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New Requirements for Crossing the U.S. Border with a Dog from Mexico Starts: August 1, 2024

New Requirements for Crossing the U.S. Border with a Dog from Mexico

Updated Regulations for Dog Importation

Planning on traveling with your dog from Mexico to the United States? You’re not alone. Approximately 1 million dogs enter the United States from other countries every year. If you’re crossing the U.S. border with a dog, whether the dog is from Mexico or originally from the U.S., you need to be aware of the new dog import requirements recently established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

New CDC Requirements for Dogs Entering the U.S.

The CDC’s new rules are designed to protect the health and safety of both people and animals, and to prevent the reintroduction of dog rabies into the United States. The rabies virus, which is fatal to humans and animals, is very rare in the U.S. thanks to the elimination of canine rabies in 2007.

Key Requirements:

  1. Age Requirement: Dogs must be at least six months old. Puppies at this age are eligible to receive vaccinations.
  2. Microchip: Dogs must have a microchip implanted under their skin with a code that verifies their rabies vaccination status.
  3. Rabies Vaccination Certificate: A valid rabies vaccination certificate is mandatory.
  4. CDC Import Form: An electronic CDC import form must be completed prior to crossing the border.

Effective Date

The new regulations will take effect on August 1. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in your dog being denied entry into the United States. If arriving by air, the dog will be sent back to the last country of departure at the owner’s expense.

Challenges for Dog Rescue Organizations

Dog rescue advocates have raised concerns about the new rules, arguing that they are overly restrictive and could pose an administrative burden for rescue organizations. The increased regulation aims to address the rise in incomplete or fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates. The CDC heightened its vigilance after four rabid dogs were discovered entering the U.S. since 2015. Additionally, Mexican public health authorities issued a rabies alert last year, warning of a rise in human rabies cases.

Previous Requirements

In recent years, the CDC has not considered Mexico a high-risk country for rabies. The last verified dog-to-human rabies transmission in Mexico occurred in 2006. Consequently, there has been minimal regulation regarding the importation of dogs from Mexico to the U.S. Proof of rabies vaccination was sometimes required for air travel or when entering specific U.S. states by car.

The new regulations for importing dogs from Mexico into the United States are a significant change aimed at enhancing public health safety. While the rules may pose challenges for dog rescue organizations, they are crucial for preventing the reintroduction of rabies and ensuring the safety of both humans and animals. For those planning to travel with their pets, staying informed and prepared is essential to ensure a smooth border crossing experience.

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