Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Whether you are driving or flying to Mexico, traveling with dogs to Mexico is easy.

In 2020 the Mexican government – the OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) – dropped the requirement to provide a Health Certificate from a veterinarian. HOWEVER only

IF you are coming from Canada or the United States.

What Changed: Requirements and Processes For Bringing Pets to Mexico

Mexico no longer requires your pet to have a health certificate from a veterinarian.

Mexico no longer requires proof of the rabies vaccine for your dog or cat.

Mexico will require that a staff member of OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) perform a brief physical inspection of your pet. The OISA offices are at the international airports, not at the border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico.

At the airport the OISA office will verify:

  • That there are no signs of infectious and contagious diseases
  • That it is free of ectoparasites = fleas, ticks, mites, and lice
  • That there are no fresh or healing wounds

What has not changed:

  • Only a small amount of dog food is allowed to be brought into the country
  • Any type of disposable bedding the dog was transported in, must be thrown away. For example, newspapers or sawdust or rags

Notice from the USDA about the requirements for traveling to Mexico with pets.

Driving to Mexico from the U.S. and Canada

If you are driving to Mexico with your dog, 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.

However, it is always good to bring along a copy of the rabies certificate and an updated list of the vaccines your dog has had.

As a side note, the Mexico border agents are not OISA officers and are not part of the SAGARPA-SENASICA.

OISA offices are not at the border crossings.  There is no one who will ask to inspect your dog at the border.

The OISA offices are at the airports.

FLYING to Mexico with a pet

As of 2021 U.S. airlines no longer allow Emotional Support Animals.

When flying to Mexico with a pet, the airlines still require a Health Certificate and Rabies Certificate.

Once you land at the airport, the airport officials will direct you to the OISA office inside the airport.

Now, instead of handing them paperwork to review, they inspect your dog for good health. That is it!

This only applies to pets originating from the U.S. and Canadian.

Nevertheless, airlines have their own requirements for pets flying on their airplanes regardless of the country.

Airline health requirements for flying with pets to Mexico

  1. a certificate of health
  2. proof the rabies certificate is less than 12 months old

Note: You do not need a “Pet Passport” – this is not part of the official requirements.

Please call the airline directly for their rules on flying with a pet in the cabin or in the cargo area.

Some airlines have specific paperwork you may need to complete.

What is a Health Certificate?

When flying with dogs to Mexico you must prove the dog is healthy.

In order to do that, you need a Health Certificate from a licensed veterinarian in your country of origin.

There are two ways your veterinarian can provide this “health certificate”:

  1. Complete the APHIS7001 (U.S.) form
  2. Have a licensed veterinarian type up, on official letterhead, the requested information (see below).

Depending on the airline, it must be completed within 5 – 10 days of flying to Mexico with your pet.

Note: You do not need have the APHIS7001 form stamped by the USDA.


What the health certificate must include

In preparation for traveling by air to Mexico with dogs, I normally type-up the information they will need to complete the form

A) The address of where you are living now and the address of where you will be staying/living in Mexico with your petB) Name of pet, type of breed, any distinguishing marks, age, sex, color. If the pet has a microchip. Include the microchip number.

C) A 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, most likely the office will have all this on file.

However, if this is a new veterinarian, you will need to provide this information.

Rabies Certificate

The rabies vaccination certificate must include all of the following information:

  • Name and address of the owner
  • Breed, sex, date of birth, color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog
  • Vaccine product information – name, lot number
  • Date of rabies vaccination
  • The date the vaccination will expire
  • Name, license number, address, and signature of the veterinarian who administered the vaccination

Confirmation that the dog’s rabies vaccine meets the airline’s date requirements of no less than 30 days and no more than 12 months.

Check the rabies certificate to make sure it does not expire while in Mexico!

If it does, this is a reason your dog may be turned away at the airport.

It’s always a good idea to ask the veterinarian for several original copies of the rabies certificates.

More on the rabies vaccine

Mexico does recognize a 3-year rabies vaccine.

However, most airlines require a vaccine/booster within 12 months of the date you are flying with your dog.

That means is your dog will have to have a rabies booster shot even if it has not expired.

Parasite Prevention

Providing proof that your dog is under a parasite prevention program.  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.
Sofia getting parasite prevention medicine

Timeline For Airline Requirements

Two Months Before Flying To Mexico

  • Rabies booster if their last booster is more than 12 months old. Administer this booster 60-days before traveling.
  • Check to make sure the vaccine for Hepatitis and distemper will not expire while in Mexico.
  • Administer monthly treatment against ectoparasites and endoparasites.

Note: Make sure the date you administer treatment will align with your departure date (within a 3-day window) two months later.

One Month Before Flying To Mexico

  • Get a fecal exam for your dog. Make photocopies of results.
  • Administer internal parasite treatment. Common product is Interceptor.
  • Administer external monthly parasite treatment.

Within A Week Of Traveling To Mexico

  • Go to the veterinarian to get a health checkup and the health certificate; within 5 to 10 days before the departing flight
  • Have the Veterinarian administer internal parasite prevention medication.
  • Have the Veterinarian administer external parasite prevention medication.
  • Make 3 color photocopies of all the documentation!

What is the SAGARPA-SENASICA and why do I need to know about it?

This is the Mexican government agency tasked with overseeing the importation of pets and other animals.

The acronyms means the following: el Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA).

It falls under the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA).

All ports of entry into Mexico have an Oficinas de Inspección de Sanidad Agropecuarias (OISA) – airports and ocean ports.

If you are flying into Mexico you will automatically be directed to the OISA office at the airport.

All international airports in Mexico have this office.

According to the new regulations a staff member of OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) will perform a brief physical inspection of your pet and verify:

  • That there are no signs of infectious and contagious diseases
  • That it is free of ectoparasites – fleas, ticks, mites, and lice
  • That there are no fresh or healing wounds

The process should be much faster than in the past.

Once completed they will provide you with the certificate of importation.

Returning Home With Your Pet

Bringing your dog back to the U.S. from Mexico

The U.S. has certain requirements that must be met before a dog can be admitted to entry into the United States.

According to the US Department of Agriculture…

“All dogs must appear healthy and depending upon what country the dogs are coming from, a valid rabies vaccination certificate may be required”

US Government Link

If you are flying back, the airlines have their own requirements in addition to the U.S government requirements.

Refer to the section above for airline requirements.

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So if your traveling by car inspecting your dog at the oisa office is optional? If my dog has a hot spot do to an allergy will I be able to pass? Thank you

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