Complete Guide to Ecuador Travel & Relocation (GringosAbroad)

Can I Bring my Pets to Ecuador?

Can I bring my pet to Ecuador? Its a great question. The information online is kind of spotty. We have two sources for the content in this post.

  1. A fellow Canadian Expat (living in Cuenca) who has moved her pets to-and-from-and-to Ecuador. Obviously, she knows whats needed.
  2. A relocation law firm here in Cuenca, Ecuador: Idrovo & Velastegui Abogados (see contact info at the bottom of the post).

Bring-my-Pets-to-Ecuador

Holly Walker, Canadian Expat Living in Cuenca

Holly is a reader and fellow Canadian (and now fellow Cuencana) and she offers some insight into bringing pets into the country.

We brought our cat with us when we initially moved and our dog (purchased in Cuenca last year) has been to Saskatchewan and back.

As far as getting an animal into Ecuador goes it’s a fairly straight forward process — as long as you follow all of the Ecuadorian guidelines. I phoned the Ecuadorian embassy in one city and the Ecuadorian consulate in another just to cross check information. When we brought our cat we weren’t asked for any of the paperwork. However, when we came back with our dog they checked everything. So there’s just no telling…

Any problems we did encounter were with the airline(s) themselves, so my advice to anyone considering bringing their pet is to make sure you double or even triple check any information they give you. I would avoid at all costs sending a pet as cargo, because anything flying cargo has to go through customs so there is the potential for your pet to end up siting in a cargo facility for hours or even days. If they are small enough have them in the cabin with you (some airlines still allow it) or fly them as checked baggage.

Idrovo & Velastegui Abogados – Cuenca Law Firm

The law firm that we recommend here in Cuenca (without any financial incentive, by the way) gave me this link. They commented that this site is:  “very helpful for persons with questions about bringing their pets to Ecuador from the U.S.” http://www.aphis.usda.gov/regulations/vs/iregs/animals/animal_ecuador.shtml

The law office here in Cuenca, that specializes in Visas and Relocation. A friend of ours, also an expat, works in the office. She will handle your email. You can address your email to Rebecca McCleskey. By the way, Abogado is lawyer in Spanish.

Here is the contact information for the law firm:

Idrovo & Velastegui Abogados – Cuenca Law Firm
Dr. Grace Velastegui, Attorney at law
Luis Cordero 6-41 y P. Cordova
Cuenca – Ecuador
(593) 7 2842225 Phone
(593) 7 2825801 Fax

Whats your experience? Have you brought your pets? Or are you planning to?

An article by

Bryan is a journalist, photographer, expat and dad. He writes for Gringos Abroad (Ecuador travel & living) and Blogger Abroad (run an online business abroad). He also enjoys living in Southern Ecuador (South America) with his wife and daughter. Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn. Work with Bryan & Dena

More about: Ecuador Travel, Living in Ecuador

{ 38 comments… add one }

  • Donna Stiteler November 9, 2013, 1:01 am

    I am bringing 5 dogs. All of their rabies shots JUST expired in October. I am taking them to the vet on 11/10/2013 to get their shots (so really they only have 10 days with an ‘expired’ rabies shot). The information says that dogs must have their rabies shots 60 days prior to entering Ecuador. If this is the case, then do I have to wait 60 days from getting their ‘renewal’ shorts? They get their shots every years. This year, I just got the notice last week that they were due? We want to spend Christmas in Cuenca but not without our dogs. Help! Donna

    Reply
  • Miranda Owens October 15, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I have tried to call the number listed here for the relocation law firm but I believe it is out of service, do you know if they have a new number? I want to find out what the policy on exotic pets is, specifically for fennec foxes. It’s just a baby right now. It has been bottle fed and hand raised, very tame and very small, 3 lbs at most. I want to know if I can bring one in with proper documentation and vaccines.

    Reply
  • Kendra September 11, 2013, 9:24 pm

    Obviously there are fees to transport your pet on the plane. Does Ecuador or the US charge any fees?

    Reply
  • Larry Andrews July 3, 2013, 9:55 am

    GOOD INFO RE PETS

    Reply
  • Eleanor harris May 29, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I have a dog wondering if he will be quarantine for a any period of time?

    Reply
  • russianbluemom May 12, 2013, 10:16 pm

    Can I take my 2 cats on the plane with me, not putting them in cargo? in other words beside me while I travel? Carry on? or is there a ship to travel to Ecuador so they may be my side? One only weighs 4 lbs, other 11.

    Reply
    • Malcolm May 13, 2013, 6:59 am

      The restrictions are from the airline, you can sometimes put two small pets in the same under seat carrier. The carrier must go under the seat in front of you. You may NOT put them in the seat beside you even if you purchase the seat.

