Flying a dog to Hawaii may seem like a lot of fun, but unfortunately it isn’t as easy as hopping onto a plane with your furry friend.
Hawaii has strict entry requirements for dogs, including microchipping, vaccinations, rabies blood testing, tick treatments and an import permit. Furthermore, it is likely that your dog will need to spend some time in quarantine, even up to 120 days! Don’t worry, some dogs may qualify for the ‘5 day or less’ quarantine programme. This is why it’s important that you plan ahead. So, if you are considering taking your dog on a short holiday to Hawaii with you, you may want to reconsider.
In this article, we will discuss in detail how to fly a dog to Hawaii.
Taking dogs to Hawaii: Step by step guide.
When flying a dog Hawaii, you should take the following steps:
- Book the first appointment with your vet – your dog will need a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum. Your dog may also need a rabies blood test depending on where you’re traveling from. There are time restraints, so try to do this as early as possible.
- Organise air travel – ensure you fly with an airline that will allow your dog on board. Furthermore, you will need to fly into an airport which permits dogs.
- Book the second appointment with your vet – you will need a second appointment if you are traveling from a country other than the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand. The reason you need a second appointment, is because your dog will need to pass a rabies blood test, which takes time. You will also need a health certificate for your dog obtained within 14 days of your arrival and a second rabies vaccination.
- Send documentation to the Animal Quarantine Branch – you will need to send your dog’s health certification to Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Branch, by Fedex, in order for it to arrive on time.
We will go into more detail below.
Rules for flying a dog to Hawaii
You may enter Hawaii through Honolulu International Airport only between the hours of 8am and 9pm.
We recommend that you arrange your flight to arrive in Hawaii before 3.30pm. As long as your dog conforms to all the entry requirements, the process of clearing your dog will should take around 1 hour. However, the process can take up to 4 to 5 hours. Particularly, if your dog doesn’t confirm to the requirements and you don’t have all the necessary documents. Dogs that are not cleared by 4.30pm will be held overnight at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility.
Once your dog has cleared customs, he or she will be taken directly to the quarantine center. After the quarantine period has ended, you will need to pick your dog up from there.
You may also enter through the neighbor Island airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue but you must make special arrangements in advance.
It’s important to note that not all airlines participate in this program. If traveling into these airports, all requirements for entering Hawaii must be met and documentation must be submitted at least 30 days prior to arrival.
What are the requirements to flying a dog to Hawaii?
The requirements to fly a dog to Hawaii are as follows:
- Microchipping – all dogs must be microchipped.
- Vaccinations – at minimum, your dog must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Rabies Titer Test / Rabies Blood Test – your dog must pass a rabies titer test to prove the rabies vaccination was successful. This excludes dogs traveling from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand.
- Tick Treatment – all dogs must have an approved tick treatment within 14 days of arrival.
- Health Certificate & Import Permit – you must send your dog’s health certificate to the Animal Quarantine Branch within 14 days prior to arrival.
We will go into these in more detail below.
In order to enter Hawaii, your dog must be microchipped with an ISO 11784 pet microchip that is a 15 digit and non-encrypted.
Not only is a microchip a requirement for pets to travel to most countries, it is also in your best interest to have your dog microchipped. If you were to lose your beloved furry friend, it is far more likely that you will be reunited. When a lost dog is found, the first thing they check for is usually a microchip.
Your veterinarian should provide you with a certificate that states:
- your dog’s unique microchip number
- that your dog’s microchip was successfully scanned
The microchip can be of the standard US issue (Avid) or (Home Again) type or a 15 digit ISO pet microchip.
We recommend that this is the first step you take. This is because your dog’s rabies vaccination will only be valid if attached to a specific microchip.
To fly a dog to Hawaii, he or she must be vaccinated against rabies, at minimum. No other vaccines are required, but you may want to get your dog other common vaccinations, just in case.
The only vaccine that is a legal requirement to enter Hawaii is the rabies vaccination. In order to fly to Hawaii, your dog must have been vaccinated against rabies at least twice in his lifetime. Furthermore, those vaccinations must be more than 30 days apart.
