Moving to Hawaii with Your Pet: The 5-Day-or-Less Program

My dog Kirra has brought to light a common misconception that many people have about moving to Hawaii with your pet. To clarify and justify my sanity, although I do have the occasional one-sided conversation with Kirra, she is not able to speak English and did not tell me the aforementioned with her own lips.

phot 1 Kirra helps build a sandcastle

Kirra loves her Hawaii Life!

You see, living in paradise with a dog seems to make you more approachable, and Kirra is no exception. Whether we are running the beach at Secrets or sharing waves in Hanalei Bay, animal-loving tourists seem to gravitate towards us for a quick pet (the pets are reserved for her) and an introduction (although vocal for a dog, the talking is up to me) that generally leads to casual conversation.

Upon realizing Kirra once lived on the mainland, pet owners hoping to one day call Hawaii home are always curious about how I brought her here and the “grueling” quarantine process.

How Does It Work?

Almost 13 years ago, the quarantine law, which once required that you quarantine your dog in Honolulu for up to 120 days, changed for the better. This change is referred to as the “5-day-or-less program” and it generally allows for your animal’s release from the airport within an hour of arrival.  

Preparing your dog for the 5-day-or-less program does take some time and money, but it is worth every penny. From start to finish, the process takes a little over 4 months to complete and requires a few trips to the veterinarian for rabies test, microchip insertion, blood work, and a health certificate.

Note: Due to the minimum amount of time needed to prepare a puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the 5-day-or-less program, a puppy or kitten will be about 10 months of age by the time the preparations are completed.


North Shore, Kauai, Hawaii

The following website outlines the checklist necessary in making your pet’s arrival and subsequent release quite seamless: Checklist For 5-Day-or-Less Program.

The Hawaii Animal Qurantine Station can be reached at:

Each airline has different policies and parameters for traveling with your pets. Weight restrictions and costs also vary between carriers. If you would like to fly directly to an outer island airport (Lihue, Kona, or Kahului) for direct release, a program is now available.

Here are a few helpful links outlining some of the major airlines’ current policies:

Paws in Paradise

The State of Hawaii is one of the most dog-friendly states I have ever encountered and Kauai has become somewhat of a fountain of youth for Kirra. Whether it’s hiking one of the countless mountain trails, stand-up paddling down a river to swim under a waterfall, or surfing in Hanalei Bay, Kirra has yet to complain about her life in paradise. But, then again, who would listen if she did?

Beach day Kirra's evening glide...

The State of Hawaii is very dog-friendly

If you have any questions about moving your dog to Hawaii, or about Kauai real estate opportunities, please contact me.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Moving to Hawaii with Your Pet: The 5-Day-or-Less Program”

  1. Carol Andrews
    May 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    This is a fantastic article. I am excited to pass alng to my Buyer’s who are in this very same predicament.I especialy Love the photos of Kirra~

  2. Judy Shiroma
    May 10, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Great information! Love the photos of Kirra!

  3. Liz
    June 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Hi! Thank you so much for your article. I am possibly moving to HI and I have a dog, this was so helpful. I was wondering 2 things: first, did you have to put Kirra in the baggage area of the plane and if so, how did she react? Second, (since you are a realtor) are pet friendly apartment rentals reasonably easy to find?
    Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.