Moving to Hawaii with Pets

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Moving to Hawaii with Pets


  • Pets cannot be shipped in moving vans, but your mover can give you advice on how to move your pet.
  • If the pet travels with you, it will retain a sense of identity. However, pets can become frightened and bolt away from you out of open doors and windows. Keep your pet on a leash when outside your car or hotel.
  • Whether your pet travels with you or by another means, it should wear a special identification tag. Write the pet’s name, your name, and a destination address, or that of a friend or relative, in case you want to be reached.
  • Except for Seeing Eye Dogs accompanying blind persons, pets are not permitted on buses and trains. Notify the airline, bus, or train company that a Seeing Eye Dog is accompanying you.
  • If you decide to ship your pet by air, make arrangements ahead of time regarding delivery to and pickup from the airports. Boarding may be necessary.
  • Check the airline’s requirements to see if your pet can travel in a carrier that can be kept under a seat in the cabin or must travel as air freight.
  • Consider sending smaller pets such as birds, hamsters, gerbils and tropical fish by air express.
  • Airline freight departments, pet stores or department stores can supply shipping containers.
  • Tropical fish should be packed by a local pet shop specializing in tropical fish.
  • Consult with your veterinarian concerning mild sedation of your pet during the trip.

Entry Requirements

  • If your move is across state lines, nearly every state has laws on the entry of animals, with the exception of tropical fish. For information, call or write to the State Veterinarian, State Department of Animal Husbandry, or other appropriate authority.
  • Interstate health certificates must accompany dogs and horses entering nearly all states. About half have the same requirements for other pets. In some cases, this certificate must be in the hands of the state regulatory agency in advance of the entry.
  • All but four states require an up-to-date rabies inoculation for dogs and many require it for cats. The rabies tab must be securely attached to the pet’s collar. Hawaii requires that cats and dogs be quarantined for 120 days.
  • Some pets must have an entry permit issued by the destination state’s regulatory agency. Receipt of the interstate health certificate may be required before the permit can be issued. Some states limit the time during which the entry permit is valid.
  • A few states have border inspection of all animals being transported; others have random inspection by highway patrol officers. State agriculture representatives are usually present at airports to inspect pets arriving by air.

Local Laws

  • Local communities have pet control and licensing ordinances. In some cases, the number of dogs and cats per residence is limited. Large animals, such as ponies and horses, may be prohibited. Be sure to check with the city clerk or town hall for specific information.

Air Travel Checklist

  • Make reservations well in advance. Follow airline instructions.
  • Obtain a shipping container a week or two in advance. Familiarize your pet with it by packing the pet in it for a few minutes each day. Gradually lengthen the time until the pet seems to be at ease with it.
  • Carefully schedule boarding and shipping arrangements for your pet to assure that the pet is well cared for until you are able to receive it at your new home.
  • Feed the pet no less than five to six hours before flight time. Give the pet a drink of water no less than two hours before flight.
  • Get the pet to the air terminal in time. Get there 45 minutes in advance if the pet is accompanying you. If shipping the pet, get to the freight terminal two hours in advance of your flight.
  • Be certain that names, addresses and telephone numbers of persons responsible for the pet at origination and destination are clearly marked on the container and on the pet’s identification tag.
  • Notify the person receiving the pet that it is on the way. Give them the flight and waybill number.
  • Pets can usually be picked up within 90 minute of flight arrival. The air waybill number is useful when making inquires.

Travel by Car Checklist

  • If your dog or cat is not used to traveling by car, make short trips with the pet a week or two in advance of the trip to accustom it to motion and to teach it how to behave.
  • Dogs should be taught to lie quietly, keep their heads inside and not annoy the driver or passengers. Don’t let your dog stick his head in the wind. It can irritate eyes and cause problems.
  • Cats are often frightened of car travel, but they adjust quickly. Some persons allow the cat to find its own place in the car; others feel it is best to confine a cat to its own carrier.
  • Folding kennels or crates especially designed for station wagons can be most useful for dogs and cats.
  • Accustom your pet to being on a leash. Always use a leash when traveling. Your pets can bolt into traffic or become lost in a strange place if not properly restrained.
  • If you must stop overnight, check in advance to find a motel that will permit you pet to spend the night.
  • Be sure that your pet is properly tagged and its rabies tag firmly attached.
  • Pet travel kit: pet food, food and water dishes, can opener (if needed), a few treats, a favorite toy, a blanket, comb or brush.
  • Also, to be on the safe side: a sedative (if prescribed by your veterinarian), paper towels, spray room deodorant if you will be staying overnight at a hotel or motel, a scooper and plastic bag to clean up after your pet.

Your Move to Hawaii with Your Pet is Over!

Let’s assume that you have arrived at your new home with your pet. You will find that your pet has the same problems adjusting as the other members of the family do. It must learn the way around the house and neighborhood. The pet must meet new neighbors, both animals and humans. It must adjust to new water and climate, and must learn where it can and cannot go.

It is advisable to keep the pet within the home until it realizes that this is a HOME and not a temporary residence. It may wander off and try to find the former residence. This is especially true of cats; they should be confined for several weeks.

Make the animal feel at home by using familiar dishes, blanket, toys, and other items. Check with your neighbor to determine any special problems which your pet might encounter. For example, the neighborhood grouch. Also make a particular effort to keep your dog inside on garbage collection day. There are better ways to meet your new neighbors than over a garbage can upset by your dog.

If you carefully plan your move with your pet, you may make a smooth transition for your old to your new home. Bet, be prepared for the unexpected; it can and probably will happen.

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