How to Bring a Dog to the Country of Panama
Once you've made the decision to visit or move to Panama, you'll need to decide whether you are taking your pets with you. Bringing a pet to a foreign country can seem like an overwhelming project. While it will be stressful, if you take things one step at a time you can successfully transport your dog to Panama. Start the process early so that you will have enough time to prepare the paperwork, get official clearance, and make travel arrangements for your pet.
Preparing Your Pet’s Paperwork
1. Make one appointment for vaccinations. The first of two appointments you need to make is to make sure your dog has all the basic vaccinations necessary. Rabies is especially important. During the first appointment, make sure you get paperwork from your vet verifying your dog's rabies vaccine.
- Timing is important. You need to get the rabies vaccine at least 30 days before you will arrive in Panama. If you get the vaccine too late, you will not be able to take your dog into the country.
2. Obtain form 7001. Form 7001 is also known as the Certification of Good Health of Exportation of Small Animals. It must be filled out by a vet before you can bring your dog to Panama. You can download the form online at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. You can also pick one up at a USDA office if there's one in your area.
- Print out the form if you access it online. You will need to bring it with you to your vet appointment.
3. Make another appointment with a USDA accredited vet. Only a USDA accredited vet can fill out form 7001. Ask your current vet if they are USDA accredited. If they are not, call around until you find a vet who is. A USDA accredited vet will perform a routine exam on your dog and fill out the form so you can legally transport your dog to Panama.
- Make sure your vet fills out the form in blue ink. This is required.
4. Have your forms authorized by the Consulate of Panama. You need to have your dog's vaccination records and form 7001 authorized by the Consulate of Panama. There is a $30 authorization fee that you include when you mail in the forms. You must pay via money order. Cash and checks are not accepted. You should also include a self addressed stamped envelope when you mail in the forms.
- It's a good idea to pay for overnight shipping, especially if your trip is coming up fast.
- The forms will come with a stamp, which shows they're authorized by the Consulate of Panama.
5. Fill out the Home Quarantine Request. The Home Quarantine Request assures that your dog can go home with you when you arrive in Panama. This piece of paperwork should be faxed or emailed three days before you arrive in Panama. You can print out the form on the embassy of Panama website.
- This form asks for basic information about your dog, such as its breed, age, and weight.
- Fax the form to (507) 238-3855 / (507) 238-4059 or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting Your Dog to Panama
1. Call your airline to check regulations. Call your airline when you book your tickets instead of booking online. This way, you can ask any questions about restrictions regarding traveling with a dog. Different airlines have different regulations.
- Some airlines will not fly dogs during very hot months for insurance purposes. If you're flying during the summer or spring, you may have to try several different airlines before you find one that will take your dog.
- Make sure you know specific requirements regarding things like crate size and fees.
2. Pack all necessary paperwork. You need your dog's vaccination requests, form 7001, and your Home Quarantine Request. Double check that you have all these forms before leaving. Pack them in your carry on in case your luggage gets lost along the way.
3. Select a suitable kennel. Your kennel should be big enough that your dog can stand and turn around. If you have a very small dog, see if you can find a kennel that fits under your seat. This way, your dog may be able to travel to Panama with you.
4. Transport your pet to the airport safely. If you have a long drive to the airport, make sure your dog is safe and comfortable throughout the trip. Keep your dog in a crate or restrain it with a seatbelt so it will not distract you when you drive.
- Make sure to make plenty of stops to let your dog out of the car to stretch its legs and use the bathroom.
- Never leave your dog alone in the car, even for short periods. This can be very dangerous.
Gaining Official Clearance
1. Present your paperwork to the Veterinary Doctor of the Department of Zoonosis Control. Once you get off the plane, you will meet with an airport veterinarian. You will present the veterinarian with your paperwork and they will briefly examine your dog.
- If your dog is in good health, and you completed the paperwork correctly, your dog will then be allowed to leave the airport with you.
- In rare cases, dogs are sent back to their country of origin. This is usually due to a paperwork issue, so make sure you filled out all the paperwork correctly.
2. See if a quarantine is necessary. In rare cases, your dog may have a health issue that requires quarantine. The vet will explain the conditions and length of the quarantine to you. The fee is $7 a day.
3. Pay the entry fee in cash. There is an entry fee of 130 Balboas (the currency in Panama) for your dog to enter Panama. It must be paid in cash. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. Make sure you have cash with you when you reach the airport in Panama. Once you've paid the fee, you are free to take your dog into the country.
- Make sure you exchange dollars for the current currency of Panama when you get to the airport. Panama currently uses the U.S. Dollar as paper currency in Panama. At this time, Panama does not print any paper money (Balboas). The Balboa coinage is currently interchangeable with U.S. coinage. In other words, U.S. Dollars are the currency that you need.
- Read through the steps multiple times to be sure that you do not forgot anything. If you forget something, your pet can and often will be placed on the next flight out of Panama with or without you onboard. All fees and costs will still be due and you will have to pay for their flight back.