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Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Updated November 2023

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.

Requirements and Processes For Bringing Pets to Mexico (if traveling from the U.S. or Canada)

Mexico no longer requires your pet to have a health certificate from a veterinarian if you are from the U.S. or Canada.

However, they do require an up-to-date rabies certificate.

No requirement to provide proof of parasite prevention (fleas and ticks) or lice/mites prevention.

No requirement to provide a record of vaccines.

According to Mexico’s SAGARPA-SENASICA website

“If you visit Mexico, upon arrival your pet may be subject to a physical inspection to verify that there are no health risks.”

 “It is not necessary to present a Certificate of Good Health and vaccination record.”

Note: The only reason your dog may be subject to a physical inspection is if the OISA officer looks inside the carrier and the dog looks sick. Otherwise, no inspection.

We recently flew to Mexico City and they did not conduct a physical inspection of any of the dogs entering Mexico.

In fact, there was a sign saying to keep pets in their carriers at all times.

They did not ask for proof of any parasite prevention.

The did not ask to see a vaccine record showing all the shots our dogs have had.

Read about our step-by-step experience flying to Mexico City with two dogs.

This article will explain what to expect when flying with a dog to Mexico City, the SENASICA OISA office and the importation process at the airport.

Food:

According to the SAGARPA-SENASICA website

A small amount of food is allowed – one or two daily allowances for your dog.

 They would like it in the original packaging, labeled in English or Spanish.

Note: we bring dry food in a ziplock bag and pack that in our checked luggage.

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 may need to show a rabies certificate for your dog or cat to enter Mexico. It varies from border crossing to border crossing.

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.

Note: Please refer to the section regarding entering back into the U.S. with a pet and the new process.

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 U.S. 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

Flying from the U.S. and Canada (only) into Mexico with a pet, some airlines have stopped requiring a health certificate to bring your pet on board the airplane with you. Note: if your is dog is flying in cargo, it still needs a health certificate.

The airlines – Delta and United – do not clearly state on their website whether or not a Health Certificate is required.

Alaska Airlines does clearly state that a health certificate is not required. Kudos to Alaska Air for documenting this on their website.

Alaska-airlines-pet-policy

Alaska Airlines also has a FAQ page. Find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling with pets.

Delta & United:
I called Delta and United directly (was on hold for over an hour) and when I finally was able to speak to someone, they could not find any documentation stating a health certificate was required.

Therefore, they concluded a health certificate is not required to fly on their airline.

Direct link to Delta Airlines pet policy.

Direct link to United Airlines pet policy.

Aeroméxico does require a health certificate and rabies certificate in order to fly on their airline.

Direct link to Aeroméxico’s pet policy.

I would also like to point out that the airline has recently updated their ESA policy.

Also, if your dog is a Service Animal (SA), a medical certificate from a psychiatrist (not psychologists) is required.

More information about ESA pets flying on Aeroméxico can be found here.

Read about our experience flying to Mexico with dogs on Aeroméxico and the shocking departure incident.

_______

A rabies certificate is required when flying into the United States.

_______

If you are interested in understanding the difference between Service Animals and Emotion Support Animals please read my article here.

What Happens Upon Landing At An Airport in Mexico?

Once you land at the airport, collect your luggage and head to the OISA office inside the airport.

The OISA agent will ask for the rabies certificate for your pet and also give you a form to complete.

This form has nothing to do with the pet. 

Once the OISA agent is done submitting information into the system, they will give you two copies of the Certificado Zoosanitorio Para Importación. An importation certificate.

One copy is for you to keep and one to hand to another agent upon leaving the baggage claim area.

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 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.

Import to note: if you are flying on an airline that does not require a health certificate, please make sure the rabies certificate includes the following:

  • Breed, sex, date of birth, color, markings, and other identifying information for the dog

The OISA agent will need this in order to  complete the Importation Certificate.

Read more about the importation process for dogs coming to Mexico.

travelingwith2dogs.com
Sofia getting parasite prevention medicine

Returning Home With Your Pet

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

The CDC has strict guidelines 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 

No matter what country you are coming from, the US requires an up-to-date rabies certificate be presented upon entering with  a pet.

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

FMM – Visitors Permits Requirements (for humans)

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 or flying across the border into Mexico you will be required to complete the FMM card.

When flying, the airlines will hand the FMM card to you.

When driving across the border, generally 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 (for cars) 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 allow you to stay in Mexico.

You can learn more about the FMM here.

Traveling to Mexico With a Dog From a Country Other Than The U.S. and Canada

In general, if you are traveling with a dog from a country other than the U.S. and Canada to Mexico you will need to provide the following information on official letterhead paper from the veterinarian’s office:

– Name of pet with microchip number, bred, sex, age, color and distinguishing markings.

– Country of origin and country of destination including the address

– The health certificate must state the pet is healthy and free from any signs of infectious, transmissible, and parasitic diseases.

– A record of up-to-date vaccines with name, lot number and their expiration dates

– A rabies vaccine certificate with name, lot number and expiration date.

– The pet was treated for endo- and ectoparasites (fleas, ticks and worms). Name of the product(s) and last application.

Make sure the veterinarian provides his/her license number with the signature.

Also, a photocopy of the veterinarian’s license is beneficial.

Having this information in Spanish will be best or at the very least English.