Your dog’s latest rabies vaccination must be administered no less than 30 days prior to arrival in Hawaii.
You will need the original copies of your dog’s latest two vaccination certificates.
FAVN Rabies Antibody Test / Rabies Blood Test
Dogs flying to Hawaii from any country other than the British Isles, Australia, Guam or New Zealand must pass a rabies titer test. This is also known as a rabies blood test or FAVN.
The rabies titer test (FAVN) is important to prevent the spread of the deadly viral disease. The FAVN tests whether your dog’s rabies vaccinations were successful and therefore whether your dog is protected.
A licensed veterinarian must take a sample of your dog’s blood and send it to an authorised laboratory for testing. The sample must be processed at Kansas State University or DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas. At the lab they will measure the level of the rabies antibody in your dog’s blood. They must find at least 0.5 IU/mL of the antibody.
The blood test needs to be completed not more than 36 months and not less than 30 days prior to entering Hawaii. Your veterinarian will need to scan your pet’s microchip prior to the blood test.
Your vet must provide you with a certificate showing your dog’s test results. All documents must be in English. Be sure that your rabies titer test submittal form states that your destination is Hawaii so test results will be sent there.
The test is valid for entering Hawaii for 36 months.
As mentioned above, your pet’s microchip must be implanted prior to the titer test otherwise it will not count.
Your dog must be treated against ticks, within 14 days of entering Hawaii. The following list of active ingredients are accepted for tick treatment (topical Products):
- Fipronil Imidacloprid
- Permethrin Pyriproxyfen
- Permethrin Dinotefuran
- Permethrin Metaflumizone
- Amitraz Dinotefuran
- Pyriproxyfen Dinotefuran
- Pyriproxyfen + PermethrinFipronil
- Amitraz Indoxacarb
- Permethrin Flumethrin
- Sarolaner + Selemectin
The following list of active ingredients are accepted for tick treatment (oral products):
We recommend that you consult with your veterinarian to determine what products are safe to use on your dog, and what dose and application directions should be followed.
Health Certificate & Import Permit
A notarized Dog and Cat Import Form (AQS 279) is required for entry to Hawaii.
A licensed veterinarian must complete a Health Certificate for Hawaii in English. It must be an original, photocopies will not be accepted. This certificate must be issued by your veterinarian within 14 days of your dog’s arrival to Hawaii.
All documentation should then be sent to the Animal Quarantine Branch, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, Hawaii 9670. The documents must arrive 10 days prior to your dog’s arrival to qualify for same-day release and reduced fees*. Since the documents must be processed within 14 days of your arrival, you must send them by an overnight carrier to qualify for airport release of your pet.
*There is a fee for processing the documents. You can find the current fees on hawaii.gov website here.
Do all dogs have to be quarantined to go to Hawaii?
Not all dogs are required to stay in Hawaiian quarantine. Dogs can spend anywhere between 0 and 120 days in quarantine upon arrival in Hawaii.
Hawaii has a 5 day or less quarantine programme, which has a provision for direct release at Honolulu International Airport after inspection. If you want to qualify, you must ensure your dog meets all the requirements listed above – microchipping, rabies vaccination, rabies titer test (if applicable), tick treatment, health certificate and import permit.
If your dog does not meet all the requirements for the 5 day or less programme, may be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii.
Quarantine requirements do not apply for your pet if it is entering from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand when all of the following apply:
- your pet’s flight is direct or your pet has evidence in writing from the officer in charge that your pet was not in contact with any other animal during their transit;
- your pet’s crate was sealed by veterinary authorities at the point of origin;
- you sign a declaration that your pet has resided in one of the countries listed since birth or for a period of at least 6 months prior to entry;
- your pet is accompanied by a health certificate and proof of ticks and tapeworm treatment within 14 days of entry; and
- your pet is accompanied by Guam Affidavit, form IC-5 (Origination in Guam only).
Flying service dogs to Hawaii
Guide dogs for the blind and certified service dogs for the physically disabled must complete pre-shipment requirements.
