Do dogs going to Mexico need a pet health certificate?

Q: We want to take our family dog with us on a trip to Rocky Point this summer. Do we need a pet health certificate for dogs going to Mexico? Is there any other paperwork?

A: According to the Mexican Consulate, a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian and proof of vaccination against rabies and canine distemper, administered at least 15 days before entry into Mexico, are all that is required to bring pets into Mexico.

beach dog

That said, our experience has been that international travel with pets can be frustrating because everyone you ask about regulations seems to have a different answer. For instance, the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says that in addition to a health certificate issued in duplicate in both English and Spanish and within 10 days of export, pets exported to Mexico are required to have proof of rabies vaccination within 12 months of export, and a statement from a veterinarian indicating they have been treated for internal and external parasites within 6 months of export. Some APHIS materials suggest the health certificate even has to be typed!

Nothing like a little bureaucratic red tape, huh?

Fortunately, the word from seasoned Rocky Point travelers is that a valid health certificate and proof of vaccination is all they’ve ever needed when driving their dogs down to Puerto PeƱasco. In most cases, Mexican customs officials won’t even ask to see these. Homeland Security, on the other hand, wants this documentation for re-entry.

Most veterinarians can issue a health certificate for dogs traveling to Mexico after examining your pet; a small administrative fee is usually charged in addition to the cost of the exam and any vaccines required for travel. Health certificates are issued free of administrative fees for pets enrolled in one of Priority Pet Hospital’s Pets First Plans.

Are you a seasoned Rocky Point veteran? What advice, tips, and tricks can you share?

Useful links:

Taking Pets Into Mexico (Mexican Consulate)

Import Health Requirements of Mexico for Dogs and Cats Exported from the United States (USDA APHIS)

International Animal Export Regulations: Mexico (USDA APHIS)