Pet Care

What issues face a pet owner when "Fluffy" moves to the tropics?

This is a new Nica Living book page. Now what we need are comments from all the pet owners about the challenges of having pets here. (Then I can make it pretty.)

For instance, common illnesses & treatments, availability of pet foods, vets, cultural attitudes towards pets, pet laws, transporting pets to Nicaragua, differences between owning them here and back hone, vaccinations, etc.

There is also a Nica Pets gallery in our Photos under Animals in Nica. Feel free to add photos.

Nica Pets Picture Gallery

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I have two young kittens which are in need of a good home. One is black and white, and the other is gray with black stripes. Both are about 6 weeks old, and quite docile. If anyone is interested, please send me a PM or call my cell: 8988 2012. I am located in Nindiri. Thanks

Pit Bulls and other "special/profiled" breeds.

Hi all. Recently relocated to Nicaragua from California (Dec. 2012), with all our earthly possessions, including two beautiful, friendly Pit-bull dogs. The United/Continental merger was not yet complete when it came to "cargo", including pets, so we had to jump through a few hoops to get them here with us safely. All worked out beautifully, but not before custom building crates for them, as the crates sold almost anywhere else....will not be acceptable if your vet papers deem your dogs pit bulls, or one of the other 15 (or so) risky breeds. Check the Continental/United specs.

Once I learned the crate requirements, I could not find one to "spec" for sale anywhere, so hired a Northern CA-based carpenter to use the schematics to build two crates or wood, versus buying metal crates from the East Coast, that weighed a ton!!!!!!

That being said, if you are in CA and need to ship one of the risky breeds to Nicaragua or other similarly strict airline/country, please reach out. I m happy to put you in contact with the guy who built our crates. Much less $$ then any other options (if you can find any). I have pics of his work, and we got our babies here without incident after having them in their "proper" containers.

Now off to figure out the rest of adjusting to this crazy new country. :).

Not sure I understand the

Not sure I understand the crating issue, seems to be more of a breed issue???? I know the dogs have to have a certain about room to move

Step by Step Instruction on how to bring your animals to Nica!

Howdy all, just thought I would post my experience with bringing our 2 cats and 1 dog from Washington DC to Managua. And yes my experience is more by the book,I have read where some people just show up in Managua and hand over a few extra $$$$ and off they go,lol

Booking them on the flight:

We flew on Continental, which is merging with United. For dogs, they use a company called PetSafe. It’s a separate # (800.575.3335 or 832.235.1541) then one uses to book their own flight. I found Petsafe to be very easy to deal with! I HIGHLY recommend one books early AND checks back from time to time with your confirmation # to ensure all is ok. WHY? On my flights from DC to Houston and from Houston to Managua, they ONLY allow 4 dogs on the plane AND I was told only 2 can book in advance, the other two can only book a few days out, why, no clue, just what I was told. As well, ensure you check on your reservation! I called back and they had NO record of my booking, even though I had a Reservation #! So had to do it all over again! I called back later on, yes they had my booking #, BUT it contained no Info! Just my dogs name! So once again, have to redo it! Little frustrating, knowing they only take 4 dogs on the flight! The Petsafe Reps were very friendly. (They blamed the lost reservations on the Continental/United Merger—changing computer systems!!!)

Our dog was the last to be put on the plane (which is good) and The first thing off the plane—we saw the Petsafe van right by the plane minutes after we landed!! While In Houston, they took our dog to a kennel, so she could get out of her airline approved crate!!

The Cats were booked when we made our reservation, so no extra # to call for them! Again they only allow so many cats on a plane! Only 1 cat can go 1st class if you choose to go that route. Again, check now and then to ensure they are on the reservation.

Getting ready for the Trip Ensure you have the correct cage for the dog and carrier for the cats!! I made a trial run with the dog crates and cat carriers. I brought my dog as well to ensure it was the right size. I met a couple their who last yr showed up at Houston, flying to DC who had the wrong cage!! Airline said NOPE!! Luckily Houston occasionally sells cages!! I was told to go down to the baggage claim desk tfor my trial run!