Service dog is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The work or tasks include but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behavior. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence, such as dogs with “protection training” and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”
Requirements include having a current rabies vaccination and passing an OIE-FAVN rabies blood test after 12 months of age and prior to arrival in Hawaii. These must be listed on a health certificate issued more than 30 days before travel. The certificate must also show the dog has been treated for ticks within 14 days of travel.
Proof of certification must be provided, and must state the task(s) that the dog has been trained to perform. These tasks must be directly linked to the owner’s disability.
All documentation should be sent to the Rabies Quarantine Branch well ahead of your intended arrival date.
The dog must enter Hawaii with it’s owner.
On arrival in Hawaii, the dog must be brought by the airline to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. They will ensure the dog meets all of the requirements and check the dog for external parasites. If everything is in order, the dog will be released at that point.
What airlines allow flying a dog to Hawaii?
Most airlines allow flying a dog to Hawaii. However, depending on the airline you fly with, pet policies differ.
When flying with a dog to Hawaii, it’s important to check airline pet policies before booking any travel. Different airline’s have different rules for flying with dogs, including which dog breeds are allowed, the size and weight of dogs that are permitted, and the number of dogs they allow. Fees also vary between airlines.
According to US law, no domestic airline can refuse travel to licensed service animals. Requirements for service animals differ because they need to stay with their owners. With that said, owners will need to provide extra certification, to prove the dog qualifies as a service dog.
For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 21 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [Prices & Policies].
Guidelines for Dog Carriers
If you are flying to Hawaii with a dog, it is important that you use a pet carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route.
The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, pets must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).
Furthermore, the rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether you will be flying to Hawaii with your dog in cabin or cargo.
If you are travelling in the cabin with your dog, then you will need to ensure that the carrier fits under the seat in front of you. This is why, generally, only small dogs weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.
Additionally, airlines often require that dogs are obedient to your commands and can behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff. If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.
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Which dog breeds are banned from visiting Hawaii?
Non-domestic dogs and hybrids such as wolf, wolf cross and dingo are prohibited from entry to Hawaii.
Therefore, most dog’s are permitted to enter Hawaii. However, the problem often arises when booking air travel. This is because many airlines have policies preventing additional breeds from flying on their planes.
Dog breeds that are deems ‘agressive’, such as Mastiffs and Bulldogs, and snub-nosed dogs, such as pugs, are often banned. Even though owners of the ‘aggressive’ dog breeds listed below know that their beloved pooches are big softies, unfortunately they are often not permitted. Snub-nosed dogs are often banned due to health reasons. This is because they are prone to respiratory issues, particularly when traveling.
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Can I take my puppy to Hawaii?
Due to the minimum requirements, puppies need to be at least 10 weeks of age before they can travel to Hawaii. Don’t worry if your pup is too young! A 120 day quarantine is usually required for those that can’t meet the requirements.
Can I take my dog to Hawaii with an EU Pet Passport?
Yes, you can take a dog to Hawaii with an EU Pet Passport. Hawaii is a non-EU listed country that accepts the EU Pet Passport. However, your dog will also need to have a rabies titer test, and you will need to obtain a notarised health certificate and import permit.
Can I take my dog to Hawaii without quarantine?
Yes, as long as you meet all necessary requirements to comply with the '5 days or less quarantine programme' your dog may be released immediately. This is more likely if you are traveling from the British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand
How hard is it to bring a dog to Hawaii?
It will take a lot of planning and there are many entry requirements for dogs, however it is doable. Follow the simple steps listed above to ensure you comply with the Hawaiian Law for traveling with dogs.
So, as you are now aware, flying a dog to Hawaii does take a lot of planning and preparation. However, it is possible if you follow the simple steps above. Just be sure your dog is microchipped and is up to date on his or her rabies vaccinations. Furthermore, to avoid a lengthy quarantine period, be sure to send all documents off to the Hawaiian Animal Quarantine Department prior to travel.
Due to the chance of your dog being put in quarantine, you may want to consider leaving your dog at home if you are just visiting Hawaii for a short trip. However, if you are planning on relocating to Hawaii, the hassle is far more worth it.
Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!