Tips for Traveling with Dogs to the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Jun 5, 2017

If you’re crossing the border with your dog, don’t forget to pack its rabies vaccination certificate. Think of the certificate as your pooch’s “passport” to enter the country.

Dogs coming into the United States are required to be healthy and have proof of their rabies vaccination. Make sure to bring the right documents or your dog might not be able to come home with you.

Five things you need to know:

  1. Dogs must be at least 3 months (12 weeks, or 84 days) old to get the rabies vaccination from a licensed vet.
  2. If it’s the first time your dog is getting the rabies vaccination, you must wait 28 days before bringing it into the United States to allow the vaccine to take effect.
  3. If you’re not sure or don’t have proof your dog was vaccinated before, have your dog vaccinated, then wait 28 days before traveling.
  4. If your adult dog’s rabies booster is current, you can travel without waiting 28 days.
  5. When your dog gets the rabies vaccine, ask the vet to give you the vaccine certificate. The rabies vaccination certificate must be valid when you’re bringing your dog into the United States.

A valid rabies vaccination certificate has:

  • Name and address of owner
  • Breed, sex, age or date of birth (if known), color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
  • Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
  • Date the vaccination certificate expires
  • Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian

Having the right documents for your dog allows you both to enjoy safe and worry-free travels.

Dog Inspection

(Photo credit: Derek Sakris)