Bringing your Pets to Panama from the USA or Canada

So, you have decided to make the move to panama, and now you are in the planning stages. What to do with the house, furnishings, mail forwarding, the car, and of course, the most important one, your baby (dog or cat). Pets are like family and of course you want to take them with you. Bringing a pet to Panama is actually quite simple, but it is not easy. There are many steps that you will have to follow, or you could run into problems, that you do not want to face, upon arrival with your pet in Panama.


I would highly suggest as the governments and Airlines change policies often, for you co contact the airline and each agency mentioned below, to confirm there have been no changes to the process. If you have come on one of our Retire in Panama Tours, we will always keep you updated on the changes, and we even provide some red-carpet services, for a small fee to handle the process here in Panama for you. Remember, when you arrive here, everything will be handled in the Spanish language.


Now remember, in the steps below, timing is very critical, if you do something with the wrong time frame, like vet check up at home at the wrong time, shots at the wrong time, or even arriving at the Panama City airport at the wrong time, your pet could be taken and put into Panama quarantine, and you will not see it for a several weeks, or they could be shipped back on the next flight.


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  • Thank you ladies for this information, I have updated the post.

  • The COPA page relates only to pets in the cabin. There is a cite at the bottom that takes you to the pets in cargo site. One thing they fail to mention is that you have to provide a photo of your pet both in the crate and standing beside it to illustrate that the kennel is large enough. This is harder than you think. Getting the pet to stand still for the photo is one thing, but the perspective is off because the pet is in front, making the kennel appear smaller than it is. I'm on my second round of trying to prove that the kennels for my dog and cat are plenty big. Some people have reported having to go to larger kennels--kennels that are too large, in fact--just to meet this photo requirement.

  • United now requires you to use professional pet transport services when you fly internationally, which can cost hundreds of dollars more than doing it yourself.  Best to use another airline.

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