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Old 01-07-2015, 17:59   #1
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Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Has anyone had experience with not declaring their dog in the Eastern Caribbean? Was this ever discovered? What happened?

Those who did go through the proper check in procedure for the dog, have you ever been asked for the papers after the initial check in?

Just hypothetical questions...
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Old 01-07-2015, 18:41   #2
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Got asked on numerous occasions for dogs paper work in St Lucia when just walking the dog. St Vincent is a PITA to land dog ashore and costs loads; they make money on it and, therefore, will check. You are told to keep the paperwork on your person every time you walk the dog on land.
Martinique was no problem, but our dog had an EU pet passport.

Vet care was awful, even at the American University Veterinary Hospital in Grenada. Our dog became so ill that, in the end, we flew him home. It was devastating as he had previously been such a healthy dog (7 year old, Lab). The diseases from the ticks, fleas, biting insects and strays are rampant. Even using tick / flea med routinely isn't sufficient to stop them biting. The vets told us that all the dogs on Grenada end up with tick fever (Ehrlichia).

The most helpful information is within the articles linked below, although it is a little out of date:
Sea Turtles and Their EggsCruising the Eastern Caribbean

Sea Turtles and Their EggsCruising the Eastern Caribbean
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Old 01-07-2015, 19:57   #3
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Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Yes those links are pretty accurate. The biggest problem is communication prior to arrival. Many countries don't answer phones or emails, but it's the Caribbean so hey, why would they?
This year we have checked our dog into the following countries without any problems. All were free, except antigua which has a USD$50 fee on arrival and another $50 fee on departure for the vet to check the dog. The vet was too busy to check him on arrival, but not too busy to take the $50. We exited without checking him out.

Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, antigua, st maartin, bvi's, st lucia, st vincent and the grenadines.
All vets were friendly and helpful.
You do need current vaccination details, proof of a flea and tick program, a microchip and a rabies test less than 3 yrs old.
Many of the local dogs are pretty mangy in places so we don't let Balrog socialise much. He tends to eat them anyway if given the chance...
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As far as sneaking dogs ashore without being checked in, it's a risk of having him destroyed on the spot ( we have heard of it happening ). You don't have to check them in usually if you don't want to land them though.

One more thing...most of the official forms and information are difficult to understand and most are written for permanent animal imports. Some sound like your dog will need to be quarantined for 6 months. We have found that just the information listed above is adequate and they get an instant pass.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:29   #4
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

I've read about different requirements for each country. We are setting off in 2 weeks for a long 2 year cruise of the Caribbean. Our vet in Austin freaked out about it so we decided to wait until we were in Florida and had some time. We figured the vets there would have better information. I'ver read about getting a USDA test or certification of the dog's blood being free of rabies, etc.

My Dog is a large German Shepherd, probably about the same size as the one above. She is my service dog and I take her everywhere.

Shots and normal paperwork seems easy enough. Are there any difficult or more tiedeous checks required? Thanks.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:42   #5
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tominny View Post
Has anyone had experience with not declaring their dog in the Eastern Caribbean? Was this ever discovered? What happened?
Personally? No. A good friend, though, made the mistake of not declaring their dog in... I think it was St. Lucia. Got caught. Dog was taken and destroyed. The family was devastated. I was sympathetic, but really, they brought it on themselves. Too much hassle and too expensive to get all the right shots, pay all the required fees, and fill out all the forms. So why not just sneak the dog in?

