense of security, helping your dog navigate the unfamiliarity of quarantine. 

Quarantine might limit the usual play areas, but it’s no excuse to skimp out on playtime. Engage your dog with interactive toys, puzzles, or short training sessions to stimulate their mind and alleviate boredom. Mental exercises are just as important as physical ones!

Even if you are physically apart, stay connected through consistent communication. Whether it’s a virtual check-in, leaving a recorded message, or a quick video call, hearing your voice can be a great source of comfort. 

Monitoring Your Dog 

The most important thing to remember is to check your dog’s behaviour to see if anything is out of the norm. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Recognise any signs of stress or anxiety by staying attuned to your dog’s body language. These signs may include excessive panting, pacing, drooling, or changes in appetite. Understanding these signs will help you address their needs promptly. 
  • Establish an open line of communication with the facility staff of the quarantine facility you choose. Share insights about your dog’s preferences, routines, and any behavioural nuances. Regular updates from the facility will help you stay informed about your dog’s well-being and allow for any necessary adjustments.
  • Your dog’s reactions to new environments will vary from dog to dog. So be flexible and ready to adjust your strategies based on your dog’s reactions. If they respond positively to a toy or a routine, enhance the usage of them. 

Transition From Quarantine To Home 

Transitioning back home can be overwhelming, so ease your dog into familiar surroundings gradually. Begin with a limited space and then slowly expand as they readjust. Once back home, swiftly re-establish their regular routines. Whether it is the familiar route of a daily walk or the comforting bedtime rituals, reintroducing these elements will create a sense of normalcy. 

Keep an eye on their behaviour in the days following quarantine. Look out for any lingering signs of stress or new behavioural patterns. If you notice anything unusual, address it immediately. Ensuring your dog’s continued well-being post-quarantine is crucial for a seamless transition back into their home life.

Conclusion

To sum it up, the key to a successful quarantine period is ensuring that your dog is comfortable in their new space and can transition back to normal life easily. This can be done in several ways, as we have listed above. If you are looking for a facility in New Zealand that will ensure that your dog’s comfort is maintained during the quarantine period, then we know just the people! You can check out our blogs on Auckland Quarantine for more advice on how to bring pets into NZ and how to quarantine them!