Bringing a Dog into the U.S.

At a glance

CDC issues regulations to control the entry of dogs into the United States from other countries. These rules apply to all dogs, including puppies, service animals, and dogs that left the United States and are returning. They also apply whether you are a U.S. citizen, legal U.S. resident, or foreign national. Starting August 1, 2024 at 12:01AM ET, new rules go into effect.

Dogs looking at the camera



If you don't follow CDC's rules, your dog won't be allowed to enter the United States. If denied entry, your dog will be sent back to the last country of departure at your expense. Country of departure is where the last trip originated—not where the dog was born or where it lives.

In addition, you must comply with U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) and your U.S. destination's regulations. Please be aware that dogs imported for commercial (resale or adoption) purposes have additional requirements from USDA.

Determining what is needed to bring a dog into the United States

The requirements to bring a dog into the United States depend on:

  • when your dog will arrive in the United States
  • where your dog has been in the 6 months before arriving in the United States
  • where your dog received its rabies vaccination (if required)

To enter the United States, your dog will be required to meet specific criteria.

Why entry of dogs to the United States is controlled

Rabies is over 99% fatal and is 100% preventable. The United States eliminated dog rabies in 2007, but dog rabies is not controlled in over 100 countries—creating a risk to the United States in imported dogs. Through regulations, CDC strives to protect America’s families, communities, and pets by preventing the reintroduction of dog rabies into the United States. Preventing infected dogs from entering the United States is a public health priority. Each dog imported with rabies could infect people and other animals and could cost more than half a million dollars to contain.

Why it’s important now: CDC updated its dog and cat importation regulation in 2024 to protect the health and safety of people and animals and prevent the reintroduction of dog rabies to the United States. The updated regulation will help keep Americans and their pets safe. It addresses recent challenges seen with international dog importations, including the challenges posed by fraudulent documentation.

Standardization of the dog importation process, including standard requirements for the minimum age of imported dogs, microchips, the CDC Dog Import Form, and other documentation, will streamline the importation process and allow for safer and more efficient entry of dogs into the United States.