International Travel with Pets

All pets exported out of New Zealand must meet the requirements of the importing country. The Ministry for Primary Industries has negotiated export requirements and certificates for most animals. Export requirements describe the contents of an export certificate.  Certificates are forms that need to be completed, are signed off by official veterinarians, and travel with your pet.

Pets being taken out of New Zealand may also require an Animal Welfare Export Certificate (AWEC)  that includes checking the pet’s welfare is provided for.

Here are the common destinations people take their pets to:

Newstead Veterinary Services is an approved practice for the export of animals to Australia. For any other destination, please contact MAF or your pet exporter.

Dogs, cats and most other warm-blooded animals transported commercially are protected by Animal Welfare Acts. The Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) set the standards and oversee the regulations for Pet Transportation from New Zealand. IATA advises the Airlines and Agents regarding the humane carriage of your pet.
Most airline companies only accept animals for transportation that have the appropriate importation permit, zoo sanitary and veterinary health certificates, if applicable. A shipping kennel/cage that meets IATA approved standards will be required for your pet.
Animals are normally shipped as cargo as animals are not permitted to travel within the passenger cabin in shipping kennels (excluding seeing eye dogs). For animals traveling outside of New Zealand an Export Customs Delivery Order is required. Your Pet Transport Company will assist with this.


In order to ease the stress during your pet’s travel, one of the most important steps you can take is to make sure your pet becomes familiar with its shipping kennel/cage. We suggest that you Purchase/arrange your kennel/cage well in advance of your travel date.

  • Place the kennel/cage in your home with the door open and put a familiar object inside it, ie. an old sock or favourite toy to enable your pet to familarise itself with the kennel/cage and possibly venture inside to explore.
  • The kennel/cage used in your home should be the same one your pet will actually travel in.


  • Your pet should be as relaxed as possible during the flight.
  • Your pet needs to know that the shipping kennel/cage is a homely and comfortable environment.


  • Place a T-shirt or sock bearing your scent (and your pet’s scent) inside the shipping kennel/cage.
  • Ensure your pet’s nails have been recently clipped to prevent them from catching the cage door or other openings.
  • Attach labels on the kennel/cage showing your pet relocation or shipping agency address and phone numbers for contact purposes.

Never transport an animal wearing a choke collar or muzzle, as both pose danger when an animal is alone or in transit. Anything that may restrict an animal’s movement within a kennel/cage (excludes feeding and water dishes) should be removed and attached to the exterior.


  • Keep your animal as calm as possible prior to the flight.
  • For dogs, a nice walk or play time session a few hours before your pet is delivered to the Cargo facility is a good idea.

Documentation for shipping your pet varies according to the country of origin and the final destination. You should
be aware that most overseas countries are very strict about accepting animal shipments without import permits and health certificates. Lack of proper documentation can result in the confiscation of your pet on arrival, or returning your pet to its place of origin.
It is your responsibility to complete and provide this paperwork, and your Pet Transport Agent will assist you in obtaining the correct and relevant documentation.

Kennels or travel cages must conform with IATA airline approved guidelines. Your Pet Transport Company will assist in providing a suitable container. You may hire or purchase one from them, or you can supply your own. Please check with your Pet Transport Company. We have a few Airline Approved Air Cages available in our online shop.

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