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Moving to Hawaii with a dog, 5-easy steps

moving to hawaii with a dog

Moving to Hawaii with a dog in 5-easy steps (with no quarantine!)

Updated Hawaii regulations (January, 2019)

Moving to Hawaii with a Dog

If you are moving to Hawaii with a dog, then you should be aware that it’s just a little more difficult than going to Kansas! Typically, you don’t need to worry about special restrictions crossing state borders, but Hawaii is a different creature, excuse the pun. Whether you are moving to Hawaii or just traveling you should know that there are strict entry regulations in place to keep all of the islands rabies-free.

It is worth noting that the paperwork and requirements just received an update in August 2018, so you should make sure that you are using the most current forms and processes.

There are 3 main options available to dog owners:

  • Direct release (at the airport)
  • 5-day quarantine
  • 30-day quarantine
  • UPDATE: There is no more 120-day quarantine (as of August 31st, 2018)

Of course, you want direct release so that your dog can skip quarantine (otherwise known as “pet hell”). And here’s how you do it. Take note that you need to act well in advance of when you are leaving and we recommend starting 45-60 days prior to travel, or your pet will have to face that quarantine.

Of course before you start this process you can give your dog a little taste of Hawaiian Aloha to keep them in good spirits with these well-loved Aloha Crunch Bites that are made on the island of Maui!

5-steps to Skip Quarantine

  • Microchip your pet
  • Check your pet has had 2 rabies shots
  • Get a rabies titer
  • Apply a suitable tick treatment
  • Complete the paperwork and travel to paradise!!

Step 1. Microchip

Your dog will need to an ISO11784 (15-digit unencrypted) microchip put in by your vet, a very simple, painless process. We recommend having your vet do this, but you can buy a single microchip and take it with you to limit the cost. Other acceptable chips include US-issued Avid or HomeAgain brand. Some of our readers have noted saving $30-40 just buying the microchip and taking to the vet (yes, they mark it up substantially!)

Confirm the microchip works! Also, it must be implanted prior to the rabies titer (Step 4).

Step 2. Rabies shots

Your pet must have 2 rabies shots during its lifetime. The rabies shots must be 30 days apart and the second one must be at least 30-days prior to arrival. (Note this used to be 120-days and was a recent change.)

**Keep copies of the 2 rabies certificates as you will need originals for documentation and filing.

Step 3. Rabies Test (FAVN Rabies Antibody Titer)

Please read this step carefully, because it is critical to get a rabies titer administered correctly. The rabies titer needs to be completed in a specific way:

  • DO NOT do a RFFIT test, make sure it is the FAVN rabies antibody test
  • Sample must be collected and tested at least 30-days in advance (no more than 36 months prior) – make sure your microchip number is noted on the submitted lab paperwork
  • Sample should be sent to Auburn University (AU), Kansas State University (KSU), or the DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas (DOD)
  • If an intermediate lab is used, you will need to allow more than the minimum 30-days as data will be sent to AU/KSU/DOD

**You will need a copy of the successful blood test with the microchip number stated on it (which is why it needs to be implanted and functioning prior to the test).

Step 4. Tick treatment

Your vet must apply a long-lasting tick treatment less than 14-days prior to travel. Since the main risk is Brown Dog Ticks we recommend a fiponril-based treatment like Advantix. Please note that Revolution™ is NOT acceptable by the State of Hawaii, a full list of acceptable medications a can be found on The State of Hawai’i acceptable tick treatments.

**The tick treatment must be noted on the pet’s health certificate that will be filed, else the State of Hawai’i will not consider the treatment completed.

Step 5. Paperwork, wait, travel!

At this point all you have to do is file the paperwork and wait the 30-days. If you arrive prior to 30-days your pet will go into quarantine until the 30-days has been completed from the date of the Rabies titer.

Documents to be filed (no copies, only originals):

  • Completed Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-279
    • Does NOT have to be notarized
    • Make sure you are using AQS-279, which is the recently updated regulation form
  • Original certificates for 2 rabies vaccinations
    • Must be signed in ink by a licensed veterinarian
    • The certificates must have the vaccine name, lot/serial number, booster interval, vaccination date and vaccine lot expiration date
  • Original health certificate
    • Completed within 14 days of arrival, or presented on arrival
    • Tick treatment name and date of treatment must be on the certificate

Instructions for filing are on AQS-279, but make sure they are sent at least 10-days prior to arrival as a single packet. Current costs are $185 for direct release and $244 for less than 5-day release. (Make sure to note your pet’s microchip number(s) on the payment)

For any additional information go to the State of Hawai’i booklet.

With a little bit of planning soon you will be moving to Hawaii with your dog, enjoying the beaches and hiking trails.

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