Well, they paid the price. Or, more accurately, their loving family pet paid the price. That basically ruined what had been, up to then, a wonderful cruise. They turned around, went home, and I don't think they have traveled outside the United States in the 8-10 years since.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:50   #6
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Travel with Pets in the Bahamas and the Caribbean ➥ Travel with Pets in the Bahamas and the Caribbean - ALL AT SEA
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:38   #7
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

One other requirement is a vet check from the previous country. This is a simple form which is usually free stating the dog is in good health. Sometimes they ask for it, sometimes not. Usually a vet check within the last couple of months suffices, rather than every country.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:17   #8
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert.hamic View Post
-----
My Dog is a large German Shepherd, probably about the same size as the one above. She is my service dog and I take her everywhere.
-----
I don't know this for a fact, but it wouldn't surprise me to find out that officials in some countries have never heard of a "service dog".
Be cautious.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:51   #9
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

The Lahowind blog just completed a cruise with their dog and have a great post on what is required, how to get it and what to expect..
It's in the archives section and I think you can search by oliver...

Good luck
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:26   #10
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

You REALLY need to read up on this if you even thought of asking forgiveness option. There is LOTS of Poop to do including getting the correct chip, and a federal import permit in USA. Every country is different and last I knew St Lucia was rabies free and there was NO WAY you could get a dog ashore and if found they at least threaten to shoot the dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had dog on a Bahamas trip and it was easy but the customs guy did ask for my Vet letter right up front. Russ
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:40   #11
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

Nor us....what is a service dog? A guide dog?
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:43   #12
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

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Nor us....what is a service dog? A guide dog?

Police dog or army dog
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:46   #13
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

One note on the German shepards. Ours swims a lot every day and drying at night can be a problem with long hair. His skin started to get a bit sensitive to the damp salt water. He we also pretty hot in the sun so we shaved him. He's a lot happier now. Friends are sailing with their German Shepard as well and he isn't shaved and is happy enough, but he doesn't swim every day.
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Old 02-07-2015, 09:51   #14
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

We haven't had dogs since we were kids, but this sound like a really stupid hypothetical question.

Ask yourself this: Would YOU (human) go without the proper paperwork? Or would YOU go with your significant other but she didn't have the right paperwork?

Sheez...

How much do you like your dog?
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Old 02-07-2015, 10:03   #15
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Re: Caribbean with dog - ask forgiveness later?

We have been cruising 6 months of the year throughout the Caribbean for the last 6 years with our dog. Do not attempt to bring the dog ashore without declaring it and having the proper paperwork. Most French islands do not ask at clearance in, however, the next island if not French will likely have a requirement for the advance filing for an import permit. Many will require a rabies titer test, which take several months to obtain results form the one lab at Kansas State University who does this in the US. Make sure you have this before you go. Find a local vet who has experience in doing the required paperwork. They will be a big help.

It is critical to do your homework of each islands requirements you plan to visit. Most former British islands will require an official State issued US Gov't Health Certificate signed by a state official vet, current rabies, rabies titer test results, an international chip in the pet, tick and lyme disease treatment and advance submission and request for "Import Permit" . Once this permit is issued, the permit will tell you what you need to do to bring the dog in. They will require you to notify them 72 hours before arrival so the islands official vet can inspect the dog. They will scan for the proper chip to make sure the correct dog is being imported and review the paperwork and charge you fees for their services.

St Vincent and the Grenadine's are the toughest islands to visit as they do not really want dogs ashore, period. We stay away from SVG for this reason.

Once you get familiar with the requirements and follow the procedure's, you can enjoy your pet ashore as you are used to at home. Carry your pet clearance with you when your dog is ashore. Get a EU pet passport when in the Islands (any vet will sell you one - we got ours in St Maarteen) as this is a convenient way to keep track of the dog's vet treatments, health certificates, and official inspections.

This is not hard, just be informed and do the right thing and you will be fine. Most islands accept email submission, so we just send an email in advance with copies of all the documents as attachments. Then send an email 72 hours before expected arrival, and call on our cell when we arrive to have the local official vet meet us at immigration when we check in. Do not bring the dog ashore until instructed to do so by the local vet dept.

Good sources of info are Noonsite.com, the SSCA who has a webinar on this from Dr. Dave, a cruising veterinarian, and the local islands veterinary dept themselves. When you first contact them, they have checklists or applications for import permits that will generally tell you what you have to do to be compliant.

Glenn Gustafson
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