Home General Pet Entries Moving With Your Pet: Part 2

Moving With Your Pet: Part 2

I addressed moving with your pet(s) in a previous post, so now I’d like to add to that and discuss moving to another state or even another country.


First, a few reminders from my previous article:

  • Animals can sense your moods and emotions. The pending move may stress you out, but try to keep a positive attitude.
  • Make sure your pet’s identification collar/tags are up-to-date with your new information. If your pet has an embedded ID chip, make sure to update the information with the company that holds your pet’s information as soon as you can.
  • Be sure to get your pet’s records so you can give them to your new vet.

You should read Moving with Your Pets: Part 1  before reading any further.


Now, if your moving plans are taking you out of the state, check with the Sate Department of Agriculture for any laws/regulations about pet transport for your new home state. Also check with your new home city for restrictions such as leash laws, and any limits on the number and types of pets you can own.

For example, the city of Fremont has specific regulations about obtaining a license for cats and dogs. (See http://www.ci.fremont.ca.us/Permits/OtherPermits/PetLicense.htm for details.) You should find out as much as you can via the internet and/or by calling the city clerk’s office.

One thing you will most likely need for any destination is a rabies certification and a recent health certificate from your vet that is no more than 10 days old.

Whether you’re transporting your pet via car or plane, it’s best not to sedate them. It’s better to get them used to being in a crate and going for short trips well in advance of your move to ease anxiety. Feed them only a light meal about 6 hours before their journey on a plane. Don’t give them water too close to flight time. Some water about 3 hours before their flight should suffice.

For a car trip, feed your pet a few hours before you head out. If it’s a long trip, schedule periodic stops for bathroom breaks. Be sure you have a supply of food, water, towels, and any medication. You might also want to include a first aid kit (for yourself as well your pet!). If your trip has you staying at a motel, check beforehand for motels that allow pets and what their rules are.


If you’re moving pets to Hawai’i, be sure you check (and double check) what you will need to do. One information source is the State of Hawai’i website.

See http://www.hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info  for animal quarantine information.

In the past, Hawai’i used to keep pets quarantined for months. But today, with proper planning and by obtaining all the necessary paperwork, you can get your pets in and out of the quarantine station within a few hours. There are specific and strict requirements for this including obtaining rabies certificates, blood tests, and a health certificate.

Here are some FAQs about the 5-day or less quarantine program: http://www.hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/faq5.

Next, find out what you will need to do for your airplane trip. Check your airline’s website and also call them to ensure you have all the requirements covered. Note that no airline will transport pets in the passenger cabin when traveling from the Mainland to Hawai’i. Small animals can be checked in as baggage, but larger animals will have to go as cargo.

The airlines will have specific requirements for the type and size of crate you will have to use for each animal.

A friend of mine recently got firsthand experience transporting two cats and a dog from California to Hawai’i on Hawaiian Airlines and reports that things went pretty smoothly. She did have a problem earlier when, after several phone calls, the airline reps neglected to tell her that there was an embargo on transporting animals during the summer months because of the heat. She had to change the pets’ transport date from June to late October.

She made reservations for each pet when she bought the ticket for herself because the airline allowed only a limited number of animals on each flight. Hours before the flight’s departure, she took her dog for check-in at the airport’s cargo area. Then, she went to the regular counter for the airline and checked in her suitcases and the two cats. For each animal, she had all the proper paperwork on hand and ready to show.

A few details:

  • My friend’s flight left San Francisco at 8:30 a.m., but she had to have her dog at the cargo area no later than 5:30 A.M.
  • After she checked the cats in, she had to accompany them down to where they would wait to be loaded onto the plane. The workers there asked her to take the cats out of their crates so they could check the crates themselves.
  • The bottom of the crates were lined with soft pads for comfort. My friend put “LIVE ANIMALS” stickers on the crates and also printed up a photo ID to affix to the back of the crate. Each ID had a photo, the pet’s name, sex, breed, ID Chip #, her cell phone number, and the pet’s destination address.

Once she arrived in Honolulu Airport in ‘Oahu, where the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility is located, she walked from the airport terminal to the station. The walk took just a few minutes. She did have to ask directions because although there was a sign for the station, it didn’t indicate exactly which way to go.

Once at the station, she had to hit a buzzer to be let in. She presented her paperwork and waited for her animals to be brought out. My friend had a bit of a problem here. There was some miscommunication and she had to wait longer than necessary for her pets. Just be sure to be friendly, but persistent, when checking on the status of your pets.

My friend was told by one worker that the pets were not even there yet and that it would take at least 45 minutes to process them. About 15 minutes later, another worker told her they had been there all along and ready to go.

Be sure to have transportation ready to take your pets. The station won’t release them if you don’t have a vehicle or luggage cart. My friend called a taxi that was large enough to carry all animals. (The taxi’s business card was posted at the station.) The kind driver took her to a local dog park so her dog could finally get a potty break and some fresh air and water. The cats were a little scared, so they just wanted to stay in their crates.

Since my friend’s final destination was the Big Island, their odyssey wasn’t quite over yet. After the dog’s potty break, they drove to the cargo area at the airport to drop off the dog, then returned to the terminal and checked the cats in as luggage again at the airline counter.

She gave herself plenty of time (about 7 hours) during the layover in ‘Oahu to accomplish all of this. That turned out to be much needed extra time because her flight into ‘Oahu was delayed for 1 and 1/2 hours, and it took quite some time to wait for and pick up the animals at the quarantine station, give the dog a potty break, present papers to both the cargo area and check-in counter, and go through airport security again.

Once she arrived at Kona International Airport, the pets were released to her along with her luggage. It was a very long day, but it was all worth it when she was able to introduce her pets to her new home in paradise.

Note: Although this pertained to moving to Hawaii, the same processes and precautions would be true for moving to Alaska as well.


If you’re moving to another country, check with that country’s consulate for any regulations or fees. For example, if you go to http://www.sf.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/e_m08_02.htm#quarantine  you can see an overview of the quarantine regulations for Japan.

Like moves to other cities or states, you will most likely need rabies and health certificates. There may also be quarantine laws you’ll have to look into. The best thing you can do is plan well in advance for the move, especially if you have to deal with quarantine issues.

As for your plane trip, check with the airline you’ll be taking since rules and restrictions may vary from one to another.

I know this is a lot of information, but the more homework and preparation you do before your actual move, the better everything will be for your and your pet(s)!

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