Mexican rules can change often, so we suggest you contact your nearest consulate to confirm that the guidelines below are still valid.
Personal opinion / suggestion: We brought our small dogs to
Mexico once in transporters under the seat on an airplane and
three times in the car and we had no problems on any of those
trips. However, that was a few years ago and, according to
current reports, the inspections of pets at the border when
driving are still much more informal than the strict inspections
at the airport.
These rules are formulated and sometimes changed frequently, by the Agricultural Health Inspection Offices (OISA), whose staff operates a registration office in the Arrival Area of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. It is likely that they are also located at the border crossing in Nogales, but we have never seen them; Sometimes border agents ask to see the dog’s health certificates and sometimes they just want to pet them. A certificate is required for each pet and you should have it with you.
We suggest that you carry a ring binder for your pet with all the
information and health records of your pet. That way, if you
forget something for the OISA agent, you can easily find it.
Present a certificate of good health, preferably in English and
Spanish, and typed or printed VERY legibly, with the following
- Issued by an authorized veterinarian, with official letterhead of the company, with the number of your professional certificate printed or a photocopy of the included certificate.
- Name and address of the exporter (you) and importer (your destination address in Mexico)
- Last date of the rabies vaccine and its validity (pets under 3 months of age are exempt).
- Verify that at the time of the pre-trip inspection, the pet is clinically healthy.
- The pet must be treated internally (endoparasites) for worms and externally
(ectoparasites) for fleas, ticks, etc. within the previous six months.
According to the numerous recent personal accounts (mainly at airports), as of 30/6/2017,
OISA requires that the brand of the drug, the name of the product, the lot number and the
date of administration are clearly indicated on health certificate.
• If you do not comply satisfactorily with the above, you will need to wait while the OISA agent
contacts a local veterinarian who will come to the OISA office to issue the health certificate and
apply any required treatment at your expense. That can be expensive and take 1-2 hours.
The rules establish that your pet must enter Mexico in a transporter or container, that is clean,
without bedding, without implements or accessories (ie, toys, candy, etc.). Otherwise, they
will be removed for destruction. The carrier or container will receive preventive treatment.
When we entered once by air, the portable carrier of the puppies had only the standard pad.
Their blankets, a small sack of dog food and goodies were in our luggage and we had no
problem. When crossing in Nogales we also had a bag of dog food and they did not care
You can enter Mexico with enough pet food for the trip.
If you want to send your pet documented as cargo, check the airline’s requirements. As
Vallarta is in the tropics, be sure to ask if it will be too hot to send the dog in the shipment
because many dogs die because of the heat. There are many horror stories like that in the
Also ask what your policy is with respect to dogs with short snouts, such as English bulldogs,
pugs, Boston terriers, boxers, etc., since they may have much greater respiratory problems
and a possibility of death. Also, ask if they have a policy on small dogs in the cabin.
Finally, ask if you can claim your pet before claiming your luggage in Vallarta. You can usually
If the inspection goes well, the OISA will issue an import certificate for your pet.
If you have an animal that is not a dog or a cat (ie, a parrot), it’s likely that there is still a way
to bring them to Mexico with you. There is an online module called Zoosanitary Requirements
Consultation Module for Import (MCRZI): enter the type of animal you are importing and it
will give you the detailed requirements. Otherwise, ask the Mexican consulate in the United
States. We have heard that if you bring a bird to Mexico, you may not be able to return to the
US when you return.
Additional Strong Suggestions for Your Pet
The most important thing is to have identification tags on your pets at all times. You must have the name of the pet, your name, local address and a
telephone number. Almost all veterinarians have the
ability to make these identification tags in their office and they are cheap.
Microchips are great but very few vets have the capability of reading them.
Always have several current photos of your pet in case it
decides to wander off.
If your pet is missing, make many brochures with the image and the name of your pet, your
name and a contact phone number. Distribute them immediately and stick them in the
windows of companies. It’s amazing how useful people are when a pet is lost. Our dog was
found wandering in Marina Vallarta after 2 to 3 hours and we were able to find it thanks to
the help of people here.
Also post it on Facebook in the pages of missing animals.