Bringing a Dog into the United States
All dogs must appear healthy to enter the United States. And depending upon what country the dogs are coming from, they may need a valid rabies vaccination certificate.
The rules for bringing your dog into the United States are covered under US Regulations (see Rabies vaccine certificate required when coming from these countries below).
These rules apply to all dogs, including puppies, service animals, and emotional support dogs. These rules also apply whether you are (1) just visiting the United States with your dog, (2) importing dogs into the United States, or (3) traveling out of the United States and returning with your dog after a temporary visit, such as a vacation or holiday, or for shopping or visiting friends and relatives. If you do not follow CDC’s rules, your dog may not be allowed to enter the United States.
In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your destination state’s regulationsexternal icon, which are often more strict than federal regulations. Please be aware that dogs imported for commercial (resale or adoption) purposes have additional requirements from USDAexternal icon.
At New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the belly of the Boeing passenger jet opened to reveal the cargo hold filled with stacked crates of whimpering dogs, many more than usual. All were young puppies—most too young to leave their mothers—cowering and huddling in their cages, shivering while covered in their own waste after their long international flight. Witnessing the scene was a team of federal agents from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and JFK’s veterinarians accredited by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).