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California Department of Food and Agriculture

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Questions & Answers below


Cat and Dog Questions & Answers


  • What entry requirements will my dog or cat be required to meet before I arrive in California?
    DOGS and CATS are regulated by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). For information regarding the importation and exportation of these animals please contact CDPH (website).

  • California Entrance Requirements for Dogs:
    All domestic dogs must be healthy. Dogs over four (4) months of age must have a certificate of current rabies vaccination. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), also known as a health certificate, is not required for privately owned dogs being brought into the State of California. Persons bringing dogs into California with intent to sell or transfer ownership must have a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian within the 10 days prior to the date of importation. The person seeking to bring a dog into the state must send a copy of the health certificate to the county health department in the county in which the dog is to be sold or in the county of residence of the person who is receiving the dog. All persons transporting dogs via commercial air should call the airline for any additional requirements they might have.

  • California Entrance Requirements for Cats:
    All domestic cats must be healthy. Neither a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), also known as a health certificate, nor a rabies vaccination is required to import a cat into California; however, if traveling into California via airplane, please call the airline as they may have additional requirements.

  • Does California have specifically approved rabies vaccines for dog and cats?
    Contact your local county Animal Control Office for more information.

  • When traveling by air, does my animal require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), also known as a Health Certificate?
    The California Department of Food and Agriculture- Animal Health Branch does not require a CVI for dogs or cats to enter the State by air, however it is recommended to check with the airline as they may require a CVI along with additional requirements.

  • How far in advance should I contact my airline?
    It is recommended to contact your airline three (3) to four (4) weeks before your departure for specific requirements the airline may have.

  • Does California require an entry permit prior to transporting my animal?
    Currently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture- Animal Health Branch does not require an entry permit for cats or dogs entering the State.

  • How do I obtain a Health Certificate or a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI)?
    Only an accredited veterinarian is authorized to complete, issue and sign a CVI. Your veterinarian must contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)- Veterinary Services for Small Animal forms (APHIS 7001) at APHIS 7001-Small Animal CVI.

  • Should I be concerned about adverse weather conditions and flying my pet?
    Please contact your airline for additional information about adverse weather and transporting your pet. Airlines may require acclimation statements on your animal's health certificate. If an acclimation statement is required your veterinarian should call the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 2482862 ext. 287 for statement language. Only veterinarians should call this number.

  • If I am leaving California with my animal who do I call?
    Contact the state of destination for their animal importation requirements, or visit the USDA State Regulations Web Site. A link for each state is located under “interstate pet exportation” at USDA State Regulations Web Site.

  • If I am leaving the United States with my animal, who do I call?
    USDA- Veterinary Services is responsible for all international shipments of animals including to Mexico and Canada. Please call them at (916) 854-3900. Their office hours 7:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Pacific Time. You may also visit the USDA Import/Export Web Site.

  • If my dog was vaccinated in another state or country with a rabies vaccine not approved for use in California, will I have to revaccinate the dog in California?
    In most cases you will be required to revaccinate your dog. Contact your local county Animal Control Office for more information.

  • If rabies vaccine is not available in the country I am traveling from, will I be required to vaccinate my dog after I arrive?
    Yes, all dogs over four (4) months of age are required to be vaccinated. Contact your local county Animal Control Office for more information.

  • Who do I contact if I have a complaint about:
    Animal Abuse: Dogs and cats or generic livestock complaints please contact the local Animal Control or SPCA.

    Animal Health Technicians (Veterinarian/Vet Technicians): Please contact the California Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 263-2610.

    Sale of Dogs and Cats: Please contact the District Attorney’s office where the animal was purchased.

    Veterinarians: Please contact the California Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 263-2610.

    Animal Care Issues: Please contact local Animal Control.  Call the local offices; for the Western Regional Office located in Pacific Grove, CA call (408) 647-8897. For the local office in Sacramento call (916) 366-2632.

  • How do I submit a laboratory sample?
    Consult your veterinarian first. Most submissions require a veterinary referral.

  • Where can I obtain tags to identify service dogs?
    Assistance dogs are specially trained as guide dogs, signal dogs, or service dogs. People may apply for assistance dog identification tags from their county clerk or animal control department. The tags are blue or gold in color, shaped like the State of California, 1” x 1.5” in size and numbered in sequence.

