Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Driving or flying to Mexico.

Traveling with dogs to Mexico is easy.

There are new pet requirements for 2020…

IF you are coming from Canada or the United States.


UPDATED December 2019. Mexico has new pet requirements!

In the end of 2019 Mexico revised the requirements on bringing pets to Mexico – for U.S. and Canadians only.

What Changed: New 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 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

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 new requirements for traveling to Mexico with pets.

What do the new requirements for bringing a dog (or cat) to Mexico mean to you?

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.

Stopping at an OISA office is optional.

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

Before these new regulations, the likelihood of being asked for the paperwork for your pet was slim to none. Now with the new regulations, the border agents definitely will not ask.

FLYING to Mexico with a pet

When flying to Mexico with a pet, the procedures are the same as before because the airlines still require a Health Certificate and Rabies Certificate.

However there is one difference.

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 are supposed to 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 a pet in the cabin or in the cargo area of the airplane. Some airlines have additional airline-specific paperwork you will 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 the dogs, I normally type up the following information for the veterinarian’s office.

This is the information they need in order to complete the health certificate or APHIS7001 form:

  1. A) The address of where you are living now and the address of where you will be staying/living in Mexico with your dog.
  2. B) Name of pet, type of breed, any distinguishing marks, age, sex, color. If the pet has a microchip. Include the microchip number.
  3. 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.

Preferable an original copy from the veterinarian who administered these vaccines last.

  1. D) Confirmation the dog is currently being treated against external parasites (ectoparasites) and internal parasites (endoparasites).
  2. E) 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.

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

Check the rabies certificate to make sure it does not expire while in Mexico! If it does, this is a reason for your dog to 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[/captio

Important Timeline - What you need to do and when

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, ocean ports and land 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.

You may also like …

Mexico City – 5 Pet-Friendly places to visit in CDMX

Oaxaca City – List of Pet-Friendly restaurants to visit

Visit one of Mexico’s Famous Ghost Towns – Real de Catorce


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