If you can’t bear to leave your beloved buddy behind when coming to Canada, don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we break down the process for bringing pets to Canada.
How to bring your pet to Canada
- Contact your airline to find out about their specific rules and guidelines for bringing your pet on a flight. They differ from airline to airline.
- Arrange a health check in advance, making sure your pet is in good enough shape to travel. You may also be required to present health certificates or other documentation when entering. You can find permit application information on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.
- Pet carriers should ensure the animal has enough room to lie down, turn around and stand. Provide adequate ventilation and have a little water spout so they don’t dehydrate. The International Air Transport Association has issued guidelines on animal containers.
- On long trips, make sure your pet has food and water and that you make regular stops so it can rest or get out and walk around. All pet food entering Canada must be in a sealed (unopened) bag, commercially packaged and from the United States. A maximum of 44 pounds of food is allowed.
- Quarantine is generally required only when you haven’t complied with vaccination rules and you haven’t got your relevant paperwork – so make sure you do! If you’re bringing a rabbit into Canada, things may not be as straightforward. Skip to our section if you’ve got your very own Bugs Bunny in tow.
Most pet entry is overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada.
Check below for animal-specific requirements for bringing pets to Canada:
Amphibians and reptiles
Amphibians and reptiles are permitted from any country, for any use, to any destination in Canada.
An import permit is required for turtles and tortoises from all countries but they will only be issued to zoos and research facilities, so you will have to leave your little hero in a half shell behind if you’re not either of these.
Birds require an import permit issued by a local CFIA office, so long as the bird is coming from a country officially recognized by Canada as being free of highly pathogenic avian influenza and provided the applicant meets import requirements, including quarantine.
Cats coming from a country officially recognised as being rabies-free must have a rabies vaccination certificate; OR a veterinary certificate, declaring so. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) needs to perform a visual inspection to ensure the cat’s vaccination is current and the animal description matches. You may be required to complete more inspections, at the discretion of CBSA, which can incur fees of over $30.00 + tax. Make sure your kitty meets the requirements laid out for bringing pets to Canada.
Countries and territories recognized as being rabies-free
|Ireland (Republic of)|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles)|
|Saint Pierre et Miquelon|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Turks and Caicos Islands|
|United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)|
The United States of America and Mexico are not considered rabies-free.
Immigrating to Canada with your dog can be a little more complicated than you might expect. Dogs are required to undergo a visual inspection from the Canada Border Services Agency and like cats, may be required to complete more inspections. It is the responsibility of the owner to contact the CFIA in advance of travel. You should have proof of your dog’s age and all dogs over three months old will need the necessary vaccinations.
Make sure Fido’s all set so that you can navigate dog immigration to Canada!
If you’re heading into Montreal, check this out before setting your plans in motion.