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Bringing Pets to Mexico

Bring Your Pets to Mexico

You can take your pets to Mexico: Mexican customs will allow you to introduce two pets per person enterting the country (cats or dogs) to Mexico, provided that you have the correct zoo sanitary paperwork in order.

This guide gives you the details about how to prepare the paperwork and transport your pet(s) to Mexico on commercial airlines as well as details about taking your pet back to your home country.

How to Bring Your Pets to Mexico

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.

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. 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.

See Blog: A Park Full Of Schnauzers and pet dogs as means to secure your home in Mexico

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Arriving with Your Pet in Mexico

You are permitted to import two pets (cats, dogs, or a cat and dog) into Mexico.

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 you pet(s) to the zoo sanitary kiosk at the port of entry and present the documentation to facilitate your pet's entry into Mexico.

Note: this section assumes that you are transporting a cat or dog. To seek permission for the import of other animals, contact your local Mexican Consulate. Note that you will also need to contact your airline, also, to ask about transportation of animals other than cats and dogs.

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Leaving Mexico with Your Pets

When you leave Mexico with your pets, you will need to contact your country's consulate to find out what paperwork and procedures are required to re-import your pet back to your home country. 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, free of charge, upon a visual inspection of your pet.

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Useful Web Sites

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

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 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