Buy one of those water dishes that attaches to the dog cage! A few days out, fill with water and freeze it!! They said they would put new ice in the dish in Houston—they must have as the crate was pretty wet!!

As well buy one of those soft cushions for the crate! Makes it comfortable for the dog!, plus soaks up water!! No toys were allowed in the crate!

If ur dog hates crates, ensure you start crate training WELL in advance! It takes awhile. Just google crate training methods.

Animals can NOT be drugged!! If they think they have been drugged, they wont allow the animals to fly!! Some use beneydryl, but its not a time to experiment if you have never used Beneydryl to calm ur dog!!

Can’t recall what the fee was, think it was around $200 for our dog—goes by crate size!

Keep in mind some breeds are not allowed in Nica!

VET Stuff

The real hassle of bringing in animals!!! The only vaccination the animals required is rabies and has to be no older than 6 months or 1 yr and cant be given within 30 days of traveling!

The Airlines require a Physical be completed within 10 DAYS of flying!! So UPS overnight is your friend, an expensive 1 at that! Why?

So ur animals have to have a Physical, and that physical goes on a Form 7001. My vet gave me 5 copies, 2 copies would suffice! Our 2 Cats went on 1 form, and the dog on another. Along with Form 7001, Nica requires that these 3 certification statements be answered: All the vet has to do is cut and paste, fill in the blanks and put it on their Office letterhead! As well they require a rabies cert.

So now with the above I had to UPS it to the head vet for Virginia, which is Rishmond. You can find ur Head vet at:

I think the fee is $37 per form, so $74. I overnighted it to them and one has to include return Postage as well, so I had them send it back overnight UPS! Rememeber, this ahs to be done within 10 days of flying!

Think you’re done? NO!! By the book, the Nicaragua Consulate/Embassy needs their stamp on it! I was in DC, so I metro’d down to the Nica Embassy! I think it was $30 per form PLUS since I wanted it back then, they charged me another $10 per form extra! So $80 ttl! So if one isn’t close to a Consulate/Embassy, you would have to mail it in! Again this is by the book method, I have read others just showing up and paying a few $$$ to the guy at the airport! I wanted no hassles, lol Nica and no hassles, that’s funny!

So paperwork was complete!!

Flying Day!!

Ensure you know where you’re dropping off the dog! For DCA weekday drop off, is different from the weekend!

When I dropped off the dog, they had a huge check off list to go through! And yes they looked for Form 7001, rabies cert. And she even looked for the Nica Embassy stamp! You can bring food for the dog, a leash, they tape it in a bag to the top of the crate!

1 last thing I did was took her out for 1 last bathroom break!

The next time we saw our dog was in Managua! They brought the cage out by the Customs guy, then they took her to the front!! Which we were not to happy about as she was left alone, so my wife went and got her!! The Nica agents went and got the Agriculture guy who slowly went someplace and came back with our stamped forms!

Was funny, no 1 asked about our cats at the airport, almost seems we could have not paid the extra fee and just brought them! Their soft-sided crates easily fit underneath the seat!

With Continental, the dogs go in a special hold within the plane that is pressure and temperature controlled! Not all airlines have that feature! So if its too hot, ur dog does not fly! With Continental, thanks to that holding area, it can be 99F in Nica and your fine!!

When we were in Houston, we called Petsafe up to ask the condition of our dog! Rep put us on hold and contacted the Houston kennel and said all was well!

Cat crates can only be so big!! So ensure your is acceptable

So that was my experience with bringing our animals down! Every one made it down in 1 piece and in good shape.

Our cats are strictly indoor cats!! When I walk my dog I have one of those extending security batons, as there are stray dogs EVERYWHERE!! Most leave you alone, but a few are aggressive! Hoping to never have to use the baton as I feel bad enough for these starving dogs, it is quite sad. 1 does not see too many cats around here! We have been here since August, and I think I have seen 6 cats!

