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Bringing a Dog into the United States (New CDC Regulations)

Learn the new CDC dog importation rules effective Aug 1 to keep your pet from being stopped at the border. Prepare now for easy U.S. entry using the DogBot or hire us for stress-free pet travel into the US.
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    New CDC Dog Import Rules Start August 1, 2024

    Starting August 1, 2024, if you’re planning to bring your dog into the USA, there are new rules you’ll need to follow. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is introducing new procedures for pet owners. When bringing a dog into the United States, make sure your pet meets the following requirements:

    • Must be healthy upon arrival
    • Must be at least 6 months old
    • Must have an ISO-compatible microchip (this needs to be done before any required rabies shots)
    • Must have a receipt for a completed CDC Dog Import Form (note: this form won’t be available until July 15)
    • May need additional paperwork, depending on where your dog has been in the past 6 months and if its rabies vaccination was done in the USA

    If you’re bringing a dog from a country that’s at high risk for dog rabies (Don’t worry, Canada isn’t one of these), there are extra steps. You might need to come through a specific entry point, have a pre-arranged meeting at an animal care facility, or even a quarantine period.

    These new rules apply to all dogs, no matter how they’re entering the USA (by land, sea, or air), and even include pets returning to the USA after a visit to Canada.

    The CDC’s website has a helpful tool called “dogbot” to guide you through the documentation and requirements specific to your situation. One key requirement is an ISO-compatible microchip.

    Remember, these new guidelines take effect on August 1, so ensure you’re prepared well in advance for a smooth and hassle-free journey to the U.S. with your furry friends.

    How Does this Affect Me as a Canadian?

    If you’re from Canada and planning to take your dog to the U.S. or bring dogs into the country, listen up! Starting August 1, there are new U.S. rules to stop rabies from spreading. This means you need to make sure your dog’s rabies shots are up to date and might need to get extra health checks, depending on where your dog has been.

    Getting all this sorted out can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry – we at Your Dog Butler are here to help. Our international pet traveling service is designed to handle the nitty-gritty for you. We’ll make sure you know what papers and proof you need for a smooth trip and to comply with the new rules.

    So, before you hit the U.S. border, get in touch with us. We’ll take the stress out of pet travel and keep your furry friend safe!

    The Consequences of Non-Compliance

    Failing to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines means risking your dog’s entry into the United States. Noncompliant canines will be repatriated to the last country of departure—at the owner’s expense. The country of departure is considered the starting point of the last journey, not necessarily the pet’s home country.

    Furthermore, compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) regulations are also mandatory, and it’s important to consider that dogs imported for commercial purposes such as resale or adoption are subject to additional rules.

    Why Dog Entry into the U.S. Is Regulated

    Rabies is a deadly disease that was eradicated from the U.S. dog population in 2007. Despite this success, the threat of reintroduction looms large due to the disease’s prevalence in over 100 other countries. The CDC’s regulations are designed to protect U.S. communities by preventing imported dogs from bringing rabies into the country. An outbreak not only poses a significant public health risk but also incurs substantial containment costs.

    Recent challenges, such as fraudulent documentation associated with international dog importation, have prompted the CDC to update its regulations in 2024. These updated requirements aim to standardize the process, including stipulations on the minimum age for imported dogs, microchipping, completing the CDC Dog Import Form, and other necessary paperwork.

    The Updated 2024 CDC Dog Importation Regulation

    With the landscape of international dog importation shifting and the specter of fraudulent documents rising, the CDC’s 2024 update aims to shore up the health and safety of both humans and pets. By enhancing the regulation, we ensure the safeguard against the reintroduction of dog rabies within U.S. borders.

    The new rules standardize requirements for entry, such as:

    • Minimum age of imported dogs.
    • Mandatory microchipping.
    • Submission of the CDC Dog Import Form.
    • Provision of all necessary documentation.

    These standardized measures not only protect public health but also make the dog importation process smoother and more efficient.

    The Consequences of Non-Compliance

    Failing to adhere to the CDC’s guidelines means risking your dog’s entry into the United States. Noncompliant canines will be repatriated to the last country of departure—at the owner’s expense. The country of departure is considered the starting point of the last journey, not necessarily the pet’s home country.

    Furthermore, compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) regulations is also mandatory, and it’s important to consider that dogs imported for commercial purposes such as resale or adoption are subject to additional rules.

