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stray dog walking on Mexican streets

Stray Dogs in Mexico: Adopting a Pet from the Streets of Mexico

Animal lovers who have traveled to Mexico (and other places in Latin America) on vacation have noticed the many homeless dogs and cats living on the roads of cities and towns of all sizes. It's a huge problem that shouldn't be ignored, with 70% of their total dog population being stray dogs.

If you've ever thought about how you can rescue one (or more) of these stray animals and bring them home to the US, you're not alone. Many Americans choose to adopt homeless cats or dogs from countries like Mexico.

Challenges Of Helping Stray Dogs In Mexico

Helping Mexico's stray dogs can be a challenging task. There are a few hurdles to overcome, but with determination, we can make a difference in these animals' lives.

Limited Resources

Animal welfare organizations in Mexico City operate on shoestring budgets and rely heavily on donations and volunteers. They need food, medical care, shelter, and more for countless dogs. Every little bit helps, so consider organizing a fundraiser, donating supplies, or volunteering your time. Even small acts of kindness go a long way.

Adoption Obstacles

We often view dogs as guard animals rather than companions, affecting adoption rates. But attitudes are changing, especially among younger generations. Promoting the joys of pet ownership and educating people about responsible adoption can help overcome this challenge. Social media campaigns, school programs, and community events are all great ways to spread awareness.

Health Issues

Parasites, disease, and injury threaten stray dogs daily. Animal welfare groups work tirelessly to provide vaccinations, deworming, sterilization, and medical treatment, but the scale of need is enormous. Donating or fundraising for veterinary care and supplies allows these organizations to help more dogs. You can also look into volunteering your skills as a vet tech, groomer, or walker.

Adopting A Stray Dog: The Rewards and Responsibilities

two stray dogs sleeping on streets of Mexico

Welcoming a stray dog from Mexico to your home can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. You'll be saving a life and gaining a faithful companion. However, it also comes with serious responsibilities. Are you up for the challenge?

A Lifetime Commitment

Once you adopt a Mexican stray dog, you are committing to caring for them for the rest of their life. Many of these dogs have already been abandoned once, so you must be absolutely sure you can care for them properly for the long term. If not, sponsoring a dog or donating to a shelter may be better.

Medical Care

Most stray dogs have never seen a vet and will need immediate medical attention. They must be spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, and treated for other medical issues. This can cost $200-$500 upfront, so ensure you understand the costs involved in this process. Ongoing costs for high-quality food, toys, training, grooming, and vet care can cost $500-$1,000 per year.

Patience and Training

Stray dogs often lack socialization and training. Be patient through challenges like house training, separation anxiety, and learning basic commands. Even the most difficult dogs can become well-adjusted and obedient companions with time and consistency. Enrolling in training classes or working with a trainer can help.

A Rewarding Bond

While opening your home to a stray dog is a big responsibility, it can be incredibly fulfilling. These dogs often bond strongly with their new families and owners who saved them. Their loving, playful nature and enthusiasm for life will fill your days with laughter and joy. And by opening your home to a dog in need, you'll feel good knowing you made a real difference in their life.

The challenges may seem daunting, but for the right owner, having a Mexican stray dog can lead to a lifetime of happiness and fulfillment for you and your new furry friend. Are you up to the task? The rewards are well worth it!

Adopting From Animal Rescue Groups

stray dog in Mexico eating leftovers on sidewalk

How do potential adopters learn about available pets and how to bring them to the US? Here are some facts and resources to help you get started.

According to the Humane Society International, the costs of transporting an animal across international borders can range from $150 to $2,000, depending on the circumstances. They recommend that potential adopters check their country's rules and regulations about bringing animals home.

There are important considerations, such as getting rescue dogs or cats vaccinated and providing proof of vaccination (especially for rabies) and quarantine issues to consider. For the US, the website of the CDC has lots of great information.

If bringing a street cat or dog home from your next vacation sounds a little too spur of the moment for you, many organizations facilitate the adoption of homeless Mexican animals into the US.

Here are just a few to check out if you're considering adoption:

Animal Rescuers Without Borders (ARWOB):

This organization operates out of San Diego, California, and works primarily with stray dogs and cats from Baja, Mexico. They make frequent trips there and conduct organized rescue missions to bring adoptable dogs and cats to the US.

