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Bringing Pets To The US (Excluding Hawaii)

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Bringing Pets To The US

This may come as a big surprise but bringing pets to the US is much easier than bringing pets to other countries. Yes, even though it may seem strange, bringing pets to the United States is quite simple, no matter where you are coming from.

Although the import procedures of the United States are considered relatively simple, pet owners will still need to take precise steps to import their dog/cat.

The following guide provides the necessary details to successfully bring pets into the United States (excluding Hawaii).

Pet Microchip

Dog and cat with a pet microchip each and a chip scanner scanning them

Pets entering the United States don’t need to be microchipped. Even though it isn’t needed, we highly recommend you microchip your pet as the microchip may be mandatory in your origin country.

Also, please keep in mind that a microchip is needed for almost all the other countries around the world and therefore, it is best to have one for future travels.

Vaccinations Needed To Bring A Pet To The US

Pet dog getting vaccinated at the vet

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) regulations state that if you are bringing a dog into the United States, your dog must appear healthy.

Also, depending from what country your dogs are coming from, they may need a valid rabies vaccination.

Dogs that have never been vaccinated against rabies must be vaccinated at least 28 days (4 weeks) prior to their arrival. The dog/puppy must be at least three months old in order to receive the vaccine.

They must be accompanied by a current, valid rabies vaccination certificate. These rules apply to all dogs, including puppies, service animals, and emotional support dogs.

A rabies vaccination is not required if your dog is imported from a rabies-free country.

The U.S Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), requires that dogs that are imported from countries where screwworm exist, must be accompanied by a certificate stating that the dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days before entering the United States. The certificate must state that the dog is either free from screwworm or was found to be infested with screwworm and was held in quarantine and treated until free from screwworm.

Cats entering the United States are not required to be vaccinated against rabies. Even though this isn’t mandatory, we recommend you get your cat vaccinated against rabies before moving to the US.

Rabies Antibody Titer Test

Blood serums for Rabies Titer Test

A rabies antibody titer test is not needed to enter the United States, no matter where you are coming from.

If you’ll need the titer test to exit the US, please note that:

  • There is only one approved lab in the United States.
  • It can take about 4-6 weeks to get the results from the lab. It is possible to expedite it for an extra fee (around $170 USD). Expediting the test should get you the results within 2 weeks.
  • It usually costs about $350 USD (the accredited vet’s service, delivery and lab fees).

Health Certificate

Pet Health Certificate need for pet travel

Dogs entering the United States must be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate, which was issued no more than 10 days prior to the dog’s arrival. The health certificate must be endorsed by a government veterinarian of the country of origin.

Cats entering the United States don’t require a health certificate. It is, however, recommended as most airlines won’t accept cats without an official, endorsed health certificate.

Importing A Pet Into The US – FAQ

Colorful stickers with question marks

Here are some frequently asked questions about importing a pet into the United States:

Question #1: Do we need an import permit to bring pets into the US?

If you are planning to bring a dog or cat to the US, you won’t need an import permit.

Question #2: Will my pet be placed in quarantine once we reach the United States?

If you arrive with all the required documents, your dog/cat won’t be placed in quarantine.

Question #3: What’s the minimum age to bring a dog to the US?

The answer to this questions depends on where you are coming from.

If you are coming from a high-risk rabies country, the minimum age will be 4 months.

Question #4: Are you guys sure that the rabies blood test isn’t needed to import a pet into the US?

Yes, the rabies antibody test is not required to bring a dog or cat into the United States.

Question #5: I have a Pitbull. Can I bring him to the US?

Pitbulls can be imported into the US. In addition, other “dangerous” breeds can also be imported into the US (such as: Rottweiler, Amstaff, Dogo Argentino and many other breeds).

There are no banned dog breeds in the US.

Need Help Bringing Pets To The US?

Dog at the airport with luggage ready to travel

Moving your family to a new home involves much planning and preparation, especially when you a have a pet in the family. When relocating with pets, pet owners should take care of all the details in advance to ensure an easier transition.

In order to make the process easier and less stressful, you may want to check out pet relocation services (such as Pets2Fly).

At Pets2Fly, our customer support team is on standby 24/7 to help you with all your pet travel needs. Our staff can answer any questions and/or provide any services needed in the pet relocation industry.

Should you require any assistance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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