Can I bring a dog from Cuba to Canada?

Question: I just got back from Santa Lucia and I found a deserted puppy on the beach that I would like to bring from Cuba to Canada. How do I do this?

Answer: There seems to be an increasing desire on the part of overseas visitors to adopt a homeless Cuban dog or cat. As in all countries, Cuba has requirements that must be fulfilled for taking animals out of the country – and of course Canada has another set of requirements for bringing them into the country.

On the Cuban end, there are two non-governmental organizations that have occasionally assisted overseas visitors who wish to adopt an animal and take it home with them. One is the Asociación Cubana para la Protección de Animales y Plantas (ANIPLANT, or the Cuban Association for the Protection of Animals and Plants), a national organization dedicated to animal protection and sterilization campaigns. They don’t have a website but below is the address of their headquarters in Havana and the email address of their president, Nora García Pérez.


Principe #128, e/ Espada y Hospital, Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba   –  Email [email protected]

The other organization is the Asociación Protectora de Animales en Cuba (APAC or the Association for the Protection of Animals in Cuba). Based in Varadero, their main objective is to help fight the overpopulation of homeless companion animals in the Varadero area through sterilization clinics and education, as well as encouraging Cubans to adopt and care for street animals. And they, too, occasionally help visitors from abroad who want to adopt a stray dog or cat. You can contact their blog at for more information about their work as well as for names, email addresses and telephone numbers.

It is also important to note that some Cuban organizations consider that the overseas adoption “business” is getting out of hand and is taking too much valuable time away from the important task of ensuring the wellbeing of dogs and cats within Cuba. Many Cuban organizations exist that are dedicated to the wellbeing of companion animals within Cuba, and are concerned that many of their efforts and programs are seriously limited by the general lack of materials and supplies that exist within the country.

If you are interested in exploring ways in which you can support these efforts, you might want to contact the Spanky Project, a Canadian non-governmental organization that since 2003 has been assisting animal well-being programs in Cuba. In particular, the Spanky Project has supported numerous mass sterilization and deparasitation campaigns with Cuban veterinary organizations and clinics, and has also helped foster exchange programs between Canadian and Cuban veterinarians. For more information, you can consult their blog at or write directly to the founder and director, Terry Shewchuk, at [email protected]



5 thoughts on “Can I bring a dog from Cuba to Canada?

  • January 1, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    I have a friend that’s in Cuba for 3 months, I’m trying to adopt a yorkie from Cuba that someone may be selling, how would she be able to return to Canada with the dog, and what would it cost to do so

  • March 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Good point Lily – I see this is from a few years ago. Many will not go to countries that treat their animals this way. If there was a way that tourists could help specific strays rather then to just leave them to suffer and die, more would go.
    Many travel agents advise not going to Cuba because of this situation. On the resort sites the strays are given strychine poison and left to die an agonizing death. Unless guests care enough to speak out and not go again they are promoting this practise. Most guests do not care they continue to go and this promotes the treatment. Simply by speaking out and not going back unless the situation changes will change the situation. $$$ is what the resorts need so its completely up to the guests- treat animals well or we dont go is all it takes. Sadly most guests care more about themselves and the perks they get by promoting the resort. We all answer in the end

  • September 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Lilly I totally understand what you are saying and as a “yuma” when i see what you just describe i defend those poor animals and when the Cuban citizen begin to complain about their status i tell them they have what they deserve and if they don’t back off they will be arrested for mistreating a tourist….i go over from Miami every other month and have been doing it for 4 years.
    I have been told in some occasions that the Cuban people disregard for these animals, but not everyone is like that there.
    I have my dog there and now she just had pup’s and i want to bring one home to Miami and i need to know how I can do that by Monday i go back on Tuesday,

  • August 16, 2011 at 1:14 am

    There maybe some organizations looking after the welfare of stray dogs in Havana,but by golly,on my last visit in July(that was my 9th time) there were double the amount of those pitiful animals all over,especially in Plaza Vieja, the Malecon close to the exit of Calle23 and all around Vedado.30% of this poor creatures was definately ready for euthanasia, I have witnessed some” walking”in a daze with open wounds,one had some of the intestine hanging out and was not even making a sound,this is horrific enough,but the reaction of the passers by was even more shocking,some even kicked those dogs as a nuisance and when some in my group started to cry at the sight the local residents clearly dismissed us as stupid” yumas””is only a dog senora,they kept saying!No wander visitors dont have much faith in the local welfare organizations.Respect and responsibility for animals has to be made aware from primary school.There should be a number you can call as a tourist visiting Havana or anywhere else in Cuba,this should allow you ,for a payment, to have that dog promptly picked up and given medical treatment,that same day,within an hour for a fee,I am sure many tourists wouldn`t mind to pay these organizations for this service,that would surely add a special meaning to the holiday in your beautiful island.
    Adding to the story,the waitress at the restaurant where we were tried to console some of us saying,:you know,we have bigger problems than dogs in Cuba,life is really hard,nobody cares ,that is why dog welfare comes last,my grandmother is very sick and I have no money to provide for medicines….she was interrupted half way by the ringing of her mobile phone,when she picked it up I noticed her nails very intricately painted

  • May 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

    I was wondering if you know if there is any bus transportation between Varadero and Cayo Coco? Schedules and Cost?

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