Pets in Mexico

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Mexico have four-legged friends. What about you? Do you have one or more pets? Share your experience with us!

What are the formalities to import pets in Mexico? What about pet adoption procedures in the country? Did you bring your pet from your home country to your host country? If so, did everything turn out fine?

What do Mexicans think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!


A very impatient cat and a street dog that adopted me .... both are Mexican. I don't know one household that doesn't have at least one pet.

We have a group here that provides free spay and neutering twice a year and they also take in stray animals and later put them up for adoption

I am planning on moving down next October/November. I have one cat. I was wondering what people's experiences have been when trying rent with pets. What percentage of apartments, would you say, accept and don't accept them?  I remember looking at the local paper in Guanajuato that people go to for classified ads, the Chopper, and it seemed that maybe 1 in 8 adverts specified "no mascotas." Does that seem about right or is it tougher than that? Anyone have any experience in that area? Thanks.

We lived with our small dog in Playa del Carmen for 12 months total, six months in each of two different apartments.  In our experience in this touristy area, about 1/3 of places would rent to people with one small dog.  More pets and larger pets were tougher.  I don't know about cats except for my experiences in the US, where many places that allow a dog or two won't allow cats because so many people are allergic to them (including me, just by coincidence). 

I wouldn't let having a pet stop you from considering Mexico as a destination and some cities may be different, but it certainly makes finding a place a little harder than not having a pet.  Once we found a place and got her there, there were no big issues.  At least in Playa, there were numerous good vets.  although good quality dog food is expensive and harder to find (had to buy it at the vet as grocery stores only sold Pedigree, Alpo, and other high-corn, high-grain foods).  But vet care is much cheaper than in the US as are the international health certificates if you travel back and forth, so it does average out!

We came to Mexico from the US with two cats and a dog. It's very important to look up the rules for bringing pets in, and to do it close to when you plan the move, because the rules can change. Don't just ask some one who's done it. Check a government website or inquire at a Mexican consulate or embassy.

If you're flying, you'll also need the airline's rules for transporting animals.

I moved to San Miguel de Allende 7 years ago and brought both of my large breed 5 and 6 year old dogs with me. 

It was absolutely no problem and we all flew from Los Angeles to Leon.

All you need if proof of vaccinations and something to calm them if flying.

I love having them here with me and has just adopted another pero de la calle who is a great little girl



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Ivy were your dog's in a kennel on the plane? I have 2 small and 1 medium sized and we are trying to figure out the best way to get them there.

Yes they were kenneled and sedated (Lightly) and I had no problems with them at all!


Thanks, CaribeGal. That is encouraging. I suppose it is pretty much like anywhere there in terms of pet-friendly apartments, though it seems they have gotten very pet friendly in the big complexes here.

I am glad Debibax asked ivydp about how she transported her dogs. I did fly my cat from Japan back to the US, and back to Japan. . .and back to the US again, and that was. . . easy (then; harder now on the Japan side), but somewhat nerve racking. Moreso for kitty, I assume, but that was my previous cat (made it to 21). This younger cat is not yet flight tested. I notice a lot of people elsewhere flying with their cats under the seat in front of them. I just can't imagine it since my cat enter non-stop meow mode when in the car. Anyway have experience flying their cats into Mexico?

My Husband and I have six usually delightful Chihuahuas.  All six are adopted from US or Canadian animal shelters.  We have found that veterinary cost is amazingly lower in Mexico than both Canada and the US.
One example; one of our dogs, Ziggy, suffered from a rare form of violent epileptic seizures.  We have spent $30,000 Canadian ($22,000 US)  to diagnose and begin a very expensive prescription treatment costing more than $200 (about $150 US) monthly.  The treatment required three doses throughout the day but they didn't work very effectively.  Ziggy had violent seizures about once every two weeks and was basically too drugged to function the rest of the time.  After moving to Mexico, we were concerned because this expensive prescription medicine was not even legal in the country.  The local veterinarian here in our little village of La Mision de San Miguel sold us some simple pills costing 247 pesos ($12 US) a box.  He told us to give one quarter a pill once every morning.  We were not terribly optimistic, but, It took only a couple weeks to confirm that Ziggy was siezure free and amazingly,  he began to run and bark like a real dog.  Ziggy's quality of life is miraculously restored at a small fraction of the former cost.
Our former veterinary clinic in Palm Springs, California, charged about $200 simply to walk in the door.  We are often charged nothing for minor issues such as pulling a tooth at the clinic in La Misión.
A negative comment; I have noticed in our rural village that many dogs are poorly taken care of.  I see abandoned dogs sorely underfed, diseased and ignored.  Some expats have teamed with local vets to provide free animal treatments a couple weekends during the year.

