If you’re travelling with your pet to Puerto Rico, you will want to make sure it is well taken care off. The costs of pet care on the island can be significantly cheaper than the United States, and there is no shortage of veterinarians on the island. You will find low-cost neighborhood veterinarian clinics, brand-name chains and high quality animal hospitals throughout the island.
You will find many Banfield Pet Hospital — a familiar name to many in the U.S. and found in the many PetSmart locations. This route, however, is costly.
With a little searching, you can find quality vet care, including surgical care, for close to 20% off what it would cost on the mainland. Your best bet is to ask friends and neighbors for their recommendation. Many facilities will not have a website and very few have reviews about the quality of care.
Some quick comparisons from our own experience:
-Treatment of dog bites requiring overnight stay, for small dog, 100+ stitches and medication. Cost was $300.
-A dog’s treatment of Patellar luxation costs roughly $1500 – $2500 per affected knee in the US, whereas as approximately a $1000 in Puerto Rico.
Moving with your Pet to Puerto Rico
We covered this in more detail in our article, shipping your pets to PR. In brief:
There are a few regulations to follow when taking your pet to Puerto Rico starting with producing proof of up to date (between 30 days and 10 months before arriving) rabies vaccinations. Make sure you have a printed copy of these documents, since most everything is done on paper.
Next within a week of your flight, you will have to take your pet to a licensed veterinarian in the U.S. for a complete checkup, and obtain a Veterinary Certificate of Health. This document is most important as it is required for your flight. Also and although not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you get a pet microchip prior to you bringing your pet to the island.
Renting with a Pet
Finding housing that allows pets can be challenging. You will find the most difficulty with apartments and condos within San Juan. If you rent from a private owner, you will find more leniency–particularly when you rent a house.
Strays and Animal Welfare
Puerto Rican law requires that every municipality in Puerto Rico run a municipal shelter, yet out of 78 municipalities, only 6 currently comply with this law.
Animal cruelty laws are often not enforced due to lack of funds and lack of agents. Fines are relatively low, set at $500 or 6 months in prison.
There is a stray dog epidemic in Puerto Rico and there are several agencies (check out the documentary 10,000 by Cesar Milan) trying to bring this under control. Part of the reason for this stray dog epidemic is the limited neuter/spray practice that leads to an unending cycle of reproduction. It’s quite common in Spanish culture not to spay and neuter dogs.
If you would like to adopt a pet in Puerto Rico, you can always adopt from any of the rescue agencies and animal shelters. In fact, there’s a good chance you will come across stays on your own without needing to go to a shelter.
Shelters in Puerto Rico are generally kill shelters; while rescues & sanctuaries are not. Upwards of 90% of dogs picked up on the streets in PR are euthanized.
If you would like to contribute to some of the great work done by rescues and sanctuaries with very little funds, see the links below:
- Save a Sato Shelter
- Second Chance Animal Rescue
- The San Francisco de Asís Animal Sanctuary
- Amigos de los Animals
- PAWS Animal Welfare Society
- Pets Alive Puerto Rico
Spay and Neuter Services
Below you will find a list of places offering spay and neuter services in Puerto Rico. Please call ahead to verify prices.
(source: Defensa Animal Rincon)
San Juan Area (San Juan/Bayamon/Carolina/Guaynabo)
Dra. Monica G. Paga (787) 249-0822 & (787) 397-1629 Discounted Vet Services
Amigos de Animales – Rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes abused and abandoned companion and farm animals, and also facilitates the rescue of such animals.
Save a Sato – Offers veterinarian, shelter and assistance to homeless dogs.
All Sato Rescue – Located in San Juan, offering assistance to stray dogs.
Pet SOS – Located in San Juan area, offers assistance to stray dogs and cats.
Save a Gato – manages the colony of cats on the Paseo del Morro and the rest of Old San Juan through trap, neuter, and release.
The Pet Vet – Located at Playa Jobos in Isabela, 787-872-0204. Offers low cost neutering and spaying of cats and dogs. Assistance available for those in need and rescue groups through PAWS, Puerto Rico Animal Welfare Society, contact Noni Castellanos, firstname.lastname@example.org
West (Rincon/Mayaguez/Cabo Rojo/San Sebastian)
Animal Rescue Foundation of Rincon (ARF) – Located in Rincon, offers low cost spay and neutering, assistance for animal rescue.
Ponce Animal Rescue and Protection Services – Located in Ponce, provides temporary shelter, veterinary services for abused and neglected animals, investigates abuse. 787-844-8100
Second Chance Animal Rescue – Located in Villalba, rescue, rehabilitate, and locate forever homes for abandoned and neglected dogs.
Pets Alive Puerto Rico – A no kill shelter in Utuado, providing homes for neglected and abused animals.
East (Fajardo/Rio Grande/Humacao)
Island Dog – Located in Fajardo, assists in low cost spay and neuter, finding homes for neglected and homeless animals.
The Sato Project – Helping animals at ‘Dead Dog Beach’ in Yabucoa, offers assistance in rescuing dogs in the area.
Vieques Humane Society and Animal Rescue – Offers spay and neutering services and animal rescue for the animals of Vieques. 787.741.0209
Animal Welfare of Culebra (Facebook) – Offers spay and neutering assistance for homeless animals in Culebra.
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