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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mumaugh

How to travel back to the U.S. with your new dog if you live more than a few hours away

Adopt a dog from Mexico: How to transport your new family member back with you

Barb’s Dog Rescue is a Mexico dog rescue organization located in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Bringing a dog home to the United States from Mexico is much easier than you might expect. These days, many American rescue organizations have few dogs available for adoption, but there are thousands of dogs ready to be adopted in Mexico. At Barb’s Dog Rescue, we usually have about 350 dogs in our care, most of whom are ready for their forever homes. Here’s what you need to know about international dog adoption.

Our shelter is located in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (also known as Rocky Point), which is about four hours south of Phoenix, AZ. Puerto Peñasco is located on the beautiful Sea of Cortez. While you’re here, you can enjoy a beach vacation. Take a walk along the water, kayak, parasail or enjoy an outdoor massage. You can enjoy a sunset cruise or go whale watching. For the adventurous, there are opportunities to zipline, snorkel, parasail, kite surf, take a beach flight, or explore the desert on an ATV. And lots of visitors love our golf courses! Read more about the many things to see and do.

The easiest way to get here is to fly into Phoenix or Tucson, and then drive south. From Phoenix, take Hwy 85 to Lukeville. From there, it’s a straight shot down to Puerto Peñasco – just follow the signs or plug “Puerto Peñasco” into your GPS.

Your drive will take you through the beautiful Organ Pipe Cactus area, an International Biosphere Reserve. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs. There are trails to hike, clean bathrooms, and a gift shop that also has plenty of snacks.

Not long after, you’ll approach the United States/Mexican border. In order to cross into Mexico, you’ll need to show your passport. Once you cross the border, the drive to Puerto Peñasco will take about an hour.

Barb’s Dog Rescue is easy to find

You’ll pass our shelter about eight miles before you reach Puerto Peñasco. You’ll see our billboard signs along the route when you’re getting close. Barb’s Dog Rescue will be on your right.

Adoption hours are from 10 am – 2 pm daily. And with nearly 300 dogs ready for adoption on any given day, we’re sure to have your perfect match!

You’ll have the opportunity to visit with dogs, and our staff and volunteers can answer questions about specific dogs. If you fall in love, we’ll ask you some questions to make sure that you’re a good fit for the dog you’re interested in. Then you’ll complete an adoption application, and you’ll have an opportunity to make a donation to help offset the cost we incurred to care for your new dog. Then you’ll be on your way with your new best friend!

All of our dogs are spayed or neutered and given all vaccinations, including their rabies shot. If you adopt from Barb’s, we’ll give you the paperwork needed to drive your dog across the border. It’s as simple as showing the paperwork to the border patrol agents.

You won’t be able to bring a tiny puppy across the border, however. Puppies need to be at least four months of age to go to America, because they need enough time in our care to receive all their shots. If you are hoping to adopt a youngster, we can tell you which of the dogs in our care are ready to go, and which need more time with us to complete their series of vaccinations. And if you fall in love with a puppy who’s not yet ready for adoption, you can put the pup on hold and we will notify you when they are ready so you can come back for them.

If you plan on staying in town for a few days before traveling back to America with your new family member, there are many lodging options that allow dogs. Otherwise, we are happy to keep your new dog in our care for a few more days, and you can pick up him or her as you head out of town.

Driving or flying your new dog home

Options for getting your new dog home include flying, driving, or hiring a transport service.


Your dog will need an American rabies certificate and a health certificate in order to fly, so plan on staying in an American city for at least a day before your flight home in order to visit the vet. You can bring small breed dogs on the plane with you for a fee if they are in an airline-approved carrier. Chewy offers several options that you can order online. Below is more information on what you need to know to fly with your pet, specific to the airline.


American Airlines



Sun Country


Lots of visitors plan a road trip back with their new dog, with an overnight stay or two along the way. Most La Quinta hotels allow dogs, and there are many other hotels and motels that are pet-friendly. If you are making the drive back, we recommend putting a harness on your dog, and using two leashes – one attached to the collar and one to the harness. This will ensure that you can keep your pup safe when you make stops along the way. Your new dog has experienced a lot of new things and isn’t yet fully bonded to you, so it’s better to be safe than sorry if they get nervous.

Hiring a transport service:

If you are short on time and need to fly home, but your new dog is too big to fit on a plane, there are transport services that will drive your dog back. Citizen Shipper is one option. Prices vary depending on the distance.

And one last thing! We love updates! Send us photos of your dog enjoying their new life with you. We often feature adopted dogs on our social media pages!

Come visit Barb’s Dog Rescue in Puerto Peñasco. We are excited to help you expand your family!

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