    How to Determine Your Dog’s Entry Requirements

    The prerequisites for a dog’s entry into the U.S. hinge on several factors:

    General Requirements for All Dogs

    • Age Requirement:
      • Must be at least 6 months of age at the time of entry or return to the United States.
    • Microchip:
      • Must have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip.
      • The microchip must be implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination.
      • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all veterinary records.
    • Health Requirement:
      • Dogs must appear healthy upon arrival.
      • Dogs may not enter the U.S. if carrying a disease contagious to humans.
      • Isolation, veterinary examination, and testing at the importer’s expense may be required if the dog does not appear healthy.
    • CDC Dog Import Form:
      • Present the CDC Dog Import Form receipt upon arrival

    Important Information U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination Form:

    • Complete the form before your dog leaves the U.S.
    • Confirm that your dog will meet the age requirement upon return.
    • Have the dog microchipped with an ISO-compatible microchip before rabies vaccination.
    • Vaccinate the dog against rabies, ensuring the vaccine is U.S.-licensed and the microchip number is recorded at the time of vaccine appointment. Vaccines given prior to microchipping are invalid.
    • Ensure the vaccination is valid for the entire travel duration.
    • If the U.S.-issued rabies vaccination expires while abroad and the dog has been in a high-risk country, the dog must be revaccinated overseas and meet requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs.
    • The first rabies vaccination cannot be administered less than 28 days before travel.
    • The Certification form must be officially endorsed by USDA and submitted through the VEHCS portal.
    • Carry a printed copy of the official endorsed form upon the dog’s return to the U.S., especially if the dog has been in a high-risk country within the 6 months before returning.

    Note for Transition Period

    During the transition period, U.S.-vaccinated dogs returning from high-risk countries within the last 6 months need either a Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form or a USDA-endorsed export health certificate for re-entry to the U.S. Ensure one of these documents is ready; without them, your dog must meet specific entry requirements based on the countries visited in the past 6 months.

    The export health certificate should list your dog’s age (minimum 6 months), microchip number, and a valid (not expired) rabies vaccination date.

    Travel Checklist for U.S. Vaccinated Dogs

    Make sure you’ve ticked each task off the list before your dog’s international travel, to ensure a smooth journey and compliance with all regulations.

    Below is a checklist for preparing a U.S.-vaccinated dog for international travel:

    60 Days Before Travel:

    • Confirm the dog will be at least 6 months old by the date of return.
    • Have the dog microchipped, or verify the existing microchip number.
    • Ensure the microchip number is recorded on all veterinary records.
    • Visit the veterinarian to administer the rabies vaccine or booster if necessary.
    • Confirm rabies vaccination will cover the entire duration of travel.

    30 Days Before Travel:

    • Consult with the veterinarian to complete the appropriate documentation:
      • Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form.
      • Or, for rabies-free or low-risk countries:
      • USDA APHIS-endorsed export health certificate.

    2-10 Days Before Return:

    • Print a copy of the rabies certification or the USDA export health certificate.
    • Take a photo of the dog showing face and body (for dogs under 1 year, do so within 10 days of travel).
    • Accurately complete the CDC Dog Import Form with the dog’s microchip number.
    • If information changes, submit an updated CDC Dog Import Form.
    • Print at least two copies of the CDC Dog Import Form receipt.

    Day of Return to the U.S.:

    • Present the CDC Dog Import Form receipt and rabies vaccination documentation to the airline before boarding.
    • Upon arrival, show the CDC Dog Import Form receipt and rabies vaccination forms to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

    Dogs Coming from Rabies-Free or Low-Risk Countries Travel Checklist

    Countries not featured on the high-risk list for dog rabies are deemed to either be devoid of or have minimal risk concerning the dog-mediated rabies virus variant (DMRVV), with these webpages referring to them as dog rabies-free or low-risk countries.

    60-90 days Before Travel

    • Make sure your dog will be at least 6 months old by the travel date.
    • Ensure your dog is microchipped, or get it microchipped. Verify that all vet records show the microchip number.
    • Take your dog for a rabies vaccination or a booster.
      • Note: While this vaccine isn’t mandatory if your dog has only been in rabies-free or low-risk countries, it’s highly recommended and may be required depending on your destination within the U.S.

    30 Days Before Travel

    • Have your vet fill out the “Certification of Dog Arriving from DMRVV-free or Low-Risk Country” form, or similar CDC-approved documents. Your vet needs to send it to the respective government official for certification.
    • Gather your dog’s vet records from the last six months that include the vet’s address in the departure country and your dog’s microchip number.
      • Note: You don’t need these records if you have a valid rabies vaccination certificate from the U.S. or a health certificate for coming back from a listed rabies-free or low-risk country. If you have the Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form, you can use a rabies titer instead of the vet records.
    • Make sure you receive the completed certification from your veterinarian.
    • Start booking your travel.

