How to Bring a Pet into Florida in 2024

How to Bring a Pet into Florida in 2024

Are you planning a trip to the beaches of Miami with your furry friend or have you purchased real estate in Florida determined to move the whole family including pets? Read our guide to learn the rules for bringing animals into this state.


What animals can be brought into the US?

You can bring a cat, a dog, a ferret, a hedgehog, a hamster and other rodents, a turtle, a parrot, as well as a number of other pets into the United States. There are its own rules for each type of animal, which you should look at in advance. Those who are planning to buy an apartment in Florida should also check the rules of the local community about keeping animals in apartments beforehand. Homeowner associations are a serious business in Florida, and violations of established residency rules can result in significant fines. Not all development projects in Florida allow pets.

How to Bring a Pet into Florida in 2023

How to bring a dog into Florida in 2024

Depending on which country the dog is coming from, the rules for importing the animal vary slightly. The easiest way to import a pet is from European countries: these countries are considered rabies-free. All countries of the former USSR, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries are on the list of territories that are at risk of spreading the rabies virus. To bring a dog from these countries to Florida, you will need:

  • A certificate of veterinary inspection confirming that your pet is healthy and able to travel. This certificate must be completed within ten days of the departure.
  • Proof of boarding for the animal issued by the air carrier.
  • An ISO-compatible microchip.
  • Proof of rabies vaccination from all countries affected by rabies. Puppies cannot be vaccinated if they are less than three months old, but must be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to travel. Under the new rules, introduced March 1, 2023, if the puppy enters from a high-rabies country, it must be at least six months old. NB! You must have a CDC (Center for Disease Control) rabies vaccination and microchip record.
  • Adequate rabies serology test results drawn at least 45 days before the date of importation and not more than one year before it. Without these test results, you must make a reservation for a quarantine at an approved animal care facility in advance.
  • Additional vaccinations include distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and Bordetella.
  • Certificates and a standard veterinary passport in English, which the owner will receive at the airport in exchange for a health certificate issued by the veterinary clinic.
  • If you plan to import more than three dogs, additional certificates and steps will be required.

How to bring a cat into the US

To bring a cat from abroad, you will need similar documents to those that you need to obtain when importing a dog. Do you want your beloved fur baby to make you feel comfortable in your new house in Florida? Start preparing for the trip at least one and a half to two months before departure. The animal will need a microchip and a certificate of vaccination against rabies and other diseases, a standard international veterinary passport, which you will receive at the airport in exchange for a health certificate issued by the veterinary clinic, as well as antiparasitic treatment, certain test results, and an ISO-compatible microchip. Rabies vaccination must occur after microchip implantation, so it is better to implant the microchip in the kitten about two months before the trip.

A kitten must be at least four months old to be boarded on a flight to the US. You need to clarify the specific rules of transportation with the airline: they may differ and depend not only on the size and weight of the animal, but also on its breed. Cats of flat-faced breeds (Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, and British Shorthairs) are not allowed on some airlines or are allowed under additional conditions.

Air carriers often require very large cats to be checked in as baggage. However, if you are willing to pay for a first-class ticket, the size requirements for a cat are often relaxed.

How to Bring a Pet into Florida in 2023

Airplane-friendly pet carriers

It is very important to prepare the animal in advance for a long flight, as well as to choose a comfortable and strong carrier. Carriers that you can take with you to the cabin are usually limited to 35 by 25 cm. It can be a cage or a crate. It is worth putting your pet’s favourite home toy in there so that it feels less anxious. Veterinarians also advise to give the animal a sedative beforehand.

Airport staff may ask you to remove the animal from the carrier to x-ray the carrier. Once the animal has been checked and weighed, the passenger will receive a boarding pass.

Bringing other animals into Florida

Importation of turtles, parrots, and other exotic animals may require a CITES permit. This treaty regulates the import and transport of endangered species. This must be clarified in advance with the air carrier and on the website of the Florida government, where there are separate sections for different types of animals.

Remember that the owner of the animal is fully responsible for the proper preparation of paperwork. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that a pet with inadequate documents is denied boarding at the last moment, and the owners have to either stay with it or look for kind people who can quickly get to the airport and pick up the animal. To ensure that moving to Florida with your pet goes smoothly, preparing your dog, cat, or other pet for the flight and meeting with US customs officials should begin long before the travel date!

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