      Reply
    • JanisP May 13, 2013, 7:18 am

      Russian Blues; cool! It is up to each air line whether they allow pets or not. Some allow pets in the cabins, some don’t. You must make a reservation for them as there are only a few pets allowed in each class of cabin. And you may be able to put both cats in one carrier but they’d have to have plenty of room to stand up and turn around; they are very very fussy about that these days. Pay attention to the carrier size allowed; it equates to the Medium sized Sherpa bag, NOT the Large! American Air charges $125 per carrier for inside the cabin. You will need an International Health Certificate specifically for Ecuador to get the pets into the country; American does not require a health cert. for pets travelling in the cabin. You don’t say where you will be traveling from…?? Here are the rules for American Air: Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • russianbluemom May 13, 2013, 9:48 am

        Thank you very much for all the responses. My pets are my priority, and they never let me forget it either! lol..

        Reply
  • T.Marshall March 20, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Hi!
    I’m considering moving to Ecuador and have a few cats to take with me. I was wondering if anyone knows the cost of each one for flights…papers to get into Ecuador etc.? I read one person was taking their dog and it was almost $2000! I would be flying to Miami from Toronto, staying there over night and leaving for Quito the next day to give them a break from the plane.
    Thanks for any info!

    Reply
    • Malcolm Reding March 21, 2013, 10:45 am

      American Airlines charges $175 per animal and you can only import two animals per person.

      Reply
      • T.Marshall March 21, 2013, 11:08 am

        Hi Malcolm!
        Thank you!
        If my parents traveled over for a visit would they be able to bring 2 as well if they are visiting for a week or two and then I keep them here? I have five and must find a way to bring them all with me…they are my kids!
        tammer1067@gmail.com
        Thanks again!

        Reply
        • Brigitta Tingstad April 29, 2013, 9:03 pm

          Hello T.Marshall – Several weeks ago I read a post on Gringo
          tree by a lady who came to Cuenca by herself with 3-4 pets.
          She found an attorney with a pet import license who worked with another party to handle the paper work in S.F.Cal. It
          might be the same one Bryan suggested. Worth a try. Please
          let me know if you had success.I am coming to Cuenca 10/31
          will avoid Miami because of high temp. (2 doggies) All the
          best to you. Emily

          Reply
          • Malcolm E Reding May 29, 2013, 7:02 pm

            The problem with using the pet import license is that you have to deal with the Ecuadorian Agriculture Ministry, which will give you a migraine. Depending on when you come, Miami is not problem heat wise. I brought my 2 dogs in June of 2012 and American would not board them on the 4 pm flight to Guayaquil because it was 86º But it cooled off and we got on the 7PM flight without a problem. I would avoid Miami in the late spring and summer, but Houston has the same problem. Late October in Miami should not be a problem, just check the historical temps in Miami for October.

  • scott phillips February 26, 2013, 11:20 am

    I want to bring my two 25lb dogs to ecuador with me.Do they have to be nuetered? They will be current on all vaccinations.My male is a purebred stud dog and I dont want to nueter him.Any info regarding this would be helpful. Thank you

    Reply
    • Malcolm Reding March 21, 2013, 10:43 am

      Your dogs do NOT have to be Nuetered.

      Reply
  • Ron January 11, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Is there an organization of expats that can help with a move to Ecuador….I checked with one in Costa Rica and they have all the info to move and get settled in

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Lollie August 9, 2012, 10:29 am

    Hi Bryan!
    We are moving to Ecuador with our pets. The last piece of the puzzle is this: we need transportation from Guayaquil airport to Gualaceo with our 6 suitcases and 2 pets. Can anyone suggest a van service that will make this trip for us?
    Thanks for all you do!
    Lollie

    Reply
    • Susan Blair September 8, 2012, 2:42 pm

      I am so happy to see someone else going to Gualaceo. I will be moving March 2013.
      Susan from Houston

      Reply
  • Malcolm Reding July 27, 2012, 3:49 am

    I brought my two dogs to Cuenca in May of 2012. It was quite an ordeal. First, American Airlines in Miami refused to check my dogs in on the original departure date of May 24 because the pet carriers were not of a type approved by American. They do NOT approve carriers with plastic clips holding the the two halves of the carrier together. American only approves of carriers that are held together with bolts all around the perimeter. They claim to have had problems with the carriers with the clips coming unfastened and have had pets loose in aircraft luggage compartments and in airport luggage storage areas. So, I had to drive back to my home in Vero Beach (140 miles) and exchange the carriers I had for the approved version at Petco. When I returned to Miami on May 26 for a 3PM flight, they would not check my dogs in because the outside temperature was 86º and 85º is the maximum temperature at which they will check pets in. I had to wait until about 4PM when is was 84º to check in with my dogs for a 7PM flight that departed at 8PM. I left home that day at 11am and finally arrived in Cuenca at 4:30am the next morning. The dogs had been their carriers for almost 11 hours and were a little dehydrated. Putting water in the little containers that come with the carriers does not work, it gets spilled very quickly. I would recommend moist food that will have some liquid in it instead of dry food.

    Reply
    • JanisP December 5, 2012, 6:37 pm

      If you freeze water in the little drinking dishes, it lasts much longer. (though not for 11 hours!) It does help though.

