What do I need to bring my dog back from Mexico to the USA? What to Know

Bringing dogs from Mexico to the US for Commercial Reasons

The USDA APHIS Animal Care has separate requirements when bringing dogs from Mexico to the US for the purpose of resale or adoption.

Puppies and dogs entering the United States intended for resale or adoption must:

  • Be 6 months of age;
  • Be fully vaccinated (rabies and distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus (DHLPP); and
  • Accompanied with an import permit
  • An exception would be dogs being imported for veterinary treatment that is unavailable in the originating country or dogs being imported for research purposes.

    In an nutshell, to return to California only dogs, not cats, require a rabies certification. Health certificates are not required for either dogs or cats.

    Federal level: According to the CDC, all dogs and cats must appear healthy on arrival. The CDC does not require rabies certificates if the dog is coming from Mexico. They state as an example: “Your adult dog lived in the United States and visited Mexico. This dog does NOT require a rabies certificate or CDC Dog Import Permit, because Mexico is NOT on the list of high-risk countries for dog rabies.” View more federal information about bringing dogs and cats.

    “I love this service used it a few years back. Keep up the good work.” — S.W., San Diego, CA

    Thank goodness, some good news! There is no “duty” or fee for dogs or cats re-entering the U.S.

    According to the CDC: Adult dogs older than 15 months of age that have previously received a rabies vaccination given no earlier than 3 months of age and that has since expired may be imported immediately following booster vaccination, without the need to wait for 30 days.

    General Information for Bringing a Pet into the United States from Another Country

    Animals entering the U.S. may be subject to regulation by USDA-APHIS and other federal agencies. Depending on your destination state, your pet may need to also meet additional health requirements. Not all birds or animals qualify as pets. Find out if your pet qualifies to travel.

    Note: This site also includes APHIS Veterinary Services requirements for all dogs imported or returning from countries affected with screwworm.

    Check the CDC website when bringing dogs into the United States. Dogs that have NOT been in a high-risk country in the past 6 months may enter the United States through any port of entry, and importers are NOT required by CDC to present rabies vaccination documentation. However, when your dog enters the United States, you must provide a written or verbal statement your dog has only been in a country NOT at high risk for at least 6 months or since birth if under 6 months of age. In this case, there is no limit to the number of dogs. For dogs entering the United States from countries classified as high-risk for rabies, see the information below.

    How to Bring your Dog to Mexico – What you MUST know!