I have a tiny budget for a mini-vacation this year in December. I would like to arrive in Honolulu HNL at around 7 AM on Day 1 and fly back around 11pm on Day 2. Basically ~40 hours in Hawaii.

I fly globally with my Emotional Support Animal - a well-behaved 20 lb corgi mix. We live in California.

I'm confused at the process of Hawaii for a dog to arrive there. There seems to be a 5 day quarantine process? My dog is up to date with all shots. She has had two sets of rabies shots already. (Once Nov 2017. Oct 2018 were her latest shots) Is there a minimum quarantine no matter what?

My dog has not been left alone in a cage since we rescued her at around 7 weeks old - she is now almost 2 years old. I don't want to subject her to quarantine. Anyway, I will not be there for 5 days, so the 5 day process wouldn't work.

Is there no way to bring a dog to Hawaii on a short trip?


Update on why it's a short trip: I grabbed a roundtrip fare that's ridiculously cheap. It is cheap enough to justify the trip - a flight somewhere closer would actually cost more.

Clarification: The cage is regarding the quarantine ("Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility") and not about crate training. My dog is actually human-level potty trained, or bathroom trained - i.e., she knows how to tell me to go out to potty, or worst case, she'd literally use the toilet in the bathroom (she doesn't like it since the balance is hard and she's fallen in the loo before...)

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    – Willeke
    Nov 27, 2018 at 9:00

2 Answers 2


Hawaii has always been free of rabies. The quarantine laws are strict so that it stays that way.

There is a Five-days-or-less program for short stay animals that will allow your dog to be released to you on arrival. Preparations for this program start 30 days before you arrive and involve, amongst other things, confirmation of two rabies vaccinations at specified times and a blood test.

There is a wealth of information on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture page that should answer detailed questions.

Even assuming you can comply with the quarantine regulations, you still have to find somewhere to stay that will accept your dog. Hawaii is not known for pet-friendly hotels.

The short answer to all this is, realistically, don't take your dog.

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    It's probably safe to say the preparations start more than 30 days in advance, since you'd need vet appointments, vaccinations may need to be performed earlier, and the blood sample has to be received by the certified lab 30 days out, so it needs to be drawn earlier than that, and then the documents need to be received by the Hawaiian authorities more than 10 days before arrival. It's months worth of preparations even with the newly changed deadlines. Nov 26, 2018 at 20:53
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    I'd add that the minimum fee is $185, plus the cost of the tests prior to arrival (I paid around $200 for the FAVN rabies antibody test including my vet's fee), which likely makes the pet fees more expensive than the "ridiculously cheap" airfare)
    – Johnny
    Nov 27, 2018 at 1:07
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    The short answer to all this is : realistically, don't fly to Hawaii for a day. Nov 27, 2018 at 8:39

If you're travelling more than about two months from now, you'll be able to do this. You'll need to get the dog vaccinated for rabies (even if her vaccination is up-to-date, the vet may advise a booster, to ensure that the immunity test comes back positive) and other things, wait several days, go back to the vet for the rabies immunity test, wait for the results to come back from the lab (there's only a handful of labs certified to perform the test), then submit a bunch of documentation to the authorities well before travel (which you'll have time to do, since the blood test needs to be done at least 30 days before you arrive). Since you're flying into HNL, you'd be able to get them to clear the dog at the airport.

Note that the fees for the vet visit, blood testing and other documentation, import examination, and transport might well be greater than the rest of your trip costs put together. Moving pets into rabies-free areas is EXPENSIVE. Doing it for a 40-hour vacation (more like 35 hours, now that you have to deal with moving a pet) is silly.

Also note that boarding options for dogs vary, and the good ones do not involve being "left alone in a cage". I guarantee you that your dog would prefer a good boarding service to being trapped alone in a crate in a loud, dark, cold cargo hold during a long round-trip flight.

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    @jcaron It really depends on the dog and breed. My 30 lb dog is quite dense and would fit fine in the space between my feet. A fluffier breed of the same weight might be twice as large.
    – David K
    Nov 26, 2018 at 19:39
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    Not sure about airlines in the US and those serving Hawaii specifically, but some airlines in Europe have restrictions on weight (of the pet or pet + bag). Also, a crate (rather than a bag) may be required, which, combined with the requirements for the pet to be able to stand up, turn around, and stretch (a requirement for a 6-hour flight, given the dog is not allowed out of the crate), often requires a pretty large crate which will not fit under a seat. It is quickly quite difficult to have anything but a very small dog in the cabin. But again, this varies a lot based on the specific airline.
    – jcaron
    Nov 26, 2018 at 23:01
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    For US airlines, there are two sets of rules, for service animals and for pets. See your airline's web site for rules for each. Some blind people use miniature horses as guide animals (excellent peripheral vision, long lifespan), and they have been allowed on aircraft. More use large dogs, well over 20 lbs. The rules are much more restrictive for pets. Nov 26, 2018 at 23:43
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    How is one dog denser than another dog? Is it part Wolverine? Nov 27, 2018 at 16:32
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    @PatriciaShanahan The OP says it's an ESA. That means it's not a service animal because it hasn't been trained to provide any particular service. Nov 28, 2018 at 15:05

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