Many people in Barbados own a pet of some sort and the most popular being dogs. Besides being an extension of the family, many people keep dogs for security purposes, acting as great guards and alarms against potential intruders.
In this section of Living in Barbados, we have information and practical tips on owning and caring for your pets, particularly dogs and cats.
Owning A New Pet
There are many different types of pets one can own in a small island like Barbados, the most popular being dogs and cats. There are also many people who breed birds, fish, reptiles and other exotic animals that might interest some potential owners.
If you are interested in buying or adopting a new pet, the best place to start is by asking someone who already owns a pet similar to what you are looking for. You can also check the classifieds in the daily newspapers or enquiring at one of the pet shops around the island.
If you looking for a dog or a cat and are thinking of adopting a stray, you can get in touch with the RSPCA ((246-426-3077); The Ark (246-420-1541) or any one of the Veterinary clinics listed in the yellow pages.
If you already own a dog or cat and wish to import them into the island, there are some procedures that you will need to follow before your pet arrives.
Importation and Quarantine
Barbados is a rabies free country and there are very strict laws against the importation of animals into the island.
At present, the laws of Barbados do not allow for the direct importation of animals (cats and dogs) from other countries because of concerns over the transmission of rabies. Instead, animals are required to be quarantined in the United Kingdom for six months prior to arrival on the island.
Bringing a dog or cat into Barbados can be rather complicated. You should start organizing all of the paper work early. If all the documents are not fully completed your pet can potentially be denied entry. Another reason for denied entry is of course ill health.
It is best to contact the Veterinary Services Department for the latest information, thereby avoiding and eliminating much stress and surprise at this time.
To import any animal into Barbados, you will need to first get a permit from the Animal Health Administration, Senior Veterinary Office, Ministry of Agriculture, Pine Plantation, St. Michael, Barbados. Tel. 246-427-5492; email - firstname.lastname@example.org. Once issued, the permit is valid for six months.
Dogs and cats may only be imported directly (without quarantine, but an import permit is still required) into Barbados from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda.
Pets from all other areas require 6 months of quarantine in the UK, if their country of origin is outside of the EU. If your cat or dog is from within the EU and has a pet passport, a permit will be granted once it is resident in the UK for a limited time prior to entering Barbados. It is always best to get in touch with the Ministry for the latest information.
Customs duties are levied on all animals imported into Barbados. In order to facilitate this, owners/importers must employ the services of a customs broker. Failure to do so will result in significant delays in receiving the animal.
Click here for a link to view the 'Protocol for Handling Live Pets Arriving into Barbados and/or Intransit through Barbados at the Animal Reception Centre (ARC) at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA)'.
Food and supplies for cats, dogs and birds can easily be found at supermarkets and pet supply shops. Depending on the quantities that you are using to keep your pets fed, you might also want to consider buying in bulk either from a wholesaler or membership shopping club.
Supplies for other types of animals and specialty items you will need to go to a pet supply store, names can be found in the phone book.
Of course, because of the heat of the island, please always remember to give your pet plenty of clean drinking water at all times and an appropriate amount of shade.
There are numerous veterinaries located around the island. The best way to find one that suits you is to ask for a recommendation (telephone numbers are listed in the phone book). They are all of a very high standard and offer clinics, surgical facilities, house calls and the sale of medical supplies.
There are quite a number of boarding kennels in Barbados, offering long and short stay with varying levels of facilities and care.
Again, the best way to find out is to ask for recommendations from friends or colleagues and of course to conduct personal interviews.
Prices also vary from one business to another, so it's always best to have a list of questions you will want answered when you speak to the owner.
Training & Shows
There are a small handful of independent, certified professionals who specialize in obedience training. The classifieds in the newspaper will always give you information on contacts, times and dates.
There are also a number of breed specific kennel clubs in Barbados with shows held throughout the year. The Barbados Kennel Club (246-417-0607) is a good place to start if you would like to get in touch with breed specific clubs and make contact with like breeders and breed owners.
If you are also looking to get a specific breed of dog, this is also the right place to make contact with someone who can give you contacts on current or upcoming litters.
Owning a pet in Barbados can be fun. Just remember to keep up with the inoculations and maintain a healthy, happy pet in your home no matter the type of animal you have.