Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pets to Mexico

Traveling with your pet to Mexico requires advanced planning especially if you fly.  

All of the regulations apply to land and air entries but when you drive, often times there is no one around to check your pet’s papers. I’ll tell you why I comply anyway.

Pets, moscatos, for the purpose of this discussion includes cats and dogs.  You will have to research further for regulars on chickens, rodents, birds and etc. 

This is my beach dog, Biscuit.

We use the term beach dog loosely because he hates water, sand, sea creatures, especially crabs, birds, feathers, seashells, and getting his paws dirty. He refuses to kayak or paddle board. But you can see that he is a very enthusiastic packer.

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico /


Biscuit rides down the Baja in an elevated and secure car seat. I wanted to comfortably protect him from injury in the event of sudden stops and potential rollovers while traveling. This seat helps prevent car sickness also because he can see out of the windows. I bought a soft harness and attached it to the lead that holds him in the seat. He weighs 25 pounds and this jumbo seat gives him just enough space to move around. A larger dog would not fit.
Here are affiliate links to Amazon. I can highly recommend this seat for long car trips.


Be prepared for traveling with your pet to Mexico

If you are not prepared, you could encounter delays at the border and even have to call a vet in Mexico to certify your pet’s health and the pet could be treated for external and internal parasites again if you can’t prove that your vet treated them. I have never had to show Biscuit’s papers at the Tecate crossing but one of my neighbors had to show his this year. Be prepared when taking your pet into Mexico, its your legal and moral obligation. In my opinion you should see your vet once a year anyway and make sure that your pet is safe to travel.

Here’s a link to Baja Bound Mexican Insurance which has done a good job of discussing traveling with your pet, under “before you go”. This is an affiliate link so feel free to look around and buy Mexican auto insurance for your road trip. I get a small commission if you buy insurance but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

The benefit of complying with the regulations includes, avoiding delays and hassle but more importantly you have a chance to discuss your pet’s health with his personal vet, in English, before you leave the U.S.

Everyone has a story about how they never comply with the pet certificates when driving into Mexico but that doesn’t means it’s ethical or wise for your pet’s sack.

Comply with Mexican Law. You’re a visitor, as is your pet.

Important issues to discuss with your vet before traveling with your pet to Mexico

  1. Vaccinations for rabies and distemper must be up to date and be given at the latest 15 days before entering Mexico. There are special rules for puppies so read the guidelines. Consider waiting until your puppy can be vaccinated before they travel.
  2. Does your dog need to be tested for heart worm and started on heart worm prevention? Heart worm is carried by mosquitos and you may not need it in some northern locals in the U.S. and Canada but it is present in Mexico. You would treat your dog year round if you travel every year to endemic areas of heart worm.
  3. Ask about flea and tick protection. We give Biscuit prescription oral medication while we are in Mexico but there are topical preparations and collars that can be purchased over the counter. Ask you vet about the risks and benefits of treatment.
  4. Discuss your individual pet’s tolerance for travel and ask if there is anything you can do to help your pet travel stress free.
  5. Ask you vet to certify that your pet has been treated for external and internal parasites on official letter head with his name, signature, license number and details about vaccinations and parasite treatments. It should be specific and list the names of the drugs that were used to treat your pet. They must not use any abbreviations.
  6. The International Pet Passport or Health Certificate templates can be found online by you and/or your vet. Baja Bound has a link to the Health Certificate. Always verify resources for the most up to date information. This does not mean ask your friends or random strangers for legal advice on Facebook.

Translation directly from the Mexican government concerning transportation  of your pets to Mexico at  SAGARPA-SENASICA.

To import a pet you must have a certificate issued by an official veterinarian of the competent authority or if it is private, on letterhead, with the printed professional identification number or photocopy of it (or its equivalent). Name and address of the exporter (in the country of origin or origin) and the importer (address of destination in Mexico). Date of application of the vaccine against rabies and its validity (animals under 3 months of age are exempt). That in the pre-trip inspection, the animal or animals were clinically healthy. That the animal or animals have been internally and externally dewormed, within the previous six months
and are free of ectoparasites. If you do not comply with the above, you must contact a Veterinarian (of your choice and by your account
in Mexico), who will issue the health certificate and apply the corresponding treatment.

Specifics for flying your pet into Mexico

Inspection and handling your pets at the airport seems to be fairly consistent where as when driving, you literally can’t find the inspection office at many small border crossings and the border agents usually ignore your pets. But be prepared anyway when traveling with your pet in Mexico.

