Flying Your Pet Home from Guatemala

Flying a pet home from Guatemala is relatively easy. Several airlines accept pets as live cargo for an extra fee. Some allow small animals weighing under 14 pounds to fly in cabin. There are temperature restrictions; pets may not fly in cargo if the temperature in the destination airport is above 85 degrees. Since most flights land in either Houston, Dallas, or Miami, this precluded flying during the summer months.

Both Delta and United have a dedicated live animal transport service available year round. We use United Pet Care to ship all our dogs. For Canada and the US, there is no quarantine period. Sending animals to Europe is possible, but requires microchipping and more paperwork, and is a more lengthy process.

If you are here in Guatemala and would like to adopt a dog or cat, or take an animal you have rescued home with you, please contact us and we will be happy to help guide you through the process. What you will need follows:

  1. A health certificate from a licensed veterinarian stating that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies within the last year, and more than 30 days prior to flying. The health certificate must be dated within a month of your flight, and we prefer to do it close to your travel date. It must have a MAGA stamp affixed. The vet should have this stamp, which costs Q50. Prices for the certificate vary with each veterinarian.
  2. The certificate must be sent to the government agency MAGA which issues an official export certificate. There is a fee for this, and more stamps are affixed. We use a “tramitador” to do this step, as it entails waiting in long lines in Guatemala City and two trips. Our tramitador charges Q400 for this service. Count on two working days for your certificate go go in and be returned. United requires this certificate to be dated within ten days of the dog’s flight.
  3. A reservation with United Pet Care here in Guatemala. Animals are checked in with United in the Bonded Custom’s Warehouse (COMBEX) at the back of the airport and do not enter the main terminal. When entering this secured area you will need to present your driver’s license and passport. Documents that you will need to have for United are: a copy of your passport, a copy of the driver’s license of the consignee, and a Power of Attorney authorizing the consignee to pick up your pet. If you are picking up your pet, you can fill this out at the airport. If not, have the consignee fill out and scan the documents.

Cost to fly your pet depends on weight. It generally runs about $450 to $550 to send an animal with United, including brokerage fees and service costs. Add to that the paperwork costs, and the cost of an airline approved kennel.