While I get many questions from individuals considering a move to Hawaii, one of the most common is: “What about my dog and cat, are they welcome, too?” The answer is yes, however, state government regulations must be followed precisely to avoid fines and up to a four-month quarantine for your furry family member(s).
The reason? As the world’s most remote island chain, Hawaii possesses a fragile ecosystem, endemic species found only here and absolutely no rabies – all of which set a very high bar for the islands’ protection and preservation.
Prior to August 2018, pet owners had just one option to legally bring pets into the state. A four-month in-state quarantine either in a government-run or a government-approved private facility was required.
Fortunately there are now three options with two of those offering a quick reunion with your pets upon arrival: “Direct Release” at the airport or the “5 Days or Less” program should you need a few days to settle in before collecting your pet(s). Word of caution: both programs require adhering to a must-follow state imposed time schedule for vet visits, testing, vaccinations and documentation over a three month in your current home state. The third option is complying with the 120-day quarantine here in Hawaii.
Pets entering directly from other rabies-free countries worldwide such as Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain face less rigorous rules and documentation. And while many critters are allowed entry into the state, others are strictly forbidden including snakes, hamsters, ferrets and some specific birds among many others.
For a comprehensive guide to Hawaii’s requirements for your pet’s move, click here to view information on the official state government site.