Your pet must enter in container (kennel), clean, without bedding, without implements or accessories (toys, treats, prizes or other objects, made with ingredients of ruminant origin), otherwise, they will be removed for destruction. The conveyor or container will receive preventive treatment by spraying by the official personnel of SAGARPA-SENASICA; you can enter with your necklace, strap, etc. You can enter the ration of the day of balanced food in bulk. We remind you that in Mexico there is a type of food that has the Registration and Authorization of SAGARPA-SENASICA. My understanding is that you can’t bring raw meat or large quantities of pet food into Mexico.

Upon returning with your pet to the U.S., the regulations are simpler. Your pet must appear to be in good health and not carrying any disease. You need proof that the rabies vaccination is current.

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Advice for Mexican #Snowbirds and #Expats, Trvaeking with your pet to Mexico

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Advice For Mexican Snowbirds: Securing Your Home For Extended Travel

Securing Your Home for Extended Travel

Nothing ruins your beach day faster than a call from a neighbor in the north that you have water running our of your basement or there’s an unfamiliar moving van parked in your driveway.

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds/
True story; my husband once received a call from his father’s neighbor  that there were icicles inside the house. A pipe had burst in the ceiling and it was so cold that icicles formed inside the house.
Burrrrr ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

Planning is everything!

You must make plans for securing your home for extended travel if you plan to keep a home in two countries. Many Mexican Snowbirds spend their summers in the north and their fall and winters in the south. Cold northern winters put your northern home at particularly risk for freezing pipes and other weather related damage.

Every unoccupied home is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. You can’t plan for every contingency but this list might help you avoid a disaster.

Securing your home for extended travel. Advice for Snowbirds and Expats.

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Advice for Mexican Snowbirds, Dealing With Mail

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds, Dealing with Mail /

For Mexican Snowbirds, dealing with mail can be so frustrating,

but deal you must.

In the U.S. we take snail mail for granted. We walk out to our box or stop at the post office and there is mail. We don’t even have to think about how to get or send mail.

This post contains a helpful affiliate link to Traveling Mail, an attractive online mail solution for travelers. Go there first if you have already tried other mail solutions and want a full service solution.

When you fly south, the mail keeps coming, but you can’t rely on Mexican mail service and you can’t forward your mail directly to Mexico. Advance planning is essential.

Here are a few tips for Mexican Snowbirds, dealing with mail.

1) Reduce your snail mail immediately by requesting online statements for everything. Bank statements, utilities, physician bills, insurance bills. Every time a paper copy comes to your US mailbox change it to an online account or call the company and advice them to stop sending you paper catalogs or free magazines and etc. Stop all junk mail or anything that will fill your mail box unnecessarily while you are away unless someone is picking up you mail on a regular basis. Apparently you can’t stop the USPS from putting advertisements in your mailbox but we tape over our mail slot so junk can’t be placed there and stop or forward the important mail to a PO Box while we are away. This is a good idea for everyone to reduce the chance of someone stealing your mail from your mailbox. A locked mailbox is imperative if you can’t check your mail daily.

2) Decide on a plan to have access to your mail. Here are a few options. The plan you choose will depend on who you trust to pick up your mail, how much mail you receive and how urgently you need access to your mail.

  • Have a close neighbor or family member get your mail and email important documents to you. You need someone you trust. Remember that email is not secure so don’t forward account numbers, social security numbers, passwords and etc.
  • Have a neighbor box all of your mail, leave them prepaid shipping boxes and labels. When full the box of mail can be mailed to a reputable U.S. shipping company that then ships the box to Mexico. Send me an email if you want a company in San Diego for the Baja. This could delay your mail retrieval for 4-6 weeks.
  • Have your mail held at the post office for up to 30 days, which is a short term solution at best, if you don’t have important mail. Believe me, you will have something important come in the mail that you didn’t anticipate and you will regret not having someone check your mail.
  • Open a post office box and change all of mail to the PO Box and temporarily forward your mail to the PO Box for up to 6 months. If you are gone longer than 6 months then expect your mail to go to “never never land”. This happened to us and it took months to find all of the returned and lost in limbo mail.  Highly undesirable option unless you know that you will return within 6 months.
  • Open a PO Box and permanently receive all of your mail there. A good option if you travel throughout the year and plan to be out of the country for longer than 6 months. The USPS has an option to send a photo of all envelopes that come to a PO Box called Informed Delivery, which will give you an idea of what needs to be dealt with but not what’s inside the envelope. Expect some surprises that you didn’t anticipate and save the contact information for any company that might send you important mail so you can call and ask, “Hey, what did you send me?”
  • In my opinion the best option is to pay a mail service company to deal securely with your mail. Traveling Mail has a good reputation with expats and is inexpensive. They give you a physical address in the location of your choosing. I like this full service solution the best because you can see a scanned envelope and then decide if you want the contents security emailed to you or deposited if it’s a check or shredded. There’s no surprises and no need to burden a friend or family member with retrieving your mail. This is an affiliate link but doesn’t cost you any additional fees.

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