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Livestock, Poultry and Other Species Questions & Answers


  • General California Entry Requirements (Call (916) 900-5052 for more specific information):
    Remember that your accredited veterinarian has an essential role in the animal movement process from completing the CVI and obtaining the permit number to knowing what constitutes official ID for each species.

  • Equines (horses, donkeys, zebra & mules):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. Equines entering the state require a CVI and a negative Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) test within twelve (12) months of entry. Foals under 6 months are exempt from the negative EIA test only if they are traveling with their negative mother. A California entry permit is not required for equines to enter the state.
    Equine Entry Requirement Factsheet

  • Cattle (Buffalo, Water Buffalo and Yaks included here):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. Most classes of cattle require the following BEFORE entry: a CVI, California entry permit and official individual identification. Female cattle over four (4) months of age must have proof of Brucellosis vaccination. Male cattle over 18 months of age must have a negative Trichomonosis test before entering the state. Dairy cattle over six (6) months of age require a negative Tuberculosis test before entering the state. Exemptions and additional requirements exist; please call the permit desk at (916) 900-5052 for more specific information.

  • Sheep (domestic):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. Sheep entering California must have the following BEFORE entry: a CVI, a California entry permit, official individual identification. Rams six (6) months of age and over require a negative B. ovis test. These requirements include PET sheep. Exemptions exist; please call the permit desk at (916) 900-5052 for more specific information.
    Sheep Entry Requirement Fact Sheet

  • Goats (domestic):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. Goats entering California must have the following BEFORE entry: a CVI, a California entry permit, official individual identification. These requirements include PET goats. Exemptions exist; please call the permit desk at (916) 900-5052 for more specific information.
    Goat Entry Requirement Fact Sheet

  • Swine (domestic):
    Must be free of contagious diseases.  Swine entering the state require the following BEFORE entry: a CVI, a California entry permit and official individual identification. These requirements include PET swine. Exemptions exist; please call the permit desk at (916) 900-5052 for more specific information.
    Swine Entry Requirement Fact Sheet

  • Poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, pheasants, pigeons, ratites, waterfowl & hatching eggs):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. All poultry imported into California require a CVI, except poultry from flocks classified as Pullorum-Typhoid Free by their State of origin or by NPIP and accompanied by their NPIP certification form. A California entry permit is not required.
    Avian Entry Requirement Factsheet

  • Llamas, Alpacas & Vicuñas:
    Must be free of contagious diseases. A California Entry Permit is not required. A CVI, or health certificate, is recommended.

  • Ostriches, Emus & Rheas (Ratites):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. A CVI is required. A California Entry Permit is not required.

  • Rabbits (domestic):
    Must be free of contagious diseases. A California Entry Permit is not required. A CVI, or health certificate, is recommended.

  • Ferrets, Quaker & Monk Parakeets, Gerbils, Hedgehogs & Sugar Gliders:

    Not Allowed into California, contact California Department of Fish and Game at (916) 928-5845.

  • Wild Animals, Birds and Reptiles:
    Contact Department of Fish and Game at (916) 928-5845.

  • Monkeys:
    Contact the Department of Public Health- Veterinary Public Health Services at (916) 552-9740.

  • How do I obtain a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), also known as a Health Certificates?
    Only an accredited veterinarian is authorized to complete and sign a CVI. Your veterinarian must contact CDFA- Animal Health Branch at (916) 900-5002 for Large Animal (77010) forms. Your veterinarian can acquire Equine Infectious Anemia forms from USDA Veterinary Services.

  • How do I obtain information on raising farm animals?
    Please contact the U.C. Cooperative Extension Office in your county (http://ucanr.org/County_Offices/) or call the U.C. Davis office at (530) 7578930.

  • Where do I register a cattle brand, report cattle theft and change of brand ownership?
    Call the Bureau of Livestock Identification at (916) 9005006 or visit their website at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Livestock_ID/index.html.

  • Which animal diseases do I have to report and to whom?
    Certain animal diseases are required by law to be reported to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch. For a complete list of these Reportable Diseases and reporting instructions please Click Here.

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Important Phone Numbers and Web Sites


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