• Liz Lopez

Bringing the dog to Barbados

So you’re ready to head to Barbados on the Welcome Stamp but what about the dog? If you’re anything like us, not only did you want to bring your dog, you also didn’t have an alternative place to leave her here.


Here are a few initial considerations before bringing the dog:


1. Must be small dog OR ESA

Unless you have a small dog, you can’t fly just any dog to BIM (that means Barbados, FYI). Your large dog is not allowed in cargo at this time due to frequent flight changes due to COVID. Your Emotional Service Animal is allowed, but that may not be applicable to your situation. American Airlines has a three part form that is required to get your ESA dog on the plane (vet section, therapist section, owner section).

If your dog isn’t good with new surroundings, don’t bother. Bow is very good with people, extremely friendly, but we were still worried about how she would handle flying. Two Benadryl were recommended pre-flight to help calm her nerves and alleviate any motion-sickness from the flight and she did great. She panicked at takeoff both flights, but quietly slept on the floor of her seat the rest of the time. Also, miraculously, she had no accidents. Her pee pads got separated from us during our pre-flight drama but she made it the entire 8 or so hour journey. Yeah Bow!


2. SO. MUCH. PAPERWORK.

Lopez contacted the Ministry of Agriculture early in the process and that was good.

Here are the requirements to get your dog into Barbados:

1) Get a Customs Broker. Mine was Llewellyn Tull and while I’m confident he thinks I’m dumb as rocks, he was very helpful to me and I would surely have messed something up if not for him

2) Dog must be microchipped (prior to Rabies test below)

3) Negative rabies test MORE THAN 35 days before you leave the country

4) Dog must be examined by your vet within 7 days of travel

5) Vet will treat dog for Tapeworms and Ticks (yes that means they will administer your Frontline, Heart Guard, Pet Armor, etc. to the dog during the exam, even if that is before the date you normally give it to your dog on a monthly basis)

6) Vet will log into USDA Portal, fill out a Health Examination Export Certificate, and that needs to be shipped immediately to your nearest USDA vet (in my case, this was Madison, WI)

i) We sent an email to our vet during the appointment with the link above along with a purchased shipping label for them to send to the USDA in Madison.

7) The USDA office will certify and fill out the rest of the Export Certificate and send it back to you – YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IN ORDER TO GET YOUR DOG INTO THE COUNTRY. The certified copy has a stamp from the USDA office, and they will have a certificate number and a stamp of approval on the bottom along with their accreditations.

8) Paperwork to attach with certified Health Certificate: Certificate of Rabies test (negative results, obviously); Microchip paperwork; Copy of Negative PCR COVID tests for all travelers

I heard from Llewellyn on WEDNESDAY MORNING that somewhere in the process, my certificate was filled in but not stamped and therefore invalid. I spent Wednesday afternoon, 16 hours from my scheduled flight time, sitting in the parking lot dealing with this at the USDA Office in Madison instead of packing for our trip.

Don’t be like me; make sure the paperwork is done correctly, and proactively contact the USDA office. Make sure your vet knows what to send, that it was received, and that the above protocol was followed.

3. Landing with Bow

Llewellyn told me that a flight attendant would escort Bow off the plane. We needed to give said flight attendant the paperwork (original docs, obviously), a bag of Bow’s food, a crate for Bow to be transported in (non-negotiable), and the dog on a leash, of course.

As with every other part of our trip, what Barbados said vs what the Airline said was of course not aligned. The flight attendant sent me off the plane with Bow and my paperwork, no crate and no dog food (forgot that), and several people were waiting for her when I got off the plane. They were all very helpful and let me walk Bow to a grassy area so she could sniff and still not relieve herself. Sean, my transport guy, was not there, and I had no service to call him so I gave his number to one of the AA workers and she called him directly from her phone. He was on his way with the crate and after waiting about 20 minutes, watching Bow drip puddles of drool from her mouth as she adjusted to the Bajan humidity, he arrived and was extremely nice to Bow.

As Llewellyn assured me, Sean would bring Bow to the Vet’s office at the Airport where they would review the paperwork I sent with Sean and examine Bow as needed. Once she got the all clear, Sean took her to Paws R Us, where she’s been happily playing with new doggy friends and dunking her body into the kiddie pools they’re provided during doggy playtime.

Paws R Us, simply put, was amazing. They were recommended to me by our condo manager (in quarantine) and they have not disappointed. Margaret has sent me multiple pics, videos and has been in communication with me throughout. She knew the boarding reservation was open-ended until our quarantine was over and went above and beyond to make sure I knew what was happening and that she was taking care of our family dog. 10/10 recommend Paws R Us.

For those of you interested in quarantining with your dog, of course, I can’t help there. We booked our quarantine reservations early in the process and our condos don't allow dogs. At the time, our options were where we’d booked or the Crane, which at the time would cost roughly $3k for 6 people and we were not going to pay that. So bye-bye Bow and hello dog-less quarantine for us.