A lot of preparation is necessary to fly with our animals. Always check the website of the airline on pet policies rather than accept what is told on the phone by an agent – which honesty holds true for any important matter. Make sure to print the online regulations from the site and take it with you for backup.
When you purchase your ticket and make sure the airlines know you are traveling with your pet.
It is VERY important you meet all requirements below or they will deny you from boarding your flight.
– Must have a clear bag of dog food taped to the top of the kennel with instructions should there be an emergency or delay.
– Must have a water bottle (the gerbil type) that fits on the outside of the kennel door whether your dog knows how to use them or not.
– Must have airport approved kennel large enough for pet to stand up and turn around. I suggest bringing extra nuts/bolts that fit the kennel as they often pop off the kennels. The airline will also cable tie the dog in the kennel. Please make sure your dog has comfort and you provide some type of pillow or comfy blanket.
– Must label kennel ‘LIVE ANIMAL’ on each side of kennel with name of dog
– If temperatures are predicted less than 45°F (7.2°C) any place of travel you MUST have a vet’s letter stating dog can travel in temperatures as low as 20°F (-6.6°C). No exceptions on airlines without this letter!
Heat Restriction Cold Restriction
Heat/Cold restrictions are not determined on a day to day basis, rather they are a set temperature found on each airline’s website.
Pets cannot be accepted when the current or foretasted temperature is above 85°F (29.4°C) at any location on the itinerary.
Pets can not be accepted when the ground temperature is below 45°F (7.2°C) at any location on the itinerary.
After purchasing your airfare
Submit your import permit application via fax or email to BAHA Belize. This import permit is required by Belize and usually issued upon arrival when you pay. It is not a requirement to leave the US, however it is a good idea to request a copy to be faxed or emailed to you before you leave. Last time I was asked for a copy by the airlines and denied boarding to my flight leaving me stuck at 4am and couldn’t get to Belize for another day!
Baha will do this for an additional $35 and will charge when you arrive.
Alternate number for pet import 822-3084
Email: if emailing for permit, send to both
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Ms.Nadine Hegar
Address in US (or where you are coming from)
Intended address upon arrival in Belize
Estimated date arriving
Port of entry (Phillip Goldson Int. Airport or BZE).
Days and Hours- Every day of the week 8-5pm (in past was only M-F)
Required information upon entry
All records of current vaccinations and valid rabies shot. They now also ask for proof or a statement that the pet is free of ehrlichiosis (disease from ticks)
Now $75BZD ($50 BZD to enter and $25 BZD inspection and which is them looking at your dog for 30 seconds.)
BAHA Belize is very helpful when applying and upon arrival. The process is easy.
Next step getting to Ambergris Caye Island
I highly recommend the water taxi. Though it takes longer it is well worth it for the dog. It is much easier on the dog (and the person with the dog) in my opinion. My dog personally hated getting out of her kennel after traveling so long from the states to then be put back into her kennel for the flight to the island.
Allow one and a half hours after arrival to determine which water taxi you will take 20-30 minutes for customs and bags
15-20 minutes at BAHA to import your pet and pay your fees
10 minutes to load up your cab with luggage and pet
20 minute for cab ride to water taxi and to purchase your water taxi ticket upon arriving at terminal
$17.50 US one way
Ocean Ferry Water Taxi departures (Belize City-San Pedro)
8:00 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm
The San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi departures (Belize City-San Pedro)
8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 4:00 pm, 4:30 pm, and 5:30 pm.
Kennels are available at each port upon advance request.
- Belize to Caye Caulker ( vice versa)- USD$5.00
- Belize to San Pedro (vice versa) – USD$7.50
- Caye Caulker to San Pedro (vice versa)- USD$5.00
Tropic Air and Maya Island Air require non-service dogs to be in a kennel. Depending on the size of the kennel they will determine whether the pet will require a seat, which will need to be purchased.
The Baha Information was provided by frequent visitor, Keli Engleson. Karmen, a 70 pound Labrador has traveled with Keli between the states and Belize 5 times.
It is recommended that you check with your airline before traveling in case they have modified their regulations.
22 thoughts on “How to Travel With a Dog to Belize”
Most comments from Al are tongue-in-cheek comments.
Is it true that Ambergris Caye will only allow pure breds to be brought onto the island or is that a tongue-in-cheek comment? 🙂 If its true, that will put a dent in my moving down there as I have one pure-bred cocker spaniel and a mixed breed – both rescues.
Emily, it is not Belize that requires a USDA signature, but the United States. I’ve had this happen with several of my clients, as recently as last month. It’s odd that it didn’t happen to you – perhaps it’s not enforced 100% of the time, but when it is, you want to make sure you have it, since finding a USDA office, especially off hours, could prove impossible and may cause you to miss your flight.
I will continue to advise my clients to get this signature. Thanks!
