TakiZOE untitled (640x480)ng your pets along while sailing to foreign countries is not only doable, but enjoyable. We’ve had dogs, cats, parrots, and hamsters on board rally boats. But you must do your homework and start well in advance of your passage to have the proper paperwork to clear your pet into a country. Requirements for pet clearance or importation vary from island to island.


  1. Start well in advance of your departure. It can take months for the tests and vaccinations to get done. The Rabies Titer (FAVEN) test takes 6 to 8 weeks to receive the results back from Kansas State University.
  2. You must obtain a Health Certificate from a USDA Veterinary Officer before you leave the US. Your local Vet can not issue this Health Certificate.
  3. A microchipping certificate is frequently required as well.
  4. You will not be able to talk your way into a country with your pet without complying with their rules. Your pet could be confiscated, quarantined, sent home or, even euthanized.
  5. Always keep a copy of your pet’s import certificate with you when going ashore. This is necessary especially in St Lucia, Dominica, and Bequia.
  6. Each country has their own rules. They change all the time. If you don’t find the entry requirements you are looking for here, an internet search for the country name and the Agricultural Department is a good place to start.


  • Import Requirements
  • Mailing Address: Veterinary & Livestock Division  P.O. Box 1282 Friar Hill Road, St John’s , Antigua
  • Tel:(268)-460-1759 Fax:(268)460-1759 / 462-610
  • Email:

An official Health certificate issued before arrival must be produced.

An Import Permit must be obtained from the Chief Veterinary Officer before arrival.

Once the permit is obtained in advance, inform the vet 72 hours before arrival (by email). On arrival, go ashore without your pet and clear in, informing the customs authorities how many animals you have on board. They will call the vet and make an appointment, who will come to the customs office, normally within 24 hours. They will inspect the animal(s) and authorize clearance.

On departure, if the next island you plan to visit requires a health certificate (not the case if you are going to Guadeloupe, for example), then call the vet directly a few days in advance and make an appointment. They will come to the same customs office and inspect your pet and issue a health certificate.

Spinnaker (Ancestrial Salute) image (1)PROTECT YOUR PET FROM POISONS


Many countries in the Caribbean islands use rat and other poisons to control varmints. On some islands we have been told by locals that rat poison is pla
ced in most every garden and near homes to keep out rats. Also, some farmers have placed poison packs around the perimeter of their fields to keep packs of feral dogs from livestock.  While WHO programs have tried to discourage this widespread use, partly due to the threat to humans, these are pois
are still broadly used outdoors.

Some cruisers don’t take their pets ashore because of this threat. Others restrict their pet to beach and shoreline areas away from farms, garden plots, homes and villages. We can only ask that you exercise extreme care when taking a pet ashore. Indiscriminate use of such poisons in many areas of the Caribbean is widespread unlike what we are used to in Europe, the US or Canada.