Know Your State’s Laws Around New Residents With Pets

Your clients who are relocating across state lines may be surprised at the requirements for pets that are coming with them. Consult this state-by-state breakdown.

Many home buyers keep their pets top of mind when shopping for a property, with 43% of pet owners saying they’re willing to move to accommodate their furry friend, according to research from the National Association of REALTORS®. But once buyers have decided on the perfect home, they’ll want to make sure their pets are ready for the move, particularly when relocating to another state. Many states have requirements around bringing pets across borders.

The majority of states require, at a bare minimum, that cats and dogs have a valid health certificate and a current rabies vaccination upon arrival. But some states require more. Hawaii, which hasn’t recorded a case of rabies in more than a century, is the strictest state when it comes to new residents moving with animals, according to a new study from HireAHelper, a marketplace for finding professional movers. In Hawaii, dogs and cats are required to have two rabies vaccinations and an antibody test—conditions that must be met within five days or less of arrival. If the pet owners fail to meet those requirements, the pet has to be placed in quarantine for 120 days.

New York and Nebraska require health certificates from a veterinary inspection issued within 30 days of travel, according to the study. Also, a rabies vaccine is required for any animal that is at least three months old and must be administered at least 30 days prior to entering the state. Further, “there is a cluster of states in the Northeast—namely New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts—that have some of the strictest rules for certificates of veterinary inspection that every cat and dog coming to the state needs to have,” the study notes.

On the other hand, North Carolina may be the easiest state to move to with a cat or dog, according to HireAHelper’s analysis. North Carolina doesn’t require animals to have a certificate of veterinary inspection when they enter the state. Also, animals at least four months old can enter the state without a rabies vaccine, but they will need to get one within a week of arrival. Check out the chart below from HireAHelper, which ranks the 10 strictest states when moving with pets.