Relocate Without Rose-Colored Glasses!
lol Al I do not need a parrot I have you 🙂 In my 44 years I have had dogs,cats lizards, fish, turtles and gerbils. This is me time no pets no kids.
I am truly dissapointed that you do not have pets Laurie. I would have expected at least a parrot, what with all the beaking off you do here 🙂
We were not charged any customs fee for our pet dog…YMMV.
Thanks to everyone for your feedback. We do not have pets so it is great to get information from those of you who do.
And don’t forget that it’s not just BAHA fees you’ll have to pay. You also have to pay customs which can range from virtually nothing to several hundred dollars per animal, depending on the day of the week and the weather and the mood of the Customs officer and various other factors that no one can seem to figure out.
Definitely request that BAHA fax you back a copy of your permit before you board your plane. They didn’t seem to have mine either when I arrived, but I had the faxed copy, so my fee was only $75 BZD to bring my dog in, not $200 as al had to pay.
I will be serious…promise. I rarely go anywhere without my cat. Last time to BZE came down on AA back on Continental. Had to have usual shots, de worming and a vet cert.( specify for travel international to your vet.) No sedation reccomended. Cat went in cabin under the seat. However was charged 125US. At the time AA wanted hard kennel. Continental soft but they relented eventually. BAHA did not show much interest except to discuss real estate and say they couldn’t find my permit. But thats Belize. They always “lose” stuff. Cost 200$ BZ. Did not feed or water cat to prevent accidents. He was fine. On return went to CZL Vet Clinic. No one had any problem with the papers. At Toronto, customs wasn’t much interested as he had a Canadian birth cert. ( not true rest is accurate)
Karen, the BAHA application is the same — see this link: http://www.baha.bz/animal_health.html. Also, be very careful about sedation. My research indicated that at least some airlines will not accept an animal that has been sedated as it can cause more serious medical problems due to the altitude. Check with your vet and your airline.
Karen and Bobbie with the contact info Keli provided you can likely get some answers for cat and parrot travel protocol.
Are cats about the same? I’ve printed them from American. Any links for the paperwork for Belize?
Any recommendations for drugging cats for the trip? 🙁
MMMMMM HOW ABOUT CATS AND A PARROT? MY HUSBAND AND I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE OUR ANIMALS. WE HAVE A HOUSE ON THE ISLAND.
Please remind your readers to check the list of dog breeds, as some are not allowed. Snub nose dogs can not travel on American under any circumstance. Most small dogs can travel in cabin and are treated as carry-on luggage. In some cases, your dog must be kenneled over night by the airline at their hub if they are going in cargo. General info on the airlines’ websites always lead to other “restictions, so go deep into the site.
Sharon i know itis a form you have to download from the USDA website but it is to be signed by your pets vet. Keli can you please clarify that. I remember someone writing about this in the AC forum
Actually, that is not true about the USDA certification being required for pets entering Belize from the US. Although a lot of countries do require this, Belize is NOT one of these countries. Perhaps they were in the past, but no longer. Since we just brought our Boston Terrier in from the US, I had to investigate this requirement, and there was a lot of confusion in various sources I checked. Some said it was required, some said it was not. But I read everything BAHA sent me very carefully, and they do not require it. We had the international vet certificate signed by our certified vet (not a USDA vet), plus the rabies certificate, plus the BAHA approval, and had no issues bring our dog into Belize in August.
Ha ha, Al – one of these days I’m gonna have Laurie post my Pigtail and Beans recipe and prove you wrong (followed with a large raspberry sound).
Seriously, though, one other noteworthy thing to mention is the USDA (Dept of Agriculture) must sign your vet certificate. Many people travelling from the States do not realize this and it causes a lot of problems.
Great overview, though, Keli!
Relocate Without Rose-Colored Glasses!
Be careful travelling with a parrot. Mine was a Canadian citizen so BAHA was fine as Belize is a shared commonwealth nation. He was on my shoulder so in Miami US customs made an issue. I said he was a stuffed souvenir but he squacked and we were both interrogated and patted down. Americans are sensitive these days.
You know what they say about people who assume Al.
This is an informative entry. I assume Sharon wrote this as it doesn’t involve food or pool parties (ha ha). Having travelled a few times to Belize with critters I would like to add a few points. Check about the kennel: American (for my cat) asked for a solid kennel and Continental, afolding one. They wanted shredded paper at the bottom. The cat was allowed in the cabin. The dog had to go through Air Cargo. No one said anything about temperature. Twice now on arrival BAHA could not find the import permit so I had to pay a 200$ penalty and the agent wanted to discuss aproperty he had for sale. Also lots of people now go to Cancun and Air Canada and Westjet are not too difficult.
As for Ambergris Caye for quality control purposes only pure breds are admitted and a certified pedigree cert. is required from the AKC.:)