The Humane Society of the United States estimates that of the 6 million to 8 million dogs and cats taken into companion animal shelters across the country, half are euthanized for health ailments, behavior issues or lack of space. Fortunately, in Hawaii there are resources in place to ensure quality pet care. Oahu offers many low-cost training classes and veterinarian care for your forever pet.
The Army and Marines employ animal control officers who enforce pet policies in base housing and help reunite lost animals. All bases have veterinarian clinics providing preventive care.
Check with your military housing office to find out about pet-friendly events, such as the Army’s yearly Dog Days of Summer.
Military organizations also partner with animal nonprofits. One organization working with the Marine Corps and Army Wounded Warriors is Hawaii Fi-Do, a service dog organization. Therapy and service dogs visit the barracks regularly, providing training for the dogs and comfort for the injured service members. For more information, call 808-638-0200 or visit www.hawaiifido.org.
Tripler’s Human Animal Bond Program offers patients, families and staff a unique therapy with the help of several special pets. The program is sponsored by the American Red Cross. The HAB Program uses dogs, cats and rabbits to help patients recovering from physical or mental illness. Volunteers bring dogs to wards, clinics and waiting areas for visits. All dogs are screened by Veterinary Services and must pass strict behavioral and physical qualifications. All handlers also receive special training. For more information, call 808-433-6631.Hawaiian Humane Society
The nonprofit Hawaiian Humane Society is Oahu’s only open-admission shelter that welcomes all animals and is the official partner of the Honolulu Police Department in enforcing animal-related laws. Call 808-356-2200 to receive a copy of its guidebook on local laws, including information on mandatory pet identification requirements, anti-abandonment and driving with animals. The society maintains Oahu’s official database of microchips; all pet owners new to Oahu must register with the organization to ensure lost pets get reunited with owners. Visit www.HawaiianHumane.org to learn more about programs and services, including an adoption center, volunteer programs, lost and found services, pet ID programs and events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.Pet Information for Deploying Service Members
The Pets of Patriots Program places pets in caring homes while their owners are deployed. If you are an active-duty service member seeking foster care for your animal while deployed, or if you are interested in becoming a foster volunteer, call the Hawaiian Humane Society Outreach coordinator at 808-356-2217.Military Veterinarian Clinics
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps operates four veterinary medical facilities on Oahu that provide services for pets owned by those enrolled in DEERS.Fort Shafter
Building 435 808-438-5231/5233Schofield Barracks
Building 936 808-655-5889/5893Pearl-Hickam Joint Base
Building 1864 808-449-6481Marine Corps Base Hawaii
Building 455 808-257-3643
Pets are seen by appointment. Most sites offer appointments Monday through Friday, with occasional evening and weekend availability.
Services include routine sick-call appointments and well-patient exams with a focus on prevention-medicine and wellness services such as vaccination, fecal testing, heartworm and infectious disease screening, health certificates and microchipping. Most facilities offer laboratory testing and radiology services.
Some facilities offer routine surgical (spay, neuter, mass removal) and dental services on a space-available basis.
All services and products charge the pet owner fees that are due when services are provided. Fees are generally significantly lower than those charged by civilian veterinary practices.
Because of limited services and the lack of emergency services, it is recommended that all pet owners establish civilian veterinary care.Military Breed Bans
All pit bulls and pit bull mixes are banned from military housing. Other breeds are dependent on service. Contact your base housing office to find out what other breeds are prohibited should you decide to live in military housing.Military Dog Parks
Many of the military base housing services have dog parks. Call your housing office for more information.Hawaii Military Pets
Through this online resource, find pet transport information, boarding services and Hawaii military pet policies. This project is an interactive way for service members to talk about what resources they need for their family pet. This is also a forum to solicit feedback on issues such as military breed bans, feral cat issues on base, foster and adoption programs for deploying troops as well as overall military pet policies. Visit www.facebook.com/HawaiiMilitaryPets for more information.Family and MWR Pet Facility
Military pet owners can provide their pets with accommodations at the Family and MWR Pet Kennel. It fulfills a need for a place for military members to house their dogs and cats during PCS ins and outs, TDYs and emergencies.
