Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bringing Your Pet into Mexico: New 2017 Laws are Being Enforced!

Avoid a 2-Hour Delay When Entering Mexico!

Bella is Ready to Get Out of Her Pet Carrier
     Flying into Mexico last week with Bella, our miniature dachshund, turned into a nightmare. We flew into the Puerto Vallarta International airport, as we have many times in the past 17 years, and proceeded, as always, to the Mexican Agricultural desk (zoo sanitary kiosk with the acronym SAGARPA) before entering Customs (Aduana). We presented the documents that have always been accepted, a current rabies vaccination certificate and a Health Certificate from a vet in the U.S. that had been prepared two days before travel. We have always successfully imported our dogs using these papers whether we flew or drove into Mexico, though they were rarely asked for when we drove across the border.
     Things aren’t that simple with dog and cat importation into Mexico anymore. We found out the hard way that there is a new, more stringent law regarding cats and dogs entering Mexico, effective January 1, 2017. Apparently, Mexico started enforcing the new requirements in February 2017 and neither our U.S. vet nor our Mexican vet in Sayulita knew about the changes because both of our current Health Certificates from these vets were unacceptable when we presented our documents to the SAGARPA agent at the Puerto Vallarta airport. It was going to be a long afternoon.
SAGARPA is the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture

     The Mexican Agriculture Department (SAGARPA) agent patiently explained the new requirements to us, then told us that we could not bring our dog into Mexico without obtaining a valid Health Certificate. In addition to the Rabies Vaccination certification, the vet must now certify (provide proof of) two additional health conditions:
    1.  The dog (or cat) is free from internal parasites (worms) and has been treated for these within 6 months of the date of travel. The products used must be reflected on the Health Certificate. We showed the SAGARPA agent the receipt from our vet in Oregon for our purchase of 12 doses of Heartguard Plus® to treat heartworms and other worms and told him that we administer it to Bella every 30 days. That wasn't good enough.
Heartworms are Spread by Mosquitoes

    2.  The dog (or cat) is free from external parasites (fleas/ticks) and has been treated for these within 6 months of the date of travel. The products used must be reflected on the Health Certificate. We told the SAGARPA agent that our vet in Sayulita, Mexico could verify over the phone that we buy Bravecto® from him to treat fleas and ticks and that we administer it to Bella every 12 weeks. That wasn't good enough. 
Bravecto® Treats Fleas, these Ticks, and Others

     The Agriculture agent continued explaining that he could call a vet from Puerto Vallarta and ask him or her to come to the airport and prepare a valid Health Certificate for us. This was the only option if we were going to leave the airport with Bella. So, I spoke on the phone with the friendly female vet (luckily, she spoke more English than I speak Spanish) and we agreed upon a price of 800 pesos ($45 U.S.) for her to drive to the airport, examine our dog, and complete a Health Certificate. She added that she might have to administer a medication on site to be in compliance and this would be included in the price.
Waiting at the Airport Gives Bella "Bad Hair"

     While we were waiting for the vet to arrive, the Agriculture Department Agent showed us a correctly completed Health Certificate and suggested that we take a photo of it for future reference. We were glad we did, because all of the information had become very confusing at this point. I later found additional information on Mexico Pet Import Regulations at: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Mexico.cfm
Health Certificate Requirement #1 is Unchanged

Health Certificate Requirements #3 is New in 2017

     We were exhausted from traveling, hungry, and ready to go to our home in Sayulita. The extra time this caused was difficult to handle, though we were glad the friendly vet came to the airport quickly. She gave Bella a tablet of a medication that she said would treat against both internal and external parasites and then completed a hand-written Health Certificate that the SAGARPA agent accepted as valid. We then had to wait while the Agriculture agent created and printed 2 copies of an official SAGARPA “Certificado Zoosanitario Para Importatión", one for our records and one to give to Customs as we exited the airport. We were finally on our way! 
Traveling in Our RV is Much More Comfortable than Flying!

