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Bringing Your Pets To Mexico (And Getting Them Home Again!)
By Dr. Eduardo Diaz, D.V.M.
Miramar Veterinary Hospital, Ensenada, B.C.

Before traveling with your cat or dog, be sure you know his/her personality. If Fluffy is a homebody, she will not be happy on the road. If Fido has a sense of adventure (and separation anxiety), perhaps he will be happier with you. Be sure to make the decision that best suits the needs of your pet.

Cats and dogs are welcome in Mexico and if you follow a few guidelines you will all have a wonderful vacation. A current vaccination certificate is the most important requirement. Vaccination against rabies is essential. You may be asked for proof of rabies vaccination on the Mexican side, or you may not. You may be asked for it by U.S. border officials, or you may not. Avoid the risk of creating a problem - BRING PROOF OF RABIES VACCINATION.

We strongly urge you to keep your friends up-to-date on their annual vaccinations, DHLP-P for dogs and FVRCP-P and feline leukemia for cats. Due to lack of funding, animal control down here is practiced on a limited scale. Therefore, we have a large number of free-roaming (and free-loading) dogs and cats on this side of the border. Don't take the risk of exposing Fido and Fluffy to diseases that can be prevented by a quick trip to the vet and a simple vaccination.

A health certificate from your local veterinarian is not a bad idea either. Though not really necessary this close to the border, it pays to keep one with you. If you plan to venture further south of Ensenada or onto mainland Mexico, a health certificate is required'special paperwork must be filed with the Mexican Department of Agriculture for a permit to travel to the mainland with your dogs. FOLLOW THE RULES. Don't create headaches and heartaches if you don't have to.

Also be sure bring a full supply of Fluffy or Fido's favorite food (in case it's not locally available) plus bottled water, dishes, leashes and a roving chain. Most of all, be sure your pet's I.D. tags are current. Although most RV parks welcome leashed pets, many hotels do not. (See our list of "Pet Friendly" lodgings.)

A bit of advice if you are thinking of bringing Polly the Parrot or Lance the Lizard on vacation - DON'T. Coming into Mexico might not be a problem, but taking birds and reptiles into the U.S. will be. The animals will be confiscated if you do not have the proper paperwork, an expensive and time-consuming process. (Contact the Mexican Consulate in San Diego at 619-231-8414 for details.) Unless you are moving to Mexico permanently, get a bird nanny.

A quick note: Tempted to buy one of those beautiful little lovebirds or parrots sold on street corners? Once again, DON'T. They will be confiscated by U.S. Customs agents. Give them a little tequila and hide them under the seat? DON'T. Even if you pass them across undetected, most do not survive. There is a legitimate reason why you may not bring undocumented birds into the U.S.: A significant number carry parasites and diseases that would make the Kentucky Colonel cringe!

It is strictly against the law in Mexico to transport any reptile, including iguanas and snakes, out of the country. If you are caught you will be heavily fined and the animal will be confiscated. It's not worth the risk. Remember, too, that most wild animals taken out of their natural habitats do not survive.

Another quick note: If you DO find an abandoned or homeless cat or dog in Baja and would like to take it home with you, no problem. Miramar Veterinary Hospital will be glad to help you with advice, vaccinations, health certificates, etc. If you are looking to adopt a new Mexican friend, contact us: We almost always have healthy dogs, cats, puppies and kittens that need good homes.

Miramar Veterinary Hospital
Av. Macheros #442-11B, Plaza Miramar
Ensenada, B.C., Mexico.
E-mail: BajaVet@compuclub.com.mx.
From U.S. or Canada call (011-52-61)78-2672 Within Mexico call (01-61)78-2672.

"Pet Friendly" Lodgings in Ensenada/San Quintin
Compiled by Dr. Eduardo Diaz & Ellen Tousley
Miramar Veterinary Hospital, Ensenada, B.C.

After visiting many hotels and motels in Ensenada, we came up with the following list of places that either welcome or at least tolerate pets. We strongly suggest confirming this information when making reservations since availability, room rates and pet acceptance can vary.

