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Mérida, Yucatán Mexico

Driving To Mexico With Dogs

Spring 2021

Driving to Mexico with a dog is less stressful now that Mexico has new pet requirements for entering Mexico from the U.S. and Canada by car.

In November 2019, Mexico relaxed the regulations about bringing pets to Mexico.

Bringing Pets to Mexico – US/Canadians only

Note: Only dogs and cats are considered pets by Mexico’s definition.

What changed for driving to Mexico with  pets?

As of November 2019, 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 do not need to provide a rabies certificate for your dog or cat.

What has not changed

  • Only a small amount of dog food is allowed to be brought into the country (enough for a week or two is OK)

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 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. You may be asked to present it when entering back into the U.S.
  • Vaccination record of vaccines and due dates
  • Record of medications for flea/ticks/mites and lice. Plus, heart worm prevention.

Crossing the border back into the U.S.

UPDATE June ’21: Although Mexico no longer requires proof of the rabies vaccine for your dog or cat you will need to bring the up-to-date rabies certificate with you in order to enter back into the U.S. with your pet.

Reason: On July 14 2021, the CDC put a temporary suspension on dogs entering the U.S. from countries that have a high risk of dog rabies.

113 countries are on this list – Mexico is NOT on this list. View list 

However, when you enter the United States, they will ask where your pet is coming from. At this time you will provide a verbal statement that your dog(s) lived in a country that is NOT high risk for at least 6 months.

They may ask to see  your passport for proof.

More from the CDC on bringing your pet to the U.S.

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Olivia N

Hola! First I would like to say thank you for your website!! I have searched so many articles and they are always so complicated. Yours is simple to understand, just what I was looking for! I am moving to Guaymas, Sonora, from Canada for a while with my two Labradoodles. I can’t bring my dog food into the US because it is lamb biased, but if I buy the same one in the US can I take it across into Mexico? Also, do I need to take them to an OISA facility or is that only for flying? Thanks so… Read more »

Andre Embersics

Hola Deborah, You cannot imagine how happy I am that I found your website! Thank you so much for having such a simple yet thorough place where this (sometimes) confusing information can be found! My wife and I are moving from Canada to Mexico City with our two dogs (a boxer and a lab) in early October and we are travelling by car. Would you recommend any specific point at the US-Mexico border that we should consider for getting into Mexico? Our two main concerns are safety and “smoothness” of the process to cross by land with two dogs. Thanks… Read more »

Susan Bloodworth

Thank you for your response! I have a couple more questions:

Do the dogs need to be in a crate when we cross the border? Or is a seatbelt enough?
What is TIP for our car?

Thank you!

Susan Bloodworth

We are moving to Puerto Vallarta and want to drive over the border with our two dogs. We have our Mexican Resident Visa, for our first year, and rabies, heartworm, shot records for our pups. Anything else I am missing?

Joana Cazales

I’m driving to rosarito this weekend with my puppy from LA but I don’t have his rabies certificate but he does have his shot and the vet Is closed will I still be able to come back into Cali with him?

Guillermo Angel Arce

that’s is a California rule not enforced at the border. I travel with my pup through San Ysidro without batting an eye.

Patt Riese

I am driving with my 2 15# chihuahua mixes to Mazatlán for 6 months. The older one (10yo) has a lot of allergies & I am hoping to bring his (specialized diet) dry dog food (no beef, poultry based) along.

What are the current limitations on the quantity I can bring?

So happy to find your website!

Tyler Braxton

Hi – we are in the process of relocating to Isla Mujeres MX. we have 4 dogs and 1 cat and working with someone to drive them from Texas. From everything I have read, seems like crossing the border in south Texas shouldn’t be an issue and no specific documentation or inspection will be required.

However, I am trying to confirm if they will inspect the number of pets in the vehicle? And are there specific limits for the process?


I’m planning on going to Mexico this weekend does my dog need their rabies vaccine to cross the border?


I am planning on going to Rosarito with my dog driving from LA. do I need a crate for me dog?
Also, my dog does not have a microchip, is it a must in order to bring him back?


I wanted to bring my 2 small dogs to Mexico for the weekend to see my dad. I’m fearful of crossing the border too and from with them (they tend to be barky chihuahuas) Is it true that I can “just drive right across the border and back” with them without any documentation? We’re going from Los Angeles to Rosario.

They are emotional support dogs, with current certificate, rabies, and parasite control.