Want to how to travel with your pet to Mexico from US? I got you! The process is relatively easy and painless. I will outline exactly what you need to do and what is required to bring your pet into the country so you avoid any holdups or possible quarantines upon arrival.
1. Health Inspection
As for every international trip, a US accredited veterinarian must inspect your pet to verify she/he is in good health and fit to travel. The vet will feel your pet’s body for abnormalities or anything that seems off.
2. Required Vaccination
Rabies vaccination is typically the most important part of your pet’s health certificate because Mexican customs tracks rabies closely. The veterinarian will ensure your pet is up-to-date on her/his rabies vaccination, which are typically good for 1-3 years.
Note: Pets younger than three months are exempted from this requirement.
3. Parasite Treatments
To enter Mexico, your pet must be treated against both ectoparasites and endoparasites in a period no longer than 6 months. Ectoparasites, like fleas and ticks, live externally on your pet. (Bravecto is what I use for my dog because it’s given every 3 months.) Endoparasites, like hookworms, live internally in your pet. (Sentinel is what I use for my dog, once a month.)
4. Health Certificate
After a US accredited veterinarian has deemed your pet healthy to travel, has ensured her/his rabies vaccination is up-to-date, and has administered the parasite treatments (many vets want to personally watch a pet take these), the next step to travel with your pet to Mexico is for your vet to fill out a health certificate clearly outlining all the necessary health requirements for travel.
For traveling to Mexico with your pet, you have two choices for the health certificate:
A) VS 7001 APHIS Form: This form shown below must be endorsed by a USDA official veterinarian. The USDA website states: “Mexico will reject VS Form 7001 health certificates if they are not signed and sealed by a Veterinary Services veterinarian.”
B) Health Certificate Form Printed On Vet’s Official Letterhead: Be sure to print this form shown below on your veterinarian’s letterhead, typed, and then signed in ink. The USDA does not endorse this form.
You can find both forms here on the APHIS USDA website: aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico
Personally, I think option B is easier because a USDA certified veterinarian does not have to endorse the completed form. Admittedly, when I flew into Mexico in December 2017, I used the VS Form 7001 and didn’t have a USDA vet sign it–I didn’t know I had to–and they still accepted it at customs. But I wouldn’t chance it!
A few things to consider while filling out either of these health certificate forms:
- Both forms must be typed and then signed in ink.
- Handwritten documents will be rejected.
- These forms are used for both dogs and cats. (I have not traveled with a cat, though I assume the process is identical.)
- Do not use abbreviations such as “Dec” for December or “Mos” for Months or “CA” for California.
- You must have your pet’s health certificate filled out and completed within 10 days of travel. So when planning your trip to Mexico, consider the timeline so you comply with their policies.
- Be sure to accurately fill in your home address as well as your hotel address where you will first stay upon arrival in Mexico.
- Different airlines have different policies when it comes to pet travel. Be sure to read up on the necessary requirements to fly with your pet, either in cabin or stowed away. Personally, I would never let my dog fly under the plane. The conditions are often very extreme and many animals have died traveling that way.
- Upon arrival in Mexico, no matter into which airport you fly, you will proceed normally through customs and then stop into the Agriculture office for a custom’s agent to inspect your paperwork. Rarely they inspect the dog. When I flew into Guadalajara, they were extremely thorough and even took my dog into another room to inspect her. When I flew into Cancun, the agent quickly glanced over the papers, stamped it, made copies, and sent me on my way. Be ready for anything. Typically, as long as everything is properly filled out, they’ll approve your pet and you will be fine.
- When traveling with a pet in Mexico, it is smart to plan a bit ahead so you make sure your hotel is pet-friendly. If you travel with your service dog, in theory every hotel is required to accept you, but that “rule” isn’t always honored outside of the United States.