We arrived in Uruguay this past March with our daughter, all of our stuff and two funny little Pugs named Pablo and Paloma. The dogs were by far the most stressful part of the move, in part because we had never traveled with pets before.
There are many details of traveling, boarding, vet care, food and licensing that we've encountered since our journey to Uruguay began. This will be documented in a multi-part Pet series.
Prep for the Journey:
Uruguay has no quarantine for cats and dogs, and is pretty relaxed regarding a lot of import/customs requirements through the airport. Since we didn't know if we were going through customs in Buenos Aires or Montevideo, we had to comply with the customs requirements for both countries. The paperwork required to export a pet from the USA and import to Argentina or Uruguay is quite involved and required three trips to our local MN Vet and one to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office to get the official approval. All information on the export of cats and dogs, including specific country requirements, can be collected at the USDA website. For export from the USA/import to Argentina (the more strict location), a dog needs:
- A 1-year rabies shot administered less that a year, but more than a month before traveling
- A vet exam within 10 days of travel
- Tapeworm medication administered by the vet at the exam
- Paperwork completed by the vet in both Spanish and English
We also asked for a cold-weather waiver from our vet to allow the dogs to fly down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The paperwork from your vet then needs to be taken to your local USDA APHIS office for review by the APHIS Vet and receive the official seal of approval ($48 for both dogs). Our APHIS office in St. Paul was incredible with helping our local vet understand what is needed for import into Argentina/Uruguay and making sure everything was completed correctly. Please contact your local USDA APHIS office first and they can send your vet all the necessary information.
Ours was a somewhat unusual experience because we were flying with Pugs. Pugs and other snub-nose breeds can overheat easily and as a result, there are tight restrictions on the temperature range that they can fly. All stops along our route had to be within the temperatures of 32-75 degrees Fahrenheit (this can be different depending on your airline). In March, it was cold in MN, but potentially above 75 degrees in Miami. Since we waited until the temperatures looked good, then booked our flights last minute, we also complied with the animal import requirements for Argentina, just in case that would give us a better route for the temperature limits. Thankfully we had the additional cold weather waiver because temperatures were hovering around the freezing mark when we left. We ended up flying from Minneapolis-Chicago-Miami-Uruguay and even after the extremely long travel time, the Pugs came through just fine.
Be aware that there are also summer embargoes where due to the heat, animals are not allowed to fly. Spring and fall are the best times to travel with pets when crossing the equator. Check with your airline about all requirements before booking your ticket.
Next up in the "Dogs in Uruguay" series: Necessary gear and the adventure at the Airport - including "What is a short check?"