We drove to Mexico from NJ to San Miguel de Allende with
two King Charles Cavaliers and three cats.  We stayed in La
Quintas which treated our animals well.  We got all the
animal shots and paper work in NJ so everything was smooth
going across the border.  La Quinta in Mexico doesn't take
dogs.  But lots of AirBnBs do.

Our dogs didn't do well in San Miguel.  They were nervous and
frightened all the time with the noise and the fireworks.  It got
so bad one of them wouldn't go outside to go to the toilet.  The
cars and traffic really spooked them when we were walking.
We could take them to the Botanical gardens though. They needed
grooming constantly.

San Miguel was very bad for these dogs.  It was too noisy with
fireworks and traffic.  We couldn't walk on side walks with them.
The last straw was when we woke up one morning to find Lady
Charlotte dead on the floor of a heart attack.  We were devastated
and decided to come back to the states.  We believe she has just
been so stressed out.

One the plus side.  We had a wonderful vet and holistic vet and groomer
who treated our dogs very well and were up on the latest medications.
They are also welcome in most restaurants as long as you sit outside.
The same medications were much cheaper in Mexico.

Perhaps you will have better luck than we did.  Smaller dogs might do

Good luck.


Yes many places don't accept pets, however, cats are more tolerated as they don't bark.

I have live in Mexico for the past 25 years and always had cats, (neutered) and only went in my garden or balcony, no street cats so they did not bother anyone.

Yes many places don't accept pets, however, cats are more tolerated as they don't bark.

I have live in Mexico for the past 25 years and always had cats, (neutered) and only went in my garden or balcony, no street cats so they did not bother anyone.

Thanks Kategmexico. That is also encouraging. I guess now I will stop worrying about the finding a place and focus instead on how to get my cat down there.

Dear Nikolas,
Just make sure you have all of his shots up-to-date and you will need a vet certificate stating he or she is healthy.  They need Rabies shot and liquid against fleas and ticks.  All must be done no more than 14 days prior to travel with your pet.
If you are traveling from Canada, the only airline that accepts pets onboard is WESTJET, and if your cat is no more than 10 kilos and fits under the seat in front of you.
I am fortunate that Princesa travels well, she does not cry and most people do not know I have a pet in my soft travel case.

So good luck traveling with your cat.


Hello Ian,
Thank you very much for the information. Would you kindly tell me what the simple pills were labelled for $12 a box? my Standard Poodle has epileptic fits, I give him a special oil each morning and very concerned if I move to Mexico I wouldn't be able to purchase the oil. So an alternative would be a relief, maybe I can even buy these pills over the internet?
Thanks again
Ro London

The medicine is called Epilepxis.  Our small Chihuahua receives a quarter of one pill every morning.  It has really worked well.  It would probably be a good idea to consult a doctor for the correct dose for your much larger dog.
Here is the link to what the box looks like: … ri3qa?dl=0

  Buena Suerte.

Thank you Ian, will make further inquiries.

Renee Jones ~~ So sorry to hear about your dog's death and how bad they did in SMA.  I had heard it was noisy there.  We lived in the Centro area of Playa del Carmen, and it was noisy, but not to that level.  There were occasional fireworks (not often), but our Boston Terrier did not seem too bothered by them, thank goodness.  For walks we took her mostly on 5th Avenue, a pedestrian boulevard, so traffic was not a big issue.  I am glad to read about SMA as we would not consider taking her to such a noisy place.

