Crossing the border with pets

Ever crossed an international border with pets? If you were driving, you probably faced more scrutiny about produce and cheese than your pets. Flying is a totally different reality.

We researched how to properly cross the border with pets, and found slight variations on the guideline to bring official paperwork for each pet certifying health (like how recent the paperwork needed to be). When we talked to US vets we found a couple approaches:

  • outsource the paperwork and charge over $1000 per pet
  • say they simply can’t do it
  • require the pets become patients (so charge for an initial exam) and charge an additional ~$200 per pet

We decided to take copies of their vaccines and hope for the best. Especially since border agents rarely ask for the paperwork - how dismal would that be after spending $4000 for it?!

No one asked.

We left Mexico last fall for a wedding and got official paperwork for each of the three dogs from our excellent Dr. Alfredo in Morelia, of La Mascota for about $10/pet. He attached a copy of his vet license, just in case. Alfredo was meticulous about the paperwork and clearly had done this before.

Crossing into the US last fall, no one asked about the dogs.

On our way back into Mexico a month later we had an error in our vehicle import paperwork, and that seemed to put us on a suspicious track. We got more scrutiny than on any other border crossing. Including looking over our dog paperwork - what Alfredo had filled out weeks before satisfied them.

The last time we crossed we had two cats, too, and even though the US agents made us all get out so they could confiscate our eggs, they never looked at our paperwork.


mom April 04, 2019

This is very informative for anyone wanting to travel internationally with pets!

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