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Old 28-09-2009, 21:59   #16
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- - I know a lot of cruisers in the Eastern Caribbean who have dogs on board and although there are hassles in some places - like St Lucia and Bequia - all the other islands did not present any serious problems. Some will simply say, don't bring the dog ashore. If I didn't already have an old cat, I would seriously think about a dog for the Caribbean.
- - Having all the health records is very important and IMHO get the animal an AVID RFID chip installed and registered. Keeping up with the shots and certifications is the hardest part of having a pet onboard. But you end up with a healthier animal.
- - Training them to use on-deck astro-turf or whatever is the best answer to problems because you do not need to take the animal ashore except for play-time in animal friendly islands.
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Old 29-09-2009, 05:10   #17
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Funny I was just reading about that.. Seems the rule of thumb is leave the dog Onboard. Untill your moored and slip em ashore for a qiuck run on the sly. Be responcible though make sure your dog has had all it's shots . There has been alot of work done ridding Islands of Rabies and other related disease. Watch out for tick fever if you do get your dog ashore. Our dogs are riddled with it in Barbados. Huge problem.
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Old 29-09-2009, 06:47   #18
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- - To add to IrieSailor - keeping any boat animal (not your husband) healthy means protecting them from exposure to exotic pests and hazards. (For your husband that may mean French mono-bikini'd young girls and/or too much rum). But for 4-legged animals when they are from one part of the world, they will have developed over generations resistance to their home area pests and hazards. Transplant the animal to a new location and it probably will not have any natural resistance to the new local pests and hazards, especially insects and possibly plant life.
- - I would normally expect dogs on board a boat to be there for their "protective/guard duty" attributes. For which they are a very valuable addition to the crew. Taking them off the vessel leaves the boat unguarded and unprotected.
- - If the primary reason for the animal is getting that "protection" I might suggest getting a young puppy and keeping them on board all the time. They adapt to the motion and to doing their business on deck much better than older animal. What's that expression - "you can't teach an old dog new tricks . . ." (which may also apply to the husband).
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Old 29-09-2009, 22:41   #19
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Mustang sally,

Is that an official international health certificate (complete with seal and issued in triplicate) required or just a regular vet health certificate? Did you have any trouble getting them?
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Old 30-09-2009, 05:40   #20
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Interesting thread. We plan to do some cruising over the next few years, and take our JRT with us.

When we moved from the US to the TCI ( British islands) we brought him with us, and it was no hassle at all. Up to date shot record and a letter from the vet stating that he was in good health etc. No cost to bring him in. And no hassle or delay. At all. He was basically like another piece of checked baggage with a couple extra pieces of paperwork.

