So you’ve done the hard part and researched the famous island and beach destinations Panama has to offer, booked a coffee tour, and a wildlife excursion. You’re lotion and bags are packed, and then it dawns on you. You can’t stand the thought of Milo, your wonderful miniature Maltese, and Persian cat Arlo missing out on the beautiful sun rays and coconut lotion, it just wouldn’t be fair. What to do?
Bringing your pet into Panama requires planning, meeting prerequisites, and various forms to fill out. To facilitate this process as much as we can for you, we will be taking a look at traveling with your pets, as well as other shipment options and ensure all basics are covered.
Whether you’re setting out to Panama for a tropical vacation getaway or relocating to Panama and joining the expat community, we’ve got you covered on all of Panama’s animal import restrictions to ensure your furry kids come along with you.
One of the most important things you can do today to ensure Milo and Arlo board that flight with you, is to ensure their vaccinations are up to date. Panama requires proof of current and up to date rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs. Puppies and kittens over three months are subject to the rabies vaccinations. It is not advisable to travel with pets under three months of age.
In addition to rabies, dogs should be vaccinated for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parvovirus. Cats should be vaccinated for Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia.
Please keep in mind that all vaccinations are to be administered at least 30 days before traveling with your pets!
Within 10 days of travel, you must have your pet inspected by your veterinarian. A USDA (if traveling from the United States) or CFIA (if traveling from Canada) accredited veterinarian must then complete the Panama Veterinary Certificate. If you are not traveling into Panama from either of these countries, then the government authority responsible for the import and export of animals should endorse the forms. Please note that there is a $38 USD fee, per pet, payable to the USDA.
Ticks and Tapeworm Treatment
Be advised that a ticks and tapeworm treatment is required for your pet just before entering Panama. The products used should be stated in the Health Certificate.
Obtain Form 7001
You must obtain for 7001, or the Certification of Good Health of Exportation of Small Animals. Before you are allowed to bring your cat or dog into Panama, the form must be filled out by a USDA accredited vet.
A link to form 7001 can be found here, or you can download the form by navigating the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.
You must have your pet’s vaccinations and form 7001 properly filled out and authorized by the Consulate of Panama. After the forms have been filled out and endorsed, the documents should be mailed accompanied with a fee of $30 USD via money order (cash and checks are not accepted). Include these documents along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope, so that you can receive your documents back:
CONSULATE OF PANAMA
2862 McGill Terrace, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
The forms will come back to you with an official stamp, signifying proper authorization by the Consulate of Panama.
Call Your Airline to Check Regulations
As different airlines have different regulations, Instead of booking your travel tickets to Panama online, call your airline. In this manner, you will be able to inquire regarding any questions and any possible restrictions whilst traveling with your pet.
Although Panama does not require your pet to be micro-chipped, it is strongly recommended. It is recommended that you microchip your pets with a 15 digit ISO 11784 compliant microchip and your contact information registered prior to your trip. In this manner, should you and your pet become separated, you can be easily reunited.
If entering Panama, pets are required to be home quarantined for a period of three days before their arrival. If the pet is not home quarantined prior to its arrival into Panama, the pet will be subject to being quarantined in a government facility for 14 days upon entering Panama.
The Home Quarantine Request form can be found here or directly here on the Ministry of Health website. The form must be filled out and sent to the Ministry of Health authorities three days prior to arrival in Panama. The fee for the Home Quarantine Request form is $130 USD, payable only in cash upon arrival to Tocumen International Airport.
Keep in mind that in doing this, you are promising to keep your pet quarantined upon its entrance into Panama for a duration of 40 days.
To submit your Home Quarantine Request form fax and email information are found below:
Fax: (507) 238-3855 or (507) 238-4059
The hours of operation for the Ministry of Health are as follows:
Open: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 11:00 pm
Offices are closed on weekends and holidays
Keep in mind that upon leaving the airport, your pet is officially on home quarantine for the next 30 days. At some point during the quarantine, you will be contacted to ensure your pet is still healthy. Upon the 40 day completion, your pet is free to explore Panama!
Pack Your Pet’s Paperwork
At this point, you have three documents: your pet’s vaccination requests (Health Certificate), Form 7001, and Home Quarantine Request.
