New CDC Rules for Traveling with Dogs to the U.S.

by Alice

As of Wednesday, new government regulations mandate that all dogs entering the U.S. from other countries must meet specific criteria to prevent the spread of rabies.

Outlined in the federal register, these rules stipulate that dogs must be at least 6 months old and microchipped, serving to verify rabies vaccination. Vaccination is compulsory for dogs originating from countries where rabies is prevalent, including those brought in by breeders, rescue groups, or accompanying their U.S. owners.


Emily Pieracci, a rabies expert at the CDC, emphasized the necessity of these regulations in addressing current challenges.


Effective August 1, the regulations replace a temporary 2021 order and necessitate compliance with additional requirements. These include the completion of a CDC import form and potential supplementary measures based on the dog’s recent whereabouts, such as blood testing from CDC-approved labs.


Updating regulations last revised in 1956, Pieracci noted significant shifts in international pet travel and the rise of overseas pet operations. Annually, approximately 1 million dogs enter the U.S., highlighting the need for updated protocols.

Though the U.S. has largely eradicated canine rabies, concerns persist regarding incomplete or fraudulent vaccination certificates and the entry of inadequately vaccinated puppies. Since 2015, four rabid dogs have been identified entering the U.S., prompting heightened scrutiny.

The updated regulations have drawn varied responses. Angela Passman, a pet relocation specialist, supports the measures, acknowledging the additional responsibilities they entail for pet owners. Conversely, Jennifer Skiff of Animal Wellness Action argues that some changes are excessive and costly, particularly affecting diplomatic and military personnel relocating with their pets.

Ultimately, these regulations aim to ensure the safety of both animals and humans, reinforcing measures to prevent the reintroduction of canine rabies into the U.S.



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