    2-10 Days Before Travel

    • Take a picture of your dog showing its face and body and fill out the CDC Dog Import Form with it.
      • Tip: If your dog is younger than 1 year, take the photo close to your travel date.
    • Correct and resubmit the form if any details change.
    • Print out the form receipt to bring along.
    • Confirm your travel arrangements.

    Day of Travel

    • Before you board, show the airline:
      • The receipt for the CDC Dog Import Form.
      • The certification form you got a month before.
    • At your arrival spot, present both documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

    Travel Checklist for Foreign Vaccinated Dogs from High-Risk Countries

    Countries not included in the list of high-risk regions for dog rabies are regarded as having no or a low risk of the dog-mediated rabies virus variant (DMRVV) and are referred to as dog rabies-free or low-risk countries on these webpages.

    60-90 Days (or More) Before Travel

    • Verify the dog will be at least 6 months old on the day of arrival in the United States.
    • Get the dog microchipped or have a veterinarian verify its microchip number. Ensure the microchip number is listed on all veterinary records.
    • Visit a veterinarian to get the dog its rabies vaccination (or booster) before travel.
      • Vaccination must be current on the date of arrival.
      • The dog must be at least 12 weeks (84 days) old when vaccinated against rabies.
      • Rabies vaccination must be administered at least 28 days before arrival if it is the dog’s first rabies vaccine or if its vaccination coverage has lapsed.
    • Have the veterinarian collect a blood sample (at least 30 days after the first valid rabies vaccine) for a rabies serology titer.
      • Send to a CDC-approved laboratory if you wish to avoid quarantine for the dog.
      • Results may take weeks to obtain, and samples must be drawn at least 4 weeks (28 days) before entering the United States.

    30 Days Before Travel

    • Contact the veterinarian to have them complete the Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form.
    • Have the form submitted to an official government veterinarian in the exporting country for certification.
    • If not done already, have a veterinarian collect a blood sample for a rabies serology titer to avoid quarantine.
    • Receive a copy of the endorsed Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form from the official veterinarian.
    • Book a reservation at a CDC-registered animal care facility.
      • Include a reservation for examination, verification of age, microchip, documents, and administration of a rabies booster vaccination.
      • If the dog will not have a valid rabies serology at the time of entry, make a reservation for quarantine.
    • Print a copy of the reservation confirmation from the CDC-registered animal care facility, which MUST accompany the dog.
    • Finalize the dog’s travel arrangements, ensuring the first point of arrival is at the airport with the CDC-registered facility.

    2-10 Days Before Travel

    • Take a photo of the dog and upload it to complete the CDC Dog Import Form.
      • Ensure the photo shows the dog’s face and body and that it is recent if the dog is less than one year of age.
    • Enter the dog’s microchip number correctly on the Dog Import Form.
    • Ensure the airport on the form matches the one where the CDC-registered animal care facility is located.
    • Submit a corrected form if any information changes.
    • Print a copy of the CDC Dog Import Form receipt and ensure it accompanies the dog.
    • Finalize travel arrangements with the airline or transport company.

    Day of Travel

    • Present the CDC Dog Import Form receipt and reservation confirmation for the CDC-registered facility to the airline before boarding the dog.
    • Arrive at the location printed on the CDC Dog Import Form receipt and present it to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.
    • Follow instructions provided by CBP and the CDC-registered facility for transferring the dog.

    After Travel

    • Follow the instructions from the CDC-registered facility regarding where and when to pick up the dog after required services have been completed.

    What is CDC DogBot?

    CDC DogBot is a user-friendly online tool that helps dog owners understand the new U.S. travel regulations for dogs, effective August 1, 2024, at 12:01 AM ET. Simply input your travel dates and your dog’s country of origin, and DogBot will quickly inform you of the necessary vaccinations, documents, and health requirements your dog must meet to enter the U.S. This tool ensures you have all the right information for a hassle-free trip with your furry friend.

    cdc dogbot tool

    Ready for Your Trip?

    As August 1, 2024, approaches, get ahead of the curve by understanding these new regulations for your pet’s U.S. entry. Keep in mind that this is not just bureaucratic red tape—it’s a vital safety net aimed at protecting our communities and our beloved four-legged friends from serious health risks.

    Launch DogBot now to ensure you’re fully prepared for your trip.

    Safe travels from Your Dog Butler—dedicated to making your international pet travel experience seamless and safe.

    Simplify Your Travel with Your Dog Butler!

    Navigating international dog travel regulations can be daunting. From vaccinations to vital documentation, planning can quickly become overwhelming. This is where Your Dog Butler comes in. 

    Our expert international pet travel service manages all the details for you, ensuring compliance with the latest travel rules and a stress-free experience. Let us handle the logistics so you can enjoy the journey with your furry friend. Contact us today for a simpler travel experience!

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