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Traveling with Dogs To Mexico – The Facts

Updated January 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

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

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

Proof of parasite prevention (fleas and ticks) plus lice/mites prevention.

Record of all vaccines.

When flying into Mexico with your pet, a staff member of OISA (part of SAGARPA-SENASICA) will perform a brief physical inspection of your pet.

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
  • Check for up-to-date rabies vaccine certificate

The OISA offices are at the international airports, not at the border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico.

What has not changed:

  • Only a small amount of dog food is allowed to be brought into the country. (another words, don’t bring several months worth of food)
  • Any type of disposable bedding the dog was transported in, must be thrown away. For example, newspapers or sawdust or rags (pertains to dogs flying in a crate)

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 need to show a rabies certificate for your dog or cat to enter Mexico.

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 and now require a medical certificate from a psychiatrist (not psychologists).

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

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


Click on my link above “New Process For Entering Back Into The U.S. With A Pet” for more information.

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

They will conduct a brief physical inspection and ask for a rabies vaccine certificate for your pet.

This only applies to pets originating from the U.S. and Canada. If you are flying in from any other country to Mexico, a health certificate is required.

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.

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.

NEW Visitors Permits Requirements (for humans) – FMM

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.

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 To Mexico.  Even if you are not a fan of FB, this private group is well worth joining.

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.

As always… Safe Traveles!

You may also like …

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

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

Pet Friendly Excursion: Visit one of Mexico’s Famous Ghost TownsReal de Catorce

Analysis on just how pet friendly some Airbnbs really are! Review on 10 Pet Friendly Airbnbs in Mexico

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.

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Wendy

Thank you so much for posting. This is super helpful as I’m thinking of taking my little dog with me for a week to Holbox Island (we’ll be flying into Cancun).

Masaki

Hello! I am flying into Mexico City with my dog. According to SENSAICA (and CFIA — the Canadian equivalent government org), during the entry inspection, the pet carrier that your dog was in throughout the flight is sprayed / disinfected, noting that your dog can just “proceed to enter (Mexico) on a leash (no need to be placed back into the sprayed carrier)”. Is the spraying / disinfecting routine for all dogs’ carriers, even if your dog is perfectly healthy and is not exhibiting signs of parasites or infection? Because if they’re going to spray / disinfect her carrier, then… Read more »

Masaki

SENSAICA:
https://www.gob.mx/senasica/documentos/si-viajas-con-tu-mascota-194177?state=published

There is an English pdf version, page 1, number 2:
https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/712790/If_you_travel_with_your_pet.pdf

CFIA:
https://inspection.canada.ca/animal-health/terrestrial-animals/exports/pets/mexico/eng/1321316984321/1321317230018

SENSAICA’s wording makes it unclear whether the spraying is routine for all, or just for dirty carriers. But going by CFIA’s wording, perhaps it’s just the latter. The fact that you have never heard of this issue gives me comfort that the spraying may just be for dirty carriers! (so most are NOT sprayed)

Katie

If flying from Canada with my puppy who will be just under 3 months (11 wks) will he still need a rabies vaccine record as he would still be a bit to young to have this vaccine. I was planning to have it done at my vet in Mexico.

Katie

How will I be proving my puppies age to the inspector? Do I need to bring vet record ?

Katie

And that is all that is required if the pup is under 16wks? Under 16wks then they are not required to show proof of rabies vaccine? Sorry just wanna be super clear to remove any added stress to the situation. TIA…

Ashleigh

Hello, thank you for sharing this info. At the last minute a friend has offered to fly my dog from Toronto To PV, Mexico for me. He has a vet appointment this afternoon for a rabies shot and a health certificate (just in Case). I have read the rabies shot must be done 28 days prior to flying I only have 4 days. Could my dog be denied entry on the flight for this? Thank you

Ashleigh

It will be his first rabies shot in a few years but he has had them in the past. Thank you.

Ashleigh

Thank you for your time and sharing this information so promptly.

Carla

I am traveling from Belize to Cancun with my service dog. What do I need to be able to bring her? We are from the US and only been in Belize less than 6 months. All her shots and vaccines were given in the United States.

Jeff

Hi, My dog has an autoimmune disorder and can not be vaccinated…Will a letter from vet indicating this be sufficcient, or will my dog not be allowed to enter Mexico? Thanks.

Tovah Fenske

Great info! We are leaving Canada in Jan to drive through USA, into Mexico and then onward to Latin America. Great to know that driving across the boarder in to Mexico our dogs will not need to do a physical inspection. So would it be safe to say that they won’t need to have kennel? We have 2 big dogs and we were not planning to travel with Kennels for them.

Lori Galvin

Hi! I am sponsoring a Ukrainian grandma (50 years old) and her small dog to escape the war and be with her grandkids. Getting her dog through all the countries and flights has been very challenging. But we will do everything possible to make sure they both make it to safety. Thank you for helping so many folks figure it out so they can travel with their beloved pets. She will be travelling through Poland to Amsterdam on a KLM fligh, then will be flying to Mexico City on KLM, with a 3.5 hour layover. I am meeting her in… Read more »

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Lori Galvin

Ira.❤

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Lori

Thank you! This is this most clear and concise information I have read regarding traveling with dogs in Mexico. Bless you for helping us. We have come across people like you along the way that are making this trip a reality for Svitlana and Ira. I am so grateful for your care and concern, and for taking the time to respond to all of my questions.❤

LG

Andrew

We are wanting to retire short term in Mexico traveling from the US. We have three (3) Rhodesian Ridgebacks, family members, that need to come with us: Bree (85#), Archie (100#) & Benni (120#). Your thoughts, suggestions are most welcome. It seems that most questions in the chat address smaller in-cabin dogs.

Andrew

We considered driving but it seems that I will have to return the US plated car plus the trip is somewhat intimidating @ 2,400 miles. We looked at renting a minivan but can’t find an agency that permits cross-boarder one-way rentals. Now looking at the relative costs & reduced stress associated with a private small jet rental. We were quoted $8,500 per dog from a pet travel agency so the jet rental starts to look ‘appealing’.

Rhonda

Hi- very helpful info. Do you know the hours of operation for the OISA office or how I can find out their hours? I want to make sure that they’re open when I arrive so my dog can get cleared and checked.