“So, You Want to Bring Your Pet with You to Lake Chapala. Here’s How !”

July 25, 2008

“So, You Want to Bring Your Pet with You to Lake Chapala. Here’s How !”


Many folks coming to Lake Chapala Ajijic, especially snowbirds and sunbirds, wouldn’t consider coming to Mexico for an extended period of time without their furry family members. 


Bringing your pets to and from Mexico is relatively easy and there is no quarantine for healthy pets.Requirements:


·    An International Certificate of Good Health (Form 77-043) issued by a licensed vet who has examined your pet(s) within 10 days of transport.   This certificate is only good for up to 72 hours.


·    Proof of vaccination against rabies and distemper, administered at least 15 days (but not more than 12 months) before your pet enters Mexico.


·    Bring proof of pet ownership and proof that your dog has been vaccinated for Hepatitis, PIP and Leptospirosis within the last calendar year


·    Your cat will also need proof of ownership, an International Certificate of Good Health plus proof of inoculation against distemper, rabies, panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis and calicivirus.


If you plan to be in Mexico longer than 10 days, bring from your home town vet proof of vaccinations & the animal’s history.  Then in Texas or Arizona, stop at a vet’s office and show them your documentation.  The vet will issue the necessary certificate for a fee.


Ensure that the actual dates of vaccination appear on the health certificate and that the certificate is issued in duplicate (and always make an extra copy).


Remember … bring your pet’s medication if necessary and that your pet’s ID tags are current.


Once you get to your border crossing, look for the customs office “Aduana” in Spanish to process your temporary vehicle import permit.


 Be prepared for customs officials to check your pet’s documentation and visually inspect your pet for signs of disease.  However, the majority of my clients and personal experience as well is that we’ve never been asked for the pet’s paperwork at the Mexican border.


You will be pleasantly pleased to discover that the usual name-brand pet foods , specialty brands, and health-care products are available at Lakeside.


 Our local Animal Shelter A.C. in Riberas del Pilar , has a pet store on the premises with competitively priced pet foods and supplies.  


Pet food can also be purchased at Lakeside grocery stores as well as the larger grocery chains, Gigante, Mega-Comercial, Soriana and Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco in Guadalajara.


We are especially proud of our Animal Shelter as two prestigious international animal welfare organizations have approved of the high standards of animal care provided.


The Animal Shelter has been issued letters of acceptance as members of WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals) and RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).   


The Animal Shelter also has a separate Cat Center, Dog Center and a sanctuary for birds of many kinds.  A vet’s office is conveniently situated next door.



Another animal shelter is Anita’s Animals, www.anitasanimals.com .  This shelter is run by Anita Strehlow who was recently awarded the 2006 Humanitarian Award for her tireless work and compassion for rescuing hundreds of sick and abandoned animals.


Many of our vet’s here at Lakeside have been educated in the United States and of course speak English.  


The cost of pet care is a fraction of what you would expect to spend in the USA or Canada! 


Have you fallen in love with a shelter dog and would like to return to Canada or the US with it?   First, if it is a puppy younger than 3 months old, it will need to be quarantined immediately upon entry into the US.


 You will need to pay to have it vaccinated and then wait another 30 more days until your new puppy is given its health clearance. 


Otherwise, if it is older than 4 months, take your new family addition and any other pets you came down with to a local vet and obtain health certificate(s) and rabies certificate not more than 30 days old.  There is no duty or fee for dogs or cats re-entering the U.S.


For the latest requirements check the following sites:




Foreign Affairs Canada – Consular Affairs Info & Assistance for Canadians Abroad




Pets & Wildlife Division of US Customs




  • Lea

    Can you explain what the “PIP” vaccination is? How can I confirm that it is needed to enter Mexico?

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Lea,
    I’ve researched the web and find that “PIP” stands for “performance improvement projects” related to various medical procedures which may include in some cases vaccinations.

    At this point in time I can find nothing what so ever indicating that any new vaccination is needed to enter Mexico from the USA or Canada.

    I checked both US government websites and Mexican government websites and found nothing new in the way of entry requirement for visitors from the USA or Canada.

    Let us know here if you find anything more. Thanks again, Sid

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