And Your Little Dog, Too (With Video)

Much as Tom and I enjoy the time we spend on Green Turtle Cay, we suspect our dog, Wrigley, loves it even more.

Though he’s not exactly what you’d call a champion swimmer, Wrigley loves to splash around at the water’s edge, and he’ll gladly swim out to Tom or me for a bit of hot dog before paddling back to the sand. As you can see in the above video, though, his favourite Abaco activity is tearing up and down the beach, grinning ear-to-ear, spraying sand, digging holes and chasing sandpipers and seagulls.

Fortunately for Wrigley, at 14 lbs, he’s small enough to fly with us in-cabin. Fortunately for us, he’s a terrific traveler — far more pleasant and patient during the trip than either Tom or me. In fact, ticket agents, flight attendants and fellow passengers often ask if we’re sure there’s really a dog in his carrier.

Green Turtle Cay is wonderfully dog-friendly. A number of vacation rentals allow pets, and since most restaurants and bars have outdoor patios, Wrigley can go almost everywhere with us.

To bring your dog to the Bahamas, here’s what you need to know:wrigley and me 2

  • You’ll need a pet import permit from the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture. Just complete an application form and mail it, along with a $10 international money order, to the ministry office in Nassau. It takes 4-6 weeks to receive the permit by post, but if time is short, you can have the document faxed to you for an extra $5. For more info, contact the Ministry of Agriculture at (242) 325-7502 or (242) 325-7509.
  • The import permit lists the vaccines your dog will need to enter the Bahamas, and provides a health certificate for your vet to sign. Your dog must have a health exam within 48 hours of departure. (The permit also stipulates that your dog should be checked by a Bahamian vet within 48 hours of entry, but this seems to be done on the honour system, as there’s no mechanism for checking or enforcing this policy…)
  • Review the list of required vaccines carefully, since some may not be commonly administered in your area. For example, in Southern California where we live, dogs aren’t normally vaccinated against leptospirosis or coronavirus, so our vet has to special order these shots for us. We usually schedule the vaccines a few weeks prior to travel, so that if Wrigley reacts to any of them, he has time to recover before we leave.
  • There are no pet stores in Green Turtle Cay, so bring along whatever food, supplies and medications your dog will need.  GTC 2013 (92)
  • Do not, under any circumstances, rely on airline employees and immigration officers to know their company or country’s pet policies! Having learned this early on, we now travel with a “Wrigley” binder, including printouts of the airline’s pet policies and fees, immigration policies for our destination country (plus U.S. policies for our return trip), Wrigley’s dog license, adoption and microchip documentation, and current vaccination records. I also include a few colour photos of him, in case – God forbid – he’s ever lost.
  • Since the nearest veterinarian to Green Turtle Cay is in Marsh Harbour — a 45-minute trip by ferry and taxi — it’s a good idea to brush up on basic pet first aid before your trip, and to jot down contact information for the vets in Marsh Harbour, the Green Turtle Ferry company, and a few taxi drivers, in case you need emergency transport. As we learned first-hand in 2011 when Wrigley went into shock after a nasty spill from a golf cart, a little advance planning can make the difference between an accident and a tragedy.

Finally, I must acknowledge two wonderful websites: Dog Jaunt and Montecristo Travels. Our travels with Wrigley wouldn’t be nearly as simple and stress-free without the terrific guidance and resources we found on these sites.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: August 23, 2014 – The Bahamian Ministry of Agriculture has changed the procedures for importing/exporting dogs to/from the Bahamas. Click here for the updated guidelines and here for additional clarification.

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  20 comments for “And Your Little Dog, Too (With Video)

  1. September 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I travel to GTC every March with my little Morky Gypsy and it’s nice to see someone post the necessary steps to take to travel to Abaco with a pet. I have had great luck fedex’ing the form to the Ministry of Ag in Nassau, taking less than a week, but I am on the East Coast, which would be speedier. Hope to see you there sometime, I stay with Molly McIntosh but can usually be seen “buzzing” around in my golf cart, headed to the leaward beach with Gypsy for a little shelling. Oh, and lunching at the Club for the best conch chowder in the world!

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    • September 16, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Hi, Becky. Thanks for your comment. Actually, FedExing the form works well from the west coast, too. The first year we took Wrigley, I was paranoid about the Bahamian mail, so I FedExed the documents from Los Angeles. I sent them on a Wednesday morning overnight, and by Friday a.m., I received a fax copy of the permit! (I’ve never seen any Bahamian government agency work so quickly!!) Usually, my husband and I are in GTC in May, but we’ve recently purchased a home there, and hope to spend more time on the cay. Hope we’ll run into you some time. How does Gypsy get along with J.Ro? 🙂

      Like

  2. Chéri Petters
    September 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Super photos – Wrigley looks a friendly little fellow. Good hints too for all wishing to travel to the Bahamas with a four-legged friend. Thanks.
    Chéri – BGG

    Like

    • September 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Hi, Cheri. Thanks for your comment and your kind words. Wrigley is a great little dog, and watching him on the beach is so much fun. 🙂

      Like

  3. September 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Wow, what a great video – love the music, too. Wrigley is adorable (def some JR in there)! This is a very informative post for travel information. Really enjoyed meeting you and Wrigley 🙂

    Like

    • September 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

      Hi, Linda. Thanks so much for your kind comment. Glad you liked the video. Wrigley is such a ham at the beach, we thought we’d share a bit of his craziness. Thanks again for the great Susan Clothier post! Wrigley and I are looking forward to reading more blog posts from you. 🙂

      Like

  4. linda waller
    September 16, 2013 at 7:54 am

    i wish i had a dog small enough to take on a plane! i do miss my dogs when travelling, & always enjoy the dogs of others: i’ve gotten to meet both Wrigley and Gypsy!

