New Ruling on Dog Rabies Vaccination Requirements for Entry to the US

US FlagThe United States (US) is one of the most pet friendly countries in the world. Dog passports need only to document proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entering the country. Presently, dog owners and importers transporting unvaccinated dogs into the United States, or those who can not meet the 30 day requirement, can apply for home confinement for 30 days. During this time, their dog must be vaccinated for rabies and it must be kept in isolation, away from other rabies-carrying animals. It must be leashed and muzzled when removed from the designated premises during the period of confinement. The same opportunity applied for puppies under 3 months of age who were not old enough for rabies vaccinations when entering the US.

Effective August 11, 2014, the rules for?dog vaccination requirements will be changing. The Center for Disease Control (CDC)?will require pre-approval of all requests for home confinement?for dogs who have not been vaccinated for rabies?when entering the United States from a country which is not considered by the US as rabies-free*.? And, as puppies are not given their rabies vaccinations until 3 months, and there is a 30 day waiting period after the initial vaccination, this means that puppies from non-rabies-free countries?cannot be imported to the US until the age of 4 months.

The legislation was written out of concern for the number of home confinements that were issued in 2013 and the first half of 2014. Many importers are not adhering to the rules of the confinement and the number of home confinement requests?is growing substantially. After August 11, the CDC will consider each case individually and encourages owners and importers to have their dogs vaccinated at least 30 days prior to import to avoid problems at the point of entry.

*Countries considered by the US as rabies-free.

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New Ruling on Dog Rabies Vaccination Requirements for Entry to the US — 92 Comments

  1. Antoni – no quarantine required to enter the US as long as you have a rabies certificate providing proof of current rabies vaccination. The CDC is very strict regarding this requirement. Your puppy must also have a current health certificate reflecting a screwworm inspection within 5 days of entering the US.

  2. Is there a quarantine required for my 5 months old Labrador puppy after landing in NY?
    She had her initial shot 28 days ago and we?re flying from Thailand (not a rabies free country). Thank you.

  3. Amany – unfortunately, dogs can not be imported to the United States from Egypt currently. They must reside in another country for 6 months prior to import.

  4. I will get my puppy shipped to me from Egypt and it is not a Rabies free country. She is only 8 weeks, too young to be vaccinated. Her final home will be in DC. Is it okay to bring her to DC and stay in 30 days confinement then when she is eligible to take the vaccine, she takes it here in dc?

  5. Giuliana – one option would be to fly JetBlue if you have not yet paid for your tickets.They will accept puppies as young as 8 weeks in the cabin. The other option would be to fly your pup as air cargo as soon as it conforms to airline regulations. We can help with that should you decide on that option. Unfortunately, we cannot advise how to skirt regulations.

  6. My puppy just got his first rabies shot and we have to travel in two weeks….the airline is requiring 30 day wait…is there any way to get around this? We are going from florida to NY and quarantining when we get there anyway.

  7. Hawk – here are the regulations to import your Lab pup to St. Thomas: Be sure and keep it on the same airline for the entire trip. If flying alone, the pup will need a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. Contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route. The pup will need to fly in an IATA-compliant pet crate like these;


  9. Kimberly – earlier this year, the Center for Disease Control changed their requirements for rabies vaccinations. Your dog will be fine to enter the US from Mexico, even with doing so 14 days before entry; however, you must confirm with your airline that this meets with their airline pet policies. United requires that pets be vaccinated 30 days before travel.

  10. If a dog that came from Mexico was vaccinated for rabies but only for two weeks until the date of the flight going to California, would the dog still be able to fly even though it hadn?t waited the 30 day requirement.

  11. Blanca – if your dog does not have a current rabies vaccination, it should be vaccinated for rabies at least 15 days before entering Mexico. (regs are here: If your dog has a current rabies vaccination and the vaccination will not expire while you are in Mexico, then you do not need to get it re-vaccinated.

  12. Hi does my dog need to need to have his rabies shots 30 days before leaving the us to mexico, or 30 day before reentering the us?

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