Information on Dog Importation for US Veterinary Clinics

What Veterinary Clinics Need to Know About International Dog Adoptions

Veterinary clinics in the United States can encourage safe and responsible dog ownership by talking to potential clients about dog adoption and asking questions to understand a dog’s full health history.

Veterinary clinics can:

  • Dog at the vet

    Ask where clients obtained their dog.

    • Did they buy the dog online?
    • Did they visit the breeder to see where the dog was born and raised?
    • Did they visit the shelter or rescue organization in-person?
  • Inquire about the international travel history of their patients.
    • Ask to see all medical records, vaccination records, and documentation that accompanied the dog if purchased online or from a breeder or rescue organization.
    • Make note of any documents that are not in English or contain addresses in foreign countries.
  • Report sick dogs with a history of international travel in the previous six months to your state veterinarian.
  • Report vaccination records that don’t match the age and appearance of the dog to your state veterinarian.
    • Consider revaccinating dogs that were vaccinated overseas, as foreign vaccination records from newly acquired dogs can be falsified, and the dogs may not be adequately protected against diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, and rabies.
  • Be familiar with your state laws, which may require dogs to be vaccinated against rabies with a USDA-licensed rabies vaccine not available in foreign countries.
    • Be prepared to explain to clients why revaccination is required.