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Traveling into Canada with your dog is fairly easy and straightforward.
People know that I travel a lot with Ruby.
Ruby Doodle Dog has crossed the border many times and I’m happy to share what we have learned.
Considering we live in Washington State, traveling into Canada with a dog is a quick trip across the border.
Traveling into Canada does have some specific paperwork requirements for most dogs.
Especially, if you’re planning on traveling through Ontario with a “bully breed” you’ll want to be aware of some special legislation specific for Canada.
Don’t forget to think about the paperwork requirements for getting back into the United States or whatever country your going back too.
Documents you’ll need to travel into Canada by car with your dog
Traveling into Canada is fairly easy, as long as you have the right paperwork with you at the border crossing.
You can stay in Canada for six months with proof of citizenship and appropriate ID’s. If you’re wanting to work you’ll most likely need a visa.
What you’ll need to travel into Canada
As with most countries a United States Passport works as proof of citizenship as well as your identification.
A few allowable alternate forms of ID are:
- US Passport
- Enhanced Driver’s Licenses
- Military ID cards ( for those serving in the military)
- US Merchant Mariner Cars ( for those who are on maritime business in Canada)
- A Trusted Travelers cards such as NEXUS, SENTRI FAST or GLOBAL ENTRY).
Documents you’ll need to drive into Canada
Luckily Canada doesn’t require a pet to be kept in quarantine. They can remain in your custody the entire border crossing into Canada.
Personal pets are not required to be microchipped or tattooed unless you are traveling with a show dog, or are putting pets up for retail sale.
What you’ll need to travel into Canada with your dogs or cat over 3 months.
Your dog will neeed need a proof of rabies vaccination or a health certificate. Or a EU (Europrean Passport) is also acceptable documentation.
The rabies and health certificate must be compeleted buy a licensed Veterinarian.
You’ll want to be aware when getting your pets vaccinated, Canada does not recognize the three year rabies vaccination.
For dogs and cats only 1-2 months old
Dogs and cats under 3 months of age are generally exempt from meeting the import requirements as long as they are traveling with their owners.
The Laws for bringing your pet into Canada
Occasionally it happens that you may be referred to a secondary inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Just in case, plan for any delays.
All pets flying into Canada requirements
All dogs entering Canada must have all the necessary vaccines unless the dog is less than 3 months of age or younger. Pets 3 months or younger are not required to have the rabies vaccine.
Most airlines require a current health certificate when flying. Personally I have found it’s much easier getting in and out if I have the health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian.
Inspection of your pets when entering Canada
Some pets may require inspection from the Canada Food Inspection Agency. You’ll want to fill out the online form to determine if you’ll need to have your pet inspected.
The current fees for your pets inspections are:
- $30.00 plus tax for the first pet; and
- $5.00 plus tax for any additional pets.
Please note this is Canadian currency.
Bringing your pets food into Canada
I have had the experience of having to leave my dog food behind in the trash at customs.
The rules are a little complex and the regulatatory documents aren’t straightforward.
Bringing your pets food into Canada is allowed from the United States, under these conditions:
- The pet food must be from the United States and remain in it’s commercial packaging.
- Your pets food must be in your possession from the time of entry into Canada.
- Your pet that is eating that specific food must be traveling with you.
Service or medically necessary dogs
- If you have need for a service or medically necessary dog. Guide or hearing dog. These dogs are not subject to any restrictions going into Canada. But returning to the United States they are subject to having the required vaccinations.
- If your service dog is traveling alone or with other people then the same regulations as if it were a non-certified pet.
- Getting into Canada is fairly straightforward. However, coming back into the United States does require a rabies vaccination.
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
- Make sure the food your bringing into Canada does not contain beef.
- Upon entering the United States, don’t bring food or treat containing goat or lamb. Unless it’s in a bag clearly marked it originated in the United States.
- You’ll want to make sure all dog food and dog treats are in the original packaging and lists all sources.
Be prepared that you may have to leave your dogs food and treats in the trash cans at customs and stop at the nearest store in Canada to purchase new food.
The reality is that sometimes the guards may never even ask. I’ve been across the border twice and they’ve never even asked to see Ruby’s paperwork much less her food.
Other perspectives on entering Canada with your dog
GoPetFriendly has a great article here about an actual conversation with a border guard on crossing the border.
The folks at GoPetFriendly also have an article about Taking your Dog to Canada that has a lot of information, especially those travelling into Ontario.
Coming back into the United States from Canada
The rules for bringing your pet back into the United States is regulated under US Regulations, which can be found here.
A Rabies Vaccination Certificate is required.
The rules apply to all puppies, emotional support or service animals.
Rules and regulations for entering the United States from Canada
In addition to the CDC regulations you’ll have to comply with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the State you’re entering regulations. At times these regulations can be stricter than the federal regulations.
Here is the link for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You can also contact them directly by calling 1-800-232-4636 or email: CDCAnimalImports@cdc.gov.
What you’ll need to come back into the United States from Canada
Every pet including an emotional support or service animal will need a rabies vaccination certificate.
- The rabies vaccination certificate must include your dogs breed, sex, age, color and any other identifying marks.
- The date of the rabies vaccination.
- Expiration date of the rabies vaccination.
- Licensed veterinarian’s signature.
- Rabies vaccination certificates must be up to date.
- Puppies must be at least 3 months old to receive its rabies vaccination. There is a 30 day waiting period before bringing your dog into the United States.
Canada is pet friendly and very accommodating to furry friends travels
Visiting Canada is safe and easy with our four-legged family members. Bringing your pets along can be a blast when traveling into Canada with your dog.
Try to stay in an area that is full of dog parks, pet focused hotels and restaurants. Most of the larger cities are very accommodating to dogs.
Destinations for traveling with your dog into Canada
Vancouver, B.C. is full of active dog loving people. We found miles of trails and many parks.
With tons of off-leash parks such as Charleson Park, Coopers park and Dusty Greenwell park.
Whistler, B.C. is also a great dog-friendly destination with devoted dog owners. With plenty of dog friendly hotels, dog beaches and parks, it’s a great vacation with your four-legged friend.
What’s your favorite place to travel into Canada with your dog?
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