2024 CDC Dog Import Rules Impact RVers Crossing the Border with Dogs

Many RVers camp with their dogs and it has always been pretty easy to take them to Canada or Mexico and back—but not anymore.

Are you and your dog RVing to Alaska this summer? Are you a Canadian who snowbirds with your dog in the U.S. Sunbelt? Or an American RVer who visits Mexico with their dog? A new Dog Import Rule by the Centers for Disease Control is about to make your trip more complicated.

There’s no way around it. If you’re an American, you can’t RV to Alaska without crossing the Canadian border. Thankfully Canada hasn’t changed their rules for taking dogs into Canada. But the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just made the classic RVing bucket list trip a little more complicated for pet parents taking family dogs along for the ride to Alaska.

If your bucket list RV adventure to Alaska starts soon, pay attention. You have a veterinary appointment to make before you hit the Alaska Highway. And if you’re a Canadian snowbird who RVs with dogs in winter or an American who snowbirds in Mexico during winter, at least you have plenty of time to see your vet.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The CDC just announced new rules for all dogs entering the United States.

Starting August 1, 2024, all U.S.-vaccinated dogs entering the United States by land, air, or sea, must:

  • Be at least 6 months of age at time of entry or return to the United States
  • Have an implanted International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip
  • The microchip number must be documented on all required forms and in all accompanying veterinary records
  • Have a CDC Dog Import Form receipt

This form should be filled out online ideally 2-10 days before arrival. It can also be completed right before travel (even in line at the border crossing) if you have internet access. If the information on the form changes before the dog arrives, you must submit a new form and indicate you are making changes to an existing form. All information including port of entry where the dog is arriving must be correct at time of arrival.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This form requires you to upload a clear photograph of the dog showing its face and body. Dogs that will be less than one year of age at time of arrival should have the photograph taken within 10 days before arrival.

The CDC is striving to more rigidly enforce dog importation (including animal rescue efforts) from countries with higher risk of rabies transmission. But what the new CDC ruling will also do is make crossing the U.S. border with dogs more complicated and expensive. It doesn’t just impact the average RVing pet parent. It also impacts recreational dog sports participants and those who wish to adopt dogs from other countries.

Want to see this ruling rescinded?
Sign the Change.org petition, “Revise the CDC’s New Import Requirements for Dogs”.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s different for RVing dogs returning to the United States?

RVing dogs have always needed a rabies vaccination to re-enter the United States. But pet parents with dogs who have been vaccinated in the U.S. will be additionally impacted by two new requirements when crossing the Canadian border and traveling into the U.S.

All dogs must be microchipped. And you must carry documentation of the microchip number. This must have been implanted prior to any required rabies vaccination.

The CDC Dog Import Form is also now required before crossing the border. You can fill it out up to 10 days ahead of crossing. Or, do it online at the CDC website while you’re in line at the border crossing. That’s if you have internet access (some rural border crossing stations favored by RVer lack cellular coverage). The form requires you to upload a full-body photo of your dog too.

And, your veterinarian must complete either a Certification of U.S.-Issued Rabies Vaccination form or a USDA endorsed export health certificate. Plus, you must carry a printed copy of either form to present to border agents.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are more rules for dogs returning to the U.S. especially if the dog is coming from a country where rabies is more prevalent. But for the average person going to Alaska with family dogs or the Canadian snowbird headed south in fall, the new CDC rules for RVing with dogs means adding an extra veterinary visit to the trip planning to-do list.

The CDC’s “Requirements for dogs with a current and valid rabies vaccination administered in the United States (https://www.change.org/p/revise-the-cdc-s-new-import-requirements-for-dogs)” has more details.

I agree with others that this is total nonsense (the PG version of what I’m really thinking!) First off, are we having a pandemic of rabies infections running through America? I hadn’t heard of that yet.

Many RVers camp with their dogs © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Secondly, I know there have been attempts by puppy mills to smuggle litters in as, “oops, they were born while I was visiting my parents” and yes, I don’t want to see that happening but there may also be a legitimate reason why someone is entering the States with a dog under 6 months old.

Lastly, mandatory microchipping??!! REALLY?! And don’t forget, you need ALL the paperwork to go with all of this. Heaven forbid that they have a microchip scanner and confirm that the chip is registered to the person standing in front of them since it seems to be that important. They’ve gone too far with this one. It’s easier for a human to enter the country illegally!

Worth Pondering…

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

―Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome