Traveling with my pet in Mexico has been a very eye-opening experience. This was the first time I brought my dog out of the country and a lot of thought went into making that decision. Before when I was traveling without my dog, I always missed her. Belle is 11 years old and I have had her for 9 of those years. She has been through so much with me and I am grateful for her companionship. However, my love for her and my love for travel often come to a crossroads. There are several things I consider when traveling with her, such as document requirements, mode of transportation, accommodation, temperament, and the particular trip.
Documentation Requirements for Pets
First, I had to make sure I had all the documentation necessary to get my dog across the border. The current limit is two dogs or two cats. If you want to travel with more animals, then you will need to contact your Mexican consulate or embassy for more information. Additionally, pets must be at least 3 months old and in good health. Pet’s cannot have any parasites, diseases, or injuries. It is also important to have vaccination records. Just in case your furry friend needs medical attention, it’s a good idea to have their health records on hand. You do not need a certificate of health any longer.
When returning to the United States, pets will be checked. The U.S. requires your dog to be current on their rabies vaccination. Cats do not have to have a rabies vaccination, but it is encouraged. If your pet is not up to date on vaccinations, he/she will be required to get vaccinated within 4 days of arrival and quarantined for 30 days in a location of the owner’s choosing. For updates on requirements for returning to the USA with a pet check here.
Traveling with Pets in Mexico: Transportation
There are several ways to travel with your pet, all of which have their pros and cons. Driving and flying are the two most common ways to bring your pet on your trip to Mexico.
Option 1: Drive into Mexico.
Driving can have its own challenges, but it does allow you more control over where your pet is. Your pet will be with you at all times and you can stop for bathroom breaks anytime you need. You will get to see a lot of the country and your fur baby will too. My dog loves to look at the window and feel the wind on her face. I like to think she’s admiring the Mexican scenery.
Option 2: Flying
It is possible to fly your pet either in the cabin or cargo. In order for a pet to be in the cabin, you will need documents saying your pet is a support animal. There are several different types of support animals so make sure you have the right documentation. Since Covid began, I have heard that airlines are being more strict about letting animals in the cabin. It is very important to check the pet requirements of your airline before booking.
The other option is putting your pet in cargo. I am going, to be honest, and say I think this is the last resort option. I used to work in baggage at an airline and often we would have pets in the cargo. Riding in the cargo is a very scary experience for a pet. It is very loud and cold in the cargo space. When the planes landed, I often could hear the dogs barking from the cargo area before I even opened the door. Because our company restricted us from opening the cages, we could not feed them, give them water, or clean up messes. So depending on how long the flight is, this may or may not be an option for your pet.
Transportation Around Your Destination
Another thing to consider is once you are at your destination, you may use different modes of transportation like a ferry or a taxi. While riding the ferries, I always have to sit on the open rooftop with my dog as opposed to the enclosed air-conditioned cabin. One company required me to muzzle my dog, which I was pretty surprised by.
Taxis have been pretty flexible with our dog. I always ask if she is allowed to ride with them. She is about 25lbs so the drivers seem to be more open to her because she is small. Sometimes the taxi driver will ask me to hold her or to put her on the floor, so she doesn’t get hair on the seat, which I believe are reasonable requests.
Traveling with Pets in Mexico: Accommodations
Accommodations have been the trickiest part of traveling with a pet. When I look on Booking.com, I see so many options for accommodations, then I select the “pet-friendly” filter and it will be narrowed down to 3 or 4 options. This makes it difficult because I basically have to accept whoever will let me in. I don’t get to have many other preferences like bed size or facilities. Depending on what hotel you are staying at, they can have a long list of rules about what your pets can and cannot do. For example: being in the hotel alone, laying on the furniture, or where your dog can use the bathroom. Although these rules are not always strictly enforced, it is important to be aware of them. Airbnbs have been much more flexible with our dog. If they say they are pet friendly, they usually do not have very strict rules as long as your pet does not cause any damage or disruptions. One more thing to consider is where you can walk your dog. If you are staying in the city, it can be hard to find a patch of grass for your dog to use the bathroom. My dog is very picky and will not use the bathroom anywhere other than grass which is good and bad. With that being said sometimes we have to walk quite a distance to find some grass to walk her.
Your Pet’s Temperament
Your pet’s temperament plays a large role in being a good travel companion. For example, how much time do they need outside? Some cities are very dog friendly and allow dogs on the beach and in restaurants. Will your dog be ok in the hotel alone? While you are out exploring the city or out to dinner, will your pet be ok in the room? Another major thing to consider is whether your dog gets along with other dogs. There are so many street dogs around wherever you go and from my experience, they have been pretty submissive. This is something to consider when you think about how your dog interacts with other dogs. My dog does not get along with other dogs, so it is difficult to walk around in a city or take her to dog-friendly locations because she herself is not dog-friendly.
Traveling with Pets in Mexico for a Special and Unique Trip
Every trip is unique and several factors play into deciding whether or not to bring your dog with you. First, how long is your trip? Since my trip is extended, I did not want to leave my dog with my parents in the US. What are you going to be doing on your trip? If you plan on having an action-packed trip, you might want to leave the dog at home. For example, we did our scuba course where we were diving two times a day for 3 days. In that case, it would be best to leave your baby in a kennel or at home with a sitter. If you plan on hanging out on the beach or hiking, it might be the right trip for your dog.