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Bringing Pets to Mexico – US/Canadians only
Note: Only dogs and cats are considered pets by Mexico’s definition.
If you are driving to Mexico with your dog or cat, you do not need to spend the money to go to a veterinarian and get a health certificate.
You do not need to have a veterinarian provide proof that the pet has had parasite prevention.
You may need to show a rabies certificate for your dog or cat to enter Mexico. It varies from border crossing to border crossing. (TJ for example does ask for the rabies certificate)
BTW… when driving back into the U.S. the border agent will just do a visual inspection (from the car window rolled down).
If the dog is healthy looking, they will usher you through.
Here is a link from the USDA confirming the new requirements for bringing pets to Mexico.
Will my dog be inspected at the border?
Mexico border agents are not OISA officers. Therefore they are not part of the SAGARPA-SENASICA which oversees the importation of animals.
There is not an OISA office at the U.S. Mexico border. No one is there to inspect your pet.
Documents to have while traveling
Although Mexico does not require a health certificate to enter with your dog, it is always a good idea to have following documentation with you:
- An up-to-date rabies certificate. Some border crossing stations are asking for proof of a rabies vaccine.
- Vaccination record of vaccines and due dates (optional)
- Record of medications for flea/ticks/mites and lice. Plus, heart worm prevention. (optional)
Check List For Traveling with Dogs to Mexico
A Rabies booster is the only vaccine requirement Mexico has.
However, we dog-lovers want to keep our furry friends healthy.
This is especially true when traveling to another country.
Mexico has a lot of street dogs who are not vaccinated or treated for parasites.
Therefore, keep your dog current on vaccines such a Bordetella, Canine Influenza, DHPP Booster (K9 Distemper) and a parasite prevention medication.
Regarding the dog’s ID Tag worn on the collar – put your email address not a phone number.
If your dog gets lost and someone finds him/her… they probably cannot call a U.S. or Canadian phone number.
However, everyone can send an email at no cost to them. Just something to keep in mind. =8-)
Download the PDF version of this checklist!
Crossing the border back into the U.S.
Both Mexico and the U.S. requires proof of an up-to-date rabies
vaccine for your dog or cat.
The U.S. border agent will do a visual inspection (windows rolled down) to make sure the dog/cat looks healthy.
More from the CDC on bringing your pet in to the U.S.
NEW Visitors Permits Requirements (for humans) To Enter Mexico
Getting a FMM is not the same as it used to be. The Mexico Immigration Office no longer allows tourists to visit Mexico for up to 180-days automatically.
A FMM is a visitors permit, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM. It is what you need to enter Mexico legally.
When driving across the border you will be required to complete the FMM card at the immigration office.
Often times the desk for the FMM is in the same building where the desk is for the TIP (temporary import permit, for cars) is located.
The immigration official will ask how long you intend to stay in Mexico.
Be sure to let them know your plans so that they provide you with sufficient days for your visit.
The immigration official may ask for proof of how long you are staying; such as hotel, Airbnb, and VRBO reservations. If you are flying out, show the airline ticket.
Be sure to surrender your FMM and TIP when leaving Mexico!
Their new systems will keep track of your entry and departure. The officials will look you up on their system before determining how many days they will allow you to stay in Mexico.
You can learn more about the FMM here.
Smart Safety Planning Tips
Never drive after dark. Get to your destination before the sun sets.
Stay on the Tolls roads (Cuotas) as much as possible.
If you see a gas station when your tank is half full, fill it up. Do not let your gas tank get below half full.
Make sure the gas pump is at $00.00 (zero) before they start pumping the gas.
Tell the gas station attendant exactly how much you want. For example, x amount in pesos, and try to pay with that exact amount. This will illuminate the chances of being short changed.
Keep two wallets. One with ~1,000 pesos. Use that to pay the tolls, gas, food. Replenish that wallet out of the sight of others.
Keep the 2nd wallet with the remainder of your cash hidden and out of sight.
Get a checking account at a bank that reimburses international fees at the ATM. Charles Schwab is good.
These are prudent safety tips for driving anywhere, not just in Mexico.
We have encountered many wonderful and kind people while driving throughout Mexico. It is unfortunate that a few like to prey on tourist. No different than in the U.S.
The GrinGO App for traveling in Mexico.
WAZE is the best app for directions and up-to-date information on accidents and where the police are. All information is supplied by other drivers. It is also a great resource to contact other drivers around you to find out why you find yourself stuck in traffic.
On the Road In Mexico (with Bill Bell) Another great resource is the private Facebook group called On The Road In Mexico. Even if you are not a fan of FB, this private group is well worth joining.
There are 56K+ members who can help to answer your questions real-time with up-to-date travel information all throughout Mexico.
Make sure it is the one with Bill Bell as the Administrator.
Google Translate, as it allows you to use your phone’s camera to translate menus, signs, ads etc if you are not familiar with Spanish.
WhatsApp for free texting and internet phone calls all over the world.
Uber and DiDi for ride -share services. Very inexpensive in Mexico. Note: not all states in Mexico allow ride-share services.
As always… safe travels!
You may be interested in…
Flying to Mexico City with dogs – our step by step experience in 2023
Flying With an Emotional Support Dog or a Service Dog – What’s the Difference?
Pet Friendly Road Trip – from Texas to Central Mexico