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New CDC Pet Travel Requirements Starting August 1, 2024: What Imperial County Residents Need to Know

Starting August 1, 2024, the CDC has implemented new requirements for bringing dogs into the United States. These regulations are particularly important for Imperial County residents who frequently seek veterinary services in Mexico. The new rules aim to prevent the reintroduction of dog rabies into the U.S. and ensure the health and safety of both pets and the public.


Understanding the New Requirements


General Requirements for All Dogs:
  1. Health Check: Dogs must appear healthy upon arrival in the U.S.

  2. Age Requirement: Dogs must be at least six months old.

  3. Microchipping: Dogs must have an ISO-compatible microchip.

  4. Documentation: Dogs must be accompanied by a CDC Dog Import Form online submission receipt. (available beginning July 15, 2024)


Additional Requirements Based on Origin:
  • Dogs from Rabies-Free or Low-Risk Countries:

  • Must have written documentation proving they have resided in rabies-free or low-risk countries for the six months prior to U.S. entry.

  • U.S.-Vaccinated Dogs from High-Risk Countries:

  • Must have a Certification of U.S.-issued Rabies Vaccination form. (Click HERE for the form. Click HERE for form instructions)

  • Can enter at any U.S. port.

  • Foreign-Vaccinated Dogs from High-Risk Countries:

  • Must have a reservation at a CDC-registered Animal Care Facility.

  • Must have a Certification of Foreign Rabies Vaccination and Microchip form.

  • Must have titer results from a CDC-approved laboratory or undergo a 28-day quarantine.

  • Can only enter through airports with CDC quarantine stations and registered Animal Care Facilities.


Note: Mexico is not listed as a high-risk country for dog rabies. Therefore, dogs traveling from Mexico do not need the additional requirements for high-risk countries but still need to meet the general requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What if my dog was vaccinated in Mexico?

A: Since Mexico is not a high-risk country, you will need to ensure your dog meets the general requirements: healthy appearance, at least six months old, microchipped, and accompanied by a CDC Dog Import Form online submission receipt.


Q: What happens if my dog doesn't have titer results?

A: Titer results are only required for dogs from high-risk countries. Since Mexico is not high-risk, titer results are not necessary.


Q: Can my dog enter through any airport?

A: Yes, dogs from non-high-risk countries like Mexico can enter through any U.S. port of entry as long as they meet the general requirements.


Q: How do I obtain the CDC Dog Import Form?

A: The CDC Dog Import Form will be available online starting July 15, 2024. You must complete and submit it before traveling.


Q: What should I do if my dog’s vaccination is close to expiring?

A: Ensure your dog’s rabies vaccination is current and valid at least 28 days before entry into the U.S.


Q: What if I am only traveling for a short time to visit family, for a short vacation, or just for the day? Do I still need to follow the requirements?

A: Yes, you still need to follow the requirements, regardless of the duration of your trip. The CDC's new regulations apply to all dogs entering the United States, regardless of how long they were outside the country. Whether you're going for a short visit, a day trip, or a vacation, the following requirements must be met:


Actionable Steps for Imperial County Residents


  1. Plan Ahead: Check the CDC guidelines and ensure your dog's vaccinations and documents are up-to-date.

  2. Schedule Vet Visits: If seeking veterinary services in Mexico, make sure to get the necessary vaccinations and documentation well in advance.

  3. Microchip Your Dog: Ensure your dog has an ISO-compatible microchip for identification.

  4. Complete the CDC Dog Import Form: Available online from July 15, 2024. Submit this form before traveling.

  5. Book Necessary Appointments: Make reservations at a CDC-registered Animal Care Facility if your dog is vaccinated in a high-risk country. (This only applies to dogs that have been vaccinated in a country outside of the United States, Mexico, and Canada that has been determined to be at high risk for rabies.)

  6. Stay Informed: Keep up with any updates on the CDC website to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.


Summary of Requirements:

  • Ensure your dog is healthy, at least six months old, and microchipped.

  • Obtain the CDC Dog Import Form receipt.

  • Dogs from high-risk countries need specific documentation and potentially a reservation at a CDC-registered facility.

  • Follow the guidelines based on your dog's vaccination status and country of origin.


By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free process when bringing your dog back to the United States. For more detailed information, visit the CDC’s official page on animal importation.


Understanding these new regulations and preparing in advance will help Imperial County residents avoid delays and complications when seeking veterinary care across the border.

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