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Bringing Food Into The US For Your Pet? Be Careful!

May 06, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 158

A few weeks ago, I received an interesting question from a reader of my blog about traveling with pets to Mexico and the United States. She asked:

Does your website address the restrictions on bringing dog food into the USA from Mexico? We have six dogs and are full-time residents of Ajijic. We travel to Oregon every year at this time (for 17 years) with several dogs and have never had a hassle with dog food until last year. Last year I was told by a friend that had just crossed with a dog that the dog food had to be in the original container or be confiscated. So we tried to cross the border with an open bag of Costco dog kibble. They said the container must be unopened. That creates logistic difficulties that I would rather not try to figure out unless necessary. I was hoping perhaps the guy we got was in a bad mood or something. Anyhow, if you know anything about this, I would love to know what you know.I didn't know the answer. Worse, I'm embarrassed to admit that it never even occurred to me to worry about bringing dog food from Mexico into the United States. I know that fruit and vegetables are prohibited, and I know that there's a limit on the tequila that I can bring in duty-free, but what about food for my precious four-legged family members?

Before we take another trip over the border, I thought I'd better do a little research. Apparently, bringing dog food over the border into the United States IS prohibited. The Department of Homeland Security, Customers and Border Protection website contains the following warning:

Meats, Livestock and Poultry

The regulations governing meat and meat products are stringent. You may not import fresh, dried or canned meats or meat products from most foreign countries into the United States. Also, you may not import food products that have been prepared with meat. - Source: U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol Division

Based on that information, any pet food that is made from meat or meat products is not allowed to be brought into the United States. Even if the container is unopened and the food is in its original container, it can be confiscated at the border.

So what is a responsible pet owner supposed to do? Do we bring enough pet food for the road trip, and dispose of any leftovers before we hit border control? Do we hide the pet food and pray we don't get caught? Do we simply pick up whatever kind of pet food we can find along the way and supplement our dog's diet with a few fast-food hamburgers?

None of these sound like perfect solutions to us.But we do want to follow the law.In an effort to avoid an upset tummy for our dog, we will bring a small amount of his regular pet food along for the trip to the border. We'll keep it in the original bag and use it while we are on the road.

Before we go through border control, we'll dispose of the dog food, as is legally required.If the border agents ask us if we have any food or other prohibited items, we can be honest and say no. If we get the dreaded red light at customs and they want to search our vehicle, we have no concerns.We have followed the rules and not brought in any dog food.

It's this kind of research that makes it challenging to find ways of making pet friendly travel in Mexico easier.But now we have been warned in advance that pet food is not allowed into the United States. Accordingly, before we cross the border, we'll research our first stop in America: It's going to be the nearest pet food shop to grab some kibble.

Read more about pet friendly travel including pet friendly hotels, pet travel tips and pet travel accessories at We specialize in traveling with your pet in Mexico and the USA.

Source: EzineArticles
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