Whether you are traveling to Puerto Rico on vacation or as a family move, Puerto Rico now has new importation rules for dogs (and cats). If you fail to follow the rules, your dog will be returned to the US mainland at your expense.
What Are the New Rules for Bringing a Dog to Puerto Rico?
According to the updated regulations, pet owners are required to coordinate with a veterinarian accredited in the United States to conduct a thorough examination of their pets and issue an interstate health certificate.
Not just any veterinary office will be able to issue the certificate. Walter M. Woolf, founding veterinarian of Air Animal Pet Movers, notes, “Not all veterinarians hold USDA accreditation. Setting up a veterinary appointment for a pet can be tough without guidance from the pet’s regular veterinarian or an experienced pet shipper.”
Steps for Entering Puerto Rico with Your Dog
Before your trip, you’ll need to take specific steps–in the correct time period–to allow entry of your dog (or cat) into Puerto Rico. These include:
- Microchip the pet for identification.
- Ensure the rabies vaccination was administered no more than 6 months before entry. This rabies certificate must accompany the pet.
- Book an appointment with an accredited United States veterinarian to obtain the interstate health certificate. The appointment must take place no more than 72 hours before arrival in Puerto Rico. USDA endorsement is not required.
- Ensure the pet has received an external parasite treatment no more than 72 hours before entry. The veterinarian must record the treatment on the health certificate.
- Dogs should receive the following vaccinations: DA2PPL/DAPPL (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis). Cats should receive FVRCP (feline rhinotracheitis, calcivirus, and panleukopenia) vaccinations.
- Different regulations apply for birds, exotic pets and all pets from other countries.
If you are moving to Puerto Rico, you’ll want to locate a local veterinarian. “Pet parents should always register with a local veterinarian in their new locale to keep their pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. Veterinarians typically send reminder notices when vaccinations are due. If another move is in their future, they will be ready,” Woolf added.