You can take your pets to Mexico: Mexican customs will allow you to introduce two pets (cats or dogs) per person entering the country to Mexico, provided that you have the correct zoo-sanitary paperwork in order.
This guide gives you the details about how to prepare for the transport and importation of your pet(s) to Mexico and taking your pet(s) back to your home country from Mexico.
Arriving with Your Pets in Mexico
Importing Other Pets to Mexico
Leaving Mexico with Your Pets
Useful Web Sites
If you plan to take your cat(s) and/or dog(s) to Mexico, here are the guidelines you’ll need to follow so that you can get your pets transported on the airline (if you are flying) and gain entry to Mexico with your pets at the border.
If you plan to bring other animals to Mexico, e.g. birds, then you will need undertake further procedures to acquire additional permits for export (from your country) and import (to Mexico) of the animals, e.g. birds, reptiles.
Taking Pets to Mexico on Airlines
Each airline has its own rules about taking pets when you travel (and how many pets they will transport per passenger or family group). Following are universal guidelines that will apply to most airlines. You should, however, check your airline’s web site for latest details and policies and call them for clarification if necessary.
Crates and Kennels: The airline will require you to use a purpose-built crate (for cats) or kennel (for dogs) if you want to transport them on the airline. Cardboard or plastic boxes and other make-shift containers will not be accepted.
Health Certificates: You will need to show the health certificates from the veterinary surgeon—the same documents you will require at the port of entry in Mexico.
Excess Baggage Fees: Fees vary by airline — check with them for details. If you have a big dog (combined weight of kennel and animal greater than 100lbs) then the dog may have to be transported separately (as cargo). Airlines have been restricting baggage allowances and increasing fees for excess baggage of late, so be sure to check this detail with your airline so that you understand the additional costs involved.
Proper Labeling on Crates and Kennels: Your full name, address and telephone contact numbers (at destination) need to be clearly displayed. The crate should indicate which way is up, and the words “LIVE ANIMALS” (in capital letters) should be prominently displayed. Your pet(s) should also be properly tagged.
Interior of Crates and Kennels: The interior should have some sort of absorbent lining to absorb any urine or feces. Shredded newspaper will work if you don’t have a purpose made material from a pet store. Do not place food or water inside the crate or kennel but instead place two dishes inside which airline staff may make use of. Some people freeze water in a dish, which melts during the flight providing your pet with water if it gets thirsty.
Upon Arrival: Have food and water ready for your pet. Mexican authorities will allow you to import a reasonable ration of dry food for your pet to eat whilst in-transit. You may place these items inside the crate or kennel; keep water containers and food packets sealed. You will need to present your health certificates to the zoo sanitary kiosk at the port of entry in Mexico for your pet to be allowed into the country.
You are permitted to import two pets (cats, dogs, or a cat and dog) into Mexico. This limit is per person, so if you are a couple, you can import up to 4 pets. Note that if you import more than 3 pets, you will need to pay additional fees. See the website links below for details and procedures.
Before you travel, your veterinary surgeon needs to provide you with two health certificates for each pet:
- Health Certificate issued by an official authority or by a licensed veterinarian; and
- Proof of vaccines against rabies and distemper, administered at least 15 days before the arrival of your pet in Mexico.
Take your pet(s) to the zoo sanitary kiosk (look for the acronym SAGARPA which the Ministry responsible for this process) at the port of entry and present the documentation to facilitate your pet’s entry into Mexico.
The information in this guide assumes that you are transporting a cat or dog. To seek permission for the import of other animals/birds/reptiles, contact your local Mexican Consulate. Exporting animals (especially birds and reptiles) is an involved process that requires considerable paperwork for export and import—check your home country’s rules for the export of birds and reptiles in particular. Note also that if you’re flying to Mexico you’ll also need to contact your airline to ask about its policies of transportation of animals other than cats and dogs.
When you leave Mexico with your pets, you will need to go online and search to find out what paperwork and procedures are required to re-import your pet back to your home country (or the country you plan to visit). Some countries have quarantine regulations in place which means that your pet will need to be quarantined (at your expense) for a determined period upon arrival before you can take it home with you.
Usually, the paperwork required to re-import your pet to your home country is similar to that Mexico requires to bring your pet to Mexico. You’ll need a veterinary surgeon’s health certificate and proof of vaccines against rabies and distemper.
You will also need an exit permit for your pet when you leave Mexico. This is issued by SAGARPA, the Mexican agricultural ministry who will also undertake visual inspection of your pet(s) to asses its state of health. This is only valid for six months. If you plan to be outside of Mexico for more than six months, before you return with your pet(s), you’ll need to get health certificates and vaccinations from a veterinary abroad before you can re-import the pet(s) to Mexico.
Here is a list of useful contacts in relation to bringing your pets to Mexico as well as keeping pets in Mexico:
SAGARPA – The Mexican Agricultural Ministry, which is also responsible for zoo sanitary matters
SEMARNAT – Also related to SAGARPA, this ministry is responsible for environmental matters and you may need to refer to them if you plan to import pets other than cats or dogs
Mexican Kennel Association – Part of the International Kennel Association; this web site also has a link to the Mexican Cattery Association
Canine Carriers – If you want someone else to take care of your pet’s entry and exit from Mexico, you may hire a private firm like this one
Mexican Vets – Click the link to open Mexico’s online yellow pages. Search for the word veterinarios in your local area.
Mexican Consulates Abroad – Find your nearest Mexican Consulate in your home country
Foreign Consulates in Mexico – Find your country’s consulate in Mexico