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Traveling to Mexico With Pets

Do we need any special documentation to take our dog and cat to Mexico?

Yes. According to the Mexican Consulate, in order to cross over the border into Mexico with pet dogs or cats (and to make sure they return home safely with you!) you will need to carry two main documents throughout your journey:

  • An International Certificate of Good Health (Form 77-043) issued by a licensed veterinarian (signature must be approved by the State Veterinarian) who has examined your pet and...
  • Proof of vaccination against rabies and distemper, administered at least 15 days before your pet enters Mexico.

No Consular certification is required. Visit the Mexican Consulate's website for the latest information.

  • It is also recommended to bring proof of ownership just in case you need it.

Is there any information should be included on the International Certificate that my vet writes for our pet?

First, be sure that the actual dates of vaccination appear on the health certificate. According to the USDA, your certificate for each pet must...

  • be presented in duplicate (you should always keep an extra copy!)
  • clearly state your name and address
  • include a complete description of your pet (species/age/sex)
  • state that your pet has been examined and found to be free of all contagious diseases

Will my pets have to be quarantined when entering Mexico?

Your pets will NOT be placed in quarantine when entering Mexico, as long as you have the necessary paperwork with you.

My family is planning to stay in Mexico for a long time. What happens if my pet's vaccinations run out while we're there?

You must have proof that your pet has been vaccinated at some time between 12 months and 1 month prior to your re-entry. If your pet does not have proof of a valid rabies vaccination when re-entering the US, or if the vaccination took place within the thirty days prior to your re-entry, US Customs will quarantine your pet at the place of your choosing until a full 30 days have passed since the actual vaccination took place.

If your pet has not been vaccinated at all for rabies and distemper within the past calendar year, it can only be re-admitted to the US if it is quarantined immediately upon re-entry at the place of your choosing. You must get it vaccinated within four days of its arrival at your final destination, but no more than 10 days after its arrival at the port of entry (border). It will then need to stay in quarantine for a full 30 days.

Importation of dogs and cats into the US is regulated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). According to the CDC, all domestic cats and dogs must show no evidence of disease that can be communicable to humans at the port of entry.

Even if all of your paperwork is in order, if your dog or cat does not look like it is in good health, further examination by a licensed vet (at your expense!) will be necessary before your dog or cat is allowed to re-enter the US!

Is it possible to get an International Certificate of Health and proof of vaccinations for my pets while I am in Mexico?

Yes, it is. For a small fee, you can get a Certificado Zoosanitario from a licensed Mexican veterinarian proving recent vaccination for rabies, triple canina and parvovirus. Remember that at least 30 days must pass after your pet is vaccinated before you may enter the US with it, or else you will have to place it in quarantine. The Mexican certificate of good health must indicate that your pet has been thoroughly checked out by a vet within the month (30 days) prior to your re-entry and clearly state that your pet is in good health. Any health certificate older issued more than 30 days before your re-entry will not be accepted.

My friend told me something about a pet health stamp. What's that?

According to Pet Travel.Com, some countries require that any certificate issued by a US vet have an official stamp. Although Mexico does not officially require this Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) stamp, here is how you can go about getting one, if you want your veterinary certificate to be as 'official' as possible:

Get APHIS Form 7001, and ask your veterinarian to fill it out, in order to show that your pet is healthy and parasite free. Once the vet has signed the form, take (or mail) the original copy to your nearest APHIS/USDA vet office (there is at least one of these offices in each US state.

The APHIS/USDA office will then endorse and stamp this form. There is a $23 fee per form which can add up if you have more than one pet - so make sure to ask your vet to please list all of your pets on the same form. If your vet lists each animal on separate forms, you will have to pay the full fee for EACH form!

If you mail your form(s) to the office, make sure to enclose the original form(s), a $23 payment per form, and a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. Processing this stamp through the mail will take at least a week, if not longer, so if you want the extra security of getting this stamp, you should try to plan in advance.

My puppy was born two months ago, and isn't old enough yet to have all of her shots yet. What should I do?

Well, you have two options…

One, you can postpone your trip until your pet is at least four months old. Two, you can leave your pet at home this time, and promise to bring it on the next adventure!

Dogs and cats that are three months old or less may not legally enter Mexico.

Can I bring my birds and ferret to Mexico?

Yes. Information can be found on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website. Scroll down to "Pets" to find the latest requirements.

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