Bo Avoids Rabies Quarantine in Hawaii

VIDEO: The first dog kicks off his 11-day vacation with a trip to the beach and a run.PlayABCNEWS.com
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For most people who plan to visit Hawaii, the biggest decisions are what swimsuit to bring and what SPF sunscreen to use. But when you have a dog, things are a little tougher, as the first family knows all too well.

When President Obama and his family decided to take Bo to the family's vacation home this week on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, it set off an elaborate schedule of events for the Portuguese water dog.

Hawaii has strict laws about bringing dogs onto the islands, aimed at protecting residents and pets from the spread of rabies. It's not surprising that Hawaii is the only state in the country without rabies.

Typically, dogs and cats have to be quarantined for up to 120 days on arrival, unless they qualify for the newer "5 days or less" quarantine program. It requires at least two rabies vaccinations, with the most recent being at least 90 days before the pet arrives in the Rainbow State, and the pet has to take a blood test to make sure it is rabies free. Owners who want to use the expedited method also need to make sure that they have a microchip ID inserted into their pet.

This is Bo's first trip to Hawaii, but his family knew the rules and started planning months in advance, getting the proper shots and paperwork, allowing Bo to be released directly to the Obama's at the airport. State law allows that, at the state Agriculture Department's discretion, and a fee of $165.

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The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Bo received two rabies vaccinations, an implanted electronic microchip, and underwent a blood test to ensure that he was rabies-free.

An Agriculture spokesman told the paper that the White House started the process for Bo after the Obamas completed their Hawaiian Christmas vacation last year.

It might be a lot of work, but pictures of Bo running along the beach with first daughters Malia and Sasha suggests it's well worth it.