Important Information If You Travel Internationally With Your Dog

The CDC released a statement this week with updated guidelines for importing dogs into the US that will take effect on August 1, 2024.

You’re probably thinking “I don’t import dogs, why are you telling me this?”

How the CDC’s New Regulation Affects Pet Parents and Their Dogs

The fact is that “import” is considered any situation where a dog that has been in another country for any length of time is brought across the border into the US. So if you live in a northern state and take your pup to visit friends or family in Canada for the day, when you come back into the country you are importing your dog. If you take your dog out of the country on vacation with you, when you come home your are importing your dog. If you live in Florida and boat to the Bahamas with your dog for the afternoon, you are importing when you come home. If you live in or go to Alaska and drive through Canada with your dog on your way to the lower 48, when you cross the border you are importing your dog. If you are in the military and stationed abroad or work overseas and either get a puppy while you are there or bring your dog with you and then get transferred back to the US you are importing your dog.

So the new guidelines will affect a lot more people than you might think.

I Have A Trip Planned – What Do I Do?

If your puppy will be under 6 months old when you plan to travel:

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do. The new regulation clearly states that dogs entering the United States “be at least 6 months of age”.

If your dog is over 6 months old:

  • they must “appear healthy on arrival”. How and by whom this will determined is unclear.
  • they must be microchipped (which they should be regardless of what the CDC requires),
  • you must submit an Import Dog Form online and have the submission receipt with you when you cross the border.
  • Certification of US-issued Rabies Vaccine form. The form is good for the duration the rabies vaccine is valid (1 or 3 years). This is not new but I’m including it in the list because it is required to cross the border into the US

FYI – the Import Certificate Requirements will be released on June 15, 2024, so if you have a trip planned you will want to check the CDC website to find out what this entails.

Unintended Consequences

Unfortunately, this is going to put added strain on veterinarians and their support staff since they are going to have to do exams, insert microchips, and fill out the forms when they are already stretched to the limit from the increase in the number of pets in the US in the past few years and the large amount of staff that has left the field because of the stress it has caused.

There will also be an added cost to the families for exams and the fact that some vets may also find it necessary to charge for doing the paperwork.

How The New Guidelines Affect Breeders

Genetic diversity in dogs is of utmost importance to their physical health and mental well-being. For that reason the international community of dog enthusiast have worked together for decades, sharing their pedigrees to ensure their chosen breed not only can and will continue but that each generation is better than the one before it. Breeders in the United States import dogs for their programs and vice versa. In my breeding career, I have personally brought dogs in from Korea, Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Brazil.

The fact that a breeder will have to raise multiple puppies until they are 6 months old and can be exported is going to make breeders outside of the US not want to place their puppies here. It’s hard enough for most people to train, socialize, and take care of the daily basic needs of one puppy – can you imagine having to do this with an entire litter? or multiple litters over the course of half a year? Even if a breeder overseas was willing to raise pups until they were 6 months old, what would the cost be? All of this will cause a genetic bottleneck (especially in rare breeds) and increased costs to breeders here in the United States which will eventually trickle down to the pet-owning community.

I will update this post as more information becomes available. Until then feel free to share it with your travel loving friends and family so they know the changes that are coming.

1 Comment

  1. Kim

    Thank you for your information. I must say- I am impressed by the information given and how it is broken down for all to understand. And it is sooooo professional looking- phenomenal.


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