Quitting your job and running away to an island might sound like fun, but you might want to do some research if you’re an animal lover or pet owner.

Some island nations don’t allow certain pets or require strict and lengthy quarantines for those pets once you arrive.

Lindsay Redd’s springer spaniels Mac and Polly went on a hike with Sarah Watts’ dog Ernest in Cottonwood Canyon in October 2019. | Lindsay Redd

Iceland used to ban all dogs from the country

In Iceland, the capital city of Reykjavik banned having dogs as pets in 1924 because they discovered a tapeworm was being passed from dogs to humans and could cause severe complications or even death in humans, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

Owning a dog is no longer illegal in the city, since the ban was lifted in the 1980s — as long as owners follow strict rules. But now the Reykjavik pet culture really revolves more around cats. There is around one cat for every 10 people in Reykjavik, per Reykjavik Grapevine.

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Although you can have a dog now in the Scandinavian country, it’s still illegal to own snakes, lizards or turtles as a pet, possibly due to concerns of salmonella spreading from the pet to humans, per Smithsonian Magazine.

Why did New Zealand propose banning all cats?

While Iceland is a boon to cat lovers, a council in New Zealand wanted to rid the island of all cats. No, this is not the setup for a cheesy pet movie in the 1990s, but maybe it could be?

A council proposed in 2018 that all cat owners on the island abide by strict rules for neutering, microchipping, vaccinating and registering cats. Then once the cat dies, the family would not be allowed to get another. According to The Guardian, the council made the proposal in hopes of protecting some of the native species that cats like to hunt.

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“We’re not cat haters, but we’d like to see responsible pet ownership,” John Collins, Omaui Landcare Trust leader, told Newshub. “And this really isn’t a place for cats.”

Where else has restrictions on pets?

Guam was declared rabies-free in 1972 and now follows strict guidelines to maintain that status. Any pet entering Guam must quarantine for either 120 days, 30 days or five days, according to Animal Medical Clinic Guam.

To move to Hong Kong with a pet, you have to apply and be granted a special permit before you ever step foot in the country, and once you’re there, you have to get a license for the dog after five months, per GovHK.

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New Caledonia only allows pets to enter the country from a specific list of 12 countries, per pettravel.com.

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What countries require pet quarantines?

While some island countries do allow pets, if you travel there with your pet, you might have to quarantine your pet — and sometimes quarantines can last weeks.

According to Travelnuity, here are some of the countries and islands that might require pet quarantine:

  • Australia.
  • Fiji.
  • Guam.
  • Hawaii.
  • Hong Kong.
  • Iceland.
  • Malaysia.
  • New Caledonia.
  • New Zealand.
  • Singapore.
  • Taiwan.

Which vaccinations are required or what diseases could be present while traveling from one country to another will also impact quarantine requirements and lengths. If you’re planning a move and want to bring your pet along, just be sure to look into what those requirements are for you.

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