IN ENSENADA

Quintas Papagayo Resort
This is by far the number one choice with cabins by the bay, a flower-filled tropical setting, pool, tennis courts and a great restaurant. Pets are more than welcome - and their owners too. Located 5 minutes north of Ensenada at Km. 108 on the main highway from Tijuana. Tel. (61)74-4575, fax (61)74-4155.
Motel America
Next best (as far as welcoming pets), it has no pool or gardens but is on the main drag within walking distance of tourist attractions and the bay. Rooms are clean and some have small kitchenettes in case Fluffy or Fido likes home cooking best. On Av. Lopez Mateos & Av. Espinoza. Tel. (61)76-1333.
Motel Colon
If you don't plan on spending too much time in your room, the Colon is OK. Rooms are small and have the lived-in look but do have TV. Tel. (61)76-1910. On Av. Lopez Mateos & Guadalupe, right across the street from San Nicolas Resort Hotel (which does NOT welcome pets) but has a fun disco and Caliente Race & Sports Book.
Motel Coronado
Although least aesthetic, it's closest to downtown shops and restaurants. During the summer, the arroyo is a great place to walk the dogs. If you stay at the Coronado, say hi to Lee and his dog Mikey who make the motel their permanent home. Mikey likes it! On Av. Lopez Mateos at the arroyo. Tel. (61)76-1416.
Ensenada Inn
Within walking distance of several excellent restaurants and nightclubs, it's a little too far for most to walk to downtown tourist attractions. But for those who don't mind a 1-minute drive into town, Ensenada Inn is a nice place to stay with a pool, jacuzzi and bar. Expect to pay $20dlls. deposit for Fluffy or Fido. Non-refundable. Or refundable. Depends on whom you talk to. On Av. Sangines across from Hotel Paraiso Las Palmas. Tel. (61)76-1361, fax (61)77-3101.
Hotel Paraiso Las Palmas
A plush place for Fluffy or Fido with a convention center, pool, jacuzzi and restaurant/bar with room service. Reservations are a must; only two "pet friendly" rooms are available. On Av'sangines #206. Tel. (61)77-1701 to 08, fax (61)76-0985, e-mail: paraiso@telnor.net.

NORTH OF ENSENADA IN EL SAUZAL

Motel Sausalito
Pets accepted IN CARRIERS ONLY. Large clean rooms, pool, restaurant. The management reluctantly accepts small dogs or cats as long as the maid doesn. t find Fluffy's hair on your pillow in the morning. Located 10 minutes north of Ensenada at Km. 103 on the main highway from Tijuana. Tel. (61)74-6145.
California Motel & RV Park
A modest motel with an attitude similar to Sausalito's - pets accepted but don't leave traces. Leashed pets are more welcome in their RV park/campgrounds. Located 8 minutes north of Ensenada at Km. 103.7 on the main highway from Tijuana. Tel/fax (61)74-6033.

SOUTH OF ENSENADA IN PUNTA BANDA

Baja Beach & Tennis Club
Located on one of the best stretches of beach in Ensenada, the Baja Beach Club is a total resort with restaurants, bars, pools, a gym and jacuzzi. You may not even want to come to town! Small dogs and cats are OK as long as they don't eat the furniture. Located 30 minutes south of Ensenada on the road to La Bufadora; take the signed turnoff to the Punta Estero sandspit. Tel. (615)4-0220.
Cruz International Real Estate
It's not a hotel but a beautiful 2 bedroom/2 bath rental home with a full kitchen and fantastic view on one of the best stretches of beach in Ensenada. Deposit required but worth it. Definitely pet friendly. Located 30 minutes south of Ensenada on the road to La Bufadora; take the signed turnoff to the Punta Estero sandspit. Tel. (6)174-7770, fax (6)174-7770, e-mail: cruzinternational@.com.mx.

IN SAN QUINTIN

Rancho Cielito Lindo Motel & Trailer Park
Pets will be welcomed by the resident menagerie of 3 cats, 6 dogs, 7 peacocks, 3 burros, 2 horses, "Elizabeth" the goat, and "Porky" the 200-lb. potbellied pig. Pet owners will relish the spacious rooms, sportfishing fleet and restaurant/bar with knockout margaritas and Juanita's Famous Crab Claws. Everyone will enjoy the wide sandy beach. Located 10 miles south of town on Playa Santa Maria, just west of Hotel La Pinta. E-mail: juanita@bajasi.com, or U.S. voice mail (619)593-BAJA.

Help us compile our directory of "Pet Friendly" lodgings in Baja! Please provide us with the hotel's name, address, city and tel/fax/e-mail. We must be able to contact the establishment to confirm its official pet policy - or discover that you and Fido merely got lucky that night! Please e-mail: BajaVet@compuclub.com.mx.

To call from the U.S. or Canada dial 011-52 + numbers listed. Within Mexico dial 01 + numbers listed.

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