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Life with a Dog in Nicaragua

Life With a Dog in Nicaragua
Gone are the days when our dog got two short walks per day and had to spend Monday to Friday snoozing away in the house while we were away at work all day.

A dog riding around the countryside on a motorcycle with us? Who would have thought!

If you’ve ever wondered (or worried) about what life would be like for your dog in Nicaragua this post will provide some great insight.


We take our dog Maggie everywhere. The fact that we can is just one of the reasons we love living in Nicaragua.

Here in San Juan del Sur the only place we can’t take Maggie is into the Pali (local grocery store). Oh, and to the bank.

Unless you’re in one of the larger cities like Managua this seems to be the case with pretty much most restaurants and bars. In fact, there are even a lot of pet friendly hotels. 

Since we are lucky enough to live in on the coast we’re usually at the beach with Maggie at least every other day. She is able to run freely off leash fetching her ball and frolicking in the ocean.

When we are out and about on the beach or walking around town we do encounter the odd street dog, but since they are generally scared of people (and Maggie) we are never bothered by them.

Although not common practice in Nicaragua we do carry poo bags and pick up after Maggie should she happen to do her business on the beach, sidewalk or street.


Some dogs tolerate the heat better than others. Minature schnauzers are not one of them. With average daytime highs reaching 28 to 34 degrees Celsius it gets hot here, especially for a little dog.

- Maggie cooling off in a tide pool: Playa Yankee: San Juan del, Nicaragua

– Maggie cooling off in a tide pool: Playa Yankee: San Juan del, Nicaragua

To ensure Maggie stays safe we avoid long walks in the heat of the day. We always carry a water dish so she can drink as often as she needs to.

And when it really starts to heat up in mid-April through to mid-May we actually find it’s better to leave her home during the day when we’re out and about running arounds so she can just chill out and keep cool and comfortable.


Here in Nicaragua the selection of quality dog food is very limited. Our preferred brand for Maggie is Mira.

We buy it the pet store at the central market here in San Juan del Sur. It’s also available at various shops in Granada and Managua. Price for a 3 kg bag is C$290 ($10.86 USD) and lasts us about five weeks.

Kirkland brand, which would be our second choice is available for purchase at PriceSmart in Managua.


Living in a country where many dog owners are not practicing flea or tick prevention can be a bit concerning.

Dogs in Nicaragua

– Available in 4 weight ranges – for small, medium, large and extra large dogs.

To protect Maggie from these pesky little critters and the potentially fatal tick borne disease every three to four weeks we apply a topical application on her called CertifectCost for the one month application of Certifect for Maggie (who is 15 lbs) is C$470 ($17.60 USD).

Certifect and other preventatives such as Frontline and flea and tick collars are also readily available here. 

As an additional precautionary measure we also do daily “tick checks”.


We are grateful for how incredibly inexpensive veterinarian care is here compared to Canada or the United States.

But we are even more grateful to have a skilled, compassionate and caring veterinarian who we can trust located a short ferry ride (or phone call) away on Ometepe Island.

Dr. Faran Dometz: San Juan del Sur Veterinary Clinic

~ We ❤️ Dr. Faran Dometz! (Photo credit: Katie Horn)

A regular consultation with our veterinarian Dr. Faran Dometz at Ometepe Vet Clinic is just C$300 ($11.24 USD).

Annual vaccine fee (distemper, parvo, rabies, etc.) is C$450 and includes a full physical exam.

Dental cleaning and spay and neuter surgeries start at $75 USD (price is based on weight) and are done by gas anesthesia.

Faran visits San Juan del Sur twice per month and is also available for virtual consultations via Skype and Facetime.


Having purchased Maggie here in Nicaragua, we haven’t personally dealt with importing a dog into the country, but after doing some extensive research and speaking to a few people that have here’s what we’ve learned.

Nicaragua does not quarantine healthy pets who meet the following requirements:

  • A licensed veterinarian must complete an International Health Certificate (see below for links to forms for Canada and the US) stating that your pet is in good health and free from parasites such as fleas and ticks.

