Friday, March 27, 2009

Bringing a pet to Honduras

Bringing a pet to Honduras is more difficult than bringing yourself. BUT, if your pet is your baby, like Charlie is mine, then I understand that you can't live without them!

If you are interested in bringing your pet to Honduras, you first must choose an airline. Continental (from what I've read) is the best. They transport pets in air conditioned vehicles on the tarmac. However, Continental does not allow pets as checked baggage. They must be shipped as cargo, which can be very expensive. For Charlie, it was going to cost ~$400. He was flying from Louisville, KY to Houston, TX. Then staying in the airport kennel overnight (that costs an extra $100/night). Then he would leave from Houston to come to Tegucigalpa.

With American Airlines, pets can be checked as baggage. You have to pay a $150 fee for this, and that's all. BUT, their temperature restrictions are very strict because they do NOT transport animals in temperature controlled vehicles on the tarmac. (The planes with both airlines ARE temperature controlled and pressurized.)

NEXT After you have selected an airline, I recommend speaking with your vet's office. Discuss your plans with them, and they might know the requirements and already have all of the forms that you need to have filled out. I wasn't so lucky with my vet. They had never had a patient move overseas, and didn't know what to do.

NEXT To bring a pet to Honduras, you need a Veterinary Health Certificate(VHC). (in Kentucky, this has to be completed by the KY Office of State Veterinarian)

Your vet will fill out the VHC and then you have to send it to the State Vet. They approve it, sign it, and send it back to you. The catch? This form (which is only good for 30 days) has to be dated within the 10 days before your pet flies with the airline. So if you don't live in your state capitol, you have to spend a lot of money overnighting paperwork. ;)

Then, you need to find a vet in Honduras. I recommend Happy Pets in Tegucigalpa. They speak English, and are suuuper nice. :) They have a website, but it isn't very good. If you want the phone number, let me know.

When you find a vet, you can email a copy of the VHC, and the rabies certificate to them. They will take it to some unknown government office, and file for an import permit. My vet does this for around $60-80. Others do it for around $100.

(I should note here that Kentucky said they needed the import permit FIRST before they would fill out the VHC. Honduras wouldn't give me an import permit without the VHC. The KY office just ended up giving it to me without the permit.)

So once you have all of your paperwork, call the airline. If you are using Continental Cargo, you can make the reservation only 3 days before. With American, you can call whenever you'd like to add the note to your reservation that you are flying with a pet.

When your pet arrives in Honduras, the Honduran vet will have to meet you at the airport. They will inspect the pet and sign off on the quarantine paperwork (so your pet WON'T have to be quarantined).

NEXT if you haven't already, you need to buy a carrier. The airlines have strict requirements for these. These are the requirements for American Airlines, but they are just about the same for all of the airlines:

-Animals must have room to stand/turn around, sit and lie down in a natural position.
-Kennels must be constructed of wood, metal, plastic, similar material, leak-proof, escape proof and door must fasten securely and need ventilation on 2-sides in addition to the door.
-Kennels must also have a water container with outside access for filling, in case a delay occurs. (think hamster cage water bottle...just bigger!)
-Collapsible Kennels (those which can fold down flat) can not be accepted due to the risk of collapse during transport.
-The customer is required to secure rigid plastic kennels with releasable cable ties (see example at right) attached to all four corners. American Airlines will provide the ties to the customer at no cost.
-The maximum weight of a checked pet and kennel (combined) cannot exceed 100 lbs.

My dog weighs about 18 pounds. I bought this carrier at Walmart: I think it was around $40.

Some websites recommended putting housebreaking pads in the bottom of the carrier to control the mess.

Soooo...that's what I have right now. I'm sure some things will change and I will discover new tips when I actually get to bring Charlie in a couple of weeks. Until then...


Jane said...

I'm sure Charlie will be so happy to see you! If were to fly down with our Chug, "Thumbelina", we were going to fly by TACA. They allow you to bring the pet ON THE FLIGHT with you in their small kennel tucked under your seat! They must weigh no more than 15 pounds!

rosie said...

Hello...I was wondering if it is difficult to bring you animal back to the states once you too it to honduras

danielle said...

Hi! I need the number for that vet you mentioned in Tegucigalpa. I'm leaving wiht my cat very short notice (got a job at the last minute) in about two weeks! I need to sort this out - your post is very helpful!

Viva Olancho said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viva Olancho said...

Hi there- I'm heading to Honduras myself again for a lengthy visit and I want to bring my loving Morkie, Zoey. I know this post is old, but if you could email me I have some more would be greatly appreciated. from one dog loving gringa to another.