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“Bringing the dog along on a family vacation is a no-brainer for many people, and luckily, there are some pet-friendly rentals in Maui for you to enjoy with your four-legged family member. However, bringing the family dog to Hawaii isn’t as simple as finding a pet-friendly beach house and leaving it at that. A happy vacation with Fido requires some careful consideration and planning.

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Getting Dogs into Hawaii

As an island chain that currently doesn’t have any known instances of rabies, the State of Hawaii is very protective about which dogs are allowed to enter the state. Pets must be inspected upon entry to Maui and, if they pass inspection, can be directly released the same day. The Maui Humane Society performs these inspections at the Kahului International Airport, meaning if you have a direct flights into Maui, you can have your pets inspected at the airport. When flying into Oahu first, you may need to arrange an inspection at that airport.

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To pass inspection, dogs must have had two rabies vaccinations no more than 30 days apart, with the second vaccination given no later than three months prior to entry into Hawaii. This means that you definitely must plan ahead for vacations if you want to bring your dogs with you. Pets must also come with a blood test that shows the vaccine was effective, and they must also be microchipped. This means that animals generally must be at least nine months old to gain entry to Maui.

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If this isn’t possible, you should not plan to bring your dogs. Owners who can’t provide valid proof of vaccination will have to leave their dogs in quarantine at the airport. This is a potentially stressful situation that could be very upsetting if you planned a nice vacation with your furry pal, so you should call ahead to the Maui Humane Society to make sure you understand the requirements for entry.

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Having Fun on the Island

Dogs that do pass muster and qualify for direct release can enjoy many parts of Hawaii, including several parks where they’re not allowed past the high-tide line and many others where dogs can go all the way up to the water. However, dogs must be leashed at any of these parks, so an off-leash romp is not an option.

If you don’t want to jump through these kinds of hoops and would rather leave your dogs at home, you don’t have to go without four-legged companionship on Maui. The Maui Humane Society offers temporary doggie friendship through the Beach Buddies Visitor Program, which allows visitors to “borrow” a shelter dog for a day of outdoor fun in the sun.”