Dogs are solid family members and living the dream includes bringing the dog for those who want to spend time or live in Hawaii. Air travel for pets has become an easier process on the mainland however Hawaii requires time and the correct vaccinations administered before entering the Hawaiian Islands.
There are a few reasons for these requirements including there are no rabies on the Islands and because the temperature is perfect for living things to thrive, tick and flea prevention is a must.
Hawaii is the only state in the US that is rabies-free. Hawaii’s dog import law is designed to protect residents, visitors and pets from the potentially serious health problems associated with the introduction and spread of rabies. All dogs and cats regardless of age (puppies included) or purpose, must comply with Hawaii’s dog import requirements.
Years ago, in order to ensure the proper vaccines were in effect, dogs were required to be quarantined for 120 days. Over the last few years the number of days required has decreased from 90 days to 30 days, to now 5 days or less with 87% being released upon arrival. The trick is make sure you have followed the requirements and have your paperwork in order. This is an entire checklist to download below.
Steps to Getting Your Dog Directly Released in Hawaii
Microchip your dog. All tests and documentation are located using your dog’s microchip number.
Your dog must have been vaccinated for rabies at least two times during his or her lifetime.
The rabies vaccinations must have been administered more than 30 days apart.
The most recent rabies vaccination must have been done to include both of these criteria:
- Not more than the vaccine’s licensed booster interval listed on the manufacturer’s label. Rabies vaccinations good for 1 year, 3 years or 4 years according to the company that produced the vaccine. In simple terms the most recent rabies vaccination must not have been given before the expiration date of 1, 3, or 4 years. Your vet will have this information recorded.
- Not less than 90 days before the pet’s date of arrival in Hawaii.
Rabies Vaccinations How Many and When Simplified
Two rabies vaccines are required. This is why puppies do not qualify for the 5 days or less quarantine program. Young puppies are not old enough to have the two rabies vaccinations given.
Your dog’s most recent rabies vaccination must not be expired when your dog arrives in Hawaii. Your window for the most recent rabies vaccination upon arrival in Hawaii is 90 days to 6 months.
Your dog must wait at least 90 days before arriving in Hawaii after the most recent rabies vaccination. If your dog arrives before the 90 days has past following the most recent rabies vaccination, your dog will be subject to quarantine until the 90 days are completed.
This reason contributes to the 13% of dogs that are not released on the 5 days or less program. Make sure to follow the check list exactly and have your paperwork in order to insure same day release at the Department of Agriculture.
You will need to provide original documents of your dog’s rabies vaccinations. If you do not have these contact the vet that administered the vaccinations for original documents. You will need to provide the lot number, type of vaccine (1 yr, 3 yr, or 4 yr) and the vaccine manufacturer. The form is usually titled “Animal Services Dog License Application and Rabies Certification” and is provided by your vet.
These documents must be original and signed in ink by your vet. Copies are not accepted. If your dog was seen by a different vet than your current vet for the original rabies vaccination you will need to contact the vet that administered the original vaccination to obtain these documents. *Veterinarians will have records and should be able to create an original form for you. Some vets will charge an administration fee. There will be other fees that go along with this process, starting with the OIE-FAVN Rabies Blood Test at around $85. Consider it your dog’s tuition to best time of their life!
If you are not able to obtain these records the alternative is to re-vaccinate with more than 30 days between vaccinations. As one who does not like to over vaccinate, try with all your might to obtain original records. If you must re-vaccinate to get your dog to Hawaii with you, the option is there and is worth doing to bring your dog to live the Hawaiian lifestyle along with you.
Rabies Blood Test
You must have an OIE-FAVN Rabies Blood Test done on your dog. Once the results have been received by Kansas State University and the results are greater than 0.5 IU/ml you must wait 120 days before your dog can arrive in Hawaii.
*The 120 days starts on the date the test was received at the laboratory.
In simple terms:
Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you know you want your dog to qualify for the 5 days or less release in Hawaii. Tell you vet that you are applying for the 5 days or less Hawaii pet release program. Ask for a rabies titre test and make sure that your dog has had the appropriate rabies shots prior to the rabies titer test.
Check with the staff at your veterinary office to make sure they have marked “Hawaii” clearly on the paperwork to be submitted to the Kansas Lab.
Record your dog’s microchip number and have it handy during the entire process. It becomes the way to identify your dog from rabies vaccinations to the scan when your dog arrives in Hawaii to prove this is the same dog matching the records submitted.
The OIE-FAVN Rabies Blood Test results will be sent back to your veterinarian within 10 to 14 days. Call to check on the date received recorded in the report. This will determine the date your dog’s 120 day countdown begins. You can check online at the Animal Quarantine Microchip Search to find your dogs report has been recorded.
The Rest of The Hawaii Adventure
Getting your dog to Hawaii can sound very confusing with all the requirements and pure stress in worrying about your dog getting held in quarantine. Avoid feeling overwhelmed by following the steps exactly on the forms.
Just recently going through this move ourselves with our own dogs I learned the process and part of what I have to offer as Aloha is helping you get your dog on the Hawaiian Islands safely.
If you find yourself deciding you are coming to Hawaii to live your dreams with your dogs and want simplified updates every step of the process sign up at “Hawaii Dog Checklists”. You’ll receive the next steps in the process as well as dog things to do, places to go, and the best of Hawaii once you get here.
Download the entire Getting Your Dog to Hawaii Checklist from the State of Hawaii here.
The process seems a long and a bit confusing. That’s why there will be The Rest of the Hawaii Adventure with your dog unfolding before you as your updates arrive. For now, make sure to get these first steps done, and look forward to the the next steps in the process of Getting Your Dog To Hawaii.
Jt Clough, has studied, applied and taught others how to create a balanced life with calm dog training techniques through her lifetime commitment to health, fitness and life coaching. Clough is also the creator of dog wellness programs and author of the 5K Training Guide | Running with Dogs and Treading for Dogs DVD, further inspiring people to introduce playtime in life through the eyes of a dog changing unwanted behaviors to practicing a healthy lifestyle.