Make two copies and keep them in separate places.

Check List For Traveling with Dogs to Mexico

Flying

☐  Does the airline require a Health Certificate?  Yes/No

☐  If YES, find out how close to the departure date do you need to get the Health Certificate done? For example, no more than 5-days, 7-days, 10 days before the departure date.

☐ Make an appointment with the veterinarian to get an exam and the health certificate completed within this time-frame.

☐ Bring with you to the veterinarian the Rabies Certificate, the address of where the dog is coming from (your home address) and the address of where the dog will be staying in Mexico.  Also the Microchip number for your dog.

☐  Contact the airline to make sure the reservation includes your dog. Pay the extra fee for bringing the dog either in the cabin or in the cargo area. 

☐  Check to see if the airline has a specific “airline form” that needs to be completed if you are traveling with a dog

☐  Check the Rabies Certificate to make sure it will not expire anytime around the travel dates.

☐  Make sure the Health Certificate and Rabies Certificate has the dog’s name, the type of breed your dog is, and how old he/she is. The OISA officer in Mexico will need this information for their paperwork.

☐  Is your dog carrier “airline compliant”? Which means (for inside the cabin) it must be of a soft material and within a certain height and width in order to fit under the seat in front of you. Check your airline for specific dimensions.

Packing For Your Dog

☐ Bring a small portable water bowl for your dog. Buy a bottle of water once inside the airport. Your pup will be grateful, especially once you land in Mexico.

☐  It is OK to bring a small amount of dog food inside your checked luggage. Mexico just does not want folks importing a large amount of dog food. They want us to purchase food in country.

☐  Old sheet to cover any furniture where your dog tends go and lay down.

☐  Favorite toy from home.

☐  Sturdy leash and harness.

☐  Motion sickness remedy (optional)

☐  Medications and supplements

Cleaning

☐  Waste removal bags

☐  Puppy pads (optional)

☐  Water-based Wipes for the dog’s paws, especially after a walk

☐  Grooming brush

General

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!

Travel Resources

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.

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.

Be sure to join the one with Bill Bell as the administrator.

There are 56K+ members who can help to answer your questions real-time with up-to-date travel information all throughout Mexico.

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.

  You may also like …

Flying to Mexico City With Dogs – our step by step experience

Flying With an Emotional Support Dog or a Service Dog – What’s the Difference?

Texas – Mexico using the Columbia Bridge Border Crossing with a dog

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

Pet Friendly Road Trip

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julie

Thanks alot for all these information it was really helpful ! flying with our 2 border collies in hold from Paris to La Pax in 10 days really really stressed
let u know how it went .-)

Marina L

Hi! I’ve been looking so long for this, thank you so much! I plan on taking my cat to the vet for her rabies shot tomorrow (March 30th) and my flight is on April 14th to CDMX from California. Do you think this would be a problem? Thank you!

Courtney

Hi I’m planning on traveling to Mexico with my puppy she’s 21/2 months old will she need a health certificate or does anyone have a number I could call to ask questions

Ralphie's Mom

This was the most comprehensive and clear info I have found on bringing my dog into Mexico – thank you!

Julia

Hi!

Is one health certificate sufficient when flying international to Mexico? I was going to get one before leaving the US just in case, but IL requirements back to the US says they need a health certificate with the final destination in IL. Would I need to have two separate health certificates? One with the destination in Mexico and then another when coming back?

Thanks!

Julia

Just for 5 days. I’ve traveled before within the US and just had the one before leaving. But not sure if international is different where I would have to have her seen by a vet in Mexico for a new health certificate before returning.

Thanks!

Julia

Yes Illinois. When I look online for the requirements specific for flying into Illinois internationally it mentions the health certificate. I’m assuming that means if I’m from Mexico (originally) coming to US, but that’s where I wasn’t 100% sure. I would think the health certificate I get prior to leaving would be adequate to return back to Illinois, but wanted your input/experience.

Thanks!

Julia

Thanks for your help!

Donna

Hi,
Our dogs are on a special prescription diet. Are we allowed to bring several
20+ pound bags of food with us? Do we need any special forms to be do so?
We are are driving to Mexico from PNW.

Diana

Hi, one Aeromexico’s website it says:
“Certificate of Good Health issued by a veterinary physician (one original and one copy). The certificate will remain valid up to 15 days after date of issuance”
Does this mean I can get the health certificate one day before my flight or 15 days before my flight”

Liz Chepil

Thanks for all the helpful info! We are driving down to Merida from BC with our 2 dogs in January. Do you possibly have any suggestions for similar pages regarding traveling with cats as well? We are still wrestling with the desicion of whether we should try and have our 2 calicos flown down to meet us, or if we should leave them with the inlaws for the duration of the trip. We are planning to go for 3-4 months, staying a month in each place. The thought of leaving them behind for so long breaks heart. But I’m also… Read more »

joseph m jenkins

We are traveling to Puerta Vallarta Mexico for a month & would like to take our two small dogs (both under 25 lbs). They are both microchipped, have their rabbi shots, their screw worm paperwork & we will have a cerificate that their temperature is normal a week from the flight. What am I missing?

Yesenia Mendoza

Hi I plan a weekend to Ensenada México and my dog immunization is updated I will be driving over there what do I need other than the USA service dog I’d and vaccines? When returning?