Procedures to Take Pets Out Of the Country Can Last for Up to 7 Months: Learn About the Requirements Here!

    In order that the owner and the pet do not suffer problems, they recommend consulting in advance about the conditions of the country of destination

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    Pets are part of families, so many times they also leave the country for vacations or moving. In either case, you must initiate procedures at least seven months in advance.

    According to Dr. Viviana Herrera, from the Animal Quarantine of the National Animal Health Service (Senasa), the number of requirements has increased. Currently Costa Rica is not on the list, there is work pending with the control of stray dogs and cats, percentage of domestic animals vaccinated against rabies, among others.

    Depending on the destination, requirements may vary. This is an overview for different parts of the Globe:

    European Union

    According to the regulation, this part of the world requires:

    • Microchip implantation by a licensed veterinarian (prior to rabies vaccination)
    • Rabies vaccination starting at twelve weeks of age (3 months)
    • A blood sample is required 30 days after rabies vaccination.

    The only authorized laboratory is located in Kansas, and it must indicate that the animal developed antibodies against rabies. Finally, the departure of the pet is authorized three months after taking the blood sample.

    This situation was experienced by the Costa Rican Pamela Herrera, who began the paperwork seven months in advance to be able to take her dog Gigi to Spain. “When I arrived, I registered my pet in the public registry of animals, that way I can take her everywhere,” she said. In order that the owner and the pet do not suffer problems, they recommend consulting in advance about the conditions of the country of destination.

    North America

    “Each country has its particularity, for example, Mexico is strict with internal and external deworming, there are cases this year that report animals that lack external deworming. “This causes the animal to be sent to quarantine, the owner must pay for a medical check-up and external deworming,” explained the Senasa expert.

    In the United States, since it is not on the rabies-free list, it requests rabies vaccination, the export certificate, prepared by a private veterinarian and must comply with the health requirements established in the country of destination. Subsequently, the documents are reviewed and signed by veterinarians from Senasa, who validate the document.

    In case of going to countries that are part of the European Union, members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the United Kingdom must meet specific requirements. Pets must be accompanied by an identification document, Zoosanitary certificate for displacement.


    “The airlines also have requirements, for example, some request that the export certificate be issued within 10 days before the trip,” explained the doctor. People also check with the airlines about the guidelines for moving them.

    The complicated history of “Luno”

    “Luno” a puppy who is seven months old is locked up at a kennel in Madrid, Spain, he was left in the hands of the Spanish authorities the previous March upon arrival from Costa Rica. Although the owner did carry the documents proving that the dog was vaccinated, it did not have the chip required by the authorities of the European country.

    As the owner Andrea Torres said, she left Nicaragua and the agency where she did the paperwork did not give her the correct information about the requirements. As there are no direct flights between Managua and Madrid, she traveled to Costa Rica to take the flight from the Juan Santamaría airport.

    Olivera emphasizes that the second error occurred on national soil, since they never made sure that Luno met the requirements to travel to European lands. She and her pet only presented the document issued in Managua and boarded without problems. They were never asked to install the microchip or do the serological test.

    “I want it to echo the fact that those responsible (airlines and animal health officials) must monitor the protocols so that cases like Luno’s are repeated. “The documentation must be reviewed very well. It is important to prevent more animals from going through the ordeal that Luno is experiencing,” Olivera said from Madrid.

    In order to avoid these and other similar situations, Senasa provided training to veterinarians on the procedures and requirements according to the different destinations.

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