Moving to florida with pets rules and tips.

Moving to Florida with pets should be a seamless process as Florida is a very pet-friendly state.

As seasoned relocation experts, we’ve journeyed from chilly Illinois to the sunny beaches of Florida, helping tons of clients in finding their dream homes with their fury and fur-less pets.

In this blog, we’ll share invaluable insights and tips on relocating to Florida with your furry, feathered, or scaled companions, ensuring a smooth transition for your entire family.

Moving with pets

Short Guide to Moving with Pets to Florida

Moving TypeDetails for Moving with Pets
Bringing Pets to Florida from Another State1. Get a health certificate from a vet, issued within 30 days before the trip

2. Ensure pets have a rabies vaccination over 3 months of age
Moving with Pets Short Guide

What does my pet need before moving to Florida?

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, your pets need a health certificate from a vet, issued within 30 days before coming to Florida.

Moving is stressful, and the to-do lists pile up, so make sure to schedule your appointment in advance.

The reason Florida requires a health certificate from a vet is because it shows that your pet is healthy and fit to travel.

Moving pets to florida infographic.
Moving pets to florida infographic.

There are some exceptions to this rule, though:

  1. Rabies Vaccination Exemption: Pets under 3 months of age are not required to have a rabies vaccination until they reach 3 months. However, if your dog or cat has ongoing health issues, you must submit a written request for a rabies exemption on an annual basis. Additionally, a licensed veterinarian must provide a written notice to Animal Services within 30 days of the vaccine’s expiration date.
  2. Pets Entering Florida to Be Sold: Are you bringing dogs or cats into Florida to sell them? There are extra rules for this. You have to follow the Florida Pet Law (Section 828.29, Florida Statutes). This law makes sure that pets for sale are healthy and have the necessary paperwork. It’s all about making sure pets are treated well and in good health.

What does my pet’s health certificate need to include in Florida?

When working with your vet, make sure that they include essential information on the health certificate.

Florida requires the following information:

  • The pet should be healthy
  • Free from contagious diseases
  • Proof that they did not come from a rabies quarantine area or have been in contact with a rabid animal.
  • 3+ months old pets need updated rabies vaccination.
  • A date stamped within the last 30 days
Pet health certificate requirements.
Pet health certificate requirements.

Does my pet need a license in Florida?

You must get a pet license for your dog or cat in Florida. This helps the authorities find your pet if it gets lost.

Do I need a separate form to show rabies vaccination information?

(NASPHV) Form #51 is the most professional way to show that your pet has a rabies vaccination, but your vet may include that the information provided in the health certificate was sourced from Form #51.

Can my health certificate be older than 30 days?

No. There are instances where you may have a certificate from a recent pet purchase; however if that certificate is older than 30 days, Florida will not accept it.

Are there any specific requirements to consider when relocating to Florida from another country?

When bringing a dog into Florida from another country, pet owners must comply with specific regulations set by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service AND the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The reason is that the requirements are particularly focused on preventing the entry of diseases like rabies, screwworm, and foot and mouth disease which may not be as prevalent in the United States.

  1. Rabies: Prevalent in parts of Africa, Asia, Central, and South America. The CDC lists specific high-risk countries for rabies.
  2. Screwworm: Found in tropical and subtropical regions, particularly parts of Central and South America, and some Caribbean countries.
  3. Foot and Mouth Disease: Common in regions of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and occasionally Eastern Europe.

So, owners need to check with the USDA here to ensure that the country they are moving from doesn’t require additional health certification and vaccinations.

Are there any limits or bans on specific dog breeds in Florida?

In Florida, a new law (House Bill 941) effective October 1, 2023, prohibits public housing authorities from banning dogs based on breed, weight, or size, overturning local breed bans.

This change particularly affects pit bulls, a breed that was banned in Miami-Dade County since 1989 following a severe attack on a child.

Can I move my bird to Florida?

Yes, Florida is a bird-friendly state.

Bird ownership in Florida is regulated to ensure the well-being of various bird species, especially those kept in captivity.

Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) from USDA-accredited vet in pet’s state needed for entry into Florida with the previous 30 days of moving.

Because birds aren’t mammals, they do not require rabies vaccination.

The Florida Administrative Code (Ann. R. 68A-6.01215) sets specific standards for caging requirements to cater to the birds’ health and comfort.

Florida bird ownership guidelines:

Bird CategoryCage RequirementsNotes
Perching BirdsPerch diameter and heightCleanable perches
Psittacine/PasserinesVaries by sizeLarge to very-small birds
WaterfowlLand and water areaSize varies by species
Birds of Prey2 wingspreads by 3 wingspreadsAdditional space for more birds
Ground-Dwelling BirdsSpecific floor areaFor exhibit only
Lesser Game/QuailCage size variesBased on bird size
Wading/Diving BirdsFloor and pool sizeSpecific to bird habits
Penguins, etc.Cage and pool requirementsDifferent for various species
RatitesPaddock size specificHeight varies by species
Bird Ownership Guidelines in Florida

Is Florida too hot for my dog, cat, or bird?