    American Health Certificate
    Canadian Health Certificate
  • Once complete your health certificate must then be approved and stamped by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (if you’re Canadian) or the United States Department of Agriculture (if you’re American). Fees apply.
  • Your dog must have been vaccinated from rabies no more than 365 days and no less than 30 days prior to travel. For this reason be sure to plan your veterinarian visit and travel accordingly.

When you arrive in Nicaragua you will be asked to present the paperwork for your pup. Upon receipt and review of your paperwork — providing everything is in order — you’ll be required to pay an entry fee of $10 USD (per dog).

And that’s it, that’s all! You and Fido are then free and clear to start your new adventure together in Nicaragua.

DISCLAIMER: To the best of our ability we deem this information to be an accurate reflection of the current regulations for dog importation in Nicaragua.

Do you have a question we still haven’t answered? A major concern we haven’t addressed? Leave us a reply in the comment section below.

A Medical Emergency with Maggie Mae

When our miniature schnauzer puppy Maggie refused chicken and bacon we knew something was wrong. Two days later when she still wouldn’t eat or drink we became extremely concerned. We knew it was time to get her to a vet…ASAP!

There are a couple of veterinarians in San Juan del Sur, but sadly we are not confident in their abilities. After a desperate plea on Facebook for a recommendation on a trusted and skilled vet we were on our way to Multivet in Granada.

We were barely out of town when Maggie started to vomit. Things were going from bad to worse.  

Over the course of the 1 1/2 hour drive Gordon and I hardly spoke to one another.  We were fearful that we’d be making the trip back home to San Juan del Sur without our sweet little Maggie Mae.

After what seemed like an eternity we pulled up to the Multivet clinic. As I walked through the doors towards the reception desk with Maggie in my arms I felt a sense of relief. Somehow I knew we were in the right place.

Dr. Jose Antonio and his assistant Stephen escorted us back to the examining room. They examined Maggie with the utmost care. They conducted a blood test that ruled out Lyme Disease, Heartworm, tick parasites, etc.

Vomiting and diarrhea in dogs can be linked to a number of different things so the question now was,

“What exactly is wrong with Maggie?”

Thankfully three of the five vets at Multivet speak English. We have passable consumer Spanish, but our terms for veterinarian Spanish are severely lacking.

Over the course of the next two days we made an additional four trips to clinic, two of which were after hours. Veterinarians Jose Antonio, Stephen, Claudio and Faran worked in shifts administering IV fluids, nausea medication, antiprotozoal medication and antibiotics. At one point we had to leave Maggie at the clinic for observation for a period of four hours.

The veterinarian team concluded that Maggie had an intestinal protozoan parasite called giardia. They treated her with an medication called metronidazole.

Bit by bit we saw steady improvement in Maggie’s condition. We nearly jumped for joy when she finally accepted a piece of chicken and drank a bit of water on her own.

After spending three days and two nights in Granada we got the green light that it was safe to bring Maggie home. We felt like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders.

Total cost for treatment and medications was only $122.39 USD. We were blown away! Had we required this treatment in Canada I’m sure we would have paid upwards of $1000. 

Words cannot express how grateful we are for the excellent care and attention Maggie received at Multivet. It is with the utmost confidence we are recommending each and every one of the doctors there.

A Medical Emergency with Maggie Mae

– Maggie and Mama feeling better and ready to head home!

The Multivet clinic is located in Granada on Calle La Islita near Hotel La Mar Dulce. Services provided include emergency and critical care, hospice and euthanasia services,  surgery, x-rays, nutritional counseling, spay and neuter surgeries and dental care. Exotic animal care is also available.

To make an appointment call (505) 2552-1890 or send an email to They also accept walk-ins.

To learn more about Multivet visit their website.

Photo Disclaimer: In our haste to get Maggie to a vet I did not pack my digital SLR that I normally shoot with. This extremely grainy photo was taken with our iPad. 


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