One of most popular questions I get, ever since I started bringing my French Bulldog Walter to the Bahamas, is how to do it!
Fortunately, the Bahamas has much easier animal importing rules compared to a lot of other Caribbean islands.
No Quarantine and No Rabies Titrate Test
The Bahamas does NOT have a quarantine period for animals, or a rabies titrate test (like Hawaii), however you do need certain necessary paperwork done in advance.
Bahamas Pet Permit
The most important paperwork is the Bahamas Pet Permit. When I first looked into doing it directly through the Bahamian government (sending in a money order with paperwork), I never heard back (surprise surprise). Then I found BahamasPetPermit.com (this is NOT an ad). There is a man named Wellington who lives in Nassau, and he physically walks your pet documents to the Bahamas government officials who process it. After a few days, he gets it back and emails you the approved/stamped permit, and whatever else you need to include when you arrive at customs in the Bahamas.
The process for the permit takes about a week (2 weeks if its busy season), costs $90 usd (price substantially increased by Dept of Agriculture on July 4, 2023, before it was $50 usd). A permit lasts 1 year from approval, and you can request multiple permits for the same dog/animal in the application for an extra fee of $35 usd (for example – 3 permits to last a year for Walter would now cost $160 usd).
Along with your approved permit there is a form that your Vet will need to sign off that says your pet is healthy (this form will be included with your approved Bahamas Pet Permit).
Proof of Vaccination Record
Bring a copy of your dog’s proof of vaccinations from your vet. This will be given to customs along with the Permit and vet sign off sheet. So in total, there are 3 pieces of paper to be given to Bahamas customs when you land.
Physically arriving into the Bahamas with your best friend really depends where you are flying in from, and which airline. Most airlines have a pet policy with an approved carrier and a fee, for dogs under 20lbs. There are also special allowances and rules for Service Dogs. Please consult your local airlines for specific rules catering to your dog’s weight, breed, and limitations.
While in the Bahamas
I find the Bahamas to be quite dog friendly! Most locals love dogs (a few are scared of all dogs- even small friendly French Bulldogs). The grocery stores carry a wide range of dog food and supplies. Just remember to be respectful of other people on the beach if you bring your dog – if your dog can’t respect others please keep them on a leash!
There are “Potcakes” – a Bahamian term for stray dogs that live around the islands. The name Potcake came to be from the locals (in Bahamas and Turks and Caicos) who fed the caked remains of cooking pots to the dogs. The Potcake is now considered an official breed!
They are not everywhere (I personally haven’t seen any on Great Exuma island in the past two years) but if you see one or a pack, they may be unfriendly, so just be aware of them if you let your dog off leash on any beaches. Some potcakes may be territorial or looking for food.
Unfortunately, Great Exuma does not have a full-time vet on the island at this time. There is a vet that comes to the island twice a month. There is also no Exuma Humane Society (only “Friends of Exuma” which is a fostering program). So bring your pet at your own risk!
Hope this information helps! I’ve made some incredible memories and experiences with my best friend and i’m sure he is grateful he is able to share them with me!