Home How To Guide How To Keep Your Dog Healthy in the Tropics

How To Keep Your Dog Healthy in the Tropics

by Brent May

Bahias de Huatulco, Puerto Escondido and all along the coast, we have a paradise waiting for you and also for your family pet. However, a trip to the tropics requires a few extra precautions for Fido! If you are bringing a pet along, you will already have the vaccinations and other care that customs demand when crossing the border. But it is a good policy to find a local vet and introduce yourself and your dog. We are including a list of vets at the end of this article.

Vaccinations, Etc

Whether you have decided to live here permanently or are visiting for a shorter time, you will need to be sure Fido has proper vet care appropriate to our area. This includes all the regular vaccinations, parasite control and other health concerns. Vaccines are given to dogs as a defense against serious infectious illness (distemper, parvovirus, rabies). Other vaccinations are important in certain situations such as bordetella or lyme disease. Your veterinarian can advise which vaccines are necessary.

Erlichea, babesia, heartworm…. these are blood parasite infections common in the tropics! They have long term and deadly consequences so keep pup on a parasite prevention program. Nexgard Spectra is commonly used as it kills both internal and external parasites. There are several other good products. Ask your chosen vet for their recommendation.

Be aware that the chemicals used in some veterinary products are different in Mexico than in the USA or Canada. Specifically, the internal and external parasite controls. The products you use at home will not work in Mexico and vice versa. So, a first important step is to visit the veterinarian to get proper Mexican products to control parasites. When you return north, you will be able to return to your home-based products.

Young puppies need different medical attention for the first year of their life than older dogs. If you find yourself falling in love with a local rescue puppy or dog, they need to be checked and get their basic care.


Over the past several years our local veterinarians have been able to procure high quality dog food. Some brands you might even recognize from home. And if Fido has allergies, the vet has food that can help.

Grocery store varieties can be adequate, but the higher quality food will keep your dog healthier longer. The vet can counsel you about which commercial products are better or worse.


You know your own dog so be sure to watch it carefully in the new environment. If something looks unusual to you, it is safer to ask the vet’s opinion than have a situation get out of control. Opinions are most often free…. care is not. You will find the costs here to be much less than you are familiar with at home.

Signs of illness, including parasites, are lack of appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, urinating more (or less) frequently, coughing, sneezing, a discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose. A loss of hair or itchy areas on the skin or around the ears, stiffness or lameness are other signs.

We have many insects and reptiles that can bite or sting: scorpions, bees, ants, and snakes. Your pup may be more or less sensitive to the venoms or poisons. Therefore, a call to the vet or a quick visit will get puppy back on a happy track soon.

We highly recommend gathering some supplies for a medical kit. You should keep Benadryl on hand. That is used most often for insect bites and stings or an encounter with an unknown plant. The American Kennel Club has a very good set of suggestions and information. Some good items they recommend you keep in your first aid kit include:

  • Gauze
  • Non-stick adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Digital thermometer
  • Scissors, tweezer, magnifying glass
  • Flashlight, towel, soft muzzle


Here in Mexico, we use some simple things that are readily available. Honey is an antibiotic and good for bites and cuts. Coconut oil is amazing. It is antibiotic, anti yeast, fungus, virus and much more. Aloe is good for soothing a cut and it is not tasty, so puppy doesn’t like to lick it off.

Population Control

Statistics from the US Humane Society are…

1 unsterilized dog, in 5 years can be responsible for producing 70,000 puppies.

1 cat in 6 years can ultimately be responsible for the birth of 11,000,000 kittens.

There are also many health benefits for sterilizing your pup besides preventing unwanted pregnancies. It can avoid potentially serious medical problems, such as prostate disease in males, and uterine infection or mammary cancer in females. TVT is a deadly and painful type of cancer that spreads rapidly thru the dog population thru reproductive activity.

Especially if you rescue your puppy or dog here it is important to sterilize it. The dog population is a problem in our area and many local groups work hard to keep the animal community healthy. Healthy pets kept safe and trained are a pleasure. But an out-of-control population spreads disease and causes injuries from dog fights.

We highly recommend that you keep your dog on a leash. Poison has been left out for feral dogs and cats! It is a painful death and can only be avoided by keeping the dog under control. If you do find your dog acting strange, not eating or drinking and trying to hide…get to the vet as soon as possible!

We have some beautiful areas where you can let your dog off leash to run and play. There is a group that meets regularly along a local river. Ask around…many dogs owners here who would be happy to share the fun with you.

And now we have links to some good veterinarians:

Puerto Escondido

Clinica Veterinaria P.E.

Av. Oaxaca 201, Centro



Clinica San Antonio

Dr. Marcos

954 114 7137


Veterinaria Medi-Can

Calle Tercera Norte 105A, Centro



Veterinaria Pacific Zoo

Charts Pte. Juarez




Civet Huatulco Salud Animal

Dra. Norma Rivera

Calle Palms Real #305




CVV Centro Veterinario del Valle

Dr. Fredy Cruz

Calle Palma Real, #204





Dra. Kathleen Melesio

Calle Laguna Miniyua, Manzana 29

Lote 6C, Sector U2





Dra. Christian

Calle Principal

Behind former Eric’s Gym

958 589 3644

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