How to Move Your Pets to Hawaii

How to Move Your Pets to Hawaii

  • Ellison Team Hawaii
  • 09/28/22

Living in paradise just wouldn’t be the same if you had to leave your fur babies behind. Whether your new residence is a Holualoa luxury home or one of the picturesque Kailua Kona condos for sale along the shore, bringing pets to the big island  — or any other destination in Hawaii —  requires careful planning. The important steps are laid out by the Department of Agriculture, so work through the tasks and tick off items on the checklist.
Hawaii is rabies free, and the state is very committed to keeping their beautiful land that way. Two different approaches can be taken to relocate your pets. The first requires your pet to be quarantined in Honolulu for up to 120 days for a $1000+ fee. That’s a long time to leave your pet  alone in a strange place. Thankfully, there is a 5-day option, which we explore below.

Before leaving home

Photo courtesy of Pexels
Begin preparing your pet for relocation with the end destination and timeline in mind. A number of checklists are available to explain the requirements of various travelers. To have your pet released to you at the Kona Airport, you will need to ascribe to Checklist 2.
  • Contact the airline with whom you intend to travel and learn about their travel guidelines for pets. Make sure they participate in relocating pets to Hawaii.

  • Complete all the following steps at least 30 days before your scheduled arrival.

  • Communicate with one of the approved veterinary hospitals at your destination to make sure they can conduct the required health inspection for your pet. On Hawaii Island, the options include Ali’i Veterinary Hospital or Keauhou Veterinary Hospital.  Confirm their availability and schedule an appointment for them to see and examine your pet. While it’s the hospital’s responsibility to communicate with the Animal Quarantine Station, it’s the owner’s responsibility to cover the inspection cost.

  • Have your hometown veterinarian implant a microchip in your pet. If he or she already has a microchip, make sure it is in working order.

  • Confirm that your pet has had at least two rabies vaccinations during its lifetime, with the most recent one being done on schedule with the recommended booster timeline and at least 30 days before arriving in Hawaii.

  • Order a FAVN Rabies Antibody Test with your hometown vet. This test comes with very explicit requirements, so be sure to read the Department of Agriculture’s specifications and follow them carefully. After receiving the test results, animals must wait an additional thirty days before they are allowed into Hawaii.

  • Gather the required documents and then complete and submit them to the Animal Quarantine Station at least 30 days before departure.

      • Dog and Cat Import Form (AQS-279). Mark “Neighbor Island Inspection Permit $165” on your form.
      • A cashier’s check or money order for $165.
      • Two most recent and original rabies vaccination certificates.
      • Your flight information. 

  • You will receive your NIIP when all documents and payments are received, your pet’s qualification is confirmed, and a Hawaiian veterinary hospital has scheduled an appointment to see your animal.

  • Keep your NIIP with you during the flight. It must come with your animal and be presented to the inspector when you arrive.

Preparation and travel day

Make sure that you have cleared your pet for travel on the airline and comply fully with all of their requirements to ensure your pet has the best possible travel experience.
Just as you trained your pet when it was a new puppy or kitten, spend some time training your pet to spend time in conditions it will experience on the airplane. Have it sleep in the travel crate for short periods of time, and gradually increase the time to mimic the duration of a flight. If you can find ambient noise that resembles the sounds in an airplane, play them for your pet while it is in the crate.

On departure day, limit food intake in the hours leading up your flight to reduce the risk of nausea from motion sickness or anxiety. Pack the crate with absorbent pine shavings, which will serve the dual purpose of absorbing any accidents and making the crate cozier and warmer during the flight. Include a few comfort objects, such as a favorite chew toy or an old T-shirt that carries your scent. Try not to arrive at the airport too early; it’s nice to beat the crowd, but your poor pet will have to spend extra time cooped up.

Welcoming pets to your new home

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
When at last you’ve arrived in your new home, the bustle of moving and settling in can be completely bewildering for a pet. Have patience if your four-legged family member needs a little more attention than usual or is acting out of sorts. Help it through the relocation by reestablishing the familiar, normal routine as quickly as possible. Take walks or play breaks frequently to help it burn off nervous energy. Set up an area that is comforting and familiar with the pet’s bed, toys, food and water bowls.

Ready to move?

Knowing that your beloved fur baby can come to Hawaii with you, perhaps you are ready to begin searching in earnest for a Holualoa luxury home. Maybe the amenities and appeal of a Kailua Kona condo sound like the comfort and convenience you need. Whatever your real estate need or question, the experienced Kona real estate agents at Ellison Team Hawaii will work diligently to find the perfect home for you, your family, and your pet. Contact an agent today at (808) 936-3000.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Us On Instagram

Work With Us

We are honored to provide our clients an unmatched real estate experience. By leveraging our experience, innovative technology and custom marketing strategies, we deliver top-notch results for our clients.