PCS'ing to Oahu With Your Pet Family

Aloha and Congratulations! You’re moving to Hawaii! PCS’ing to Oahu with your fur babies, or canine babies as we affectionately call them, can be a daunting task. It’s a very involved process, but if you follow the process and be proactive, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips and helpful links to ease your mind and make the transition a breeze for all.


Shelby & Roxy, Photo courtesy of Laurie Kasten

Hawaii is the only state that is rabies-free and they go to great lengths to keep it that way. So get familiar with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and more specifically the Animal Industry Division’s website, and be sure you know which pets are permitted and prohibited to travel into the State.

Quick Guide

Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind while planning the move:

All pets handle the quarantine process different, know your pet. If you’re thinking, “Wait, what? Quarantine?” Yes, quarantine. Good news – there are three different programs that will satisfy these requirements! If you, your spouse, or a family member have time to wait out the quarantine period where you currently live, that is extremely advisable!

The three choices are:

1. Complete the 4 month quarantine period in a facility on Oahu (shortest timeframe on the mainland and longest quarantine period on Oahu).

2. Complete the 5-day-or-less program (a longer wait on the mainland and 5 days or less in quarantine on Oahu).

3. Choose the direct airport release program (longest timeframe on the mainland and no quarantine time on Oahu).

My husband and I opted for the direct airport release program; we know our dogs would not be comfortable in a quarantine station. Whichever option you choose is the best for your family and your fur baby you should print out a copy of this informational brochure and checklist to use as a guide to get you through the process.


Kai, Photo courtesy of Laurie Kasten

Find a veterinarian where you currently live. If you don’t have a vet, be sure to pick one you can work with and one that communicates well. If you live on or around a military installation, opt for the military vet as they tend to be more knowledable of the process and the very strict guidelines. However, if you are stationed in a remote area, like we where in Southern Maine, then bring the informational packet with you to meet the vet and discuss the process. Now is the time to develop a great working relationship with your veterinarian.

Understand the vaccinations, OIE-FAVN blood test, and microchip requirements. This is where the relationship and communication with your vet will be absolutely crucial to execute the plan. Forms and rabies certificates must be filled out with great detail. And the timing of vaccinations is also very important, pay close attention to time lapse requirements. After the blood sample is drawn and submitted to one of the two approved testing facilities, contact your vet’s office in about 3-5 weeks for the results. In order to be a “go” your pet’s levels must be greater than or equal to 0.5IU/ml. If “no go” you must discuss with your veterinarian how to proceed.

Booking travel to Oahu. All airlines have different pet policies and handling procedures. It’s best to inquire with the airlines directly, either via their website or telephone, to learn more about specific policies and procedures. While selecting an air carrier you’ll want to consider the type of pet, weight of pet, and breed of pet all before you begin mapping out your pet’s journey. You will also want to consider the kennel your pet will travel in. When booking your pet’s flight, it’s always best to book with an agent, not online, too many things could go wrong. And finally, make sure your flight arrives in Honolulu at least one hour prior to close of the quarantine station.

*Note: there are strict airline rules regarding transport of Brachycephalic or “snub nose” cats and dogs.*

Import forms, health certificate, and payment. Here is the link for the import forms. You will need one per pet if travelling with multiple pets. If you are opting for direct release, your import forms, health certificates, and payment must be submitted no less than 10 days prior to your pet’s arrival.

Mail forms and payment certified to:

Animal Quarantine Station
99-951 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701

Just a few things to consider on moving day. Have a copy of all the documents you mailed to the Animal Quarantine Station on your person or in a plastic envelope adhered to the side of the kennel. Make sure your pet is fed, pottied, and comfortable. Get to the airport in plenty of time, usually four hours ahead of time.

Once the flight has touched down in Honolulu, you or a representative will collect your pet from baggage claim. The animal must stay in the kennel and be transported to the quarantine holding facility, which is open 24 hours, however, if your pet needs to be inspected for direct release you must arrive within the hours of 0800 – 1500 Mon – Fri. The inspectors are there until 1700 hours, however, can not guarantee your pet will be inspected prior to closing; air on the side of caution and have the flight arrive NLT 1500 hours.

Here is a link for the map of the Honolulu airport, so you will know how to get from baggage claim to the holding facility.

Take a deep breath, your fur baby made it.


Gato Cruz, Photo courtesy of Laurie Kasten

Military Veterinarian Clinics on Oahu

Installation                Building Number                Phone Number

Fort Shafter                   435                                808-433-2271
Schofield Barracks         936                          808-655-5889/5893
JB PH/H                        1864                               808-449-6481
MCBH-Kaneohe             455                                808-257-3643

Have Questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and I will answer your questions and help make the transition for you and your pets as smooth as possible.

Mahalo for your service and sacrifice.
Aloha, E Komo Mai

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