     Next time we won’t fly into Mexico; we’ll drive our motorhome across the border. The final question to be determined: When we are ready to drive to Mexico, crossing at Nogales, AZ, we will find a vet in Arizona to do a Health Certificate. How can a vet in the U.S. who is not familiar with Bella certify that our dog is free of internal and external parasites and list the products we used? My conclusion is that I will use Frontline Plus monthly on Bella during the few months we are in the U.S. and hold her Bravecto® tablet (for fleas and ticks). Just before we plan to drive across the border, I will take Bella to a vet for her Health Certificate and have the vet administer her Bravecto® tablet and her Heartguard Plus® (for heartworms and other worms) at the time of her examination. I will probably need to be prepared for the vet to require blood and/or stool tests before administering the medications (more money and time). Then, I will make sure the vet completes the Health Certificate as required by the Mexican Agriculture Department. We’ll see how that works. We’ll also see if anyone asks for Bella’s Health Certificate at the Mexico border. They haven’t in the past, but this might be the year that they start requiring them when driving into Mexico. Anyone else have another idea?
     Edited 5/4/17: A helpful reader, Byron, supplied me with this link for current requirement for traveling with a pet to Mexico.  https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico . When you reach this page, click on the BAR at the bottom of the page for Dogs and Cats. The Certificate Template under Option B is the one the vet can complete using their computer and then sign by hand. 
     Visit my website: www.HealthyLivingandTravelinginMexico. com for more articles about our adventures and life in Mexico.
     For more information on healthy living and traveling in Mexico, take a look at my two eBooks, available on Amazon:
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41 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this as I was unaware of the changes. I'm taking my dog to Mexico in July. Do you know where I can get this form for my US vet to complete?

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    1. Adali... IMPORTANT Read the instructions below before just jumping to the link at the bottom.

      The Health Certificate is in the link at the bottom; once you have it on the screen you can type the info directly into the fields.

      IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS for preparing Health Certificates when traveling with your pet from the U.S. to Mexico.
      The Health Certificate MUST...

      MUST be type written, or completed using a word processor or computer.
      - Documents with handwritten information WILL be rejected.

      MUST NOT contain abbreviations. Example:
      - Dates: "January" is accepted while "Jan" is not.
      - States: Must be the ENTIREword and not the two-letter (or 3, or 4 letter) abbreviation.
      - Ages: "Months" or "Years" is accepted while "mos" or "yrs" is not.

      Mexico will reject VS Form 7001 health certificates if they are not signed and sealed by a Veterinary Services veterinarian.

      http://www.aphis.usda.gov/pet-travel/health-certificates/non-eu/mexico-dog-cat.docx

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    2. Thank you for your information! Terry

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    3. I cannot get on to the site for the health certificate. It just says "not able to connect" which is a pain since they are so picky about having it typed, etc. I will call tomorrow to see if there server is down.
      Any ideas? Or, does anyone have the form they could post?

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  2. Thank you for the information! I don't want my dogs to have the flea meds. The heart guard is okay.I am confused at this point.

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    1. Leslie,
      It is a confusing situation since things are constantly changing in Mexico, but it is clear that Mexico requires some treatment for ticks and fleas as well as worms. They are concerned about transfer of parasites to their livestock. Thank you for reading my blog article and for commenting. Terry

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  3. The new rules are because there is a new parasite that is being transported from Florida to Mexico and Mexico is worried that this parasite will infect the cattle (mostly Sonora) which is a large cattle and meat producing industry. While crossing the border by car in February I was informed of this and was told as you were to have the medications documented by the Vet. Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks for this information. And thank you for reading my blog.

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  4. Thanks for the info on the changes. We also have a mini dachshund, he's a short haired Black and Tan boy named Chief! Bella is super cute. We're hoping to travel to PVR with him some time soon and hope to move there within the next 3 years.

