When considering interstate or international travel for your dog or cat, plan ahead because some preparations may need to start six months or more in advance.
The information contained in this section is supplemental to Transporting Animals - Basic Requirements and Considerations and Basic Timeline for Interstate and International Travel with Animals, which apply to all animal species. In addition, please review the following AVMA resources, which were designed with you and your pet in mind.
Know the requirements and restrictions for transporting dogs and cats
Countries, territories, states, and even public modes of transportation have requirements and restrictions on transporting animals. The regulations help protect people, animals, and ecosystems by guarding against the spread of dangerous diseases, pests, and invasive and injurious animals. Most likely, a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) will be required by the authorities at destination. It is your responsibility to get this information from the authorities of your destination well in advance of travel so that you can plan accordingly, including considering alternatives to transporting the animal(s).
Be aware that some countries and states may require your pet to be placed in quarantined upon arrival (e.g., according to Hawaii’s law for dogs and cats, quarantine may be up to 120 days).
The chart below will help you find the rules and regulations that impact you and your pet. In addition, the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association may be able to assist you with your pet’s international travel.
|What type of travel?
||Where to find requirements and restrictions?
|By public air, rail, bus, or boat
||Check with the carrier line that you will be using. Special rules may apply to dogs that qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as service animals.
|Interstate (travel across state or territory borders within the U.S.)
||Find the requirements of your destination location and the contact information of the animal health authority on the USDA’s webpage, State Regulations for Importing Animals.
|International travel from the U.S. (exporting)
||Contact the consulate or embassy of the country of destination or the country’s animal health authority for information on the importation requirements.
Check the USDA’s Animal and Animal Product Export Information, including if an import permit is required and if a designated port needs to be used.
|International travel into the U.S. (importing)
||The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has regulations on the importation of dogs and cats into the U.S.
The USDA also has certain import restrictions on dogs, and a two page factsheet on importing live dogs is available for free download.
Check for the import requirements for the state of destination on the USDA’s webpage, State Regulations for Importing Animals.