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All you need to know about living in Christchurch with a dog

New Zealand is one of the most pet-friendly countries in the world and Christchurch is home to over 38 thousand dogs, which translates to around one pooch for every ten people in Christchurch. The city is welcoming of doggies of all sizes and breeds, and there are several dog-friendly public places and activities to enjoy with your favourite canine.

If you are planning to move to Christchurch in New Zealand with your doggy friend, here’s what you need to know about living in Christchurch with a dog.

Register your pup

As in most cities in the world, it is mandatory to register your dog in Christchurch. All puppies must be registered with the local council before they are three months old. The registration is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Dog registration in Christchurch is a fairly simple process; simply fill the new dog ownership registration form on the Christ Church City Council website, and the local officials will contact you with a unique ID number and the registration fees due. After you have completed the payment, you will receive your doggy’s registration disc or tag. Your dog will not be registered until the payment is complete.

The registration fees are different if your dog is desexed, or you have more than two dogs, or if you have a Responsible Dog Owner status. If you own more than two dogs, you will have to apply for a separate licence that allows you to keep more than two dogs on your property.

A Responsible Dog Owner status is an initiative that recognises and rewards good and responsible dog owners. Dog owners who register their pets on time and follow all council guidelines are eligible for this special licence, with which you are entitled to a discount in the annual dog registration fee.

Follow the law

In Christchurch, the Council’s dog control policy outlines the rules for dog owners to follow. These rules aim to ensure that all pet dogs are well-cared for, and dog-related accidents are reduced.

  • Always carry a lead when you take your dog out for a walk or on an errand. This is not just a legal requirement; it will keep your pet safe from other dangerous dogs and wildlife. Dogs must be on a lead on all public roads and footpaths, car parks, boat ramps and state highways.
  • Pick up after your dog and ensure that the waste has been disposed of hygienically.
  • Dogs are prohibited from entering public playgrounds, skate parks, Council swimming pools and some public beaches.
  • There are dog-friendly public areas designated for dogs, and your dog may be unleashed in such areas.
  • All dogs must be microchipped. The microchip number is uploaded with other dog details to the National Dog Database in New Zealand, which makes it very easy to trace lost and stolen dogs.

Dog care and safety

The dog policy in Christchurch deems that all pets must receive adequate care and exercise to keep them healthy. Make sure your dog has received all mandatory vaccinations such as distemper, kennel cough, parvovirus and hepatitis. If your pet dog is sick, seek veterinary care immediately. Do not take your pet out to public areas where people and other dogs are present until your dog is completely well. If your female dog is in heat, confine her at home and limit her movement till she is out of season, to reduce the impact on other dogs.

Do not let your dog wander around unsupervised; make sure they are on a lead when they are out. If you are taking your dog out in a vehicle, see that he or she is secured well. If you tend to exercise your dog during the night, make sure your dog is wearing a reflecting collar and lead for better visibility and safety.

Dog-friendly parks in Christchurch

Christchurch has several parks and exercise areas dedicated to dogs. These public parks usually have fenced-off areas for your doggie to run around, exercise and socialise with other pooches. When you take your doggie to these dog parks, remember to clean up after your pet, and keep them on a lead at all times, unless they are in an area where they are allowed to be off-lead.

Christchurch’s best dog-friendly parks:

  • The Groynes: You can access the dog park at The Groynes from Johns Road. The dog park here is excellent for dogs of all sizes, as well as their human counterparts. It is open daily from 8am till half an hour before sunset, and has excellent amenities for your canine pals. The dog park at The Groynes has eight fenced-off areas, with three agility courses for doggy exercise. There is a wash down area for dogs as well as bins for doggy waste.
  • Horseshoe Lake: The dog park at Horseshoe Lake is accessed off Broomfield Terrace, Burwood. The dog park has securely fenced agility areas, wide open spaces for walking and is open 24 hours a day.
  • Halswell Quarry Park: Though Halswell Quarry is not a designated dog park, there is a dog exercise area where your dogs can exercise off-lead. Since the exercise area is not fenced off, dog parents must be extra careful with their pooches here.
  • Bottle Lake Forest Park: This vast forest area has some great walking trails for you and your pooch. Remember to pack water and bowls for your dog before you set out on your hike. Dogs are allowed off-lead at Bottle Lake Forest as long as they are under effective control.

Dog-friendly beaches in Christchurch

Most beaches in Christchurch are dog-friendly, though they are prohibited on some beaches at specific times during summer. During summer, you will not be able to take your dog to the beach between 9am and 7pm because these beaches are used for swimming and other recreational activities.

Dogs are allowed to pass through the beach during the prohibited hours as long as they are on a short lead and under control. The summer hours are effective from November to April, and outside these months, your pooch can enjoy the beach off-lead, as long as he or she is in effective control.

Christchurch’s best dog-friendly beaches:

  • South New Brighton Beach
  • Sumner Beach
  • Taylor’s Mistake Beach
  • Spencer Park Beach
  • Waimairi Beach
  • New Brighton Beach

Moving to Christchurch?

Christchurch is a fantastic place to bring up a dog and is one of the best cities to live in New Zealand. Moving to New Zealand with a pet is a complex process with many critical steps, and it is recommended to enlist the services of an experienced pet relocation company to assist with the relocation. If you are planning to move to Christchurch with your pet, reach out to us at Petraveller for a pet relocation plan.