      Reply
  • Russell Koeman May 19, 2012, 2:21 pm

    We have 2 dog both weigh about 70 lbs American airlines has a limit of 100lbs including the kennel. Has anyone shipped a dog over 100lbs total? Tks Russ

    Reply
  • Malcolm Reding March 4, 2012, 5:15 am

    There is some misinformation being circulated on pets, so I spent several weeks gathering information on pet travel. This information was valid as of February 2012

    The USDA will tell you that you have 10 days to take your pet to Ecuador. That is not correct. It even says on the USDA form #7001, that the certificate is good for 30 days and Ecuador has no such regulation. Some airlines have a 10 day rule but that is only for domestic travel and you don’t need the USDA form for that. You must mail or take the USDA form to an Ecuadorian Consulate and have it stamped and pay $50.00 If you are flying through either Miami or Houston, there are Ecuadorian consulates there.

    LAN does not allow pets in the cabin. They have a special space in the baggage compartment for pets, but you must make a reservation at least 48 hours before, because the space is limited. American and Continental don’t require reservations and Continental has a pet boarding facility in Houston. American will NOT transport birds, but LAN and Continental will.

    Ecuadorian customs states you can import 2 pets, that means 2 per person. If you are a family of 4, you can each import 2 pets. The regulation assumes one person with passport.

    Reply
    • JanisP May 13, 2013, 9:40 pm

      AS of October, 2012, the int’l health certificate DOES need to be done within 10 days of shipment! Quoting from the APHIS regulations for Ecuador: 1. The dog underwent a clinical examination by a licensed veterinarian. This examination should be within 10 days prior to shipment.

      I would also like to point out that the rules for pets traveling in the cabin with passengers are quite different than for pets traveling in the Cargo hold. You don’t need to take the health cert. to the consulate if it’s in the cabin. (You do need to have it stamped & embossed by a USDA vet; in NC the nearest one was the state vet in Raleigh so it involved Next Day Air shipments each way) And after all your fuss and bother, half the time if it’s coming in the cabin with you, they don’t even glance at the paperwork you worked so hard to get!

      Reply
  • Agnieszka February 3, 2012, 6:09 pm

    Hi,

    Do you know if it´s possible to find a pet insurance company in Cuenca? I know Quito has Alfapets, but they don´t have offices in Cuenca.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines February 3, 2012, 7:27 pm

      Sorry, I don’t know. I’ve never had pet insurance. I do know that pet care costs are low. Maybe you won’t need it?

      Reply
  • Rick Kamerzell October 22, 2011, 10:37 am

    Bryan,

    I have a 2006 Yamaha VSTAR 1100 that I have done a lot of cusomizing on. It would mean a lot to get it to Cuenca. I would like to crate it up and send it in the shipping container with all of my other stuff. Will I have any problems doing that.?

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines October 24, 2011, 9:32 am

      Hi Rick – would be a great question for a lawyer. From how understand (and I’m not a lawyer) is that used vehicles are not allowed to be imported. A bike might be different. Would be worth checking with a lawyer.

      Reply
  • maria October 6, 2011, 3:22 pm

    HOLA BRYAN… just another question (lol) we are most likely going to move there now and we MAY take our 13 year old cats ( we can leave the cats with our college daughters but we are afraid they may not take care of the cats properly) so we called the airline about the rules etc…what I want to know is there any stores there that are “PET STORES” where we can buy pet food and litter……??? Thank you hope you are well…..Maria

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines October 6, 2011, 3:39 pm

      Hi Maria – yes, there are specialty pet stores and the supermarkets also sell all the standard pet supplies as well. You won’t have any trouble finding what you need.

      Reply
  • Susy Gyuris April 9, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Thank you. I e-mailed them.

    Reply
  • S. Gyuris April 8, 2011, 11:11 pm

    Hi! The link provided is for the USDA regulations. We're moving to Ecuador this coming summer. We're taking our dog w/us. Problem: How are we suppossed to get an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture in Ecuador while we're here in the USA. I'm thinking that the provided link refers to exporting animas commercially. Any input on this? Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • Bryan Haines April 9, 2011, 6:16 am

      Thats a good question. This is the information that the lawyer provided regarding personal pets. The best I can suggest, is to contact the law office. They can help explain – they may be able to help obtain the permit.Bryan

      Reply
  • Deb February 4, 2011, 4:51 pm

    Thanks to Holly for her insight into bringing pets into Ecuador. I also appreciate the name, number and e-mail address of a law firm in Cuenca!! She even gives the name of an expat that works in the office as a contact to whom we can send emails, but though she gives the name…Rebecca McClesky, she doesn't give us Rebecca's e-mail address. Do you suppose you could get that info for us???? I have printed out this info and added it to my "Moving to Ecuador" book. It is great to find the name of a law firm, but to know that they have an expat employee is reassuring!! It would make me feel comfortable knowing someone there speaks English!!! Thanks again Holly!!

    Reply

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We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. If this is your first visit, start here. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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