The US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services offers the following guidelines:
CATS AND DOGS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has regulations
on the importation of dogs and cats into the United States. To protect
public health within the United States, importers who bring dogs to
the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately
vaccinated against rabies before arrival. There are three (3) federal
Agencies that have regulations that pertain to the import of dogs.
They are: USDA Veterinary Services (VS), USDA Animal Care (AC) and
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In general, all dogs must be
vaccinated against rabies after three months old and cannot be
imported until at least 30 days after vaccination. The CDC allows
unvaccinated dogs to be imported without proof of a rabies vaccination
if they have lived in a country that is considered rabies free for a
minimum of six months or since birth. The Animal Care has rabies
regulations for dogs imported into the Continental United States or
Hawaii for the purpose of resale, adoption or rehoming. Consult the
Animal Care for definitive information on their requirements. Access
those requirements Here: Importers may need to obtain a confinement
agreement from the CDC, for puppies prior to U.S arrival. Entry may
be refused if dogs/puppies arrive without this agreement or
vaccination. We strongly suggest that you visit the CDC web site at:
http://www.cdc.gov/animalimportation/dogs.html or call them at
1-800-232-4636, for more information on their regulations.
The CDC regulations pertaining to cats can be found by following this
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has certain restrictions on the
importation of dogs. Collies, shepherds, and other dogs that are
imported from any part of the world except Canada, Mexico, and regions
of Central America and the West Indies and that are to be used in the
handling of livestock must be inspected and quarantined at the port of
entry for a sufficient time to determine their freedom from tapeworm.
APHIS VS requirements for all dogs imported or returning from
countries affected with screwworm:
Pet and other types of dogs (commercial, breeding, etc.) that are
returning, and/or are presented for US entry, from countries or
regions where screwworm is known to exist, may enter the US if they
meet the following requirements:
The dog must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a full-time
salaried veterinary official of the region of origin stating that the
dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days prior to shipment
to 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 prior to leaving the region.
Other General Information for Pets
For an overview of the process of traveling with your pet, watch this
In order to expedite entry into the United States, we suggest that you
do not use straw, hay, grass, or other natural bedding. Our Plant
Protection and Quarantine Division does not allow the importation of
these materials as they may harbor various plant pests.
We also suggest you contact your State, county, municipal authorities
for local restrictions on importing dogs. Some airlines require health
certificates for dogs traveling with them. You should contact the
airlines prior to your travel date.
Pet owners importing cats and dogs into Hawaii can follow the State’s
5-Day-or-Less Quarantine Program protocol, which includes a 120-day
waiting period prior to arrival in Hawaii and a provision for cats and
dogs to be directly released to their owners at Honolulu International
Airport after inspection. Cats and dogs that don’t meet all of the
5-Day-or-Less program requirements will be quarantined for up to 120
days upon arrival in Hawaii. For more information, please visit the
website for the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture at:
All cats and dogs are subject to inspection at ports of entry for
evidence of infectious diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
As a help to both domestic and international travelers, The American
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals web site has a
wealth of pertinent information.
Owners of dogs imported from countries or regions affected with
Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) are advised to take the following
precautions to prevent the introduction of FMD from pets entering the
The feet, fur, and bedding of the pets should be free of any excessive
dirt or mud.
- The pet's bedding should be free of any straw or hay, or other natural bedding.
- The pet should be bathed as soon as it reaches its final destination.
- The pet should be kept separate and apart from all livestock for at least 5 days after entry into the United States.