Guam is rabies-free and has a stringent animal rabies quarantine program. If your pet is not coming from a country or area recognized by Guam as rabies-free, then your pet will have to complete commercial quarantine on Guam. Guam’s quarantine law is designed to protect residents and pets from the devastating problems associated with the spread of rabies. The length of that quarantine varies. I really can’t remember too many times in my life that I didn’t have man’s best friend around. “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole,” said Roger Caras.
I remember moving in 1985 and the only thing I absolutely had to bring along was Muffin, our Brittany Spaniel, who wasn’t even a year old. It seemed logical at the time; she was like a baby to us. How could one leave a member of their family behind? Quite possibly you share the sentiments quoted above. Do your travel plans include Fido or Fluffy? Is it worth the hassle?
This article will give a brief outline of what you can expect through the quarantine process and highlight some points to consider before you decide if you should make the journey abroad with or without ‘Man’s Best Friend.’
The hardest part of the process for me was deciding if we could, in fact, get everything done in the window of time we had to work with. Then, wondering if our pet would be okay with all the stress. This was a house dog that rarely spent time alone. Back then, there was only one government run quarantine facility that lacked in many ways. Be that as it may, we were able to visit and play with our dog. Having Muffin here made our transition a little easier; bringing a familiar piece of home with us felt like lemonade on a sunny day. The long drive and weekly visits were not always easy to come by, we were settling in, learning the do’s and don’ts of island living. Having to say goodbye until the next time was often heart wrenching as we would start to walk away and close the gate behind us. She would bark and whine watching us leave her again and again. Tears clouded my eyes, I wondered if the heartache we both felt was now worth it.
In 1985 we had no choice but to accept the quarantine period of 120 days. There are, however, much shorter periods and options now. If your pet is coming from a non-exempt country, like the United States, you still may be able to reduce the duration of commercial quarantine to a single day, if you have the time, energy and resources to meet all the requirements. You should also consider whether your pet can adapt to Guam’s hot, tropical climate throughout the year. Summer months, May-August, are the hottest and pets should never be left without adequate water, food, and shade.
Paperwork & Permits
To start, we had to get the necessary documents, shots, permits and drugs in order (coming from California via Hawaii with a layover, we opted to give our dog a relaxer). Read the Department of Agriculture’s 2014 Quarantine Brochure for the latest requirements. There are four programs and all dogs and cats, regardless of purpose or health status, are required to comply with Guam’s quarantine law, and all must obtain a valid Entry Permit prior to travel.
Pre-Arrival Steps Common to All Pets
- Application for entry permit
- Affidavit for export
- Quarantine reservation
- Health certificate
All dogs and cats attempting to qualify for something other than the full 120-day commercial quarantine program are required to have an implanted electronic microchip.
Bringing our dog to Guam was a challenge — one I don’t think I would make again. The flight, anxiety and separation were really tough for all of us. I now wonder if the frustration was worth it. The new guidelines make things better to be sure, but if you find that bringing your pet to Guam may be too taxing there are a number of alternatives to consider:
G.A.I.N. (Guam Animals In Need) – Pet adoption center
Feathers ‘n Fins — Retail pet store
Little Wangs – Retail pet store
Classified Ads – Listings for critters of all types
Craig’s List – Listings for pets on Guam
In closing, I would like to say I’m not biased in any way! Though the article discusses the forever lovable canine, I have been known to have in my domain pigs, chickens, snakes, monitor lizards, birds, fish, ducks, rabbits, hamsters, hermit crabs, dogs, cats and bees. And you thought deciding to quarantine was a tough call…
While this article addresses a few items to be considered, it is by no means complete. There are many issues to address and each family needs to consider what is best for them. Guam quarantine guidelines are subject to change, so contact the Department of Agriculture at (671) 300-7965/66 if you have questions. Download the 2014 Quarantine Brochure for the latest requirements.