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Traveling With Pets? 5 Laws You Should Know

Dog on an airplane
By A.J. Firstman | Last updated on
Traveling with pets? There are some laws you should know about. For many of us, our furry (or fur-less) little friends are not only that -- they're family. It's not uncommon to want to bring all of our loved ones with us when we jet off, or gas up our cars, to travel somewhere. Summer is quickly approaching, and many long weekends are ahead of us. This means even more excuses to explore a new place or just take a break somewhere away from home. Here are some pet laws that you may want to know about before you start packing:
  1. Quarantines. If you are flying, you may need to quarantine your pet first. Many foreign countries, and states -- Hawaii in particular -- have strict rules on pet quarantines, which can sometimes last as long as 120 days. There are ways to avoid this, however. Some requirements include confirming vaccinations and presenting a health certificate; you'll want to check the rules and regulations for your destination.
  2. Pet harnesses. Not flying, but hitting the open road? While it is common to see pets hanging out in the back of one's car or the bed of their truck, this is actually illegal (and very unsafe) in many states, according to the ASPCA. In some places, officers can fine you if your pet isn't properly harnessed while you drive. Special harnesses for pets can be purchased. Why shouldn't they be? If it is crucial that your child and other human family members are properly strapped in, you should do the same for your pets.
  3. Breed-specific animal laws. Make sure you do your research before you bring your pup to a new state -- especially if your pup is a pit bull or another breed commonly deemed "dangerous" by lawmakers. Laws that prohibit or require insurance for specific breeds, known as breed-specific legislation, vary by state (and even locality). Again, you'll want to check the laws in the places you'll be visiting to prevent any problems.
  4. Bringing an animal back into the United States? Did you just fall in love with a sweet little monkey while traveling abroad and want to bring him back home with you? Think again, because there are many types of animals that are forbidden from being imported into the country, the CDC reminds us. This does include monkeys, unfortunately. African rodents, as well. Make sure you check, because certain animals may just require extra paperwork and permits, as opposed to being strictly prohibited.
  5. Vaccinations required. In addition to the rabies vaccine, there may be other vaccinations that are required for your traveling pet. Make sure you consult with your vet, because disease control is one of the primary concerns out there when it comes to traveling with animals.
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