Without the right guidance, bringing pets into a new country can be a challenging ordeal. In New Zealand, there’s more to this process than just transporting dogs and cats after getting appropriate permissions. Quarantine for pets in NZ is a long road for owners in terms of some complex rules and regulations. However, they keep the island country’s rabies-free status intact. 

Regardless of whether you’re relocating or just visiting with your pets, sort out all the tasks beforehand to ensure a seamless transition for you and your four-legged friends. This guide from Auckland Quarantine breaks down some complex pet import regulations into simple and easy-to-understand pointers. From paperwork prerequisites to finding the right quarantine facilities, we’ve got it all covered. 

NZ’s quarantine policy for dogs and cats

Quarantine policies in NZ depend on where your pets come from, their breeds, prior vaccinations, and more. For instance, bringing your pet from Australia does not require any quarantine or pet import permits. A simple post-arrival inspection would be enough in this case. However, if your pets are flown in from other countries, they have to be quarantined in Auckland or Christchurch in an approved facility. Explore specific requirements for your pets before making a travel plan. 

Pets from approved countries

The government of New Zealand and its Ministry of Primary Industries are selective about where your dogs or cats come from. For this reason, your pet’s entry into NZ is decided based on a list of approved countries. If your country is not on the list, your pet is not eligible for direct import. This is a preventive measure to keep up the high standards of pet health in the country.

Fret not, this does not mean your furry companion is permanently barred from visiting NZ. If direct pet import to New Zealand is not an option for you, you have two ways to go about it. The most straightforward solution to this is to relocate your pet to an approved country from the list, where it must reside for at least six months to fulfil certain veterinary certificate requirements. You can also request for your country to be included in the list but that’s a little far-fetched.

Getting ready for quarantine

Before your pet is deemed ready for quarantine, it has to meet a few requirements apart from its country of origin and breed. MPI has a clear list of vaccinations to be completed for both dogs and cats before they land in NZ. Customs declaration is another important step in this process to prove you are technically the pet’s owner. An Air Waybill is also required from your pet transport company.

The most important part of this process is to apply for a permit to import your pet to New Zealand. This has to be done at least six weeks before your planned arrival as MPI takes nearly 20 working days to complete this application procedure. A professional pet exporter service can do the hard work for you. This ticks all the boxes related to treatments, booking flights, applying for permits to import, and more. 

How pet isolation works

Following their arrival in New Zealand, pets need to go through a phase of isolation which includes being quarantined in an MPI-approved facility. Their period of stay in this place can go from 10 days to 60 days, depending on individual circumstances. An in-house veterinarian will conduct a thorough medical examination of the pet to make sure it is free from contagious diseases and other complications.

Most pet parents take their little ones home from the quarantine centre after a minimum period of 10 days. However, issues with paperwork or improper rabies vaccination schedules can delay this process further. Sometimes, pets can even be returned to their home countries at their owner’s expense, if they do not meet MPI’s biosecurity requirements.

Where to quarantine pets in Auckland

The NZ government has approved just four facilities for pet quarantine, three of which are located in Auckland. To enrol your dog or cat in these centres, booking has to be done before you arrive in the country. Moreover, this booking confirmation letter has to be attached to your application for the permit to import your pet. So, picking the right centre is a top priority based on your requirements. 

Auckland Quarantine’s facility has been approved by the MPI for its high standards in areas such as quality of pet care, hygiene, and safety. While isolation can seem intimidating, Auckland Quarantine turns this into a fun and luxurious experience for your pets with climate-controlled rooms and superior Royal Canin food. Concerned owners can even check on their pets via phone calls and messages with the super-efficient caretakers. And it’s located right near the airport in Brookby!

When your pet will be sent back

As mentioned before, your dog or cat could be sent back to the home country if they fail health inspections or if the paperwork falls through. While this is unlikely in most cases, it is still a possibility to consider and estimate costs. Make sure the dates of vaccinations and treatments comply with the MPI’s requirements. Even if they are not sent back, the ideal 10-day quarantine period might extend further in case there are other issues.

It’s also important for pets to be immune to suspected exotic diseases or ectoparasites. Some dogs and cats could be violent and this makes isolation and inspection difficult. Moreover, some facilities might have their own reasons to delay the post-quarantine release date at short notice for a dog or cat. Choose dependable services like Auckland Quarantine to make sure you don’t have to spend more time away from your pet.


We hope this guide answers all your questions on quarantine for pets in New Zealand. Getting in touch early with the right pet travel experts and quarantine facilities can make your transition stress-free. Prioritise the safety and comfort of your pets during isolation in their new Kiwi home. Reach out to us to make a booking with Auckland Quarantine for a seamless experience!