Adopting a pet in Mexico


Are you a dog or a cat person? A pet can add life to a home and make an ideal travel companion during your expatriation in Mexico.

However, formalities or regulations might put you off traveling with your pet making adoption a better option.

Are there any particular rules or procedures for the adoption of an animal in Mexico?

What are the costs associated with adopting a pet in Mexico?

Are there different procedures depending on the animal?

Are pet-sitting options available?

Have you ever adopted a pet in Mexico? Is he or she still with you today?

Thank you in advance for your feedback,


I like animals Lioc, but they require more time than I can give and create more problems than I have time for.

Here in Mexico, there are packs of abandoned dogs. There are also groups who collect them, get them fixed and try to find homes for them.  These women often have 10 or more dogs at a time and dedicate a lot of their lives to these dogs.
You can buy a puppy in the mall or the people's open market on occasion. The regulations for bringing pets in are pretty set and regulated.
The pet ownership, in reality, isn't or there wouldn't be so many abandoned dogs. Cats are seen less frequently and dogs kill them so if you have one you need to know that.
There are responsible dog owners and many who don't know much about dogs at all. Needless to say, there are plenty of untrained barking dogs. 

I took the time to at least train my neighbor's dog not to bark all night. I do like to sleep at night. :)

For 10 years I have been rescuing dogs and with the help of a few friends, fostering them and getting them adopted in Sonora state. We don't have a facility, so we have to foster pups and small breeds in our homes, boarding larger dogs with a local woman. Occasionally we have transported animals up to the States where they might have a better chance of getting a home. During the summer/fall months our fosters dwindle down to one: me.

In Sonora there are no legal regulations regarding getting a dog or cat adopted, only our own requirements that 1) the animal be spayed/neutered to help control the population of unwanted dogs and cats; 2) if it's a dog, that there be a secure yard or patio so he doesn't have the run of the streets; 3) a commitment to get the necessary vaccinations, especially if it's a young animal, and 4) if it's a cat, that it be kept in the house at least a week so it knows where its home is. I have to take the adopter's word for it that they will abide by these guidelines, since I don't have time to do house checks, follow up to see if shots were given or make sure the animal was sterilized. We do have a free spay/neuter clinic once a month, and a free rabies shot is given with the surgery.

Our biggest expense is vet bills (during the winter season we get a lot of food donations). We ask for a cash donation from the adopter. It's nowhere near as expensive as the adoption rates charged in the States.

I have been told frequently that grabbing a dog off the street can get me in trouble; we have to make sure it has no owner, which can be tricky.

The number of dogs on the streets appears large because many local people don't have a place for their dogs to relieve themselves, i.e. a garden.  So they open the front doors, the dogs go for a walk, then return home.  Of course nobody picks up after them which aggravates me, but the fact is that many of the dogs you see in the street are owned.
I would NEVER recommend buying a dog at the Tuesday market or in a pet shop.  Those dogs mostly are not neutered and their litters will contribute to the number of hungry street dogs.  They're also not vaccinated.
SMA has a lovely animal shelter, address is Pinos #7, off Estacion.  Their animals are in prime physical shape, neutered, vaccinated, and thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian.  No, I'm not getting paid for this nor am I on the Board of Directors.  But I've done humane work all of my life in other countries, and this shelter has a lot going for it.

Hi Steve and Marty,
Do you live in Mexico, or are you visiting SMA on occasion? I can't tell from your page.

You are wrong about the dogs in the streets being owned. Perhaps they are in SMA but definitely not in most of the rest of Mexico. They run as packs and do not look well at all. I almost picked one up who was only walking on three legs, but because I really don't have a home for one I tried to call a rescue group. He was afraid of people and I could see he wouldn't have gone easily or willingly. He was working hard to escape me so I reported his location. An owned dog would not have behaved like that.

So it's not a matter of people letting the dogs out to toilet themselves.

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