Planning a Trip to the US with Your Dog? Stay Updated with These Essential Guidelines

By Rishi May 11, 2024 #dog

To prevent the spread of rabies, the United States government has introduced new regulations regarding the importation of dogs from other countries. According to the recently published rules, all dogs entering the U.S. must be at least 6 months old and microchipped. These measures apply to dogs brought in by breeders, rescue groups, or traveling with their U.S. owners.

Emily Pieracci, a rabies expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emphasized that these regulations address current challenges. The updated rules, posted in the federal register, will take effect on August 1, replacing a temporary 2021 order that suspended dog imports from over 100 countries with rabies concerns.

Key requirements under the new rules include:

  • Dogs must be at least 6 months old, ensuring they are old enough for vaccination.
  • Dogs must have a microchip implanted for rabies vaccination verification.
  • Completion of a new CDC import form is mandatory.
  • Additional restrictions and requirements may apply based on the dog’s whereabouts in the previous six months, possibly including blood testing from CDC-approved labs.

Since the CDC regulations were last updated in 1956, significant changes have occurred. Increased international pet travel and the establishment of overseas operations by rescue groups and breeders have led to approximately 1 million dogs entering the U.S. annually.

While dogs were once common carriers of rabies in the U.S., vaccinations in the 1970s eliminated the strain typically found in dogs. Nonetheless, rabies remains a serious concern, with the virus being fatal and commonly spread through bites.

To address concerns of incomplete or fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates and the entry of unvaccinated puppies, the updated regulations were deemed necessary. Angela Passman, owner of a Dallas-based pet transportation company, supports the new rules, stating that they maintain consistency with current practices.

However, Jennifer Skiff of Animal Wellness Action believes that some changes are unwarranted and costly. Skiff highlights difficulties faced by diplomats and military personnel in meeting requirements, leading to instances where owners are forced to leave their dogs behind.

In conclusion, the new regulations aim to balance the protection of public health with the facilitation of pet ownership, ensuring safer and more transparent processes for importing dogs into the U.S.

By Rishi

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