Taking Your Pets with You to Mexico

Just like there are rules for how people can legally enter Mexico, there are also rules for dogs and cats.  (The rules for animals other than dogs and cats can be different.)

In order for you to bring your dog or cat to Mexico, you will need to prove that Fido or Samantha is in good health and up to date on their rabies vaccines.  Here’s the link to the form many people use: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/library/forms/pdf/APHIS7001.pdf.  You’ll see that you will need a certified veterinarian to sign the form.  Getting this done NOB (“North of the Border”; the US and Canada) can be pretty pricey, but that’s the right way to go.  (You can save big time on vet bills later, after you live in Mexico.)

When getting Spot’s or Tiger’s shots, please make sure to have a calendar available.  Just like you can’t wait too long to get the shots, you can’t do them too far in advance, either.

Entering into Mexico with your dog or cat is easiest by car.  Most of the time, the Mexican authorities at the border don’t even check. Then, you just have to find pet friendly hotels and motels for along the way.  Fortunately, there are quite a few; just check ahead of time.

If you travel by air, the situation is much more complicated.  Some airlines won’t allow you to bring a pet at all; some will only allow certain breeds or certain sizes; and, if your pet is too large to go with you or is not allowed in the people section of the plane, there are regulations and common sense concerns you have to be aware of regarding how hot it will be in the cargo area of the plane.  When traveling by air, please be prepared to have the Mexican officials check your pet after you land, because they almost certainly will.

Several of our clients who travel by air won’t risk putting Mr. Barkley in the plane’s cargo area and instead, contract with someone to meet them at the border and drive their dog (and many times, our clients) to their new home in Mexico. If you’re in this situation, let me know and I can refer you.

  • Find a vet in your neighborhood NOB who is certified to give the shots and make the declarations for your pets.
  • Tell your vet when you plan to cross into Mexico so he or she can time the shots correctly.
  • If you are traveling by air, find out the regulations from your airline.  See if you can take your pet with you in the passenger area.  Tell them your pet’s breed, weight, etc., and if your pet cannot come with you in the passenger area, ask them if there are any restrictions regarding the time of year because of excess heat or other concerns.
  • If you are flying and you aren’t comfortable having your pet(s) in the cargo area of the plane, make arrangements well in advance to have someone drive your pets in Mexico.