Are you planning to bring your dog to Canada from the US or any other country? If yes, this blog is for you. We’ll explain in detail the laws pertaining to importing and traveling with pets in Canada.

It’s the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has the authority to check whether the animal it fulfills the import requirements, after which it either removes the animal from Canada, initiates an investigation or pursues enforcement actions.

So, read carefully through these lines so that you may not miss any important provision regarding the requirements.

Let’s begin without any delay further!

dog passport

Personal Vs Commercial Importing

Canadian govt. segregate between personal and commercial dogs, as the rules differ for both. Therefore, it’s essential to get to know the difference between the both.

Let’s first define what’s Personal and what’s Commercial importing

As per Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), personal dogs are those that live or will live with the owner and won’t be given to any other person upon arrival, and the concerned person is the importer of the dog himself and carries the dog ownership documents as well.

On the contrary, commercial dogs are the ones that are intended to be transferred or given to another person or firm for breeding, training, or adoption or are simply Canadian commercial dogs returning to Canada

Do You Know?

It’s always recommended to keep a hard copy of the required documents for traveling with your dog to Canada.

Dog Rules For Travelling to Canada – for Age Bracket

The rules for dogs older than 8 months are a bit relaxed, for the obvious reason that the older ones have developed an immune system against the diseases and are less likely to transfer to any other dogs.

So, let’s get to know what rules are applied to both of these.

Pet Dogs Older than 8 Months

  • Pets older than 8 months are not required to possess health certificates – good news for pet owners.
  • However, proof of rabies vaccination is required for all dogs older than 8 months old, assistance animals like service dogs, 1-2 owner-accompanied dogs, or any dog imported in Canada on a temporary basis for participation in any competition.
  • A proper rabies certificate is required for all dogs greater than 3 months issued by a licensed vet within 3 years of importation into Canada.
  • If you are looking for more information related to rabies vaccination and side effects, don’t forget to check our related article
travel and vacation concept - group of dogs with suitcases near lake

Pet Dogs Younger than 8 months

Pets younger than 8 months may or may not be required to have a health certificate depending if they are traveling alone or with their owners.

Accompanied dogs:

1-2 dogs traveling with their owners don’t need a health. But needs to produce a recent rabies vaccine.

Unaccompanied dogs:

The dogs that aren’t traveling with their owners (unaccompanied) to Canada and are 8 months old or less require a health certificate issued by a licensed vet within 72 hours of arrival to Canada.

Traveling by Car from the US or Others to Canada

We can segregate this section into two parts: at the border and beyond the border.

At the border:

CFIA will inspect the dog and its documentation, including the rabies vaccination proof as per laws, physical fitness and the dog’s description following what’s mentioned in the documents.

If the rabies certificate is proven unacceptable, expired or not provided, you’ll be required to update the vaccinations within 2 weeks of arrival. CFIA’s local district office will be in touch with you for follow-up.

Beyond the border:

As mentioned above if the rabies vaccine is required to be given within 2 weeks you need to keep following up with CFIA. Some vet also recommends quarantining your dog for a month, but it’s highly a vet’s personal decision.

Air Travel with Your Pet to Canada

Let’s take the example of Air Canada for taking your dog with you to Canada. Although the policies differ from airline to airline, the basics remain similar, like the dog should be small to fit in a kennel which can be placed under the seat in front of you. If you are looking for more information about how to fly with a small dog, don’t forget to check our related article:

You can check the details from Air Canada’s policy.

Dog’s In-cabin travel:

The carrier size should be equal to or less than 23cm x 40cm x 55cm for a hard-sided exterior. Another thing to remember is that your in-cabin dog is considered your hand baggage. So you can’t take your bag as well with this bag. And the carrier should be completely closed not letting any opening for the pet’s exit itself. The cost for an in-cabin dog transfer is $50 for CAN/US (except Hawaii) for Air Canada.

Baggage Compartment:

If your dog is big he must be transported via the baggage compartment section of the plane. The maximum weight allowed is up to 45kg (both carrier and the dog). The charges are $105-$120.75 CAD/US (except Hawaii)

FAQs About How To Bring Your Dog To Canada?

Can I Bring My Dog Into Canada By Car?

Yes, of course, you can enter Canada with your pet by car. The only thing you need to make sure is you have a rabies vaccination certificate.

Can I Bring My Dog To Canada?

Of course, Canada welcomes your dog and other pets into Canada. If it’s from a country other than the USA, make sure the Canadian Food Inspection Agency allows your dog’s entry and does not include the list of barred countries list.

Can I Bring My Dog To Canada From The Philippines?

The Philippines, unfortunately, is included in the countries considered high risk for importing rabies into Canada. Therefore, you can’t bring your dog into Canada. However, sometimes the bar is lifted temporarily for some time during which you can transport your dog to Canada.

Returning To U.S. From Canada With Dog

The only thing you need to have is to carry the updated vaccine for rabies certificate. Dogs under 3 months of age are exempt from this.

Can I Bring My Cat To Canada By Car?

Either you need to be traveling from a rabies-free country or your cat must have been properly vaccinated for rabies. Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) will be the authority doing inspection at the border.

The Bottom Line

Dog import into Canada is simple but technical. It all depends on how you want to import it – accompany yourself by air or land route, or send it through pet transfer agencies.

Pacific Customs Broker (PCB), a famous animal transportation company summarizes the pet import into Canada as follows:

  Personal importCommercial import
  (dog for home)(for sale, etc)
  8 weeks to 8 monthsOlder than 8 monthsLess than 8 monthsOlder than 8 months
Arrange 30 days prior to arriving at the borderVet Certificate( within 72 hrs)Yes   
Vet Certificate( within 48 hrs)  Yes 
Rabies vaccination certificateYesYesYesYes
A CFIA Issued Import permit  Yes 
Microchipped  Yes 
 Formal CBSA (Customs) EntryYesYesYesYes
 Animals’ visual inspectionYesYesYesYes
 Documentation reviewYesYesYesYes
 If req., CFIA Vet Inspection at the port  Yes 
 If no rabies vaccination, produce within 2 weeksYesYesYesYes

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