Again, I am sorry for your loss.   :(

Yea my wife and I adopted a stray as well last year down here in Maito. Couldn't stand to see him die in da streets so we had him doctored up and now he's doing fine. Don't see how so many people can ignore them. Anyway I took your advice earlier in the year Sparksmex about which bank to use down here. Intercam Definately is the best bank. By Far!! Small personal service with best rates on the dollar. No fees for debit card usage. Thanks again Sparksmex. You da man

We flew with one cat each.  Most airlines have a two pet allowance in the cabin per flight, so be sure to book the pet when you book your own flight.  We also had to get a health certificate within a  very specific period of time before the trip, and had to take the completed Vet's certificate to the airport to have it verified before travel day (we did ours 6 days before, that's also very specific, so check all cut-off dates.)

We got a mild sedative from our vet, gave each cat 1/2 a dose and they were fine.

Does anyone know a good vet in Cancun center?

Glad things went well for you and your pets traveling to Mexico!  I was interested to read that you had to get the vet certificate certified at the airport before traveling.  Which airline?  I ask because we have never done this and have flown into Cancun twice with our small dog, so I am wondering if this is a specific airline's requirement.  We have flown in on US Air and American.

It was JetBlue, but I was following guidelines given to me by the Consular office in the US.  However, there were people at the airport office going to South America, Europe and North Africa, so it must have been multiple airlines.

papusa :

It was JetBlue, but I was following guidelines given to me by the Consular office in the US.  However, there were people at the airport office going to South America, Europe and North Africa, so it must have been multiple airlines.

I would suggest not checking with the US Consular office. Check with the airlines directly. They are the ones that know what they want. It might save you some time.

Hola! We have a big German Shepherd that we got in Chile and brought with us when we moved to Playa del Carmen. It was a very stressful trip for him and a huge hassle for us. It cost nearly $2k from Santiago to Cancun and there were more fees upon arrival. In all my research, I never saw that you needed a pet broker when you arrive in Cancun. We ended up doing the job the broker usually does, which took 6 hrs and walking to every corner of the airport! Our poor Bruno had to be in his cage that whole time as we were only allowed to see him when his cage was inspected. It was just a ton of paperwork, waiting for customs inspectors, and walking back and forth between offices. Thank God the people of Copa Airlines were super helpful in Cancun and told me where to go at each step.

And of course, all that was worth it to have him here. Life in Playa has been amazing with our dog! We live in a gated community with cheap rent and tons of dog-loving neighbors! We have a little dog walking group that gathers twice a day and it's great for socialization.

We plan on heading to the US someday and will most likely just drive because the hassle with the first trip was just ridiculous. Has anyone crossed the border with a pet?

Sailed from California to Florida with 2 cats, going in and out of numerous ports.  No issues except in Cabo san Lucas when the Inspector wanted to keep our original US health certificates.  I refused, said she could have as many COPIES she wanted (we had a color printer/copier onboard).  I explain those documents were basically our cats' "passports" and we had a long way to go!  She finally called her supervisor and explained the situation - and excepted copies instead. 

We flew down from SW FL to Cancun with them in August, just an extra short stop at an import office at the airport.  The officer just looked at the paperwork (recent health cert. with up to date shots) and the kitties and we were off!  We'll be sailing down in June so will get new health certificates and we're all set.  Mexico is pretty easy. 

In Panama City they tried to charge us $54 for "rodent control".  My husband went down below,  grabbed Chico and simply said "I assure you, there are NO RODENTS on this boat!"  They waived the fee :-)

ddfleming that is so funny about the "rodent control" fee and your cat.  Cats are the best rodent control!

There are still pet friendly apartments in Mexico. Magenta many households usually have pet cats because their pet will serve as the best rodent control ever created. Lol. Its just nice to know that the cat you have has a two way purpose in your home. Serves as your pet which will give you a pleasant day seeing it wiggling its tail on your leg and the other one is helping you get rid from other pest that might attack your house. Well, good thing to know your house will be free from any poisonous chemicals that can ruin your health as well.

Got to just point out that dogs in Mexico consider cat's a pest they need to get rid of, so be careful. I know of one person who has 5 dogs, and they have killed 8 cats. To be fair the cats do go in to the yards of the dogs homes.

I know they run on the wall around the neighbors yard. The neighbor has two dogs. One cat just parked himself on the top of the wall and watched the dogs going crazy.

So it is not as simple as you might think.

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