Moving to Hawaii With Dogs? 3 Things You Need to Know

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You have a goal of moving to Hawaii and you want to bring your best friends, your dogs, to enjoy your life in paradise with you. You envision long walks on the beach while your pups cavort around while you throw balls into the surf for them to catch. Sounds idyllic, right? LUVA Real Estate agents receive calls almost daily from people wanting to move to West Hawaii and want their dogs to come, too.

Let’s take a look at three of the aspects of bringing dogs to the island successfully that you need to be aware of.

  1. The quarantine process of getting rabies shots for your pets, combined with air fare, shipping crates, and a vet meeting you on the tarmac to clear the animal through the process can cost over $1000. The process can take up to five months, so keep that in mind when looking to move. Making sure you know if you can put your dog in the cabin with you or need to put them in cargo on an airline and when can they fly is important. Check the airline websites.
  2. Are you considering renting before you buy to get a feel for the island? Available rental housing that allows pets is in VERY tight supply. Even tighter if you have more than two pets and VERY hard if you have large dogs. We have spoken to a few peope who said they scoured CraigsList, kept in contact with the long term rental agencies, asked in social media groups, etc. You may find that the condo dream you held is not going to work because the HOA won’t allow more than two pets or pets over 15 lbs. Make sure that if you are looking to buy a condo or townhome that your Realtor knows that you are moving with pets so they can show you listings in complexes with pet-friendly HOA’s. Keep in mind that most HOA’s will not allow two or more large dogs. If you simply must have your dogs with you and they need the proper room to run around and be, well, dogs, you may need to buy a single family home. This has been the case for quite a few of our buyers after they exhausted their search for a rental property and need to get on with thier move and life and leaving their precious pups behind is unthinkable.
  3. Choosing a neighborhood that is easy to walk your dog and puts you close to parks, open space, a dog park, etc can be found with the help of your Realtor. Connect with other dog owners and on island dog resources to help you find legal and safe places for your dogs to fulfill your Hawaii dream of bounding into the ocean. Be aware, however, that most beaches in West Hawaii are state parks and either don’t allow dogs on beaches or the dog needs to be on a leash. There ARE a few choice places that dog owners know about to let their dogs roam free (Dog Beach near Honokahau Harbor is one).

Personal Stories:

We asked a few people who recently moved to West Hawaii to share some thoughts about moving their dogs and finding housing with us to lend some insight for you.

Stafan– Bringing our 3 dogs and 1 cat was a very lengthy, but necessary process. Finding a place to rent with animals is extremely difficult. And yes, buying a home is the best way to ensure we could have our fur babies with us.

Daniela– I brought two large dogs to the island. It was really difficult to find a place to live since most places were not pet friendly. Even with a large budget, it took me almost 3 months to find a place.

Todd– I couldn’t find a rental that accepts dogs when I first got here so I ended up buying a condo with HOA that allowed dogs.

Susan– We moved with our 2 cats and 1 dog last June. We started the process in December. It did cost over $1,000 for each with all the medical, getting the permits, flying with them (they were all in baggage), arranging to be met at the airport (thanks Keauhou Vet). We flew Alaska and they were very helpful. We already owned a house here so didn’t need to worry about finding a place that accepted pets. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and timelines that need to be followed which I found to be a bit stressful, but everything went smoothly. So glad to finally be here!

dog on beachMelissa-We bought a home. I can tell you the process to get them over here was a little painful to try to do yourself. I have a very large Great Dane and he wasn’t accepted on any airlines. I went with a Pet Relocation company and am now very pleased.

Lana– I found Alaska was the friendliest dog airline. Mine is a service dog but there were other dogs in the cabin that were crated and they did great!

Joshua: Keauhou Vet was amazing. They picked up our dog immediately from the aircraft as soon as she was unloaded so there was no heat exposure. That way there was no stress while we deboarded and waited for our bags. Once we picked up our rental car, we drove next door to United Cargo, where the vet had her out of her crate in an air conditioned room for some de-stress play time. Then It was a huge struggle to find a pet-friendly rental. My wife and I searched for months and had to nearly beg prospective landlords that our perfectly behaved 12 year old dog wasn’t going to destroy their property.

LUVA Real Estate can provide resources to help you move your pets successfully, which neighborhoods are good choices for dogs and more!


Woman on beach with dog on leashLava Dogs Hawaii, who also is holding an event on February 9th, My Furry Valentine in Kohala.

Need pet sitting/walking services?  Pet Gal Kona (pictured left)

Bringing BIG dogs like Great Danes?  For large dog transport from California to Hawaii: