Since Peñasco is such an easy drive over the border, many visitors love to bring their pets with them. **Note** ADA laws don't apply for rentals. As the condos themselves are privately owned, service animals do not have to be accepted by an owner. In addition, most resorts have HOA rules as to whether renters or only owners are allowed to bring animals. BE SURE you know what the rules are so you're not turned away at the gate.
This info is compiled from APHIS, the CDC, SENASICA (Mexico's National Service for Health, Agriculture, and Safety), and various other websites. You might or might not have any of your documentation checked, but please avoid delays and possibly horrible situations by being prepared before you go. Of course, always check to see if there are any changes in regulations as they seem to change frequently. If you decide to travel further into Mexico, the chances of having your paperwork checked will increase. Also, any time there is a whisper of parasite outbreaks , swine flu, mad cow disease, or bird flu, be prepared for more thorough inspections.
You can bring up to a 50-lb bag of dry or moist food, or loose (unpackaged) food equaling only the amount needed for your visit. Mexico doesn't want the import of any pet food of "ruminant origin" (eg: beef, lamb, or goat), but chicken, turkey, and fish formulas are all fine. Treats are limited to 10 lbs.
Please consider donating what you don't use to local dog shelters--see Animals of Peñasco. They'll be thrilled to have it! Although the tap water in Peñasco is treated, it still may upset your pet's stomach and you might want to bring bottled water. Keep in mind that salt water can also upset their tummies.
There's a limit of two pets per person, and a total of three without incurring any import charges. (This also might or might not be enforced.) If you need to bring four or more pets, contact SENASICA for an import certificate (~$125 USD).
To cross the international border, either southbound or northbound, you should have a signed Accredited Veterinarian Certificate, Rabies Certificate, and proof that your pet is current on vaccines. This should only be the cost of a checkup as they only need to verify the vaccine/treatment info you enter from your pet's records and certify that your pet is healthy and free of worms/parasites. International Form 7001 is NOT needed to enter Mexico by land. (As a resident of AZ/CA/NM/TX, your certificate is valid for 6 months.)
Download, complete, and print the USDA Bilingual Accredited Veterinarian Certificate Template (Option B) and have it copied onto your vet's letterhead. See my filled and blank samples with a larger margin for letterhead and 2nd page for more info
Import Health Requirements (Option B) updated 1/2017
Instructions to complete the Veterinarian Certificate (Option B) template updated 10/2018 (expand the section for Dogs and Cats)
You can have more than one pet on the Veterinarian Certificate
It must be computer printed or typed on letterhead and can't have any abbreviations. (Any hand-written entries will void the whole Veterinarian Certificate)
Enter your name and home address as consignor, and address of the rental in Puerto Penasco as consignee
Your pet might receive a physical inspection at the border guard's discretion. If your pet looks like she is in poor health, you might be prevented from entering either country until further tests are done.
tip: Photocopy your pet's photo and your driver's license to the reverse of the health certificate
tip: Indicate the last dose of flea/tick and heartworm medication given and whether or not your pet has been sterilized
Assistance dogs will need to follow the same rules from SENASICA and the CDC
Vaccines must be administered not less than 30 days prior. Puppies/kittens less than 3 months can't receive the rabies vaccine, so they're exempt. (Mexico now recognizes the 3-year vaccine given in the US/Canada. If your pet received her last rabies shot in Mexico, it will be the standard 1-year vaccine.)
According to the USDA, If you adopt a puppy/kitten while in Mexico, she might be quarantined until one month after receiving the rabies vaccine. (However, Nancy Phelan of the Animal Adoption Center of Rocky Point has never had this experience in all of her trips bringing puppies across the border to their new families)
Remember that Mexico doesn't have much of a budget for animal control. Therefore, there are always stray dogs (not too many cats) roaming the streets and beaches. Puppies/kittens without all their shots could be at risk visiting Mexico. Strays will often have worms and ticks (which can cause ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), so you'll want to keep your dog on a leash at all times. In addition, sometimes poisoned food is purposefully left out to eliminate strays. If your dog does run away, be sure she has an easy to read ID tag with your cell phone number so she's not assumed to be a stray. Make multiple copies of everything and always keep one set on you in case you're asked, or need help to find her. Be vigilant with topical meds which KILL ticks and fleas (not only repel them) and chewable meds for heartworm which can be carried by mosquitoes.
Two local vet clinics Nancy recommends are:
Dr. Chochoy Veterinaria Clínica, Benito Juárez Boulevard & Melchor Ocampo Avenue (638) 383-2338 and
Servicios Medicos Veterinarios, Sonora Blvd & Galeana (638) 383-3344.
Both are also skilled in pet orthopedics for broken legs, etc.
Last but not least, please be a responsible pet owner. No one wants a surprise between their toes while walking through the sand. Bring LOTS of pet waste bags to clean up after your pet, and be prepared with extra water and shade when visiting the beach.
You can translate most Mexican government pages by right-clicking and choosing "translate to English"
USDA Pet Food Regulations https://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/products/downloads/mx_bal_pf_dc.pdf
APHIS form 7001 (not necessary for land travel to Mexico--you can choose the Option B Accredited Veterinarian Certificate instead)