PCS my Pet

Importing your Dog or Cat to Hawaii

Here are some helpful steps in bringing your beloved cat or dog into Hawaii. The goal is to avoid the quarantine on island. I wanted to share my experience with you and tell you some of the things I went through. I am no expert on the rules of the Department of Agriculture Animal Quarantine so please refer to them to validate what you need. I just wanted to share my experience importing my large dog and going through the whole experience.


Checklist for Import (Program changed in 2018)

Here is a quick checklist of things required for import:

  • 2 recent Rabies vaccinations

  • Wait 30 days at home (in other state) after successful OIE-FAVN test (changed from 120 days to 30)

  • Microchip #

  • OIE-FAVN rabies blood test (administered by base Veterinarian)

  • Airline approved crate with “Live animal” sticker

  • Health certificate dated within 10 days of flight arrival

  • $185 Cashiers’ check or money order made payable to Animal Quarantine

  • Checklist for 5 day or less program (Also note new fees)

  • Dog and Cat import form AQS-278 (Must be notarized)

Average cost to ship one 52lb dog

  • OIE-FAVN test, included exam, ivermectin 6 dose, lyme test, and shipping test to Fort Sam Houston $140.00

  • Fee for direct airport release $185.00

  • Large Petmate Sky kennel $65.00-$85.00

  • United Air flight from Dulles to HNL $449.00

Total average cost to ship one large dog was $819.00 - $850.00
It's been a long day for Naia

It's been a long day for Naia

Naia waikiki.jpg

The Army Vet operates four veterinary medical facilities on Oahu that provide services for Military members.

Fort Shafter
Building 435, Pierce Road

Schofield Barracks
Building 936, Duck Road

Pearl-Hickam Joint Base
Building 1864, Kuntz Ave, Hickam

MCBH Kaneohe
Building 455, Pancoast Place

And MWR has kennels at much lower rates than on the economy. You just sign up the local MWR.  https://hawaii.armymwr.com/programs/family-and-mwr-pet-kennels


At post housing Schofield you are allowed 2 pets.

Except for pit bulls, pit bull mixes, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, wolf breed combination?, chows, etc. I guess they exclude these breeds without even testing behaviors? There are perfectly good breeds out there that are loving dogs. 

See Pet addendum for more info on leasing at Island Palm communities. https://winnmilitary.entrata.com/media_library/12710/56e6e646732f3523.pdf


Blood tests, Vet, Pet flying options, and Directions to Honolulu airport pickup

1) Your pet’s most recent rabies vaccination must not be expired when your pet arrives in Hawaii. 30 days have had to elapsed from the second rabies vaccination so don’t wait to get your pet vaccinated. If you arrive before that your pet goes into quarantine until you make the 30 days from second vaccination.

  • Rabies vaccination usually occurs before 3 mo old and within 12 months from the first vaccination. If you have a gap that may be a problem so call the Animal Quarantine before you do anything.

  • Rabies vaccination paperwork must have a “wet signature” on them with the original metal tag. Make sure you tell your Vet you are moving to Hawaii and they will help you navigate the process up to the OIE-FAVN blood test.

  • Microchip # is the number the Vet will use to track the OIE-FAVN test.

“The Base Vet was half the cost of a commercial Vet for the OIE-FAVN blood test.”

2) Do the OIE-FAVN blood test before all else because of the wait period. Although making appointments is a process because I found they are always booked (the Army Vet is also the food inspector at the commissary). We were able to get all our shots up to date and get the test submitted right away so I could start the wait period.

  • The test goes by Fedex to DoD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Sam Houston. It’s important to remember that the wait period begins when Fort Sam officially receives the blood test. You can call your Vet to follow up in about 3 weeks to see if the results are in or they may call you. My experience is that the results were known in about 2 weeks. Have the Vet give you a copy of the results which should have a stamp with a date of when they received it on the top right. The original is sent from the Vet directly to the Animal Quarantine office in Hawaii. You can call the Animal Quarantine office in a month to see if they’ve received it. And you can also double check your fly dates with them to make sure it meets the minimum wait period.

3) Mail your $185 cashiers check or money order, 5 day or less form, and AQS-278 form to the Department of Agriculture Animal Quarantine AFTER you’ve confirmed they’ve received the OIE-FAVN favorable results.

Send to: Animal Quarantine Station, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, HI 96701.

Options for flying your pet 

I used a commercial Airline to fly my pet. Some spouses I met used a Pet moving company which will pick up your pet and keep it overnight if necessary. They may even deliver the pet to your address in Hawaii.



Pet moving companies

  • There are a few carriers, like Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Sun Country, that still allow brachycephalic breeds to fly in cargo.

  • I used United Cargo so my experience was really good. Their number at United Petsafe is (800)-575-3335. United has since banned 20+ breeds starting Jun 16, 2018. They can also give you information on crate restrictions and the process to drop off the pet and where to drop it off. You can also find info on their site https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/animals/petsafe.aspx. To drop my dog off I needed 2 hours drop off which means I did not schedule my own flight the same day! So my husband flew first, then I shipped the dog and then I flew last. Also the crate is hard to move around. My dog was 53lbs plus a 25lb crate is kind of hard to do on your own. United had carts for you to use but check with your airline. They also told me there can be no food or water, no blanket, no collar or leash, in the crate. I believe they fed my dog through the crate door both water and food.

4) You'll need your most recent health certificate at drop off the pet at the airlines. Also the Animal Quarantine told me that since one of my Rabies vaccinations did not have a wet signature that I would need it listed on the Health certificate. So I made sure the vet who issued it knew what to put.  

  • Health certificate must be issued within 10 days of flight. You can make that appointment when you get your fly date.

Picking up your pet at Honolulu airport 

Make sure you give the animal quarantine at least 1 hour to pick up the pet from the airline when it lands so they can bring it to the facility for processing.

Directions to Airport pickup

When you arrive at the airport follow the signs to “Interisland”, baggage claim A area, then take a right at the Ewa Service road (big yellow sign). The quarantine office is located on the left side of the street. There was no parking when I went so I ended up double parking in front of a fire hydrant. The office itself, is just a double door that has a secured entry and you must ring the bell and wait for a person to buzz you in. Because there are limited handlers sometimes you will wait outside in the hot sun until someone comes in and lets you in. They tell you on the website you need all this paperwork for pick up but they didn’t need anything except my ID card. If you are coming in a rental car make sure the crate can fit the car. For my large crate I needed an SUV hatchback. They did not assist me to lift the crate into the car but they pushed the cart out with the crate up to the car. Their rule is that you cannot let your pet out on airport property, so I drove to the cell phone parking lot to let my dog out of the crate.

Here is a link to the google map https://goo.gl/maps/c8zBFEQAGHm


Thanks for reading and please share your experiences with me on my FB group, HAWAII MILITARY LIFE, so we can help others. I mainly post Local Hawaii events and information in that group. And if you are retiring or transitioning, please join our HAWAII MILITARY RETIRED VETERANS LIFE Facebook group.

HAWAII MILITARY LIFE is a recently created FB group. We try to look for a lot of FREE events or discounts for Military. We also post PCS info, buying a car, pet info, BAH, and anything related to Military command events in Hawaii. This group is NOT FOR PROFIT so we are REAL DoD families helping each other. You can search through our Facebook site using key words on the left column. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1483172141727626/