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    1. I'm glad you found this article helpful. I just updated the blog to include the link to the Certificate Template for the vet. Best wishes with your move to PVR. We may cross paths, as doxie owners seem to find each other. Maybe we should do a doxie parade some day, like we used to do in Rogue River, OR! Terry

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  5. this might sound like a silly question but if the parasite is being transported from florida in the states is canada also required to have these same papers if we are going straight to pv from canada. thank you

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    1. Good question. Thanks for reading my blog article and commenting! Terry

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    2. I have the same question as you. I'm flying with my small dog from Calgary, Canada to Guadalajara and wonder if the same rules apply to dogs coming from Canada on a flight. Advise please

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    3. Yes the same rules apply for both Canada and the USA.

      Byron Moss-Limbayter

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    4. Byron Moss-Limbayter,
      Thanks for answering that question about the rules in Canada and the USA. Of course, the rules change, especially when dealing with Mexico, so I recommend researching current laws near the time of travel.
      Terry

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  6. This same problem occured at the land crossing from Belize to Chetumal Mexico at the end of January 2017 so don't assume land crossings are easier.

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    1. Good comment. I am now prepared to find the SAGARPA office at the Nogales crossing and get Bella and her documents approved when we cross in October. They have never asked for documents even when they see her in the RV, but I understand that legally we are required to get their approval even why crossing by land. This may be the year they start checking.
      Terry

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  7. I am confused as if the information in the form must be typed, not hand-written, how to get it to your vet to do it that way? I guess email the form to them and hope that they will fill it out in soft copy, then print it out?? I can see a lot of confusion occurring due to these changes!

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    1. I am wondering the same thing.

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    2. Hi Emily, I just updated the blog article with the link to the Certificate Template that will be accepted. Here it is again: Edited 5/4/17: A helpful reader, Byron, supplied me with this link for current requirement for traveling with a pet to Mexico. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico . When you reach this page, click on the BAR at the bottom of the page for Dogs and Cats. The Certificate Template under Option B is the one the vet can complete using their computer and then sign by hand. I recommend obtaining two signed originals.
      Thanks for reading my blog article and for commenting. Smooth travels! Terry

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    3. Hi Terry -
      In looking over the Word doc that the Vet completes and signs, I see only a request for product used under the Rabies question #1. Question#3 simply asks for a verification that the pet has been treated for ectoparasite and endoparasite...no mention of product used.

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    4. Hi Karen K. Anderson,
      Near the bottom of the blog article is an area that is highlighted and says "Edited 5/4/17" and after that is a blue link to the website and instructions on finding the Word document. Here is the website link: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico , Click on the blue bar "Pet Dogs and Cats" near the bottom of the page. It is under "Option B". If you need more help, you can e-mail me at terrylturrell@gmail.com . Thanks for reading my blog!
      Terry

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  8. Now when you bring your motor home in you are required to obtain a temporary import permit so plan on spending more time at the border crossing for that.

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    1. Yes, we've been bringing our motorhome for years. Fortunately, we have a 10-year permit on the RV so that saves some time and money. But, read my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" book to find out what happened to us when we sold our last RV without having the Permit removed from the windshield....another learning experience in Mexico!
      Terry

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  9. So why did you also need this Veterinary visit near Nogales? Was your Canadian/US veterinary paperwork more than 10 days old? Has the 10 day rule also been changed? I would prefer using our veterinary at our home in Washington State... it's then a 3 day drive to Nogales. We cross by car each year. Also, I'm confused as to why the Nexguard Plus would need to be supplemented with Brevecto as you enter Mexico? Thank You

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    1. Hi Kip, I may be going overboard, but I've decided that my vet in Oregon couldn't get the certificate completed correctly even with my help and three attempts, plus they apparently don't keep up on the rules. I plan to find a new vet in southern Arizona, maybe Tucson would be more convenient than Nogales, hoping they are more current on Mexican's requirements. The confusion comes from determining how a vet can be assured that the dog has been given his medication by the owner. So if the vet gives the medication himself/herself at the time of examination, he can then certify that it has been done. Another reader says she has the vet give an injection for the parasites at the time of exam. I have to investigate this idea. The 10 day rule for the Certificate still applies, as far as I can tell. But, proof of giving medication for the parasites becomes the challenge. I'm still looking for the perfect answer.
      Terry

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  10. Cancun has been requiring these for years.