    Like

    • September 16, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Linda, how much does Cindy weigh? She looks small enough for in-flight travel from your photos, but they may be deceiving. Usually, the rule is about 20 lbs for dog and carrier, and you can get carriers that weigh as little as 2 lbs (like ours)… Is she 18 lbs or less?

      Like

  5. September 17, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Love, love, love the video. Wrigley is wriggly!

    Like

    • September 17, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks, Esri. Glad you like the video. Wrigley is a happy dog most of the time, but he really is most joyful at the beach. So much fun to watch. 🙂

      Like

  6. September 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks so much for liking my ‘stormy beach photo’ on my blog at http://OceanDazeBlog.wordpress.com. As you probably deciphered, I am brand new to this! I stared at my ‘blank canvas’ for quite some time ~ paralyzed, yet with a million ideas in my head and thousands of digital images waiting to burst forth from my hard drive!!! I LOVE your blog! You are an inspiration! The history entries are fascinating and reminded me of my adventure at Ocean Daze with a visit from hurricane Irene (direct hit) complete with numerous photos just waiting to be shared. Wrigley is wonderful! He reminds me of Milo from the movie ‘The Mask’: ) He also reminds me of Thor (our 4 legged family member) and his love of the beach and Sandpipers at Ocean Daze. Your photos are terrific too. It looks as though we have a lot in common!
    What helped you most when starting your blog?
    Miranda

    Like

    • September 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Hi, Miranda. Thanks for your comment and your kind words. One of the best resources when I started Little House by the Ferry — aside from a love of all things Abaco — was a book called Pro Blogger. It has lots of great practical info about starting and promoting a blog. It’s been my Bible for the past few months. Ocean Daze looks amazing by the way — love the water views! Hopefully we’ll make it to Windermere one of these day…. Thanks again for dropping by!

      Like

  7. September 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    So sorry Amanda, my mistake…….my blog is http://OceanDaze.wordpress.com.
    Can you tell I’m new to this???!

    Like

  8. October 11, 2013 at 2:53 am

    What a cutie – so great you can bring Wigley along for the ride:) ps. your house looks divine!

    Like

  9. Winstonrules
    January 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hello!
    I read your blog, it had great, helpful info for traveling with a dog to the Bahamas! I got a money order today but I did not know to ask for
    an international one. Is that going to be an issue? We will be headed to Eleuthera with our dog Winston in late February, his first trip out of the states :0 I’m a bit worried about the new vaccines he will have to have..has Wrigley had any complications with having them?

    Like

    • January 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Hi there. Thanks for visiting the blog. I’m so glad you found it helpful in planning your trip. This is our fourth trip to the Bahamas with Wrigley, and it’s always been pretty easy. I can’t recall if the Bahamas import permit requires it, but we always have our vet complete an international health certificate to bring. This trip, even the airlines were asking for it, so keep it close at hand when you’re traveling.

      I’m not 100% sure, but I suspect a domestic money order might be ok. You can always call the Ministry of Agriculture to confirm. You might also try posting a question at http://www.abacoforum.com. There are lots of folks there who travel with dogs to and from the Bahamas — seems to me someone on that Forum said they sent a domestic money order and it was fine, but I can’t recall for sure.

      Wrigley has done well with most of his vaccines. I think it was the leptospirosis one that made him a little sick. Nothing serious, but if I recall correctly, he was a bit nauseous and lethargic for a day or two. Next time, I’ll have that shot done a few weeks before the trip, just in case. Don’t want him to have to travel while he’s not feeling well. Oh, and once he had a lump on his hip where they gave him one of his shots, but it didn’t seem to bother him and it went down within a week or so…

      If Winston is anything like Wrigley, he’ll love his time in the Bahamas. Lots of beaches to run on, lots of stuff to sniff and explore. Would love to hear how your trip goes… keep me posted!

      Like

  10. Robin K.
    February 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I do not see leptosporidium as a requirement. Am I missing something? I want to know if I am correct and only see the rabies as needed. Thanks so kindly!!! I will be traveling in July to Long

    Like

    • February 18, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Hi, Robin. Thanks for your note. When you receive your pet import permit from the Bahamian Ministry of Agriculture, it will list the diseases against which the animal must be vaccinated. As of the last permit I received, these were: rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, adenovirus and coronavirus. But refer to your permit when you receive it to confirm the current list of required vaccinations. Hope that helps!

      Like

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