Moving to Hawaii with a Dog: 13 helpful tips

Hawaii is a popular tourist destination, but some people want to put down roots on these beautiful islands. If you’re thinking about moving to Hawaii and bringing along a four-legged friend, there are some changes you’ll need to prepare for. Moving to a tropical island is much different compared to moving across state lines.

Dogs require certain approval processes and there will be lifestyle changes once you get there. Read below to see the 13 tips we have for moving dogs to Hawaii!

1. Make Sure You Can Afford Dog-Friendly Housing

First things first, you need to get your house in order! Hawaii only has a limited area of developed land, and housing doesn’t come cheap. It’s important to plan ahead and make sure that your new home will be suitable for pets. Some apartments won’t allow dogs at all unless they’re certified ESA animals. Do your research and make sure your furry friend will have a place to live once you get to your new home. If you have a particularly active breed, see if you can get a home that has a backyard or a nearby park.

2. Get All The Necessary Documents And Certificates From Your Vet

Transporting a dog to Hawaii is quite different than moving a dog to Texas. There are a lot more procedures and paperwork that you’ll need to file before your dog is cleared to travel out of the country. Hawaii has some high standards that dogs need to meet to ensure that they’re healthy and disease-free. Work with your vet to obtain the necessary forms and get them filed as soon as possible. There will be a bit of processing time, so don’t put this off until the last minute.

3. Make Sure They’re Completely Rabies Free

Hawaii is particularly strict about rabies vaccinations. They are a state that’s completely rabies-free and they want to keep it that way. No one can blame them, and pet owners definitely won’t want their dogs to contract this disease either. Keep an eye on your dog and make sure they’re properly vaccinated for rabies. Hawaii may require them to get a second shot just in case, so make an appointment with your vet and collect all the proper documentation.

4. Choose A Warm-Weather Breed (If Possible)

No surprises here, but Hawaii is a warm place to live! This is a major attraction that has drawn tourists for years. The warm, balmy weather is perfect for a vacation. However, some dogs might not find it quite as enjoyable. Many breeds have developed traits that make them retain as much body heat as possible. Dogs with thick undercoats, such as Huskies or German Shepherds, might be miserable in the heat and humidity of Hawaii. If you’re buying a dog before moving, consider how well the breed will adapt to the climate.

5. Don’t Try To Move With A Puppy Or Pregnant Dog

Hawaii has some restrictions concerning the age and condition of the dogs who are traveling from the mainland. For instance, dogs who are younger than 10 months old may not qualify for travel because they are too young to be neutered/spayed. They also might not have their full vaccinations or enough time to ensure a clean bill of health. Pregnant dogs are also usually a no-go because it can be risky to transport them and it’s basically like bringing a whole family of dogs. Certain unpredictable breeds like wolf mixes are also not allowed to travel.

6. Prepare For A Quarantine Period

Once your dog makes it to Hawaii, the journey still isn’t over. Most incoming dogs have to undergo a quarantine period where they’re examined for any diseases or health issues. This might range from 5-120 days depending on your prep work. It’s possible to bypass or shorten the length of time that your pet needs to be quarantined. To read more about how to shorten this process, read this articleOpens in a new tab.. It basically includes doing extra paperwork and obtaining multiple medical records.

7. Prepare For A Change In Food Choices

Hawaii is a small island nation and they don’t have immediate access to all the products that the mainland U.S. does. That means that you may need to special-order your dog’s food or switch to a different variety that’s available locally. Some dogs don’t adjust well to change, especially if they’re already stressed out from moving. A change in diet can make them sick, so try to transition them to different food before you move. Do your research to discover what types of dog food you’ll have access to and slowly start to mix the new food into their meals.

8. Provide Lots Of Water

Even if you travel with a warm-weather breed, the heat and humidity of Hawaii can make any dog thirsty. Dogs aren’t very good at regulating their body temperature and they need a lot of cool liquids in order to stay properly hydrated. Plus, if you have a slobbery dog, they’ll probably lose a lot of liquid just through panting! Make sure your dog has constant access to clean water and try to take a bowl with you when you go on hikes, beach trips, or other outdoor activities. Don’t forget to stock up on water for yourself too!

9. Be Prepared To Treat Heat Stroke

Sometimes your dog might push themselves a bit too hard or go without water for a long stretch of time. When this happens, they’re at risk for conditions like heat stroke. If your dog is panting or drooling excessively, has reddened gums, or is uncoordinated and lethargic, they might be suffering from heatstroke. To treat this, you should immediately spray your dog with cool water from a hose, or place them in a cold bathtub. Keep their head above water and call your vet immediately. As soon as you can, wrap your dog in cold towels, give them as much water as they’ll drink, and drive them to the vet. For more information about dogs and heatstroke, visit this websiteOpens in a new tab..

10. Create A Temperature-Regulated Home For Them

Even if dogs can handle warm weather, they’ll still need a break to cool down from time to time. Make sure your dog has a safe, temperature-regulated area to retreat to if they get overheated. This might be a kiddy pool in the backyard, an air-conditioned dog house, or just a kennel inside your home. There’s nothing more miserable than being trapped in sweltering heat and your dog needs a break sometimes. Generally, if it’s too hot for you to be outside, it’s too hot for your dog.

11. Get Ready For More Frequent Baths

Hawaii is a beautiful area and it’s full of beaches, hikes, and other places of natural beauty. Unfortunately, this also means that there are more opportunities for your dog to get dirty out in nature. Mud, sand, plants, and other natural debris can easily get stuck in your dog’s fur and paws. To keep your house clean and prevent any infections or cuts, wipe your dog’s feet every time you go inside. You’ll also need to prepare to give your furry friend a lot more baths, especially if they’re the adventurous type.

12. Learn About Dog-Friendly Beaches Near You

Hawaii is covered with beaches. This is one of the major attractions that has made it so popular! But as such, both locals and visitors need to do their part to keep the beaches clean. If you want to take your dog to the beach, make sure you’ve done your research first. There’s nothing worse than cutting a beach day short because your dog isn’t allowed to be there. Be courteous at any beach you visit and make sure to clean up after your dog as well. Even if it is a dog-friendly beach, nobody wants to step in dog poop.

13. Groom Frequently

Finally, your dog might require more regular grooming and upkeep when you move to Hawaii. The warmer weather may cause them to shed more often, and spending time in the humidity can cause pollen, dirt, sand, and other debris to cling to them. Give your dog regular baths and brush them as often as is healthy. This will help reduce hair and allergens in your own home, as well as keep your four-legged friend clean and cool.

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Ashley Wadas

A little bit about me: I'm Ashley, I studied English in college which meant writing a lot! I wouldn't say writing is my favorite thing to do, but I do like writing about places I've lived. I enjoy reading and word puzzles. :)

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