The outdoor facility contains covered dog kennels, cat kennels, grassy lawns, and large exercise and play areas. The post veterinary staff inspects the facility on a quarterly basis for cleanliness, grounds maintenance and general animal care.
The costs at the Family and MWR Pet Kennel are much lower than civilian facilities. The kennel facility is open to all services, including retirees and DOD civilians. Eligibility and priority for boarding animals are: deploying personnel, PCS personnel housed in transient quarters or guest housing, personnel on emergency leave, temporary duty personnel, regular or military leave personnel, Department of Army personnel and all other branches of service personnel.
Call 808-368-3456 for more information.Island Pet Movers
Island Pet Movers takes over the process of moving your pets to Hawaii from the day you call. The company is locally owned and operated in Honolulu, and it is an expert at relocating pets to and from Hawaii. As a veteran-owned business with firsthand knowledge of the PCS process, Island Pet Movers has a strong connection with its military members. The company works directly with your vet clinic on the mainland or overseas to be sure that everything is taken care of. Discounts are available for military members. Visit www.islandpetmovers.com or call 808-783-8419.Hawaii’s Animal Quarantine Laws
Hawaii is a rabies-free state. Hawaii’s quarantine law is designed to protect residents and pets from potentially serious health problems associated with rabies. Success of the quarantine program depends on maintaining isolation of your pet from other animals for the required quarantine period. For more information, go to www.hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/animal-quarantine-information-page.Hazards for pets in Hawaii
Hawaii’s lush and varied landscape is home to many plant and animal species, some which may be unfamiliar to those who have only lived on the mainland. The following information, which explains dangers your pet may encounter, is courtesy VCA Family & Oahu Veterinary Specialty Center.Bufo or Cane toad
What to do if your dog encounters a Bufo or Cane toad: Move your dog a safe distance from the toad. Wash your pet’s mouth, nose and eyes with water. Take care not to force water down your dog’s throat, which may result in water getting into its lungs. Seek emergency veterinary care immediately. Toad poisoning can result in death in 30 minutes or less. Try to prevent toads in your yard by eliminating food and water sources. The toad may be attracted to your dog’s water bowl and can leave poison in it. Spray your yard for bugs. Do not leave out dog food or other food that will attract the toads. Clean underneath shrubs to reduce hiding places. Bufo toads are attracted to light at night, so when walking your dog use on a leash at night and use a flashlight to scan the ground. Be more vigilant during the rainy season when the Bufo toads are drawn out more during the day. When disposing of a Bufo toad, protect your skin and eyes. The toxins are dangerous for humans as well.
Symptoms of toad poisoning: Symptoms include drooling or foaming at the mouth, difficulty breathing, seizures, pawing at the face (the toxins are a severe irritant to skin and membranes), crying and unsteady movement.Wild pigs
The likelihood of encounters with feral pigs is relatively low on most of Hawaii’s trails. However, in more remote areas or if you go off trail (not recommended for anyone unfamiliar with island terrain), the possibility is higher. Pigs have good hearing and sense of smell and prefer to avoid human contact. If you come upon a sow with piglets, keep your distance or even retreat until they have left the trail. Feral pigs have sharp tusks and will attack if cornered or threatened.Centipedes
Centipedes can bite and are poisonous. The poison from their fangs, located behind the head, is used to kill insects, which are their primary food. To a human or pet, a bite feels similar to a bee sting and can be dangerous, especially if there is an allergic reaction. There isn’t always a reaction to a centipede bite, but it is painful for pets.Bee stings
Like people, some dogs can have an allergic reaction to bee stings, especially if stung by multiple bees. Take your pet to a veterinarian immediately if they have swelling, hives, difficulty breathing or other symptoms.Heartworm
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. Due to the tropical climate, Hawaii has mosquitoes year-round. Pets become infected with the worm when they are bitten by a mosquito. Even dogs that stay indoors are susceptible to becoming infected with heartworms in Hawaii. Heartworms are a serious disease that primarily affects the heart and lungs but can also affect the liver, kidney, eyes and central nervous system; if left untreated, it can cause death. Fortunately, effective preventatives are available. Have your pet tested yearly for heartworms, and keep them on monthly heartworm preventative.Metaldehyde (snail and slug bait)
Snail and slug bait represent a major risk for dogs and cats and are a more common source of poisoning than you may expect. Snail and slug bait products typically contain the pesticide metaldehyde and may taste sweet to pets. Symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning include tremors, drooling and restlessness, proceeding to seizures and death within hours to days. Have your dog or cat examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect poisoning.Ticks
Although tick-borne diseases are not common in Hawaii, tick paralysis is still a possibility, which is why avoiding ticks and tick bites in particular is a good idea. The biggest problem is when a tick is brought into your home via a pet or even on you. If the tick lays eggs in cracks or crevices inside your home, you could wind up with a tick infestation.
