What you should know before bringing your dog to Hawaii

Aafke Zietz

If you plan on flying your dog to Hawaii, you might want to know some of the important steps you will need to take prior making your travel plans. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as hopping onto a plane with your furry friend.

Hawaii has strict entry requirements for dogs, including microchipping, vaccinations, rabies blood testing, tick treatments and an import permit. Furthermore, it is likely that your dog will need to spend some time in quarantine, even up to 120 days! Don’t worry, some dogs may qualify for the ‘5 day or less’ quarantine program. This is why it’s important that you plan ahead. So, if you are considering taking your dog on a short holiday to Hawaii with you, you may want to reconsider. The total cost to bring your pet to Hawaii can be anywhere from $300 to over $1,500 per pet. The price you pay can vary widely depending on the species, size and weight of your pet, where you are traveling from, and which airline you fly with.
Here is the basic information as well as resources that can guide you further.

Steps you'll need to take:
~ Book an appointment with your vet - your dog will need a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum.
Your dog may also need a rabies blood test depending on where you’re traveling from.
There are time restraints, so try to do this as early as possible.
List of requirements:
Microchipping – all dogs must be microchipped.
Vaccinations – at minimum, your dog must be vaccinated against rabies.
Rabies Blood Test – your dog must pass a rabies titer test to prove the rabies vaccination was successful. This excludes dogs traveling from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand.
Tick Treatment – all dogs must have an approved tick treatment within 14 days of arrival.

~ Organize air travel – ensure you fly with an airline that will allow your dog on board. Commonly recommended for transporting pets to the islands are United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, but the best airline for you depends on where you’re departing from, how many pets you are bringing and what time of year you are planning on arriving in Hawaii. You may enter Hawaii through Honolulu International Airport only between the hours of 8am and 9pm. As long as your dog conforms to all the entry requirements, the process of clearing your dog will should take around 1 hour but could take up to 4 to 5 hours. Once your dog has cleared customs, he or she will be taken directly to the quarantine center. When your dog has been cleared, you will need to pick your dog up from the quarantine center. You may also enter through the neighbor Island airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue but you must make special arrangements in advance. It’s important to note that not all airlines participate in this program. If traveling into these airports, all requirements for entering Hawaii must be met and documentation must be submitted at least 30 days prior to arrival.

~ Book an 2nd appointment with your vet - because your dog will need to pass a rabies blood test, which takes time. (The 2nd Appt. isn't necessary if you are flying from British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand.)
A licensed veterinarian must complete a Health Certificate for Hawaii. This certificate must be issued by your veterinarian within 14 days of your pet’s arrival.

~ Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture Dog Import Form - You will need to fill out a Dog Import Form (AQS 279) which is required for entry to Hawaii and get it notarized within 14 days prior to arrival. 

~ Mail Docs Animal Quarantine Branch - Send both the Health Certificate & Dog Import Form to the Animal Quarantine Branch. The documents must arrive 10 days prior to your pet’s arrival to qualify for same-day release and reduced fees.
Since the documents must be processed within 14 days of your arrival, you must send them by an overnight carrier to qualify for airport release of your pet.
Note: It must be an original, photocopies will not be accepted.
Animal Quarantine Branch
99-951 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701 

Checkout the links below for more detailed information:
Detailed Article about Flying your dog to Hawaii
State of Hawaii - Animal Quarantine Information Page

It will take some planning as there are many entry requirements for dogs, however it is doable. Follow the simple steps listed above to ensure you comply with the Hawaiian Law for traveling with dogs.

FYI, these steps are the same for cats. Regarding other types of pets, you will need to check the links above for more info. 


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