Vets in Nica: We have used!servicios Our dog had some kind of cyst on her hind leg! So they cut it off! Of course used local anesthesia, stitched it up, gave her antibiotics and pain meds! Ttl bill was $62!! Super cheap, but more importantly I think they did a very nice job. With all the debris and dirty streets, ur almost better buying some kind of dog booty! We just ordered some off of amazon! The vets at above mentioned clinic on Masaya Highway Speak English! Rest of the staff only speaks Spanish. Friend had her dog Neutered there and all went well!

If you can bring extra food and supplies with you, such as flea/tick treatment. You can find it at pet stores though! One can find dog food, but not sure on quality, 1 does see Purina dog food and dog food made by Bayer. I would make urself some kind of animal first aid kit as well.

Links: (scroll down to LIST OF COUNTRIES and find whatever your country ur going to for a list of regulations)


Above is by the book. Not a huge problem if you know what your doing! In the return package the Head vet sent back, stated that the Nica Embassy Stamp was NOT required! Of course when u call the Nica Embassy/consulate they say it is!

We liked Petsafe, except for the few Reservation hassles; all went well on the day of travel. We felt they took good care of our dog. Cats meowed a bit on the flight, but the airplane noise, easily drowned out their meowing! As well we asked the stewards to let us know when our dog was on the flight! On each leg the Captain came over the loudspeaker and said our dog was safely onboard!

1. Make reservations well in advance and check back from time to time, they recommend u call back the day before as well 2. Ensure you have their rabies shot within 6 months (or it may be a yr) and not within 30 days of flying 3. Have vet fill out Aphis form 7001 (ours did it on computer) have at least 2 copies! 1 goes with the dog and u keep an extra copy) Those 3 certification statements on vet office letterhead and rabies certificate! 4. All goes to ur head State vet. Ours sent it back to us on the same day they received it! I sent it out Wed, they received Thursday and I had it back on Friday 5. Then to Nica Embassy/Consulate for their stamp 6. Correct size dog cage and cat cages. I put down our traveling info/phone numbers on dog crate 7. Ice for dog crate. I bought two! 8. Left dog leash with crate, luckily it was still their in Managua,lol

So that was our fun in flying from DC to Managua! And yes I state again, that is by the book! And I know others have not done all the above!! But as I mentioned above, the gal at DCA had a checklist and looked for all of it!! Rather spend a few extra $$$ and have some peace of mind. Best of luck!

Hi there! I know I'm on here

Hi there! I know I'm on here a little late, but I'm looking to set a kennel for travel purposes myself. I'm actually going to be in the country for a year, so I want something durable for transport and long term use. However, I have one question -- is $300 really the average price for a large kennel? That seems a little steep to me. Thanks, everyone. Any suggestions would be super helpful! =)

Dog Kennel

for airline travel needed!! We are taking our 1 yr old German Shep from Nica to the U.S. Anyone know where I can find an appropriate kennel for a "large" dog (approx 1 meter long and 62cm tall)? Our local "vet" claims he can get one for $300. there must be a cheaper option,,,, right? any info is hugely appreciated. muchas gracias!! Liz

Not an unreasonable

price. They are expensive. Not sure that $300 isn't a bit steep, but not too far off. ZZT

Questions about stray dogs

Hello hello! My girlfriend and I have been planning a trip to Nicaragua for the last few months and have been running into some contradictory information regarding the issue of traveling with our dog. We plan to be in Nicaragua for approximately six months and to spend time in Granada and San Juan and Ometepe. We've read and heard stories of how the trip can go very smoothly, and how it can be very problematic. Hank, our male hound/shepard mix is a well traveled dog. Having traveled back and forth from Europe to the States with him I am comfortable with his ability to deal with this part of the experience. We are however curious whether anyone has had experience with the following in reference to the situation in Granada, San Juan, Ometepe and Nicaragua in general. We've read that there are many street dogs around. Are they looking to fight with a dog on a leash or do they mind their own business? Are stray dogs likely to want to fight on the street without provocation? Is it safe to leave a dog tied to a runner outside the house? Will bus drivers, ferry operators, or other public transportation modes allow a dog on board? Some sites we've seen suggest that it is illegal to take a dog on beaches. Is this true in and around San Juan? Are there pet sitting services available in Granada, Ometepe or San Juan?

