Update Spring 2021
Traveling to Guatemala with a dog is easy, once you know the pet requirements for Guatemala.
There are important steps you must take to bring a dog to Guatemala and for taking your dog back home from a trip to Guatemala
It is important to distinguish between the airline requirements for bringing dogs to Guatemala and the Guatemala government’s requirements for taking your dog to Guatemala.
This article will share information about both.
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to bring a dog to Guatemala.
Step 1 – Health Certificate and Other Paperwork:
Guatemala’s Government Requirements
Here is what you need to take a dog to Guatemala. No matter if you are flying or driving into Guatemala, the government requires 3 things:
- a certificate of health
- proof the rabies vaccine is up-to-date
- your pet is being treated for prevention of external and internal parasites
Note: You do not need a “Pet Passport” – this is not part of Guatemala’s official requirements.
When traveling with dogs to Guatemala you must prove the dog is healthy.
In order to do that, you need a Health Certificate from a USDA-Accredited veterinarian (United States) or licensed veterinarian in your country of origin.
There are two ways your veterinarian can provide this “health certificate”:
- Complete the APHIS7001 (U.S.) form
- Have a licensed veterinarian type up, on office letterhead, the requested information
If you are traveling from the United States, Guatemala requires the APHIS7001 form be completed as the health certificate.
It also must be endorsed/stamped (more details on that below).
What the health certificate must include:
In preparation for traveling to Guatemala with dogs, it is a good idea to provide the veterinarian’s office with the following information before the appointment.
This is data they need in order to complete the health certificate.
The address of where you are living now and the address of where you will be staying/living in Guatemala with your dog.
Name of pet, type of breed, any distinguishing marks, age, sex, color. If the pet has a microchip. Include the microchip number.
Record/listing of all vaccines, the dates administered and expiration dates. This includes the DHPP booster, respiratory complex intranasal (for kennel cough), rabies, plus dates of the last heartworm test, fecal exam and annual exam.
If your dog has been going to the same Veterinarian for years, then the office will have all this on file.
However, if this is a new veterinarian, you will need to provide this information. Preferable an original copy from the veterinarian who administered these vaccines last.
Confirmation the dog is currently being treated against external parasite (ectoparasites) and internal parasites (endoparasites).
Confirmation that the dog’s rabies vaccines are up to date and meet the date requirements for Guatemala.
Check the rabies certificate to make sure it does not expire while traveling in Guatemala! If it does, this is reason for your dog to be turned away.
The rabies vaccination certificate must include all of the following information:
- Name and address of owner
- Breed, sex, date of birth (approximate age if date of birth unknown), color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
- Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
- Date the vaccination expires
- Name, license number, address, and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination
It’s always a good idea to ask the veterinarian for several original copies of the rabies certificates.
More on the rabies vaccine
Guatemala does recognize a 3-year rabies vaccine.
However, most airlines require a vaccine/booster be given within a year of the date you are flying.
Therefore, if you are driving to Guatemala with your dog, the 3-year rabies certificate is valid.
If you are flying to Guatemala with a dog, the airline may require a rabies booster even if it is within the 3-year time-frame.
You must provide proof that your dog is under a parasite prevention program. And by parasites, I mean the following:
Ectoparasites are external parasites: fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Products such as Bravecto or NexGard prevent ectoparasites.
Endoparasites are internal parasites: heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Interceptor is a product commonly used for this.
Step 2 – USDA Stamp of Approval:
Once you have the completed and signed APHIS7001 form from your veterinarian, Guatemala requires that it be endorsed (stamped) by the USDA Veterinary Services Endorsement Office.
You must bring along an original copy of the Rabies Certificate when you go to this office.
I highly recommend you make an appointment beforehand.
If possible, make it for the same day or the day after receiving the completed APHIS7001 form from the veterinarian.
Side note… our experience:
I called our local USDA office a month ahead of time to schedule an appointment to have Olivia and Sofia’s APHIS7001 forms stamped.
