CDC issues new dog import requirements


The new federal import requirements will be in effect on August 1, 2024

Volha Krayeva/

Volha Krayeva/

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has updated its dog and cat importation regulations. The goal of the updated guidelines is to continue to ensure that the United States remains free from canine rabies.

“The regulation more closely aligns with the World Organization for Animal Health’s standards for the international movement of dogs from countries with a high risk of dog rabies. Furthermore, it addresses recent challenges seen with international dog importations, such as fraudulent documentation and dogs housed in unsafe conditions if they didn’t meet requirements for entry to the United States,” the CDC shared in its statement about the updated guidelines.1

In 2021, the CDC temporarily suspended the importation of dogs from over 100 countries that were considered high risk for rabies transmission after concerns regarding the introduction of a dog-maintained rabies virus variant and the risk it poses to the public’s health. Before the suspension, approximately 1 million dogs were imported to the United States annually, and a certificate of rabies vaccinations was required if the dogs were coming from a high-risk country, but not for dogs coming from low-risk countries.2

The updated guidelines now require dogs:1

  • Appear healthy on arrival
  • By at least 6 months old
  • Microchipped
  • Be accompanied by a CDC Dog Import Form online submission receipt 

Some dogs may require additional documentation depending on whether they were vaccinated in the United States or where they lived within 6 months of trying to come into the US. Dogs that were in a high-risk country 6 months before arriving in the United States and have no valid documentation of rabies vaccination issues in the United States are required to arrive via air at a port of entry with a CDC-registered animal care facility (ACF).

Dogs entering the country must also have a reservation at an ACT before arriving and have a valid rabies titer obtained from a CDC-approved laboratory before arriving or undergo a 28-day quarantine at an ACF upon arrival. There are currently no new requirements for cats unless a cat is found to be ill or dead en route to, or upon arrival, at a US port of entry.

The American Veterinary Medical Association said in an organizational release it has welcomed the updated regulation and was working with Congress on legislation like the Healthy Dog Importation Act to help reduce the number of sick dogs being imported into the US.

“The AVMA continues to support the CDC’s efforts to improve dog importation standards and is pleased to see the implementation of this new rule that will help protect public health and positively impact canine health and welfare,” said Rena Carlson, DVM, AVMA president.2

For anyone traveling, the CDC encourages them to check out its new question-and-answer tool on its website to determine what rules apply to their pet based on where the dog is traveling from, travel dates, and where their dog received its vaccinations.


  1. CDC updates dog importation regulation; New rules will start August 1, 2024. News release. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 8, 2024. Accessed ay 14, 2024.
  2. Dog import requirements strengthened to prevent canine rabies return. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association. May 10, 2024. Accessed May 14, 2024.
Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.