Traveling to Mexico with your dog is such a fun experience but there’s a lot of work to be done in preparation before Fido can celebrate Cinco de Mayo with you this year. German and I have already done the pet travel to Mexico with Leona twice and had two very different experiences both times. In either case, we were prepared for certain scenarios and we weren’t for others. As you ask yourself, “Can I take my dog to Mexico? or What do I need in order to take my dog to Mexico with me? and even, Is Mexico pet friendly?” We want to answer as many questions as we can for you and give you pet travel tips. Take any learnings from us so when you’re traveling to Mexico with your pet, your 100% prepared.
What you will need to travel to Mexico with your Dog crossing the Mexican border:
Our first trip was in June 2016. German and I flew to El Paso, Texas, and took a cab over to Juarez from the El Paso airport (30 minute drive) which was around $50-$60 ( we stopped at Whataburger and bought the cab driver a meal and he discounted the meal from the ride). I grew up in Texas and Whataburger was my second home. Anytime we go to Texas, that’s the first place we go and order their jalapeño cheese burgers.
At the Mexican border, the border patrol asked the cab driver to pop the trunk, he looked inside for about 5 seconds, closed it and tapped on the car for us to continue over the border. No one asked us anything about paperwork nor to see inside the pet travel carrier so we just crossed over and went to our hotel. Keep in mind that in Mexico, pet’s don’t live the luxurious lifestyle they do here. Mexico isn’t that pet friendly in the sense of you can not take them with you to public places (even in their travel bag) like you can here in the states. We got several odd looks when walking about Juarez. We went to a bank to exchange dollars for pesos and a woman walked up to us and asked if Leona was real because from far away she looked like we were carrying a stuffed animal in a bag around town. Leona jumped up and the woman screamed. The woman caused a scene, not us. Wow, travel to Mexico can be entertaining when you’re traveling with dogs!
Similar to the carrying bag we use for Leona: Pettom Dog Cat Tote Purse Travel Bag Soft Sided Outdoor Pet Carrier
Exact airline pet travel bag we use for Leona: Sleepypod
Fruitable Chewy Pet Treats: Leona’s Favorite: Fruitable Apple Bacon
The first hotel, Hotel Ibis, was pet friendly, but it was so small, I think my bathroom was larger than the entire room. We didn’t have control over the air conditioner (and you need to) so by the next morning — because Leona was tossing and turning all night because of the heat — we had to check out and find another hotel. That’s when we found Hotel Juarez which was a godsend.
When you travel to Juarez, which is where I was born, you only go for two reasons, you’re a drug mule or you’re there for your immigration case. We were there for the latter. Juarez is not a tourist attraction but it does have several Americanized fast food places, malls, and movie theatres — I couldn’t tell if I was in Mexico or Cedar Rapids, Ia.
Leaving Mexico on that trip is when I was asked to present all of Leona’s paperwork. It was all thoroughly reviewed (every single page) but they were quick about it and it was under 2 minutes. That was our first experience.
We retuned to Mexico in Dec 2016, now that German had his resident card (green card) and could travel back and forth. He went to visit his parents. I went to vacation! This trip we landed at Mexico City Airport and we were waiting in line for our luggage around the baggage carousel when 30 minutes went by and yes, our bags were the last ones to appear. We were both HANGRY and just wanted to exit — and we got in another line to exit the airport when a security guard stopped us and directed us to the Pet Station inside the airport. Apparently, we had to register Leona while she visited Mexico. This place was strict. There were four workers but only two were doing anything. The other two were on the phone ignoring everyone.
We were asked for Leona’s paperwork and copies were made. We had to fill out additional paperwork stating our intent for being in Mexico and where we would be staying. (This is different that customs–this is the pet station) They reviewed Leona’s airline pet carrier and removed her red blanket nuzzled inside because “it was not allowed in the country.” It was her favorite blanket. We didn’t question it — because we didn’t want to be denied entry so we let it go. After our paper work was complete and they returned our copies and we were done. Then it was time to go to Mexican customs and declare again our intent for the trip and give them our hotel address.
Mexico City is a bit more pet friendly as Leona was treated like a Superstar at the W Hotel in Mexico City. They had treats with her name on them, there was a large poster with one of her pictures on it welcoming her to Mexico and The W (part of the Starwood properties). Water and food bowls were in the room as were a few doggie toys. We could not believe the attention to detail they gave her.
Our trip back home was uneventful — which we feel lucky it was, we just checked in and flew out. No paperwork was reviewed and no fuss. It certainly was two different experiences but we feel prepared to go again and are happy we could pass down any information.
Where have you taken your pet? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
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