Pets thrive in Florida, but tropical weather is different.

Living in the tropics of Florida requires extra care for pets due to the hot and humid weather.

Heat-related risks such as heatstroke, dehydration, and sunburn are significant concerns for pets in this climate.

Dogs are particularly vulnerable and need constant access to fresh water and shade.

It’s crucial to avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day and to be mindful of hot surfaces like asphalt that can burn their paws.

Cats normally seek out shady spots on their own, but it’s important to always provide them with access to fresh water.

Birds also need access to shade and fresh water, with daily water changes for birds to prevent bacterial growth. It’s important never to leave pets in cars, as temperatures can rise quickly and be fatal.

Here’s a helpful table summarizing the key points:

Animal TypeCare Tips in Hot Weather
DogsAccess to fresh water and shade; avoid hot surfaces; limit strenuous activities; never leave in cars
CatsEnsure access to water and shade; monitor closely
BirdsKeep out of direct sunlight; place aviaries in temperature-controlled areas; change water daily
Care tips for pets in Florida

Can I bring reptiles to Florida as pets?

Absolutely, after all, it’s a reptile paradise.

However, there are certain reptiles that Florida does prohibit to own as pets.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has specific regulations regarding nonnative reptiles in the state. As of 2021, the following reptiles are nonnative reptiles added to the Florida Prohibited list. This list includes:

  • Burmese or Indian python
  • Reticulated python
  • Green anaconda
  • Northern African python
  • Southern African python
  • Amethystine python
  • Scrub python
  • Nile monitor
  • Green iguana
  • Tegus

These rules were implemented to address concerns about the ecological impact of these species in Florida.

We are having major issues with pythons in Florida currently.

A news article about florida's python ecosystem.
Florida is Struggling with Python’s

Can I bring my pet to Florida via airline?

Taking your pet on an airplane to Florida is a good way to go there with them.

Most airlines let cats and dogs travel in the cabin, but there are size and weight limitations for the carrier.

They usually charge a fee for each carrier.

Recently, Chewy released an amazing blog on airline requirements when traveling with pets.

Below is an overview U.S. domestic airline carriers and their current 2023 rules for traveling with pets.

Some airlines also offer cargo options for larger pets, with varying fees and specific breed restrictions.

AirlinePets AllowedPet Size & Carrier SizePet FeeCargo Option
American AirlinesCats, DogsCarry-on: Up to 20 lb, Carrier: 18x8x14Carry-on: $125Yes, $200
DeltaCats, DogsFits in carrier, Carrier: Varies by seat sizeCarry-on: $125Yes, $100-$300
Southwest AirlinesCats, DogsFits in carrier, Carrier: 18.5×8.5×13.5$95No
United AirlinesCats, Dogs, Rabbits, Household BirdsCarry-on: Pet must fit in carrier, Carrier: 17.5x12x7.5Carry-on: $125Yes, Varies by weight
Alaska AirlinesCarry-on: Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Household Birds, Cargo: More varietiesCarry-on: Pet must fit in carrier, Carrier: 17x11x7.5Carry-on: $100Yes, $100
AllegiantCats, DogsFits in carrier, Carrier: 16x9x19$100No
Frontier AirlinesCats, Dogs, Rabbits, Small Household Birds, Guinea Pigs, HamstersFits in carrier, Carrier: 18x8x14$75No
JetBlueCats, DogsUp to 20 lb, Carrier: 17x8x12.5$125No
Spirit AirlinesCats, Dogs, Household Birds, RabbitsUp to 40 lb, Carrier: 18x9x14$110No
Pet Restricts for Airline Travel

Important Local Phone Numbers for Pet Registration, Certificates, and Questions

  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – (800) 435-7352
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – (850) 488-4676
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA) – (844) 820-2234


In wrapping up, we hope our guide has shed light on the essential steps and considerations for moving your pets to Florida.

Remember, the key to a seamless transition lies in preparation and understanding local regulations.

If you’re planning a move, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert real estate advice tailored to you and your pet’s needs.

Here’s to new beginnings in the Sunshine State, where every day is an opportunity for you and your pets to bask in the warmth and hospitality of Florida living!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most pet-friendly city in Florida?

  • St. Petersburg is known as the most dog-friendly city in Florida by Wallethub research. It offers a variety of pet care facilities, dog shops, restaurants that welcome pets, and numerous dog-friendly parks and beaches.

What are the most common wildlife hazards for pets in Florida?

  • Common wildlife hazards for pets in Florida include alligators, venomous snakes (such as rattlesnakes and water moccasins), bufo toads, and various insects like fire ants and mosquitoes.

What are the quarantine requirements for pets entering Florida?

Florida does not generally require quarantine for domestic pets entering from within the U.S., but pets from certain countries may need health certifications and rabies vaccinations.