Bringing Your Pet to Paradise

Dog at beach











When people move to St. Croix from the U.S. mainland or become snowbirds (spending the winters on-island), they often want to bring along their pets.  Because the island is a U.S. territory, this is a fairly painless process that does not involve a quarantine period.  To follow are the main things you need to know about moving with man’s best friend.

Health Certificate

(Read more on VI Moving Center)

This document needs to be prepared by a veterinarian within 10 days prior to travel.  It should specify:

  • The animal is in good general health
  • Your pet has not been exposed to transferable diseases
  • Rabies vaccines are current (administered within six months of travel)

Flying with a Dog or Cat

Check with the airline you plan to fly with for its specific rules about transporting animals (be sure to look into all partner airlines to which you may be transferring).  Do so as far in advance as possible, as some airlines require advance reservations and only allow a few pets per flight in the cabin.

If your animal is small, you may be able to use an airline approved carrier to take them on-board, stowed underneath the seat in front of you. Try to get your animal comfortable with being closed in the small carrier in advance so they are calm in-flight.  Some veterinarians will write prescriptions to sedate a small dog or cat for transport, but professional opinions vary about how this affects the animal’s cardiovascular system at elevation.  Lastly, be mindful that the floor of an airplane is extremely cold in-flight.  Be sure to pad the bottom of the carrier with a blanket and check your pet’s temperature and comfort regularly during travel.

If your animal is large, they may be eligible for the cargo area in a crate.  For checked animals, you are required to label their crate as a live animal and include a small supply of food in case you are temporarily separately from your pet.  Airlines do not allow large animals in the cargo area above or below certain outdoor temperatures, so choose your travel dates accordingly.

Expect to pay a fee for either service, unless your pet is a licensed service or comfort animal.  If so, be sure to bring their documentation.

Transporting Other Animals

Import permits are required.  Read more on  VI Moving Center.  Another great resource for island-specific information is the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center.

Chris Hanley is a dog person.  He was also the top broker on St. Croix in 2014.  Contact him today so that you (and Fido) can start living the Caribbean life.  Download our free guide the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.