The office told me to call back a few weeks later! They only take appointments two weeks or less, in advance of departure date.
Once I was able to make an appointment, I was glad I did. When we arrived at 7:30 am for our 8:00 am appointment, the waiting room was already full!
These folks had not made an appointment and were put on a waiting list.
Fortunately, we got in at our appointment time.
At the counter window, the officer took the completed APHIS7001 form and the rabies vaccine certificate and told us to go sit back down to wait.
About 30 minutes later they handed back the forms with their endorsement stamps. There was a fee associated with each stamp.
New! No Guatemala Consulate Stamp of Approval Required
In the past, the Guatemala Consulate needed to put their stamp of approval on the Health Certificate.
However, this is not the case anymore. I am going to assume this changed because of the pandemic in 2020-2021.
I hope they do not reinstate this requirement. If they do, it is only for some extra revenue and not for anything else.
Helpful timeline for Required Documents
Two Months before crossing the border:
Get the Rabies booster if your dog’s last shot is more than a year old. Administer booster more than 30-days before traveling.
Get 4 original copies of the Rabies Certificate from the veterinarian’s office.
Administer monthly treatment against ectoparasites (external parasites) and endoparasites (internal parasites).
Ectoparasites are: fleas, ticks, mites, and lice.
Endoparasites are: heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
Check to make sure the vaccine for Hepatitis and distemper will not expire while traveling. If it does, get the booster now.
One month before crossing the border:
Get a fecal exam for your dog. Make 4 photo copies of results.
Administer monthly internal and external parasite treatments. Common products are Interceptor and NexGard.
One week before leaving
Have appointment with the veterinarian to get the physical.
The veterinarian will administer internal and external parasite prevention medications.
APHIS7001 health certificate completed and signed by the veterinarian.
Make sure you have 4 color copies of all the documentation!
Take the completed APHIS7001 form and Rabies Certificate to the USDA Veterinary Services Endorsement Office. Have them stamp the form for approval.
Next, have the Guatemala Consulate endorse/stamp the APHIS7001 form and Rabies Certificate and attach their paperwork.
Now you are all done and ready to travel to Guatemala with your pet!
Our experience flying into the Guatemala International Airport with our dogs
We landed at the Guatemala airport with all our dog’s paperwork stamped and ready for entry into Guatemala.
First, we went through the customs area and had our passports stamped. We kept the dogs in their soft-side carriers during this process.
Next, we picked up our luggage and let the dogs out of their carriers.
We were directed to a government office in the baggage claim area. It was a small room with a desk and a printer/scanner.
The official took all the paperwork and scanned each page into their system, then handed the originals back to us.
The official did not provide any government form stating the dogs were legally admitted to Guatemala.
Before we left the office, I asked if there were any special requirements for taking our dogs home or out of Guatemala. And there were!
Be aware… there are strict requirements for taking a dog home from Guatemala.
In conclusion, I would say the experience of bringing our dogs into Guatemala went smoothly. We followed all the government requirements for traveling to Guatemala with a dog.
We all really enjoyed our 3 months in Guatemala and were so happy to have our girls – Olivia and Sofia with us!
Airlines flying to Guatemala that accept Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
Avianca: The transport in cabin of the service dogs, rescue dogs, guide dogs or emotional support dogs has no additional charge.
Aeroméxico – accepts emotional-support pets onboard their flights, in compliance with Air Carrier Access Act.
Volaris – ESAs can travel at no cost on flights within Mexico and from/to Central America only.
COPA – Emotional support dogs will only be accepted on routes where they are recognized in the country’s regulations: to or from Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Mexico.
You may be interested in…
What you need to know about leaving Guatemala with a pet
Our experience attending a pet friendly Spanish school in Guatemala – SISAI Spanish School
Crossing the border in Texas? Checkout this pet friendly (and kid friendly) road trip itinerary with cool places to visit and lodging suggestions. Pet Friendly Mexico Road Trip