Imagine your dog wearing sunglasses and a colorful garland, surfing on the blue Hawaiian waters with you. Sounds exciting?

But your plans can go down the drain if you’re not prepared for Hawaii’s pet regulations. The six-month-long quarantine is one of the special regulations pet owners don’t know about, causing them to spend hundreds of dollars and waste their precious time.

So, before you book your tickets to Hawaii, here’s all you need to know about Hawaiian rules and regulations for pets, activities for your doggo in Hawaii, and preparedness for common traveling problems:

Step-by-Step Guide

Before we brief you about the activities you and your dog enjoy in Hawaii, let’s get grounded and learn about getting your pet to Hawaii.

Dog in the aircraft cabin near the window during the flight

1.      Research and Planning

Before traveling to Hawaii, it is essential to research Hawaii’s specific pet entry requirements. These requirements keep changing, so read up on Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Branch requirements before making plans.

These requirements also specify the OIE-FAVN testing requirement and the prerequisites for a direct release (quarantine-free travel) to Hawaii.

Ensure you also plan your trip according to your pet before your flight. Book pet-friendly transportation and accommodation requirements so you and your dog can enjoy a hassle-free experience.

2.      Health and Quarantine Requirements

Hawaii requires dogs to meet the requirements of the 5-Day or Less program. The dogs that do not meet the requirements would quarantine for 120 days before they are allowed into Hawaii.

There are four checklists for the direct release or five days or less program. You should follow the checklist that refers to your situation at this link. The requirements of these checklists include:

  • The pet should be vaccinated for rabies at least twice in their lifetime. The vaccines should be administered at least 30 days apart.
  • The pet should have a microchip implanted before the FAVN rabies antibody blood test.
  • The wait time after the antibody test is performed is 30 days.
  • Pet owners who arrive before the 30-day waiting period with pets will be charged a specific amount per day for quarantine in addition to the program fee.
  • Dog and cat import form.
  • Health certificate issued after arrival in Hawaii.
  • The pet should be treated for ticks within 14 days of arrival in Hawaii.
  • Dogs that meet the requirements can only land at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu).

If you wish to land at Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA), Kahului Airport (OGG), or Lihue Airport (LIH), get a Neighbor Island Inspection Permit (NIIP) in addition to the requirements of the 5-day or less program.

Furthermore, the Animal Quarantine Station also requires that all documentation is complete and submitted at least 30 days before the flight to be processed in due time.

3.      Permits and Documentation

The Animal Quarantine Branch has a list of forms to be filled out before traveling. These forms include:

  • Dog and cat import form – AQS-279
  • Direct release form
  • Direct release to neighboring islands
  • Payment to the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (read up on the amount from the link)
  • Original rabies vaccination certificates (latest two required)
  • Make reservations with a listed veterinary hospital to conduct an airport inspection.

For a smooth experience, read the checklists that meet your situation at the given link and consult a vet for other travel tips.

4.      Traveling to the Hawaiian Islands

Traveling to the Hawaiian Islands can be a delightful experience when you are prepared with all the documents. However, all the necessary checks at the airport and as soon as you land in Hawaii might overwhelm your dog.

To make sure that your journey is stress-free, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Crate train your dog for a stress-free airport and in-flight experience.
  • Take your dog out on walks to accustom them to sounds and noise.
  • Take your dog to the airport a few times before the flight to get them used to the crowd there.

If you face difficulties training your dog for the flight, consider hiring a dog behaviorist or consulting your vet.

Dog traveling by airplane. Box with live animals at the airport.

Pet-Friendly Activities in Hawaii

Hawaii has a lot of pet-friendly beaches and activities that will keep you busy. We have gathered some of these activities based on our readers’ recommendations:

  • Diamond Head Bark Park – This is the perfect park for your dog to enjoy some time off the leash. You can let your dog socialize and enjoy with other canines.
  • Kahala Beach – This beach is perfect for your dog if they love the water. There are lots of dogs around so lots of opportunities to socialize!
  • Hawaii Sailing Adventures – If you’re heading to Kapaa, you can take your dog for a sailing adventure.

Common Concerns and Solutions

While Hawaii is one of the more difficult destinations for pet owners, the trip will certainly be rewarding. With a lot of activities for pets and pet owners, you are bound to enjoy your time to the fullest.

However, a lot of common concerns like quarantine and breed restrictions, arise.

Quarantine Requirements

To get around the quarantine requirement, you must make your traveling plans for at least six months.

You can also use this time to crate train your dog and get them accustomed to the noise and being around unfamiliar people.

Restricted Breeds

Many pet owners also find that their dog breed is restricted from entry. It causes all the wait, training, and money to be wasted. It is a list of breeds allowed to travel to Hawaii.

Unlisted breeds might not be allowed. So, if you don’t find your dog’s breed on the list, make sure to call the Animal Quarantine Branch for details.

Final Tips and Reminders

Bringing your dog to Hawaii can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. 

The first step is research and preparation. Gathering the documents and getting a go-ahead can take six months, give or take. You can use this waiting period to your advantage and prepare your dog for the journey with crate training and airport familiarization.

With thorough preparation, you and your furry companion can create unforgettable memories and make new friends in the Hawaiian paradise!


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