How to bring your pet to Ecuador hassle-free

I know. I get it.

Its not your dog, it’s your hairy kid.

Leave ’em behind for your big move to Ecuador. No way.

So how do you bring ’em? Do you just put ’em on a plane like a human?

Nope.

The process is more involved, but not as challenging as people think.

First, locate the nearest APHIS (US Department of Agriculture) office near you in the US.

There, they will give you the form you need to fill out with the vet and direct you to a USDA approved vet in your area.

At the vet, you’ll have to have your pet get a rabies shot at least 60 days before traveling. Then within 10 days of traveling you’ll have to go back to the vet and have the dog receive about 4-5 more shots including a parasite treatment. You can see specifically what vaccinations your dog or other pet will need to enter Ecuador here.

With the vaccination forms signed by the vet you’ll need to get them notarized and then stamped by the APHIS office, the APHIS certification will cost around $123 per dog.

Then you’ll need to overnight the forms to your nearest Ecuador consulate for a certification by the Ecuador consulate in your home country.

It will cost around $50 a dog for the Ecuador consulate to certify the papers. They’ll then mail them back.

Next you’ll need to talk with your airline.

Generally, if the dog can fit in a small cage that fits under the seat in front of you, you can take it on the plane. I recommend buying one of those (sherpa) flexible cases so they can be squished a little to fit under the seat. The airlines say maximum height 7 inches but they are generally a lenient with this rule. Obviously, with a cage that size even the smallest dogs will have to have their head ducked to fit.

If you have to ship the dog in cargo under the plane know the big difference between DEM WEIGHT vs REAL WEIGHT.

Beyond a certain size the airlines no longer charge by the weight, but instead DEM WEIGHT which is an automatically calculated weight according to the dimensions of the cage, and its pricey! Go for an airline that will let you get by with REAL WEIGHT.

For instance, to ship a 90 pound dog on United in February of 2014 the cost was $500 (real weight), but it would have been closer to $1500 if shipped via DEM WEIGHT.

Upon arrival in Ecuador, you will have to go to the ADUANAS or customs office next to the airport (in both Quito or Guayaquil) to pick up your pet.

Keep in mind on weekends and Ecuadorian holidays the offices close and your dog will be stuck likely with no food until the next working day! So try to arrive mid-week.

You’ll have to take the original BILL OF LADING which you get when you ship the animal in cargo plus the vaccination papers mentioned above, plus your passport, a color copy of your passport and a copy of your tickets or in the case of e-Tickets your boarding passes.

Try to go with the person who bought the air tickets.

You’ll pay roughly $25 to the Ecuador CUSTOMS (Aduana) and $26 to the AGRICALIDAD official for them to release your pet.

That’s it. Fido made it.

More tips for a seemless process:

1. Go with an Ecuadorian, often they will give you less ‘run-around’ if you go with an Ecuadorian with teeth.

2. For certifying your vet papers try the Ecuador consulate in Arizona, they seem to be more responsive and helpful than the majority of Ecuador consulates.

3. Be mindful of the maximum airline limits for the size of your cage, it may not fit in the airplane door! Check with your airline beforehand.

4. Once in Ecuador, get to your final destination by land, because boarding another domestic flight with big pets will be another costly hassle.

5. Apostilles and translations aren’t necessary for this process as long as you adhere to the requirements stated above.

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