How to Adopt a Dog From Overseas

Adopt a dog from a foreign country to give it a better chance at survival.
Adopt a dog from a foreign country to give it a better chance at survival. (Image: the dog image by hupper from

When you're interested in getting a dog or puppy, you can buy one from a breeder, or adopt a dog from a pound or humane society. If you're feeling particularly driven, consider adopting a dog in need from a foreign country, where overcrowding, natural disasters, poverty and lack of housing are common problems for pets.

Contact an international animal rights association in regard to adoption opportunities internationally. Try organizations like Pet Finder and Animal Relief Coalition. These organizations will give you information and guidelines for adoption, along with a choice of dogs and an application.

Coordinate the dog's preparation, once you've gone through the application process. You can coordinate the shipment in person, or through the organization you're working with. Have the dog checked by a vet for its health, so that it has a clean bill of health when it travels. Although a clean bill of health isn't required by the United States government for importation, some airlines require it for transportation.

Take the dog to the vet for a rabies vaccination. The dog must have proof of vaccination within 30 days of attempting to enter the country. If you are adopting a puppy that is too young for a rabies vaccination, it may be held in isolation within the country until it's old enough to be vaccinated.

Download the importation forms from Sign and date the forms, and make sure that they're with the dog when it comes into the country, along with its medical records.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dogs are subject to inspection at all points of entry into the USA. Any dog that displays symptoms of infectious disease could be denied entry.

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