So, you have decided to move or travel to the Los Cabos area with your pets. Not to worry...as far as importing pets goes, the process is painless if all your paperwork is in order. Be sure to check the airline’s animal carriage policy if traveling by air as there may be breed and size restrictions. There may also be seasonal limitations due to heat. If driving, prepare your pets for the long journey and have all documentation accessible. Overall, you will be happy to find the Mexican government is very accepting of healthy cats and dogs!
Here is a list of what you will need, according to SENASICA (the Mexican government’s Department of Health and Agriculture):
HEALTH CERTIFICATE: A Certificate of Good Health must be issued by a USDA‐ accredited veterinarian in the USA or a licensed one from Canada within 10 days of departure (airlines may require these as well). Bring the original and a copy. The certificate must be on letterhead with the veterinarian’s license number and signature, and it must also state the following:
1. The animal has received preventative treatment for external and internal parasites within the past six months and that he is healthy and free of parasites.
2. Date and expiration of latest Rabies vaccine (animals under 3 months are exempt).
3. The exporter’s (pet owner) name and home address as well as the address of the destination here in Cabo.
Most veterinarians are accustomed to providing health certificates for travel. If yours is not, it may be best to find one who is. The APHIS form 7001 is not necessary for pet travel from the US to Mexico nor is the Canada Export Tri‐Lingual Veterinary Certificate for travel from Canada, so no need to incur the extra expense.
TRANSPORT: At the port of entry, your pet’s carrier will be sanitized and treated upon arrival at OISA (The Office of Plant and Animal Health Inspection). If there is any bedding or toys, they will be confiscated and destroyed, so do not put Fido’s favorite blanket and toy with him for comfort. Some old towels that you won’t mind parting with would be a good alternative. You may include a ration of dry dog food for the day and can bring a sealed bag of up to 22kg of dog kibble with you. Your pet will also undergo a physical examination. If any parasite or infections are found, a veterinarian of your choice will treat your pet at your expense before releasing him with a clean health certificate.
VACCINATIONS: Your pet only needs proof of a Rabies vaccination and only if he or she is over 3 months old. To be safe, it should be administered at least 15 days before travel and within the last year. According to Aida Trujillo, President of the Board of the Los Cabos Humane Society, make sure your pets obtain the one year vaccine. Though there is talk of accepting the three year one in the future,
SENASICA presently requires the one year shot.
NUMBER OR PETS: You can travel with up to 3 pets free of charge. After that, you must make a payment online or at the bank for $2,042 pesos to import the rest.
TYPES OF PETS: Keep in mind than Mexico only considers dogs and cats pets. Other live animals will have different import regulations.
Once you have arrived, there are many pet services here to keep you and your pets happy. Los Cabos has great vets, pet sitters, groomers, dog trainers, and many dog‐friendly parks and beaches. If you are looking for an animal companion or want to help out, you can adopt, foster or volunteer at the Los Cabos Humane Society and can reach them at 143‐3947.
As for real estate, be sure to do your homework before committing to a home or condo purchase if pets will live there too. Condominium and HOA regimes have different rules regarding the number, size, and types of pets they allow. When looking for housing, it is essential to mention your pets to your agent. Also, be sure to know where the animals can or cannot be on the property and, of course, always pick up after them!
Your pets will be as happy as you are down here in paradise. Though you should definitely obtain all of the required documentation, many travelers with pets (especially those driving) reported never being asked about the pets or the paperwork. On the other hand, Trujillo informed me some officials have been checking to make sure pets have the correct Rabies vaccines. With a little preparation, your pet’s transition into a Mexican “mascota” should be seamless and wonderful!
For more information, go to www.gob.mx/senasica.
By Lauren Taksa is a sales agent at The Agency Los Cabos. Reach her at Lauren@theagencyloscabos.com.