Travelling With Your Pets

The requirements do not change every year, although it seems like it!  Variations occur according to the official…  Or airline…

The following information was valid as of  November 2014.  Please help us to keep up to date as much as possible if you encounter anything different by clicking on: Contact Us

Bringing your dog in by air:

Your dog needs a current yearly rabies shot.  Disregard what your NOTB vet says, tell them you are coming to Mexico and you have to play by their rules.

You need a Certificate of Health signed by your vet no more than seven days before you come.  Make sure the vet signs it in BLUE ink  and does not use a stamp.   Computer copy is not acceptable. The vet must put his/her registration number under the signature on that certificate.

Bringing your dog in by car:

Apparently a lot easier, but be prepared and follow the certification rules above.

Bringing your cat in by plane:

Make sure you have all of the documents required: A letter from your vet stating the cat appears to be in good health & is free from internal & external parasites. The vet has a travel form listing date/type of shots the cat has had & must be signed (blue!) by the Vet including their License Number & the original & copy of the Vaccination Certificate. After you have gone through customs, just before luggage claim, on your left is a small office with a table in front. You stop there and they will examine your paperwork. Let them keep the copy of the Vaccination Certificate as you will need the original when returning to Canada.

Check out Mexico’s requirements for cats/dogs coming into the country at  www.senasica.gob.mx  for complete up to date information on this subject.
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 This from member Julie Lea coming in from Canada, 2013 shows some consistency in the rules.   Additionally note item 4 !
  1. The US Customs and Immigration  in Toronto also wanted the Health Certificate and the record of  vaccinations. They also requested it in English  so it is important that  the vaccinations are listed on the International Health Certificate in  ENGLISH.
  2. The International Health Certificate for Canada can be found on the internet under the Government of Canada web site, Travelling With Pets.   Print it and complete it.  Vet registration number and original signature.  List the shots and numbers along with the date of needles.
  3. If this form is not completed correctly, the Mexican officials will make you call a vet to the airport who will check it again for a fee ( November 2014 : US$50 !)
  4. Any blankets or toys will be confiscated.  So if your pet has a favourite toy or blanket make sure it is not in the cage.

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Departing Mexico with your “mascota”:

There are strict airline imposed rules regarding when you can put your mascota  into the hold because of high temperatures.  Currently the “no fly” restriction is from 01 May to 31 October.   Check with the airline also for the  size limitations  for carrying on board and being able to put your pet in its container under your seat.  Ensure you check with your airline – this is not a “Mexican thing”.

A member advised us that she was able to hold their small dog in the PV airport until boarding.   You will have to remove your mascota when you go through security. Once in the aircraft the pet had to remain in the carry case the whole flight (Westjet) and remain in that case until right out of the luggage pick up.  She had removed her pet at luggage pick up  but staff told her to replace her dog as often they have their canines patrolling the area.

If you are travelling to Mexico from the US and returning, you should visit www.aphis.usda.gov for information about what the US requires when “exporting/importing” animals.  That is the governmental agency that sets out the guidelines. They are the Animal and Plant Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture.

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Members General Experiences:

I just had one Chihuahua and she rode in an American Airline approved soft-sided travel carrier under the seat in front of me. You should check with your airline to see what their rules are. I had to make a reservation for Chili Pepper and the cost was about $125 each way, but you pay at the airport…not in advance. AA only allows up to 5 pets on each flight. I’ve done this twice, the last time being in 2014, so I’m pretty sure nothing has changed. For each dog, you will need an ORIGINAL general health and rabies certificate signed by a Vet with his/her license number on it. It must be typed…not handwritten and needs to be dated within 10 days of your travel date. Call Dr. Eduardo in Bucerias 298-1622. He will know what to do.

Funny though…both times I got to DFW with my dog, the agent never asked to see papers, but the agent at the PV airport wanted to see them. The Mexican officials checked my dog and the paperwork thoroughly.  Of course, it probably depends on the day/airport/agent.”

“I think there is a new rule that the rabies injections date of application has to be one month previous the departure. Doube check.”

Glenda ,2013:

” I got the health certificate dated within 7 days of my trip. It needs to be a signed original with the Vets license number and take an extra copy too. The extra mile I went was to FedEx to the USDA for their stamp of approval. There’s a $38 fee. Enclose a FedEx envelope for them to return it to you. They are fast…usually get it back to you within 2-3 days after they get it. ”

In response to whether a pet owner should have an official certificate  (in addition to the record booklet):

“I have never driven, but over the last 10 years or so, I’ve regularly taken my cat to and from Chicago.  At O’Hare Airport, some agents seem to be very concerned about animals who are coming into the U.S. and others, not so much.  Also, there are no animal control officers on duty at ORD after 6:00 p.m., so I don’t even bother with the travel cert. when taking a late plane to Chicago.

“The official  international travel certificate (in English with a raised seal)  is required; your vaccination booklet alone is not sufficient. Also, if the pet was adopted, you may need a document that’s related to the adoption.

“The local vet, Dr Paino on 200, now opposite HSBC (he moved across the highway from south of Las Palmas) has never charged me any more than 120 pesos for the certificate. In Chicagoland I have paid either $45  – or $95 ! – for the same document (with different doctors).”

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“I have every piece of paper on Pepe ever since I got him and have had to show something or other going into  immigration in one country or another. I have been asked for Pepe’s Registration and primary record of shots. I also carry a letter stating that Pepe is a Canadian dog.”

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” I have never been asked for my papers, I just automatically hand them over with my documentation.
It would be the one time that you didn’t have them that they would ask!  Dr Eduardo is great and the cost for a letter  stating the health of the animal was all that is required. In Canada, they put the breed, colour, age and info stating the  animal is in good health. It has worked for 16 trips back and forth.”

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” We just crossed for the third time, never been asked for documentation, but we always have it – just in case.”

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” We carry the shot record book which shows the date and batch serial # of the Rabies shot, then we get the health cert for travel,( just to say the dog is healthy to travel) which this year 2014 cost us 400 pesos – try to make the border within 5 days of the date on this – but again – never been asked.  Last 2 times we have undergone an agricultural check at the border where we all have to exit the vehicle – dog included, but again never been asked.

I would get the certificate just to make sure. It needs to have the date you are crossing on it. We have always had record and health certificate from our vet crossing in both directions. We have never been asked for it, but sure enough if you don’t, you will probably be asked. It is a very minimal cost.”

“The day before I left Mexico I visited Dr. Eduardo in Bucerias and he gave me a health certificate…150 pesos…though he said I probably wouldn’t need it. When I went through customs at DFW, they didn’t ask to see any papers.”

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Here’s an interesting footnote from a voice of experience: check with your local taxi driver that he will allow your pet in the car BEFORE you load it up with your luggage!
This information is correct as of 26 January 2015, but if you encounter differently, please: Contact Us

Disclaimer: This information is not meant as legal advice. It is for educational and informational purposes only. Government policies vary between States and offices, and Mexican Government officials have broad discretion in how they individually enforce policies, so, your personal experiences may vary. See a professional for advice on important issues.