Barb's Dog Rescue:

Operating out of Arizona and Mexico, this organization focuses on rescuing dogs from the roads of Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, not far from the Arizona border, and finding them new forever homes with US adopters.

Dog Rescue Without Borders:

The mission of Dog Rescue Without Borders is to save stray dogs and dogs from high-kill shelters in the Tijuana, Mexico area and find them permanent, loving homes in both Mexico and the United States. They work in San Diego, California, just across the border from Tijuana. 

Compassion Without Borders:

CWOB, out of Santa Rosa, California, rescues dogs from Mexico and California's Central Valley. They rescue Mexican dogs and bring them back to California and provide much-needed spay/neuter, veterinary care, and even humane euthanasia services to dogs remaining in Mexico.

Opening your home to animals from shelters is one of the best things we could do as animal lovers. There are many different reasons why you should adopt a shelter pet. After all, the best breeds are the ones in need.

Your Animal Hearted purchase saves lives! 25% of all proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters!


Why are there so many stray dogs roaming the streets of Mexico?

Unfortunately, Mexico has a long history of uncontrolled breeding and lack of spaying or neutering of dogs. Many owners allow their dogs to roam freely, and they end up mating and having puppies that also become strays. The warm climate also means dogs can stay outside year-round, allowing the stray population to grow rapidly.

What breeds are Mexican street dogs?

Mexican stray dogs are mixed-breed dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors. You may spot dogs that resemble Labradors, German Shepherds, Collies, or Chihuahuas. Some have a distinct look, with pointy ears, curled tails, and spotted coats.

Is it safe to interact with street dogs in Mexico?

While most stray dogs are friendly towards humans and used to being around people, you should still exercise caution. Some tips:

  • Avoid direct eye contact, as this may be seen as a challenge. Look away and avoid direct stares.

  • Let the dog sniff you first before petting. Extend your hand slowly, palm down, for the dog to sniff. If it seems friendly, you can gently pet its head or back.

  • Don't make sudden movements or loud noises that may startle the dog. Move slowly and calmly.

  • Make sure the dog has visible space to move away from you. Don't corner the dog or give it a reason to feel trapped.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact. While rare, some stray dogs may carry diseases that can infect humans. Better safe than sorry!

Following these tips, you can safely interact with most stray dogs. But if a dog shows signs of aggression like growling, barking loudly, or bearing its teeth, it's best to avoid contact and give it plenty of space. The plight of street dogs in Mexico is sad, but we can help improve their lives with compassion and education.

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Robb - January 4, 2024

We adopted Maya about a year ago. She has come a lone way since we bought her home Although she is easily frightened and Leary of strangers she is generally a great addition to our house. The one thing is she is always in starvation mode and is always looking for a snack.

Kate Potter - November 27, 2023

We have a two year old Mexican street dog in desperate need. Could you advertise him here?
He really is such an adorable dog and so amazing with other dogs/cats/people but there’s no one to help or home him here, we have exhausted all avenues.
Thank you

nigel hutchinson - March 21, 2023

bringing a dog home from mexico to canada ,but have to change planes in seattle ,will there be any problems at sea tac?

Carlos - March 21, 2023

God Bless you all. Mil gracias!

Arlene Swennen - November 14, 2022

I am looking at adopting a dog from Sula society a rescue out of Puerto Vallarta. I am wondering if this rescue is reputable and is safe to send money in advance?

Lakeisha Hollmon - May 26, 2022

I would love to adopt a small dog from mexicp

Theresa - September 22, 2021

Pups without Borders rescues, treats, spays and fosters strays, particularly puppies and mothers. They work with veterinary and rescue partners in Tijuana and elsewhere. They are based in Van Nuys in LA County but foster throughout Southern California. They are compassionate and pleasant to adopt from. They also need fosters. Foster to adopt is an excellent way to gage how well you fit with a dog.

Barb Johnstojn - August 8, 2020

I would like to adopt a smaller dog up to25 lbs. must like another smallish dog and an old cat, fenced yard, 15acre park next door, lots of tender care and loving. I own my home, I have been married 38 years, I am retired 4 years, my dog is from Mexico, reference Carleigh Smart, Diane Fowler, darleen wood, sharron McKenna, more available, I can go to Vancouver to pick up. Please consider me. My phone #is 250 549 1379 Vernon, British columbia

Jan Adamiak - November 22, 2017

How Can I bring a stray dog home from Mexico City to New York City?

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