Bringing pets to El Salvador

LaFoca's picture

So Monday I arrive in El Salvador with my dog...a 50 pound boxer. I thought I'd share what I've learned about shipping our dog. I am leaving from California, so you may want to check with your local division, but here are the steps for bringing our dog.

My husband checked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure what I had found on the internet was true.

1. Rabies and vaccinations must be up to date.

2. You must obtain a certificate of health for the animal, no sooner than 10 days before you arrive.

3. Once you get that health certificate you do the following:

4. You take it immediately to your local USDA office to verify that the certificate documents are according to standards, showing the animal has no contagious diseases. Here is the web site, explaining exactly what is required:

For Los Angeles, this is the contact number and address:

APHIS 310 725-1970,
Bring documents only (not the animal) to :
11850 South La Cienaga Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA 90250

5. In Los Angeles the next step is to go to the Country Recorder’s office with the documents from APHIS/USDA. These items must have your address on the documents to prove you live in the district you have filed:

213 897-3062

6. After that, you can go to the Secretatry of state to have the documents apostilled.

The documents must be apostilled because they will be shown to the Quarantine Department of the Airport for the release of your pet. You may want to print out the following document, to show, in case there is any question. I'm printing one for my folder of documents needed, just in case:

You must ship the animal in an IATA/APHIS approved container and mark the container with 1 inch letters:
"Live Animal" and although the airport workers in El Salvador usually speak english, I am also adding, "Perro Vivo" for Spanish.
Both water and food bowls must be attached to the inside of the front door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door.

It is not recommended that you give your pet a sedative before they fly. And it is recommended that you acclimate the pet to the container at least a week before, so they don't feel frightened.

At the airport, you will surrender your forms to an inspector and will be given a form to complete with questions about the pet. Once you've completed this process, they will surrender your pet.

Another thing to keep in mind if you don't have family picking you up is the amount of luggage and the size of the container you are bringing. You may want to arrange a taxi service that can transport your pet and luggage. Many of the taxis in El Salvador are small and have minimal space for bringing a great deal of luggage and a pet container.

Hopefully, this helps someone frustrated over trying to find answers to this question that seems to lack answers on the internet. Always check to see if things have changed though, because from time to time various documents are added.



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I want to bring a puppy to El

I want to bring a puppy to El Salvador. The puppy will fly from Miami to El Salvador but is coming from a different state. Does anyone know if a health certificate from another state is valid in fla to get it stamped by the USDA office there?

need some advice HELP

My husband and I are going to El Salvador in November this year. we have gotten a boxer puppy for a missionary there. we are going on a mission trip. So we have been finding out about the paper work needed and stuff. that is all doable, here is the our problem it appers that Delta airlines (which is the flight we are booked on with a group of 16) will not transport a Boxer if the tempature is above 75 degrees in either place. so departing out of Atlanta and landing in San Salvador. After looking it appers the tempture during the day is almost never in the 70s. Here we are with this wonderful little boy boxer who will be 15 weeks old when were are to leave. The missionary family that wants a new boxer and has no idea he is here waiting to meet them. And we cant get him there. Airlines say they will not transport because the boxer is a snub nosed dog and can't handle the heat. So if anyone has any ideas please share with us. We are at a loss on what to do at this point. It seems crazy to wait until the day of the trip to find out whether or not he will be able to go. Oh and we live 7 hours from the airport. Thank you, hope to hear from someone.

Brigning my dog to El Salvador

I will be flying from Montreal Canada to the city of El Salvador with Air Transat.
I can't seem to find anything on the web as for the papers needed by the costoms overboard.

I usually take a direcct flight from Montreal to Cancun and then make my way down to Guatemala by bus or hitchhiking, however bus drivers in Mexico tend to have a certain dislike if not disdain for dogs in general. Let's just say they are a major pain in and I'm not dealing with them again.

Since I will mostly travel by chicken bus until my friend's house in Guatemala all I need to know is what papers do the customs need when you arrive in El Salvador.

There's virtually nothing clear on the web.
I will go to the consulate in Montreal, but I doubt they know from what I've read here.

It would be of great help if someone could help me with this.

