Common Gotchas to Avoid

Avoid these easy (but annoying) oversights as you plan your trip.

Just when you thought you were done...

Many readers of this guide will go to great lengths to avoid sending their furry companion to Hawaii's state quarantine facilities. Unfortunately, even the best planners can overlook things and end up putting their pet's travel into jeopardy.

NOTE: Our online planning tool automatically checks for these and other "gotchas" so that you don't have to think about them. Did we mention it's free? Try it today.

Arriving in Hawaii after 3:30pm

That's right. Upon entering Hawaii with your pet, the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility must do one final check and approve your pet for same-day release. However, that office closes at 4:30pm (weekdays) or 3:30pm (weekends & holidays).

We recommend owners select flights that arrive in Hawaii before noon to account for flight delays, transit to the holding facility and processing time.

Mailing lab samples after-hours

One key part of the pre-testing process is sending a blood sample to one of three FDA approved labs. Most vets routinely provide rabies vaccinations, but few have experience sending blood samples to these labs afterward. This is where there can be an issue.

In the fine print, these labs state that samples should not be sent after Thursday. These labs are closed over the weekend, so your sample may be ruined if it's left out and not refrigerated over the weekend. It's like if someone mailed you an ice cream cake for your birthday, but you went to Cancun for the weekend.

In the case of the blood sample, it could add weeks of delay to your travel and require paying for a second blood sample and test. That's why we recommend scheduling your pet's blood work to happen between Monday and Wednesday, at the latest.

Forgetting to pay the lab fee

When sending your pet's rabies samples to the lab, it's important to remember to remit payment for that work. In some cases, those fees require your veterinarian to create an online account with the lab and even prepay, rather than being invoiced later, if you need things expedited.