Now, that was moving here. I can see that it might be different on a boat that may have called in several other places along the way where an animal could pick up canine leprosy or CharlieMansonItis....
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Old 30-09-2009, 08:14   #21
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- - As all have basically mentioned, it is a minor nuisance with various island officials to have a dog/cat on board. I have first hand knowledge that St Lucia and Bequia do not allow dogs/cats to go ashore. As to all the rest of the islands I have not heard of anybody not being able to legally bring the dog ashore from a cruising boat. Those two islands specifically forbid it, but there are hundreds of stray dogs running all over those two islands. I would be more scared of my dog getting attacked by some of those strays and catching a disease rather than the other way around.
- - There is a distinction to be made between "importing" an animal which means you are going to live on land there versus "transiting" the island with the animal staying onboard the boat. Unfortunately most officials and their regulations only address the "importation" of animals and naturally they want only healthy ones to immigrate.
- - Health records are definitely important to have only in that not having them with you would be very inconvenient if an official asked to see them. In the 5 years I have had my cats onboard, only one official wanted to see vaccination records and only for rabies. I have all my vet bills and shot records plus a Florida Dept Agriculture animal shots Form plus a Puerto Rico version of the same thing. Each Vet can make out their State/Island form for you if requested. By the way, the one place was the Dominican Republic and they could not read the English writing so I pointed to the word Rabies and the shot date plus duration (usually 3 years) of effectiveness. Shuffling all the animal papers and pointing out things (relevant or not) impressed them that I had sufficient "paperwork" and thus everything must be okay. Bureaucrats/officials love tons of paper and especially if there are stamps on them regardless of if they are relevant. So get the Vet to slap some stamps here and there on the papers if possible.
- - When you carry the entire medical history and receipts for Vet care with you, the officials rarely ever ask for anything (only once in 5 years). If you do not have the "pile of papers" then - by the laws of perversity - they will probably ask for them.
- - International Animal Certificates (I had one) were never asked for and the one set of officials only wanted to see the Vet's stuff about Rabies.
- - However, be warned, if you are planning to transit the Bahamas you need to apply for and receive their permit form before arrival. Google Bahamas Animal Permits and you can download all the forms and list of required shots for your animal. There used to be a US$10/animal fee (which I think was what they were primarily interested in obtaining). It might be more these days. But it takes 2-3 months to get the permit back, so you have to start early. The form for the "48-hour from arrival Vet health certificate" applies to having to take the animal to a Bahamas Vet after arrival - if - your are permanently importing (living on land) with the animal. I had my local Florida Vet fill out the Bahamas Form and leave the date blank then filled in the date we actually started the crossing of the Gulfstream. Nobody wanted to see that form, only the permit with the receipt of payment.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:52   #22
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i'm just getting my dog compliant now to fly down to grenada in the next month or so..
i recommend home again microchip vs avid as it has a special non migratory design (in the body) and also offers an online service that can be updated at any time very easily..fantastic resource if your dog goes missing.
it might actually be possible to register with homeagain.com even if your microchip is not one of theirs..
you should get the ISO compliant chip (international) which responds to a different frequency than the U.S. chip. you can implant a second chip if you already have the U.S. chip. chipping is not a requirement, just a safety feature.
one thing not mentioned here is i believe there might be some added complications if the dog is not yet one year old.
the health certificate referred to (for non-brit countries) is just from your vet, the agriculture dept seal is not necessary.
i have always had at least one dog aboard. its best to train your dog to potty on an astroturf rug that can be easily rinsed in seawater and relocated from the deck to cockpit when at sea. no dog should have to 'hold it'; the ramifications are quite serious healthwise and mentally, a dog will experience severe anxiety if confused with potty taboos.
it is a simple process to train.
please, don't let your dogs on deck at sea; they should stay in the cockpit. i have many friends who have lost their dogs at sea.
i have never taken my dogs ashore in bequia or the british virgins, but i did receive a 'special dispensation' once from customs to take my dog to the vet for a vacination that came due in st lucia; they were very ameniable.
poison is a very real danger..with roving sheep/cattle, almost every village has a (psychotic) poisoner, whether admitted or hidden.
be very careful not to allow your dog to pick up any food items on the ground. poisoners frequently will 'bait' the dumpster areas with jacks (little fish) laced with rat poison. there was someone 'baiting' the beaches of the bvi also a few years back.
i have personally witnessed dogs die a horrible death, it is a very bad way to go.
the majority of the caribbean people do not understand humans loving dogs as most cultures do..they are disgusted by them sleeping in our beds and shocked if they witness a person kissing their dog.
i NEVER leave my dog unattended on land, someone might have kicked or injured my little chihuahua (now gone to rainbow bridge), there ARE people who get a kick out of abusing animals.
i do recommend the caribbean for dogs; mine have always had a great time and the children LOVE my little dogs.
there are numerous websites with custom reqs..google dogs travel.
there is no entry fee for dogs sailing into port; only nominal import fees ($10 for example in grenada) by air.
you can ask for import forms to be faxed (as in the bahamas), to avoid mail time.
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Old 06-10-2009, 17:13   #23
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Little Boat:

have you made a list of countries (Islands) with current rules, phone number etc...

We are leaving soon to tour the Caribbean, and I am nervous about that issue with our dog (4 yrs Vizsla).

Or maybe somebody else as such a list?
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Old 06-10-2009, 19:19   #24
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Try Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors or individual government web sites for regulations; but definitely train your dogs to do their duty on the boat because there ARE islands where they are absolutely not allowed off the boat for any reason.

Mine only "go" on the foredeck, they adamantly refuse to go in the cockpit; however they are always wearing their lifejackets and harnesses when above deck and they are clipped in to the jacklines just like the rest of us if we are underway.

I never used to enforce the lifejacket rule, but now we have two children and so the only way we can teach them so they obey is by example; as a result no one, be it child, adult or dog, is allowed above decks without their lifejacket, and harnesses and tethers if underway.
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Old 08-10-2009, 17:27   #25
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I am currently working my list from Noonsite, good resource. But one must recheck all the information on country individual web sites.

I have a new question: some country requires a visit to the vet before arrival. Exemples: 48 hours for the Bahamas and 2 weeks for US Virgin. How did you solve that problem??? By visiting more vets then anchorages !!!
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:20   #26
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Rastarea - see post #21 for the Bahamas. USVirgin Islands is the USA and unless you are planning to live on shore there that 2 week thing is not applicable. Anyway, if you are coming down the Thornly Path you would be checking in at Puerto Rico and then there is no check-in at USVI as you are still inside the USA. USA citizens do not check-out of Puerto Rico or USVI and the BVI's and ST Marten know this so do not ask for "check-out papers".
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