Customs and Immigration issues specific to bringing Patton along

Patton, Loblolly Beach, Anegada, BVI

Patton, Loblolly Beach, Anegada, BVI

Wow, when we initially started planning our Caribbean cruise we had no idea how involved it was going to be to address all of the health, and customs and immigration issues associated with bringing Patton, our Cocker Spaniel, along. We spent hours attending seminars and researching, via the internet, all of the various countries’ health and immigration regulations and requirements, and making sure that Patton had all of his vaccinations up to date. In addition, we had to obtain a titer test for rabies and a USDA health certificate attesting to Patton’s good health as well as making sure that Patton had an ISO compliant microchip implanted. There are a number of good online resources but we found the  Seven Seas Cruising Association as well as Noonsite and PetLink to be particularly helpful.

For those interested in cruising the Caribbean with their four legged friends, below is a compilation of contact details, and general information that we found helpful, for various island nations that we have visited over the last four years (2014-2018).


Patton driving the dinghy

Patton driving the dinghy

Prior to arriving in a country of intended travel, we contact their Department or Ministry of Agriculture and request their specific pet import requirements. We complete and email their Application for Pet Import Permit, along with health and vaccination records, including titer test results and USDA health certificate. Most of the island nations that we have visited have required nothing more than a declaration of a pet onboard on their customs form. These countries have included, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USVI, St. Martin (the French side), St. Bart, St. Eustatia, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Grenada. With that said, whenever we clear into to any country, we always have all of Patton’s health records on hand in the event anyone has any questions.

Rabies free countries, and certain other countries, including, but not limited to, Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Maarten (the Dutch side), and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all requested government issued health certificates issued within 7-10 days of arrival. This has required logistically planned visits to veterinarians in preceding countries to obtain the requisite certificate. These countries issue an import permit in advance of your arrival in their country and have required 24-48 hours of notice prior to arrival. Upon arrival, the government veterinarian inspects your pet, usually at the dock, on the boat or in the customs office, whereupon fees are paid and the import permit is authorized.

The following has been sufficient for all of the Caribbean countries that we have visited: ISO compliant Microchip, Rabies Certificate, Titer Certificate, DHCCP Certificate, Government Issued Export Health Certificate, evidence of, treatment for external and internal parasites, and heartworm screenings.


  • Website:
  • Email:    
  • Contact:          Isabel C. Rosario
  • Telephone:     (264) 497 2615
  • Fax:                 (264) 497 0040



  • Website:
  • Tel:                 (242) 325-7413
  • Fax:                 (242) 325-3960




  • Website:
  • Email:   
  • Tel.                  (473) 440-2708/3078/3083
  • Fax.                 (473) 440-4191
  • Remarks:       To obtain a government issued health certificate to present to a nearby rabies free island nation (e.g. St. Vincent & the Grenadines), contact Grenada Government Vet, Dr. Louison at St. Georges University Small Animal Clinic, True Blue, Grenada Tel. 473-435-2900



  • Website:
  • Email:    or
  • Contact:          Sabina Aurelien
  • Tel.                  (758) 468-5690 or 5621
  • Fax.                 (758) 450-4581



  • Email:   
  • Contact:          Dr. Glasgow
  • Tel.                  (784) 457-2452 or 784-493-0575
  • Remarks:        Call within 48 hours of arrival. Will accept a government issued health certificate from St. Lucia or from Grenada Government Vet, Dr. Louison at St. Georges University Small Animal Clinic, True Blue, Grenada Tel. 473-435-2900


In addition to making sure that you understand all of the many and varied requirements specific to each country you intend to visit, there is no way to get this project accomplished without the help of a competent and caring veterinarian prior to departing the U.S.. Unless dealing with international travel is something that your vet has specific experience with, we can tell you for sure that they will be dealing with policies and procedures that are not a part of a routine veterinary practice.

We are very fortunate to have had the help of the Metzler Veterinary Hospital in Clearwater Florida. Dr. Doug Metzler and his entire staff were invaluable to us as we prepared for our trip. If you are anywhere near Clearwater and are contemplating a trip like ours with your four legged companion, Dr. Metzler gets our strongest recommendation for assistance in your preparations. Dr. Metzler can be reached at 727-669-7221, Tell him Patton recommended him 😉


Doug Metzler, DVM

1 thought on “Customs and Immigration issues specific to bringing Patton along

  1. Pingback: Pet Import Requirements in the Caribbean | pilotsdiscretiondotcom

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