The United States Centers for Disease Control put a dog travel ban into place in July 2021, affecting dogs traveling from high-risk rabies countries. The ban applies to dogs trying to travel into the United States without proper documentation of an up-to-date rabies vaccine. The CDC has since updated the travel restrictions, and this post covers the updates.
Reason for the Travel Ban
The CDC imposed the ban to prevent the spread of rabies in the United States. Rabies is harmful to animals and humans, yet there have been no cases of dog rabies since 2007. The CDC identified an increased risk of rabies from certain countries in early 2021 and instated the ban to keep dogs without an adequate vaccination against rabies from traveling into the United States and potentially endangering animals and humans.
How the Ban Works
Under the dog travel ban, dog owners looking to travel into the United States from a high-risk country for rabies need a CDC Dog Import Permit. To be eligible for a permit, the dog must be at least 6 months old, be microchipped, have a valid rabies certification, and have a negative rabies test. The dog owner must submit all this information to apply for the permit. If the CDC approves the application and grants the travel permit, the dog owner and dog must fly into one of the approved airports with a dog quarantine area.
In December 2021, the CDC revisited the ban and revised restrictions to lift the permit requirement if the dog owner and dog meet certain criteria. The dog must still be at least 6 months old, be microchipped, and have a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccine certificate to travel. They must arrive healthy and to one of the approved ports of entry in the United States.
Implications of the Dog Travel Ban
The dog travel ban and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic have impacted those traveling with dogs. Those traveling internationally have to be concerned with taking COVID-19 tests before and after travel, and those trying to travel with dogs have even more considerations. Traveling with dogs is much more expensive now. Airlines have begun to allow less and less dogs in the cargo holds of the planes, causing an increase in the price for travelers looking to fly their pet into or out of the United States. Moreover, airlines have less flights generally, making it difficult for travelers to coordinate their travel plans with their dogs.
Even if the financial and flight coordination issues are not problematic, dog owners must navigate the dog travel restrictions and ensure they have the right documentation for their dog(s) when traveling. If any of the information is not up-to-date or accurate, they risk the CDC denying their access to the United States. The CDC has not provided any further updates to the dog travel ban, so travelers can expect the ban to remain in the near future. If you are needing to travel to or from a high-risk country with a dog, be sure to review all the requirements to ensure a successful trip with your dog.