Thanks in advance tor any information you might have. We're looking forward to exploring Nicaragua and want to be sure that we take everything into consideration.

Urban street dogs here

have generally been socialized (i.e., stoned). Rural dogs can be more aggressive. Have your dog well teated for ticks, fleas, and mosquitos, as well as all shots up to date.

Very few dogs here are ever on a least, so one that is will attract attention .In event of a dog fight, drop your least and stayout of the middle of it. Dogs that are pure bred or look pure bred to somebody who is completely ignorant are high-theft items.

People in general are very tolerant--but not necessarily 'nice--' to dogs.

"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog" --Edward Hoagland


Two local vets...both seemingly decently competent, have told me heartworms not a problem in NICA. Is that so?ZZT

Great Experience with Dog in Nicaragua

Hi there, My husband and I moved to Nicaragua 2.5 years ago and brought our ten-year old dog with us. I was terrified of what the travel might do to him, but he managed incredibly well and lived out his last 2 years in retirement, on the beach. Coming from a cold climate, we immediately noticed an improvement in his overall health upon arrival here. His arthritic joints loosened and he began running on the beach after years of little activity.

Though we did have some struggles, mainly combatting ticks, our dog lived a very happy and healty life here with us in Nicaragua. Moving him with us was the best decision we made, both for him and for us.

You do have to be careful with erlichea, a tick borne disease. There are also some diseases common in puppies for which you should have your pet vaccinated. We were able to find Purina dog food at both La Colonia and PriceSmart in Managua. Although, it was difficult to find milkbones. We were also able to purchase Frontline, as well as HeartGuard.

We also used a fantastic vet in Managua at Veterinarios Asociados, on the Carretera Masaya. He was thorough, compassionate, and also bilingual. I would recommend him to anyone. Prices were certainly lower than anything we ever paid in the States. World Vets also makes visits to areas throughout Nicaragua (San Juan del Sur, Granada, etc), so if you have any reason to mistrust your regular vet, you can always get a second opinion with the visiting vets. Although, I must say that the World Vets almost always supported the recommendations from our vet.

Here is alink to a blog I wrote about traveling with our dog to Nicaragua:

and here is a link to a post I wrote about saying goodbye:

Hope this is helpful to you.


Vet in Leon

Do NOT take your pet to the vet by the Pali in Leon for an operation. Though he claims he knows what he's doing, he does not. Our little puppy lost her life because of a botched spay. The name is Veterinaria Ragu(z)(s). He never checked in with us about the puppy, and he definitely would have known that he screwed things up given her condition and quick demise and our phone calls of concern over the two days she lived after the operation.

I can't vouch for his other care, but I suppose we should have known better when we walked in and he seemed to be a primarily large animal vet. We had his word that he was knowledgeable, as well as the word of someone we trusted (who we later found out was the Vet's uncle).

A GREAT vet, to whom we should have been patient and gone to for the operation (our friends have had many successful surgeries with him) is Dr. Dagoberto Perez, who can be reached at 8802-0113. He comes to your home for treatments, and follows up like a true caring vet should do.

Above all, be careful with who you trust your animals to. You can and will find very good people who will treat your pets well, but for the most part they're third class citizens here. Keep them vaccinated (rabies especially) keep them out of the ocean if they're expats too (ours gets gnarly skin fungus if we don't), and keep them close.

True Of Any

professional in Nicaragua (or indeed, any 3rd world country), not just the vet in Leon We had the same experience in Mexico, lost a cat sadly and needlessly. The irony was, we paid more in Mexico than we would have paid in the US, I just wanted to avoid what we thought might be a hassle bringing the cat back and forth. I don't think my wife has forgiven me yet for my poor judgment.

