News & Press: NZVA media release

Don't forget your pets after Gita

Thursday, 22 February 2018   (0 Comments)
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Source: NZ Veterinary Association


The New Zealand Veterinary Association reminds New Zealanders to protect their pets after wide-spread damage from ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita.

New Zealand’s animal welfare legislation Animal Welfare Act 1999: requires owners of animals, and people in charge of animals, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the physical, health, and behavioural needs of the animals are met.

This includes during and after a natural disaster, when many animals are scared or injured, or unable to access drinkable water.

Residents in New Plymouth, Bell Block, Waitara, Tikorangi, Onearo and Urenui have been warned to boil all drinking water. The New Plymouth District Council has advised that water is OK to use to flush the toilet, but should be boiled for one minute before being used for drinking.

Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Helen Beattie says it's important to remember animals when making arrangements.

"Wherever you are in the country: If you can't drink the water - your pets can't drink the water either. Please give your pets cooled boiled water or bottled water until tap water is safe and accessible again."

"If you need to leave your property for repairs, take your pets with you."

"We appreciate that this is a difficult time, it's vital to remember that animals are potentially scared and anxious as well."

This event has been a reminder to the country to prepare emergency plans that involve your pets. Microchipping your pet and registering them on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register gives you the best chance of reuniting with them if you become separated.

The New Zealand Companion Animal Register is dedicated to providing a 24-hour recovery service for companion animals in New Zealand.

If your pet is missing after the storm, update their records at or email to flag that they are missing. If you do not have computer access there is an 24/7 0800 LOSTPET support service too. There is no charge for using the 0800 service. Lost Pet ( is a service run by the Companion Animal Register and it has a map of New Zealand showing all reported lost and found pets.

If you are in an area that hasn't been affected - you may wish to take this time to prepare your emergency kit.

Your emergency kits need to include: A carrier or lead, veterinary records including microchip details and photographs of your animals, extra blankets and bedding, bottled water, food, and bowls, a collar with an ID tag that includes name, address, and telephone number, and medications and prescriptions. Ideally you would have a carrier for each pet. And don't forget fish, birds, and pocket pets - you need a plan for them too!

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About the New Zealand Veterinary Association

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is the only membership association representing New Zealand veterinarians. With over 2000 members we are the leading voice for veterinarians working in all disciplines where animals, humans and the environment intersect. Our work ensures our members’ contribution to the country's economy and international status, food safety and animal health and welfare is of the highest quality, recognised and valued.