Until 2003, Hawaii, which is rabies-free and intends to stay that way, enforced strict rules that required quarantining a pet for several months upon arrival. Luckily for pet owners, Hawaii now offers a "5-Day-or-Less" quarantine program, which makes the move far less traumatic for both pets and owners who meet the requirements to qualify. If the pet doesn't qualify, he must be put in quarantine for up to four months upon arrival in Hawaii.
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a rabies vaccination. Your pet must have received at least two rabies shots during his lifetime, with the most recent shot administered at least 90 days before arriving in Hawaii. The most recent shot can't have been given more than 12 months prior to arrival for a one-year vaccination or three years before arrival for a three-year vaccination. Obtain signed certificates of your pet's rabies vaccinations from your vet.
Ask your vet to implant an electronic microchip in your pet. If your dog or cat is already microchipped, ask your vet to test the device to make sure it's in place and working. Any pet that cannot be identified by an electronic microchip must enter a 120-day quarantine period upon arrival in Hawaii.
Obtain an OIE-FAVN blood test from your vet to prove that your pet has a sufficient level of the rabies antibodies. Ask your vet to submit the blood sample to an approved lab, listing "Hawaii" for the final destination. Request that your vet's office call you to inform you of the test results.
Wait 120 days after your pet passes the OIE-FAVN rabies test before moving the pet to Hawaii. If your pet arrives before the end of this mandatory waiting period, then your she won't qualify for the "5-Day-or-Less" program, and will instead be placed in quarantine until the 120-day waiting period has passed.
Have your veterinarian treat your dog or cat with an acceptable anti-parasitic within two weeks of your arrival in Hawaii. Ask your vet to document this treatment on a signed health certificate.
Submit the required documents to the Animal Quarantine Station in Hawaii. Send the original certificates for the two most recent rabies shots, the signed health certificate and a notarized "Dog and Cat Import Form" available on the Hawaii Department of Agriculture website. You must submit these documents at least 10 days before your pet arrives in Hawaii.
Send in your payment with the required documents for faster processing and releasing of your pet. Include a money order or a cashier's check covering the applicable fees. As of 2012, the "5-Day-or-Less" program costs $224 for each pet. Write your pet's microchip number on the payment to ensure you are credited properly.
Call airlines to learn their specific rules and prices for transporting pets. Make reservations for both yourself and your pet with your chosen airline.
Prepare your pet for travel. Get your pet accustomed to the travel crate so he doesn't panic on the plane. Reduce the amount of food and water you give your pet the day before and the day of travel. Give your pet a chance to empty his bladder and bowels an hour or two before the flight.
Ask a flight attendant to tell you as soon as your pet has been boarded. Once your plane lands, airline personnel will transport your pet to the Airport Quarantine Holding Facility for inspection and quarantine. Your pet will be placed in an indoor kennel and given fresh water. If you've submitted all of the paperwork and your pet arrives at the facility between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., the airport can release your pet in as little as an hour. Animals arriving outside of those hours will be transported to the Animal Quarantine Station in Aiea, Hawaii.
Visit your pet at the Animal Quarantine Station if he's transported to that facility. If your pet arrives after hours but your paperwork is in order, you can pick up your pet at the Animal Quarantine Station the following day. Dogs and cats placed into the "5-Day-or-Less" program must remain in quarantine for five days, starting the day after arriving in Hawaii.
The state of Hawaii prohibits importing non-domestic dog and cat breeds, including Bengal tiger, wolf and dingo.
Pets arriving after 3 p.m. must spend the night in the airport facility. Airline personnel will transfer your pet the following morning.
A pet will not be eligible for direct airport release if the AAQHF inspector finds ticks on him.
Hawaii is the only state that enjoys a rabies-free status, and the strict quarantine rules are enforced to help maintain this status. An infectious disease such as rabies could spread rapidly and have disastrous effects on Hawaii's unique environment.
The travel crate should be roomy enough that your pet can stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. Stick a "Live Animal" label on the crate. Include your name, phone number and address.
Pets must fly directly into the Honolulu International Airport to qualify for direct airport release.
Pets arriving from Australia, New Zealand, Guam and the British Isles are exempt from the rabies requirements.
Items You Will Need
- Rabies vaccination
- Electronic microchip
- OIE-FAVN blood test
- Anti-parasitic treatment
- Health certificate
- Money order or cashier's check
- Travel crate
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