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Important information on COVID-19


Puppy Socialisation


Dogs New Zealand has had some membership enquiry about placing puppies in their new homes during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown period.
The direction from Government is that during this time people are only allowed to leave their houses to access essential services, go to work for an essential service, or to go for a walk. New Zealanders have been directed to not invite or allow social visitors to enter their property. Transport should only be used for accessing essential services. Self-isolation means staying at home and limiting travel.

In addition, although there is no clear evidence that dogs are able to contract and transmit COVID-19, they may act as fomites - carriers on their surface - of the virus and potentially transmit it from one household to another in that way.

During Alert, Level 4 puppies should not be placed into new homes, regardless of their age. To do so would be in direct breach of government directions and the persons doing so may be liable to receive fines or prosecution.

Dogs NZ recommends that breeders take all available steps to appropriately expose puppies to available environmental stimulus during this time. Puppy buyers will be anxious to have their new additions. However, just as we are not allowed to engage with people outside of our 'bubbles', the same goes with animals.  The use of teleconferencing tools such as Zoom or Skype can be used so that the puppy buyers can see and talk to their new additions.

This is a challenging time for everyone. The more we diligently stick to the government directives the slower the spread of COVID-19 and the sooner we can get back to life as normal.

For breeders with puppies at home or those who have just managed to get their puppy before New Zealand was locked-down, socialisation in these challenging times may require a little thinking outside of the box.  The window for puppy socialisation starts to close around 12-16 weeks old and there will be many in lockdown up until this period.  Some excellent tips can be found here to provide this as best possible with the limited external resources available at this time.  

The Kennel Club has a  FAQ page which answers many of the questions relevant to breeders here.  Keep in mind that some of the Government guidance may be different in New Zealand verses the UK.  Don’t hesitate to contact the Dogs NZ Canine Health & Welfare team if you have any queries.  Becky at caninehealth@dogsnz.org.nz or Lauren at health@dogsnz.org.nz.  


Extra time with dogs at home


For those of us who are normally away from home for a considerable part of the day, our dogs are probably wondering if they have stumbled into utopia!  This increase in our time at home may also be a source of confusion and disrupted routines for our dogs.  It is important to consider them as part of our social bubbles and if taking them for a walk only do so if vaccinations are up to date, and they should be kept on a lead at all times to avoid any accidents.  

Dogs do like routine, if possible stick to this as much as you can.  Feed them at the same time, bed at the same time, walk at the same time etc.  It is important that the dog has a safe place to get away from the new-found extra attention.  Crates are great for this, but any area which is designated for the dog only would work well.  Keep a very close eye on your children when they spend time with the dog, always supervise young children closely.    This time could be well spent teaching an old dog some new tricks!  For maximising time spent with dogs during lockdown, some great information can be found here. “


Accredited Breeders Scheme/Litter Registration Limitations/Breeders Code of Conduct requirements


Dogs NZ recognises that in some cases, health testing and/or veterinary certification may be impacted by COVID-19.  If it is likely to affect you and your breeding plans, please contact the Dogs NZ Canine Health & Welfare team prior to the date of mating.  Becky at caninehealth@dogsnz.org.nz or Lauren at health@dogsnz.org.nz.  


Some other good links for information to share on our website:

https://www.nzva.org.nz/default.aspx
https://www.spca.nz/
https://covid19.govt.nz/