Interestingly, while this simple procedure is done constantly in the US and the vets can probably do it in their sleep, who in Nicaragua (other than a Gringo) would pay good money to get their pet neutered ?? This might have been the first procedure of this kind that the Leon vet did . . . .

More importantly, this post hammers home the point that without the standards of professional competence found in the 1st world you are at significant risk. You lost your cat, but it could have just as easily have been your life. Mike's advice : "Trust No One" might sound extreme, but is probably good.

This is not to say that competent professionals do not exist in Nicaragua and CA. Some of the best doctors I have seen were in Costa Rica. If I got seriously sick Costa Rica would be the first place I'd go, the Cima hospital in San Jose.

I'm sure there are also excellent Nicaraguan doctors. Same is true for lawyers, RE agents -and probably everyone else with whom you have a business or professional relationship.

Granada pet care

Casa Lupita, a creation of Building New Hope, generally does surgery on Fridays twice a month; and clinic consults for everything else, including vaccinations, on the previous Thursday, also twice a month. On both days they start accepting animals at about 8:30am, sometimes earlier. For sterilizations, you need to deprive the animal of food after midnight the night before surgery. (So they don't vomit and aspirate the vomitus while unconscious because of the anethesia.)

It is located at the end of Calle Libertad, going toward the lake. Green house with animals painted all over it.

Our usual vet is a recently graduated Nica, Jasson, who has been trained in US style micro-surgery for sterilizing pets. Kittens need to be at least one pound and/or 8 weeks old. Jasson was trained by Dr Tom Parker who comes down frequently as a volunteer and brings many of his own supplies for the clinic. We also have regular visits from World Vets and International Vets. Jasson is an animal lover and is good with very small animals.He occasionally does "private clinics" for those of us who foster abandoned kittens and puppies. We are always looking for permanent homes for them and the clinic always needs donations.

The clinic is supported by donations of money, food and supplies. It is not a kennel and cannot board animals. One problem with Nicas not getting their pets sterilized is that too many of them have lost their animals due to inexpert vets here. Another problem is that the male owners of male animals are so identified with their testicles that they can't bring themselves to deprive the animal of the opportunity to be killed or injured in fights, spread diseases and generally create problems for other pet owners. For this reason, when we receive rescued puppies or kittens, we sterilize them before we adopt them out so they don't go out and re-create the same problems we are trying to combat: starving, disease, abuse and abandonment.

We have also trapped several male roof cats that came into our space and attacked our animals. We took them to the clinic and later set them free, minus the testosterone poisoning problem. They still return to eat, but don't attack any more.

As Bobby's recent experience with the tortured kitten demonstrates, cruelty to animals is commonplace here. My companero saw a woman put three kittens in a bag and throw them into the creek yesterday. We have rescued at least a dozen kittens that have been thrown to the dogs for "sport" and buried the ones so mutilated they couldn't survive.

On the other hand, there are always many more Nicas than gringos at clinics at Casa Lupita, so not all Nicas think the same way.

Medications for parasites can be found at Fletes Vet, although most people do not care for the vet there. Another good source is Pro-Agra. La Colonia sometimes has anti-parasite meds and flea soap for dogs, but stocking is irratic. Medicating for parasites is essential as they can kill a pet and babies are infected from birth.

Pet food can be bought at La Colonia and dog food at Pali, but not cat food. The public market near Pali has sellers with open bags of pet food that you can buy by the pound. One is located in the street that runs along side the indoor market, on the side closest to downtown/Parque Central. You can ask any of the venders near the market and they will direct you. "Donde se venden comida para mascotas?"

Anyone wanting to bring their own pet with them needs to check with the airline they will be using. You need a reservation for the animal, but won't be paying for it until you check in and they can see that you have a health certificate from a vet, in triplicate. The carrier has to be appropriate, information available on the airlines' website. Some airlines accept small pets in the cabin, if the carrier will fit under the seat in front of you. For this, softsided carriers work best and counts as your carry-on luggage. Other airlines require the animal go in with the baggage and any animal too big for under the seat will go in baggage. Several years ago, it cost $100 to fly a cat in the cabin. Probably more by now.