Tips to reduce tick incidents:
Many of Hawaii’s freshwater ponds contain dangerous bacteria called leptospira. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is primarily carried by rats and mice, although dogs, pigs, cattle and horses can also become infected.
To reduce the risk of contracting leptospirosis:
Unless noted, all parts of the plants are harmful): Allamanda vine, angel’s trumpet, Anthurium, apple seeds (in large amounts), apricot seeds, avocado leaves, Azalea – rhododendron species (This popular plant can harm a dog’s cardiovascular system and trigger vomiting or gastrointestinal upset), bee-still tree, black-eyed Susan – Abrus precatorius (rosary pea/bead vine and seeds), bird of paradise – Strelizia regirae (fruits and seeds), Caladium, candlenut tree – kukui (especially sap), cassava – tapioca (leaves and roots), castor bean – Ricinus communis (pa’aila and kamakou), cestrum (‘ala’aumoe berries), Chinaberry (also known as ‘inia – fruit), crown flower (pua kalaunu), crown of thorns, cup of gold and silver cup, daffodil (narcissus bulbs), dumbcane (dieffenbachia), elephant ear (‘ape), foxglove (leaves, seeds, juice and flowers), gloriosa lily (especially roots), Hawaiian poppy (pua kala), hens-and-chicks (lantana), hydrangea (especially leaves and buds), ivy (many varieties – leaves and berries), Jerusalem cherry, jimson weed (also known as Datura stramonium, thorn apple and kikania haole), kava (‘awa), lilies (such as those popular at Easter; this plant can cause heart failure, coordination problems and vomiting.), mushrooms, nightshade (also called deadly nightshade, popolo, apple of Sodom, Jerusalem cherry and cockroach berry), oleander (all varieties including be-still tree – all parts are extremely toxic; this popular outdoor plant contains cardiac glycosides that harm the heart, decrease body temperature, cause abnormal pulse rate and can cause death. Beware: People have died from simply eating hot dogs roasted on an oleander twig), pencil plant sap, periwinkle (vinca), plumeria (pua melia, or frangipani), philodendron (all varieties, small to monster), poinsettia (leaves and flowers – irritating to the mouth and stomach and can cause vomiting), pokeberry (and coral berry), pothos (Scindapsus aureus), red sage (Lantana camara – especially leaves and unripe berries), rhododendron, rhubarb (leaves – although the stalks are used to make pies, the leaves pack the potential to cause kidney damage), slipper flower (especially sap), star of Bethlehem (pua hoku), ti (Cordyline terminalis, also known as the Hawaiian ti, ti tree, good luck tree, green ti, red ti and occasionally giant dracecaena), taro (when raw), tulip (bulbs), umbrella plant (Cyperus alternifolius), wisteria (seeds, pods), yew (needles, bark and seeds – extremely toxic to dogs, this group of ornamental plants can cause seizures or cardiac failure; the plant and red berries are toxic).