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Before You Em“Bark”: CDC Requires Rabies Vaccine and Microchip for Dog Travel
Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The CDC recently released new requirements that may affect traveling with your fur baby. Starting Aug. 1, 2024, all dogs traveling into the U.S. will be required to show proof of rabies vaccine and meet the minimum age requirement of 6 months. That means your cute little French Bulldog that never leaves your side, even for work or play trips, must be compliant with CDC rules before hopping on the red-eye.

The new requirements are of 4 types:

  1. Requirements for all dogs;
  2. Requirements for dogs with a current and valid rabies vaccination administered in the United States;
  3. Requirements for foreign-vaccinated dogs that have been in a country with high risk of dog rabies within 6 months before entry;
    1. Countries with a high risk of dog rabies include, but are not limited to, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, Vietnam, North Korea, Nepal, China, and Syria.
  4. Requirements for dogs that have been ONLY in countries that are dog rabies-free or low-risk during the 6 months before entry;
    1. Low-risk, rabies-free countries include, but are not limited to, Bahrain, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Kuwait, Latvia, Qatar, Slovakia, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, UAE, USA, UK.

Per the CDC’s announcementall dogs must:

Be at least 6 months of age at the time they enter or return to the U.S.

6 months is the required age, as that is the minimum age to receive a rabies vaccine at the veterinary clinic. Note: this is a requirement even if you and your pup visited low-risk or rabies-free classified countries.

Have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip.


The new microchip requirement is set primarily to prove your pet’s rabies vaccination. Further stipulations outline that:

  • The chip must have been implanted prior to required rabies vaccinations, and
  • The microchip number must be documented on required forms, including veterinary records.

On the bright side, if you become separated from your pup while traveling abroad or during the process of arrival back into the U.S., it will be easy to reunite with your four-legged friend.

Appear Healthy on Arrival

Dogs that appear to have an illness or are otherwise “unhealthy” looking will be subject to testing to confirm they do not carry any diseases contagious to humans (including rabies and flea and tickborne diseases) and quarantined for up to 28 days. The CDC notes that any quarantine days beyond this period will result in fines against the “importer,” or the owner. The CDC has not released any specific “signs” for this and is depending on appearance to distinguish healthy from ill.

Fill Out a “CDC Dog Import Form” 2-10 Days PRIOR to Entering U.S.

Instructions on how to obtain and fill out the CDC Dog Import Form are available on the CDC website. The CDC has implemented a fittingly named “DogBot” to answer any questions and provide links to forms, requirements, and at-risk countries.

Note: check the header for the form site you are visiting. There will be two clearly marked landing pages for forms BEFORE July 31, 2024, and AFTER Aug. 1, 2024.

These new requirements for your dog are not meant to quell international travel, but to further protect both humans and other animals from catching and spreading diseases. In a study on correlation between pet owners and contracting Lyme disease, results from a survey of 3 Lyme disease-endemic states (Connecticut, Maryland, and New York) revealed that 20% of owners were at higher risk for tick-related diseases.

These requirements are also being enforced for service animals. According to the CDC, any dog that fails to meet the requirements will be deported back to the country of departure at the owner’s expense. To remain connected with your four-legged friend as you travel, plan and make sure you’ve filled out all the correct forms, gotten your pup vaccinated and microchipped, and made copies of ALL veterinarian reports.

As you are readying yourself for international travel, the common preparatory phrase “phone, keys, wallet” may now need to include “proof of my dog’s rabies vaccine.”

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