Pets are often considered members of the family so often they are taken on vacation. However, the requirements from crossing the border and back into Canada can be tricky. Those travelling back into Canada with their pets need to know what the rules are. 

"Import requirements apply to both animals returning to Canada and those entering Canada for the first time," explained Luke Reimer, a communications officer with the CBSA. "The difference would be for travellers who are returning to Canada who have bought or adopted a dog in the U.S. They should be ready to present the adoption certificate or the bill of sale when they arrive at the border."

"In general, this is for pets who are entering Canada from the United States for personal purposes, who are travelling with the owner, so for dogs and cats who are over the age of three months, they require a rabies vaccination certificate. Animals less than three month old do not require a rabies certification, but must be able to provide proof of age."

"For dogs and cats imported into Canada, they'll have a documentary inspection by the CBSA to ensure the animal's rabies vaccination is current and that the animal description matches and our officers will also visually inspect the animal to ensure there are no visible signs of illness. There is not an import permit required for domestic dogs and cats in that scenario and they are exempt from inspection fees if they originate from the United States."

For other types of pets, like working dogs such as herding and hunting dogs, the requirements are the same as a personal pet provided that they are for personal use and not for sale, show or breeding.

"Service dogs, when they're accompanied by the person to whom they are assigned, they are considered personal imports. That's for certified service dogs, not emotional support dogs. Assistance dogs that are certified service are also exempt from the rabies requirement when accompanying their owner."

Service dogs and other dogs in specialized training who are not accompanied by their owner are considered commercial imports. 

You can download the application and get further information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website.  

Exotic pets will also require import permits. There are also some animals that are prohibited in Canada. 

He add that it is very important to always make a full and accurate declaration when arriving  at the border. 

"All pets must be declared and presented for importation to the CBSA upon entry to Canada. For those who might attempt to evade taxes by failing to declare or undervaluing animals that you purchased abroad, you need to warned that the penalties are significant. you will have to pay up to 55% of the animal's value that you failed to declare."

Tips on travelling into the States with your pet can be found here.


photo courtesy of CFIA website

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