Hawaii Pet Travel
Why Careful Planning is a must

Hawaii pet travel is a long and expensive venture. Think long and hard before you actually decided to bring your pet here. I have looked into, begun and stopped this process twice because I decided that it was not worth it.

Hawaii Pet Travel

I have taken my cat that was a Hawaiian cat OUT of Hawaii but good luck Chuck getting her back in.

If I had documents in place beforehand for her easier return it wouldn't have been so bad but...

Read on about what I have to say and then decide if it's for you.


The Big Picture on Hawaii Pet Travel

Hawaii is a unique tropical environment sensitive to outside creatures and plants that could easily destroy the local ecosystem.

For this reason they are very particular about bringing in outside plants and animals. PLAN AHEAD, at least 6 months if you plan to bring your pet here.

You have to do things such as:

  • Go through animal quarantine
  • Get shots
  • Submit feces samples to Kansas city
  • Wait for a fixed amount of time for results
  • Fill out a bunch of forms
  • Pay a bunch of fees

You get the idea-very time consuming and expensive.

Also consider that:

  • There are also extra fees to pay to the airlines
  • Special-sized containers for plane travel
  • It may also be a long, long scary flight to Hawaii for your loved one

When I took my Hawaiian cat OUT of Hawaii she was able to sit with me on the plane. That's great but she screamed, hollered and freaked out all the way to Chicago for 8 hours plus the time in waiting areas of the airport.

If you don't HAVE to bring your pet here then I would say don't.

If you are planning on moving here keep in mind that almost all places for rent don't allow pets, especially dogs. If they do they tend to not be that nice or they're expensive and still rarely available.

I would say move here first, get settled in, establish a relationship with your landlord and then send for Fifi or Fido later.


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Requirements for Hawaii Pet Travel

If you still want to bring your pet to Hawaii ok.

You need to know the following:

  • You can now pick him or her up within 24 hours at the animal quarantine headquarters location near the airport IF you have all of your paperwork in order AHEAD of time.

  • See this checklist to pick your pet up quickly

  • Direct release is now possible on Kauai, Kona, Big Island and Kahalui, Maui

  • The less paperwork that is in order the more the time increases-3 days, 5 days, 7 days, etc up to 3-4 months. There will also be additional fees PLUS the daily fees of housing and feeding your pet. Your pet will be in a cage. It is hot and some people's pets don't do well in those conditions particularly if they are older. Your pet could die. You can visit your pet but you have to wait until he or she is cleared. You can spend over $1,000 just on that portion alone.

I don't mean to be so negative but I want you to be aware of what you are getting yourself into and be honest.



Some suggestions:

  • Communicate with them ahead of time and throughout the process to make sure your paperwork is being received and processed as it should. Don't assume all is ok and just show up only to be surprised.

  • When you land your pet will be taken into their custody immediately. Probably the quickest that you could get your pet ready ahead of time so that you can pick it up within 24 hours is 3 months.

  • You can plan out well ahead of time and your results will be good for a little more than a year except for the things you have to do within 2-4 weeks of travel.

  • You also have to have a health clearance certificate (which requires a shot) from your veterinarian shortly before your flight so that your pet can fly on the airlines. The airlines want one within 2 weeks of travel.

  • I think the certificate cost me close to $100 plus the $120 or $150 I had to pay the airlines for my cat's airfare plus a special carrier that would fit under the seat...So really, REALLY think about it. Is it worth it? Probably not...especially from the emotional stress standpoint of your pet.

*NOTE: Guide dogs and service dogs have different requirements for pet travel to Hawaii and they have a separate section on that.

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