Ensure to bring these along before your departure, as you will need to show these documents at the Panama Tocumen International Airport. We suggest packing these with your carry-on luggage.
Pack Your Kennel
Ensure to pack and appropriately sized kennel for your pet. Odds are, if you have a small enough pet, you will be able to find a kennel that fits under your seat. It is a good idea to let your pet out to walk and stretch and use the restroom prior to the airplane trip.
The United States Department of Agriculture suggests that before your trip, consider allowing your pet time to get accustomed to the kennel. To help your pet keep calm during the flight, place a t-shirt or another article of clothing with your scent into the kennel.
Arriving into Panama
Pets can arrive at Panama Tocumen International Airport via the airplane cabin, checked baggage, or air cargo during normal hours of operation with advanced notice.
Upon arrival, you will meet with the Veterinary Doctor of the Department of Zoonosis Control. For verification purposes, you will present all pet paperwork. If all requirements are fulfilled, the pets will be given back to their owners.
If the requirements are not fulfilled, usually for paperwork that has been filled out incorrectly, in very rare cases, the pet will be sent back to the country of origin using the same airline in which the pet arrived. So please, ensure to double-check all the paperwork.
Pets should be notably and visibly healthy, free of disease. If your pet is not in apparent good health, your pet may be required to be quarantined for a length of time. The fee is $7 USD. At this time, a licensed veterinarian may be required to perform a further examination, at the owner’s expense.
Entry Cash Fee at the Airport
Remember the $130 USD cash fee for the home quarantine paperwork? Ensure to bring along that fee in cash, as it will be due upon arrival.
What if My Pet Is Not a Puppy or a Kitten?
Aside from puppies and kittens being the perfect travel companions, there are times when pet birds and reptiles venture to begin new lives in Panama. There are extra steps one must take for exotic animals, as protecting the national wildlife of Panama is a top priority. For your pet bird, reptile, or other exotic animals to be admitted into Panama, you must have an import permit. The permit is issued by Panama’s National Environmental Authority (ANAM).
A letter of request must be sent to ANAM including the information detailed below:
- Pet arrival’s date, pet’s length of stay (if only vacationing)
- Flight number and time of arrival
- Name of pet, species (common and scientific name), age, and other relevant information
- Country you are exporting from
- List Panama as the country of important
- Sanitation Certificate (provided by your veterinarian)
- CITES authorization; (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora). Your veterinarian should direct you to the responsible agency in your country.
By Land or Sea
The safest and most practical way to ensure your pets arrive in Panama is by air.
Most shipping companies, including post office and UPS, will only handle shipping live animals domestically and internationally in accordance with their rules and regulations. Please make note of their accepted and prohibited animal list here, along with their packaging instructions. Under the prohibited list, you will see that all mammals (that includes Milo and Arlo), are prohibited for shipment via ground or sea.
To ensure maximum safety and efficiency, your beloved pets are better off traveling by air!
Thank Your Veterinarian
As you can see, regardless of pet type (dog, cat, bird, reptile…), your veterinarian will play a vital role in examining your pet, ensuring all vaccinations are up to date and providing you with documentation, as well as directing you to the appropriate agency and facility for authorizations. As long as your pets are properly vaccinated and cleared by your veterinarian, you should encounter no problems!
This Is Too Complicated, I Will Hire Someone to Do It!
We agree this seems a bit too complex and complicated. However, do think of precious Milo and Arlo. They must come in this next chapter of your life! What to do? If this just sounds too complicated and time-sensitive for you, you can always opt to hire a pet relocation company to handle everything on your behalf. Keep in mind their prices may be about $300 USD per pet, not including the documentation fees. Our suggestion is to follow our guidelines, as they are pretty straight forward.
If this is the route you’d like to take, here are a couple of companies that will help relocate your precious babies, all offering personalized approaches:
C’mon Milo and Arlo!
Now that you know all that is involved, it is time to get to work! Remember, bringing your pets along to join you on the next phase of your life does require a bit of time and advance prep work, as most documents are time-sensitive.
Here you find also a document from the Health Ministry Department of Zoonosis Control with more information to introduce small animals in the country of Panama.
If you get ahead of the game, you can ensure that your furry babies land in Panama without a hitch!
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