This black pug with its head out a red car's window has an owner that's taking a dog from NZ to Australia

Taking Your Dog from New Zealand to Australia: What You Need to Know


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Wondering what’s involved in taking a dog to Australia from NZ, whether you’re emigrating, going on holiday, or visiting Aussie loved ones? When moving your dog from NZ to Australia for any length of time what steps should you take to ensure it’s done right? To ensure you don’t run into delays or worse trouble?

Your fur kid is family and they deserve the best for their big country transition too. Time to read up!

We all know that the Australasian region has strict rules governing the entry and exit of animals for biosecurity reasons. Actor Johnny Depp and his then-wife Amber Heard, for instance, found this out the hard way back in 2015 when they brought their two Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia from the US using a false immigration document.

Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said at the time: “If you start letting movie stars — even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation [with pets], then why don’t we just break laws for everybody? It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.” Yikes!

The couple made an incredibly awkward, yet necessary, apology video for their indiscretion:

But what about taking a dog to Australia from NZ? Do Kiwis face the same strict laws? Let’s find out the details.

Permit? Health certificate? What’s required?

According to the Australian Government website for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, moving a dog from NZ to Australia doesn’t require a permit.

Also, unlike canines from other countries, New Zealand dogs have no entry quarantine period.

Health certificate for the win

With that said, there are still requirements to meet. The first is getting a health certificate from a government approved vet. The certificate must show that:

  • Your dog is microchipped (read all about the dog microchip process)
  • New Zealand is free from rabies
  • A vet examined your dog and found them fit to travel five days or fewer of you entering Australia
  • A vet treated your dog for external and internal parasites five days or fewer of you entering Australia
  • The following diseases weren’t confirmed in New Zealand 12 months or fewer of you entering Australia: Canine brucellosis, leptospirosis, and indigenous cases of, and established populations of competent vectors for, canine ehrlichiosis and leishmaniosis (note our Aussie PD Insurance website has an article about ehrlichiosis in dogs)
  • Your dog has lived in New Zealand since birth or importation from Australia. If they haven’t, these conditions will apply
Collie in a wire cage

Other must-follow criteria when taking a dog to Australia from NZ

Of course, a health certificate isn’t everything. You didn’t think it was that easy, did you? To be honest, it almost is – as long as you hit the nail on the head with…

Age, parenting status and other restrictions

You’ll have to fulfill the following criteria before taking a dog to Australia from NZ:

  • Your dog isn’t more than 40 days pregnant or suckling puppies at the time you’re entering Australia
  • They’re at least 8 weeks old at the time of travel
  • Your dog was not under any quarantine restrictions at the time you arrived in Australia

Breed no-goes for Australia

Also note that our across the pond compadres do not allow the following breeds:

  • Pit Bull Terrier types
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino (read about these in our ‘10 New Dog Breeds‘ article)
  • Presa Canario

These wolf-dog crosses also aren’t allowed:

  • Czechoslovakian wolfdog or Czechoslovakian Vlcak
  • Saarloos wolfdog or Saarloos wolfhound
  • Lupo Italiano or Italian wolfdog
  • Kunming wolfdog or Kunming dog

Lastly, if your dog has ever been to mainland Africa, a New Zealand government approved vet must treat them for Babesia canis with imidocarb dipropionate.

Jack russell terrier dog sits in the car on driver sit. Dog looking out of car window, possibly its owner is taking a dog to Australia from NZ

Complying with laws around taking a dog to Australia from NZ

It’s very important that you ensure you meet all Australia’s requirements when taking a dog to Australia from NZ. Non-compliance can have serious consequences.

You could have your dog moved to and held in post entry quarantine until you’re able to produce any outstanding documents. Once they’re there you may have to pay for them to get additional tests. There’s also the risk that they’re exported or even euthanised.

Is the risk really worth not following the right steps?

Extra bit and pieces to explore

Before setting out on your journey, get in touch with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and find out:

  • Which veterinarians and laboratories are approved to provide you with a health certificate
  • If New Zealand has any requirements in addition to those stated on the Australian Government website for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • Alert the Department at least three days before your arrival by emailing the regional office in the state/territory in which your dog will first arrive in Australia

When you arrive in Australia, a biosecurity officer will check your dog as well as the health certificate your vet provided. If all is in order, you’ll happily be able to take Fido in with you!

PS: If you’re moving a dog from NZ to Australia then travelling across the country by car, you may want to check our tips for travelling with pets before you head off.

More protection for your pup

We know your dog means the world to you, so make sure you cover them in case of an accident or emergency before and/or after your travels. PD Insurance’s NZ dog insurance will protect you well in NZ, whereas our AU dog insurance plans offers the same affordable, value-rich cover in Australia. With both, new customers can score one or more months of free insurance when signing up online.

Why not get a quote now?

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