Moving To Hawaii

Tips for Moving Your Dog to Maui

Moving Your Dog to Maui

You’ve made the exciting decision to move to Maui, and now you just need to figure out how to bring your pup along for the adventure! If you’re anything like us, your dog is the heart of the family, and it’s important to take them into consideration when making the move to Hawaii. By carefully following the rules and travel guidelines, your sweet pup can join you in paradise!

moving dogs to hawaii

Hawaii is the Only Rabies-Free State in the Nation

As you may have read through your research on moving a dog to Maui, Hawaii is the only state in the nation that is rabies-free. In order to keep it that way, the state has set in place strict rules and guidelines for the protection of our beautiful islands, and the people and animals that live here. Even with the strict quarantine process for animals entering the state, it is possible to take your dog on the same flight to Maui as you, and then take them home with you when you leave the airport. That’s what we did with our dog, and it made the experience much more enjoyable for us.

Gracie enjoying the view as we left Minnesota!

Gracie’s Adventure Moving to Hawaii

The move from Minnesota to Maui would be a monumental one, and didn’t want our dog Gracie (who’d never flown before) to endure two lengthy flights across the country. We decided it would be best for Gracie, as well as memorable and educational for our four children, to see the beauty of our country by taking a week-long road trip from Minnesota to California.

We took in all of the sights along the way, visiting Mount Rushmore, going horseback riding in the mountains of Wyoming, being awestruck at the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, seeing the Hoover Dam, and exploring the majestic Grand Canyon. Once we got to California, we dropped our car off at the shipping dock and got ready to board the flight to Maui! We chose Alaska Airlines as they would allow Gracie to fly in the cabin with us since she’s only 15 pounds and could fit in the carrier under the seat.

The quickest way to get your dog to Maui is through the Direct Airport Release. Both the Maui Humane Society and the West Maui Animal Clinic are APPROVED by the State of Hawaii Quarantine Division to inspect animals at the Kahului Airport for Direct Release to the owner. We used the West Maui Animal Clinic and they were wonderful! The staff helped to create a stress-free arrival for Gracie. Please read more about the Maui Animal Clinic Direct Airport Release or Maui Humane Society Direct Airport Release.

When Should Planning Begin?

The Maui Humane Society recommends that you start making preparations 4 to 6 months in advance of your travel date due to specific vaccination and blood testing protocols. We used the West Maui Animal Clinic and highly recommend contacting someone directly to walk you through the process. They helped answer all of our questions and made sure our paperwork was filled out correctly, alleviating any headaches that might occur during the somewhat daunting process. I recommend reading up on the State of Hawaii’s Rules and Guidelines and speaking to your local veterinarian. Our vet was very aware of Hawaii’s stringent rules and made sure we were following the recommended timelines to keep us on track.

girl with dog sitting on the beach

Beach time!

Living Her Best Life

Today, Gracie is loving her island lifestyle with sunny walks and frequent golf cart rides. Please reach out if you have questions about Maui real estate, moving to Maui, or moving with children or dogs. I’d be happy to meet you and share my experiences!



About the Author

Stefanie Hegrenes

Stefanie Hegrenes is a REALTOR Salesperson with Hawai'i Life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Stefanie and her husband decided to make Maui home after years of dreaming of an island life for them and their four young children. She enjoys helping others realize their dreams and is grateful to call the beautiful island of Maui home. You can email me at or via phone at (808) 214-8114.

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October 26, 2021

Hi Stefanie,
My name is Alan Zins, and I live in Scottsdale Arizona. I would like to find a place for myself and my small dog that we could stay in during the summer and hopefully rent out in the winter. Do you think you might be able to help with this please feel free to write back or you can call me at 301-229-5155. Thank you very much I appreciate your help.

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