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  11. I edited this article 5/4/17: A helpful reader, Byron, supplied me with this link for current requirement for traveling with a pet to Mexico. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/by-country/pettravel-mexico . When you reach this page, click on the BAR at the bottom of the page for Dogs and Cats. The Certificate Template under Option B is the one the vet can complete using their computer and then sign by hand. I recommend obtaining two signed copies.

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  12. When travelling with pets to Mexico.

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  13. I am wondering what applies when you take a Mexican dog (We live full time in MX) to the US and then bring it back? We have all the current Mexican shots, etc and a little 'Passport' for our dog.

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    1. As far as I can tell, this applies when traveling from the U.S. into Mexico. But you will need to check the law for traveling into the U.S. Here is the link for info from USDA. I'll have to check for changes when we drive into the U.S. in July. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states/pet-travel-dogs-into-us
      Best Wishes!
      Terry

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  14. Yes. This applied for Canadians as well. We had a trip planned for Feb 2017 and an hour after I'd obtained the authorization of the CFIA in my city, I received a telephone call from the CFIA office and was informed of an email they'd received from Mexico identifying these new guidelines. A quick "emergency" trip to the vet to get the documentation was required as our pup had the treatment already. We were ok'd in CABO.

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    1. Hi Lmbernak,
      Thank you for this information. Many Canadians have asked this question and I did not know the answer. Glad you got the information and was able to get the proper documentation in time for your trip to Cabo!
      Terry

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  15. I have a friend who works in Sagarpa and actually asked me to translate all this for him so he could explain it to Americans and Canadians when they started enforcing it. Worst thing that could happen is that you arrive late at night and there is no vet available to provide the treatment and the certificate, so the dog would have to spend the night at the airport. And this is happening ALL over Mexico, so it would be great if more people passed this info along. This is the text I helped translate. It's from Jan 13th.
    Due to a sanitary emergency, as of January 13th, the Mexican Gorvernment has added a new requisite for all dogs and cats entering Mexico from the USA. This new requisite is that said animals must have a recent health certificate (that has been issued within the last 6 months). The certificate must include that the animal has been treated for both internal and external parasites.
    If the certificate you presented to the authorities upon arrival to Mexico does NOT include proof that the animal has been treated for both kinds of parasites (internal and external) in the last six months, the only alternative to allow said animal to enter Mexico is for the owners to call a local veterinarian to give the animal those treatments at that moment and issue a new certificate.
    This procedure will be financially covered by the owner.

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    1. Thank you so much for posting your comment here to help more people understand how and when this new law came about, and explaining what is happening all over Mexico when we pet owners coming here with our pets unaware and unprepared. Very helpful! Terry

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  16. More of just an FYI the same thing is happening at the Guadalajara airport. If you don't have all of the new requirements complete. They will call (or recommend to you) a vet to come to the airport for 800 pesos to complete the process for you.

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    1. Hi Mike,
      Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm sorry you had to deal with this frustration, also. Hopefully by sharing our stories, we can help other pet owners be prepared and avoid this.
      Terry

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  17. These are the same requirements that were in effect 5 years ago when I entered MX with my 2 dogs and a cat. My veterinarians researched online on the MX site and this is what they provided to me. I'm not sure why the gob is saying this is new??

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    1. Hi Carol,
      Many readers have confirmed that they have had similar experiences when coming into Mexican airports since Feb. 2017. The Mexican agency inspector (SAGARPA) explained to my husband and me that the parasite requirements are new. Maybe what is new is that they have decided to enforce it if the forms are not filled out exactly the way they want. You are fortunate that your vet has always filled out the form correctly. We thought our vet had, also, because in all these years that we have traveled into Mexico, this was the first time this had happened to us. My goal was to help others avoid this hassle and expense. Best wishes!
      Terry

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  18. This is the same info my veterinarians went by. It is not new. At the bottom of this page the date is Jan. 18, 2017
    http://www.gob.mx/senasica/acciones-y-programas/si-viajas-con-tu-perro-o-gato-56614

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