Pet Import and Export


Interstate Requirements

Requirements for bringing dogs, cats, ferrets, and other small animals (e.g., rabbits, chinchillas, hedgehogs, and other small mammals) into Washington State are under the authority of WAC 16-54-170. See additional information at: Small Animal Import | Washington State Department of Agriculture. Note that rescue pets or pets being rehomed are subject to additional requirements. Additionally, ​Washington State does not offer any exemptions to rabies vaccination for dogs, cats and ferrets that are older than 90 days of age. Contact Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) - Animal Health Program at 360-902-1878 with questions on import requirements for pets.

International Requirements

Pets coming into Washington from outside the United States must meet federal and state (WAC 16-54-170) import requirements.


USDA APHIS | Bringing a Pet INTO the U.S. From Another Country (Import)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Bringing an Animal into U.S. | Importation | CDC

Animals regulated by the CDC include dogs, cats, turtles, monkeys, bats, birds from specified countries, civets, and African rodents. Other species may be regulated by other agencies.


Pets traveling to another state or foreign country must meet requirements specific to that destination.

From Washington State to another state in the United States

Contact the Destination State Veterinarian's office for additional requirements. International Requirements


I'm importing a pet that's not old enough for its rabies vaccination. What should I know?

Unvaccinated pets that enter from another state will have to be vaccinated against rabies when they are old enough, according to state requirements. Keep your pet confined at home until its first rabies vaccination, and then for another 30 days to allow time for the vaccination to take effect and give full protection to your pet.

I'm adopting a rescue pet from outside the state. What should I know?

Some people are buying and selling dogs and cats that have been imported illegally, including rescue pets. Importation of animals for adoption by any person or organization must comply with all state and federal regulations. If you intend to adopt a cat or dog – adopt only from a reputable rescue organization. The rescue organization should be open to answering your questions and willing to share all information on the animal's current health and history. Many states and countries have diseases that don’t occur in Washington and could be a risk for your new pet. Be sure paperwork lists where the animal is coming from and where it is going. Visit a veterinarian right away with your new pet to confirm its age; check that the rabies vaccination certificate is complete, accurate, and information has not been falsified; and complete a thorough exam. Learn more, see WSDA's What to Know When Rescuing a Pet in Washington State.

What is considered a “valid” rabies vaccination certificate?

When traveling, you may be asked to show “proof” that your pet is immunized against rabies. Always carry a copy of your pet's current, valid rabies vaccination certificate with you. Before leaving on your trip, make sure the certificate is complete and valid. Rabies vaccination certificate should include:

  • Name and address of owner
  • Breed, sex, color, markings and other identifying information for the pet
  • Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
  • Date the vaccination expires
  • Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination

Learn more from CDC on what is a valid rabies vaccination certificate necessary for international travel.

Do airlines have other requirements?

Airlines have their own rules on whether and how a pet can travel. Contact your airline to learn what pets and types of confinement satisfies their requirements and restrictions. For more information on how to fly with your pet, see CDC's Tips on Traveling with Pets and AVMA's Transporting Animals-Basic Requirements and Considerations.