County Directory of Information & Services | Public Alerts | Public Information | County Contact Information

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health logo

Veterinary Public Health
photo of part of downtown Los Angeles


Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
Adobe Reader
Get Adobe Reader icon
Note: PDF documents on this site were created using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 or later. If you are using an earlier version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (4.x or less), document functionality may be reduced.
Importing or Exporting a Dog or Cat


What you need to know about importing a pet into the United States (US):



  • Dogs need to be healthy. A health certificate is not legally required to enter the US, but is STRONGLY recommended. However, some airlines may require a health certificate to transport your pet.


  • Dogs require an up-to-date rabies vaccination certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian, showing they were vaccinated at least 30 days prior to entry into the US. If your dog has not been vaccinated against rabies (i.e. it’s too young to vaccinate or coming from a rabies free country), it may be placed under quarantine after arrival. 


  • If your dog is placed under quarantine in Los Angeles County:

    • The importer must provide a confinement address to CDC upon the dog's arrival (e.g. where the owner will be able to quarantine the dog, usually its new home).

    • It will be under quarantine at that location until 30 days (1 month) after rabies vaccination. Discuss rabies vaccination age with your veterinarian.

    • There will be two health inspections of your dog, one at the beginning of quarantine and one at the end of quarantine.

    • The dog cannot leave the quarantine site (except to see the veterinarian) and cannot have any contact with other animals or people outside the immediate caregiver.

    • If you have other questions, please contact our office at 213-989-7060.


  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the federal agency in charge of dog importation. Click here to visit their page about dog importations.



  • Cats need to be healthy. A health certificate is not legally required, but is STRONGLY recommended. However, some airlines may require a health certificate to transport your pet


  • Cats do not need rabies vaccines to enter the United States. Some states and cities require cats to be vaccinated against rabies. Check with the authorities at your final destination to determine whether your cat needs to be vaccinated against rabies.


What you need to know about exporting a pet from the United States:


  • Have your pet examined by a veterinarian to ensure they are healthy enough to travel. Some airlines and countries may require a health certificate from your veterinarian.


  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the federal agency in charge of pet export. Click here to visit the USDA pet exportation website.


  • The requirements for travelling with pets may be different for each country. Check the USDA’s website and work with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is legally ready to travel to the country of final destination. Click here for a link to USDA’s website about international regulations. Please note that this process may need to be initiated 6 months before the trip, depending on the destination country's requirements.


For other tips about traveling with your pet, check out these websites:



If you would like to know more about issues with puppies imported through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), click here. pdf icon


Click here to read the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on live animal imports.


 Last updated: 02/14/2014

Los Angeles County Seal: Enriching lives through effective and caring services