A word of advice for dog owners. If your breed originated in a cold climate, ie a husky, this climate is not suitable. Dogs with heavy fur are subject to horrible skin diseases and overheating. Unless you plan to keep it in airconditioning and never take it into the street, of course. Walking your dog can be a trial, due to all the dogs that live in the street. Most people carry a big stick while doing that.

Leaving pet food outside your house at night will attract roof cats and other night creatures that will, at the least, keep you awake at night. Un-sterilized males will attack your animals if you leave them outside at night, and they will spray foul smelling urine.

Pet food anywhere attracts ants by the millions. I spray the underside of the dish with house and garden insecticide a couple of times a week and that usually works. A pet dish full of ants can be set in strong sunlight on tiles and the ants will vacate it. Or you can bag the food and put it in the freezer until the ants are dead. Placing the petfood dish in a pan of water will also work.

If the current schedule holds, the next consult date would be September 2nd and surgery would be September 3rd. But as always in Nicaragua, that's subject to change. Many taxi drivers know about the "clinica para surjuria para animales" even if they don't know "Casa Lupita" in Calle Libertad. The cuidadora and her volunteering son live next door, so there is usally someone to ask about the next clinic.

Once again, there are kittens and puppies waiting to be adopted and there are adult animals as well, all sterilized and all having had their first dose of parasite meds. In fact, the kitten Bobby rescued has grown back some fur over her lacerated neck injury and no longer shrinks from all human contact. She has vision damage, probably from the lack of oxygen to her brain while the rope was around her neck, so she bumps into things, but is learning to navigate by sound and smell and loves to cuddle up and be petted now. She is one of 5 kittens I am fostering right now. I already have 4 permanent cats, so I am looking to place her in a household that will give her the extra attention she needs. Photos available.

pet care

i can't say enough good things about dona tabor's casa lupita-they're really doing a service for the animals of granada-my jack russell terrier, nina, has been here 6 out of her 10 years-emergencies-i take her to casa lupita but i normally take her to the vet(22761783 or cell 88850943) near the plaza guanacaste on the masaya highway-i just had her teeth cleaned where they had to put her under for $30 (this was her 2nd time)-it would have cost me $450 in the states-i take her to animalitas(22762547 or cell89504076) for dog grooming which is in the same area-she got the disease from ticks and i caught it and she was on antibiotics for 3 weeks-i have heard that they build up a resistance to frontline-this happen also to my brother's dog in mexico-whose vet recommended a different repellent-also-keep your pets away from street dogs as they are carriers of many diseases- i have her checked out every time i go back to the states

Importing cats

Does anyone have experience importing cats?

We've been reading through the e-version of the Moon "Living Abroad - Nicaragua" but what they say about pet imports there is a little different than what we've found elsewhere online. We'd read on a few other sites that importing them would be relatively easy, provided we have a vet letter stating their good health and rabies vaccines within one year (and the certificate to prove it):




But the book says differently. There, they say that the Vet letter needs to be first notarized and then authenticated. I wondered if perhaps this was a former import policy (this is the 2006 edition of the book) and that today the laws are a little less stringent. Does anyone know?

If we do have to have the letter notarized and authenticated within a month, we could have trouble. Our Canadian consulate is in Ottawa and we live in Calgary, which would pose time constraint challenges...

Thanks in advance!

We didn't need notarization

or anything official besides the letter from the vet when we brought our kitty down in '08. The airline (we flew Continental) was probably the most concerned about me bringing a pet, and even then the only issue was someone on my flight who was allergic. Paid $5 at MGA because I volunteered the info that there was a cat with me, otherwise I don't think anyone would have even noticed! However, please be aware that in general, cats are not loved down here. My husband's family has no qualms with shooting cats that roam on their property, and we actually lost our Zaya 6 months ago. She wandered, and we never saw her again. so keep an eye on your kitty! saludos, Liz