Vaccinations are mandatory in

Vaccinations are mandatory in most Central American countries for entry; and if you are driving there, you will certainly pass through several countries that it is mandatory. I know Mexico and Guatemala will require it, and I believe Nicaragua will as well. You are required to have a pet certificate proving the animals are disease free, usually from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and definitely from a Veterinarian. But if I were you, I'd map out every country you will pass through on your drive and see what their health requirements are for each animal.

It is a bit expensive, because you not only pay the Vet, but you pay the Department of Agriculture as well.

Good luck to you!

pets to panama

i am planning on moving to panama with my family. we have two dogs and four cats we would love to take with us since they are considered family. we have not much finances. we will be driving to panama, crossing through central america. my animals all have their rabbis shots. i never go to a vet, first of all i can not afford second in don't take my kids either to the dog, because i am a believer in self-healing and alternative healing methods. my children don't have any vaccinations therefore i feel the same way for my animals. vaccinations cause more harm than good to a body. is there any other way to get my pets into the country without having those hurtful vaccines??????

Poor guy!

I guess I'm one of those nutcases that goes overboard making sure everything is checked and double checked so nothing goes wrong. (Too many years in marketing doing events). I'm lucky my dog is too big for anything but cargo. I do have to get there VERY EARLY to insure he makes the plane though, because they have limitations on how many dogs they will take (or so I'm told by one, when another says he's definitely going to be on the flight because I made advanced reservations). I always plan for the worst, so I'll probably sit there for hours reading, since I don't take chances. My biggest fears are problems, because I'm a planner.

One thing I did do was call two months ago to learn what I needed to do to bring him. I double and triple checked with the airlines that he would be flying, so I'm feeling "somewhat" confident, and chose an airline that would fly straight through, so there were no plane changes. I also verified that the cargo was pet air conditioned and pressurized.

I have a ride picking us up that I verified had enough space. Good thing too! Because many taxis wouldn't have had the room for everything I'm bringing...a 40" Sony Bravia flat screen television, packed in a padded box which I will pay extra for, two large luggage packed with clothes, an XBox and 3 games, my Bose Wave Stereo/CD player and CDs, my prized baking dishes and a favorite frying pan I can't live without, and a smaller carry-on with all my legal and tax documents. Plus the large dog carrier. And yes, I will be paying duty and packed receipts in my carry on so they don't rip me off. Our ride has luggage racks on top, plenty of space in the back for the television, and my dog can sit next to me in the back seat, while my husband guides him from the front. I even planned the seating based on the type of vehicle and its measurements. Am I anal retentive or what?

We already have a place, because hubby is living there; so thank God I don't have to seek a motel room. And hubby is a Salvadoran who has called every government worker to verify what is needed and double checked to see if one story changes to they often do. He has requested emails verifying what they say, so he can show them when we retrieve the dog.

I measured and weighed each piece of luggage to make sure it isn't over 50 pounds for the two checked, and I've verified the weight and measurements expense for the television. I'm told our television runs twice what I paid in El Salvador, so believe it or not it IS worth it to bring it along with the other electronics. At least we'll have home entertainment if nothing else...and the dog has his favorite pillow to sit on along with a mattress pad to absorb any of those oops moments, a stuffed boxer the same size as him for company, top of the line dishes and food carriers, so he's set too.

I have told my husband he better have champagne chilling, plenty of food ready, and a fresh towel, because I'm going to need it after that. One thing I like about the place he rented is that we have a maid that cleans and does the laundry twice a week, included in the price. It REALLY will make my life easier, although I'm the type that might feel guilty about having a person doing my dirty work. Something about that bothers me.

Mark had a funny pet story

A while back Mark posted his funny story of what it was like when he took his pets to panama... check it out!

Update on the Apostille

My husband spoke to the head of the Ministry of Agriculture who handles the importation of animals, last night. She told him no apostille is needed. Save yourself the expense, or check with this department and see if they change their policies before you go.

So, I have the Health Certificate, Rabies and vaccination record, and they are both stamped by USDA/APHIS. That should be fine we've been told. And for the record, make sure a Vet is on duty at the USDA/APHIS, because if there is not one working, you will not be able to get the documents stamped until one is on duty. I lucked out, because the last one was just going to lunch and I caught him before he left. Otherwise, I would have had to come back.

This was easier than I thought.

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