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Travel with Pets in the Bahamas and the Caribbean

Cruising down the Caribbean island chain can be anything but carefree when you’re traveling with a pet. Each island is a nation unto itself with specific requirements for pets if, that is, the pet wants to put its paws ashore. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

ANGUILLA

Pets are allowed to enter with a permit. At least six months prior to your arrival, contact the Anguilla Agriculture Department, Tel: (264) 497-2615, or Email: agri@anguillanet.com, between 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon or from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for information about how to obtain this permit.

ANTIGUA/BARBUDA

An import permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer. The pet must also be micro-chipped and blood tested for rabies titer at an approved lab. The results should be forwarded to the: Chief Veterinary Officer, P.O. Box 1282, St. John’s, Antigua, West Indies, Fax: (268) 460-1759. 

BAHAMAS

An import permit is required from the Ministry of Agriculture, Trade and Industry. Applications for the permits, plus a $10 processing fee, must be made in writing to the Bahamas Director of Agriculture, P.O. Box N-3704, Nassau, The Bahamas. Tel: (242) 325-7502 or Fax: (242) 326-3960. For pets coming from the U.S. and Canada, dogs and cats must be: 1) six months of age or older, 2) accompanied by a valid certificate which states that the pet has been vaccinated against rabies within not less than 1 month and not more than 10 months prior to importation, and 3) accompanied by a Veterinary Health Certificate presented within 48 hours of arrival in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to a licensed veterinarian for an examination.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Dogs and cats are permitted entry only after the Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Division issues an import permit. The BVI is a Rabies free territory and in order to protect against the spread of this disease, there are regulations that address pets coming in from countries that are known to have outbreaks of Rabies, such as the U.S. mainland and Canada. Of note is that Caribbean nations such as Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the U.S. Virgin Islands are Rabies-free. Find the correct forms in a downloadable form at: www.britishvirginislands.com/ntk_permitspet.htm.  For more information, call the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Division, at: (284) 495-2532.

BARBADOS

An import permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer before the importation of all pets. This permit can be obtained by calling Veterinary Services at: (246) 427-5073 or Fax: (246) 420-8444. A Veterinary Officer must examine the animal before it’s allowed to leave the customs area. Dogs and cats need to be free of any communicable disease. If they come from the UK, Ireland, Jamaica, St. Kitts-Nevis, Antigua, St. Lucia or St. Vincent, they may be imported directly. Pets from all other countries must undergo six months quarantine in Britain after which time an import permit can be secured.

DOMINICA

Pets can enter the country if accompanied by a valid Veterinary Health Certificate plus an importation permit from the Veterinary Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Botanical Gardens, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica. Tel: (767) 448-0414.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Pets must have a health certificate issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian. The certificate should contain the name and address of the owner, and complete identification of the animal (name, breed, sex, and age). The pet must also have: 1) been examined within 30 days prior to departure and found to be free of any infectious diseases, and 2) been vaccinated against rabies. The rabies vaccination certificate (which should have been given between one month and 12 months prior to entry) should include the date of vaccination, product name and serial number. For more information, call the Office of Animal Health at: (809) 542-0132.

GRENADA

A health certificate from a veterinarian dated within two weeks of travel. An import permit is also required. The Grenada Tourist Board can fax the permit papers. For more information, call the Veterinary & Livestock Office at: (473) 440-3195 or Fax: (473) 440-4191.

GUADELOUPE

Cats and dogs over three months old are admitted temporarily with certificates of origin and good health (or anti-rabies inoculation), issued by a licensed veterinarian from the country of shipment.

JAMAICA

Animals are not permitted to enter Jamaica without going through quarantine in the UK for six months.

MARTINIQUE

Dogs and cats over three months old are admitted temporarily with certificates of origin and good health (or anti-rabies inoculation), issued by a licensed veterinarian from the country of shipment. For more information, contact: The Capitainerie of Le Marin, Tel: (011 596) 596 74 83 83, Fax: (011 596) 596 74 92 02

PUERTO RICO & THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Dogs and cats may enter with a health and inoculation certificate from a veterinarian dated two weeks prior to arrival.

ST. LUCIA

Pets must have a Veterinary Import Permit before they may enter St. Lucia. This can be arranged for by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Department. Cats and dogs must also adhere to the following requirements: 1) be electronically identifiable by having had an acceptable type of microchip implanted, 2) be vaccinated against rabies at or over three months of age, 3) travel into St. Lucia, 180 days (six months) after the date the blood sample was taken, and 4) be treated no more than 48 hours before entry into St Lucia with a preparation for the treatment of ticks and fleas and with an anthelmintic preparation. For more information, contact the Chief Veterinary Officer at: Email: chiefvet@slumaffe.org. 

ST. MAARTEN

Pets can enter St. Maarten with a health certificate issued by a veterinarian dated less than 10 days prior to departure. The pet must have a rabies vaccination certificate that has been issued between one month and 12 months before entering the island.

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Pets from the US must be in quarantine in the UK for six months before entering. Pets can enter Vincentian waters on yachts but must remain onboard at all times unless the above requirements are met.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Pets entering must be declared to Customs on entry. No animal is allowed ashore unless a permit is obtained from the Veterinary Services Division. It’s also essential to have an importation license. This license must be applied for three months prior to travel. In addition, necessary arrangements must be made 24 hours before arrival in order for the dog or cat to be inspected on arrival.

Dogs and cats from the U.S. are required to undergo six-month quarantine at the Quarantine Station. The quarantine time can be shortened to 30 days if three criteria are met: 1) that dogs have a microchip inserted underneath their skin by a vet before the required rabies vaccine, 2) that dogs or cats are vaccinated against rabies within six months but not more than a year before planned travel, and 3) that pets have a blood rabies test one month after vaccination. Permits to allow pets ashore for walking or exercising are not usually issued. For more information, contact: Veterinary Services Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, St. Clair Circle, St. Clair. Tel: (868) 622-1221; Fax: (868) 622-4240; Email: aphmalmr@tstt.net.tt.

Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands-based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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