from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC regulations govern the importation of animals and animal products capable of causing human disease.  Pets taken out of the United States are subject upon return to the same regulations as those entering for the first time.

The CDC does not require general certificates of health for pets for entry into the United States. However, health certificates may be required for entry into some states, or may be required by airlines for pets. You should check with officials in your state of destination and with your airline prior to your travel date.

NOTE: CDC has learned that Internet scammers are falsely representing themselves as CDC employees in e-mails to U.S. citizens.  Learn more about internet adoption scams.

Some of the Animals Regulated by the CDC: What You Need to Know

Dogs

  • Proof of Rabies Vaccination

Dogs must have a certificate showing they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry into the United States. These requirements apply equally to service animals such as Seeing Eye dogs.

  • Importation of Unvaccinated Dogs

Dogs not accompanied by proof of rabies vaccination, including those that are too young to be vaccinated (i.e. less than 3 months of age), may be admitted if the importer completes a confinement agreement (see below) and confines the animal until it is considered adequately vaccinated against rabies (the vaccine is not considered effective until 30 days after the date of vaccination). Spanish, French, and Russian translations of form CDC 75.37 are available, but must be completed in English. Confinement agreement (form CDC 75.37) Adobe PDF file [PDF - 1 page]

Puppies that are too young to be vaccinated (i.e. less than 3 months of age) must be kept in confinement until they are old enough to be vaccinated, and then confined for at least 30 days after the date of vaccination.

Unvaccinated dogs must be vaccinated within 4 days of arrival at their final U.S. destination and within 10 days of entry into the United States, and must be kept in confinement for at least 30 days after the date of vaccination.

Dogs may not be sold or transferred to other owners during this period of confinement, and the person that signs the confinement agreement is responsible for ensuring the conditions of the agreement are met.

Importers must provide a contact address where the dog will be kept during the confinement period. If the importer will be housing the dog at several addresses or traveling with the animal, all points of contact must be provided.

  • Importation of Dogs from Rabies Free Countries

Unvaccinated dogs may be imported without a requirement for proof of rabies vaccination if they have been located for a minimum of 6 months or more in countries that are free of rabies.

Following importation, all dogs are subject to state and local vaccination or health certificate requirements. All pet dogs arriving in the state of HawaiiExternal Web Site Icon and the territory of GuamExternal Web Site Icon, even from the U.S. mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. Additional information can be found in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control.

Cats

A general certificate of health is not required by CDC for entry of pet cats into the United States, although some airlines or states may require them. However, pet cats are subject to inspection at ports of entry and may be denied entry into the United States if they have evidence of an infectious disease that can be transmitted to humans. If a cat appears to be ill, further examination by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense might be required at the port of entry.

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the United States. However, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.

All pet cats arriving in the state of HawaiiExternal Web Site Icon and the territory of GuamExternal Web Site Icon, even from the U.S. mainland, are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements.

Small Mammals and Non-African Rodents

Unless they are included in a specific embargo, such as civets and African rodents, or known to carry disease transmissible to humans, these animals are not covered under CDC regulations.

However, state or local regulations may apply. Pet ferrets, for example, are prohibited in California. Any animal known to carry a disease that can be transmitted to people(zoonotic disease) is subject to regulation 42CFR71.54External Web Site Icon.

Additionally, animals carrying diseases of risk to domestic or wild animals are subject to regulations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceExternal Web Site Icon, as they may be considered injurious species Adobe PDF file [PDF - 8 pages]External Web Site Icon.

Information on other animals regulated by the CDC and what you need to know about bringing them into the U.S. may be found here.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is one of the major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services. CDC′s Mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health–through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.

 

One Response to Regulations You Need to Know When Bringing a Pet Into the U.S.

  1. Jana Rade says:

    That sounds simple enough; thought there were more hoops to jump through than that.

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