The Big Island is a GREAT place for pets! Say goodbye to sleepily struggling into snow boots and a winter coat at 3 a.m. to take the dog out…and hello to long walks on the beach, large yards, and contented kitties with a whole new display of tropical birds to monitor from the window!Photo: Kikuko Nakayama.
Another plus: the Big Island is completely rabies-free, so you can relax knowing your much-loved pet will likely never be infected. (More on this in a minute.)
But before you prepare your pet family for the big move to the Big Island, there are a few essential things you need to know.
Unfortunately, the process of relocating your pets to Hawaii can be daunting. But life on the Big Island will be well worth it for your whole family (including your pet family!). That’s especially true if you’re prepared and armed with all the necessary info.
Feel free to ask me any additional questions you have about relocating your pets—many of my clients understandably have concerns and I have plenty of experience aiding their transition.
Is Your Pet Allowed to be Imported to Hawaii?
First, check with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to make sure your pet can be legally brought into Hawaii at all.
If your pet is a dog, cat, or other common domestic animal, you shouldn’t have a problem. But some other species, like certain birds and fish, for example, are prohibited on the Big Island.
Check this link for more info about which breeds and animal species are prohibited.
Rabies and Mandatory Quarantine
As I mentioned above, the Big Island is totally rabies-free. But this continued protection does come at some inconvenience for new residents and their pets.
All incoming animals must undergo a mandatory rabies quarantine, which lasts anywhere from 5 to 120 days, depending on the individual case.
If your pet meets all of the necessary requirements—including up-to-date vaccinations, microchips for identification purposes, and a pre-screened blood tests that prove the presence of sufficient rabies antibodies—you may qualify for the 5-day quarantine. This costs $224 per pet.
After at least two days at the Honolulu Airport (the only airport through which your animals can arrive), and an inspection, your pet can be released to a certified Big Island satellite quarantine, where you can visit him or her more easily.
For more information, please see the Hawaii Animal Industry Division’s FAQ page.
If your pet does not meet the necessary requirements, they must be quarantined at the airport holding facility for 6 months. As you would imagine, this can be a rough experience for both pet and owner—and it costs over $1000.
That’s why it’s essential that you be prepared before you make your move to the Big Island.
Why Should I Move to the Big Island?
Okay, so all of this sounds a little stressful, right?
But your pets will thank you when the bags are unpacked, they’re returned to your side, and your stress starts melting away as your family begins the dream of making every day a vacation on the Big Island!