Traveling from the United States to Canada with your dog is easy when you know the legal requirements.
Canada, like most countries, has specific rules for bringing dogs and other animals into the country. The good news is that domestic dogs entering Canada do not have to be quarantined. The bad news is that the United States is not considered a “rabies free” country under Canadian law. Thus, there are some pretty strict requirements for traveling with your dog to visit our beautiful northern neighbor.
Signed Rabies Vaccination Certificate
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, dogs entering Canada from the United States (or from any other non-rabies free country) that are accompanied by their owners must have a signed rabies vaccination certificate. The certificate must:
- Be written in English or French
- Be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian
- Identify the dog by breed, color, weight, etc.
- Confirm that the dog is vaccinated against rabies
- Include the date of vaccination
- State the trade name and serial number of the vaccine
- Specify the duration of rabies immunity.
There is no waiting period between the time the dog is vaccinated for rabies and the time you may travel to Canada with your dog. Additionally, dogs younger than three months of age do not require a rabies certificate to enter Canada from the United States.
It is important to note that different rules apply for dogs that are not accompanied by their owners when they enter Canada.
Dogs Entering Canada Without the Proper Rabies Certification
If you travel to Canada with your dog without the required rabies certification, you will have to have your dog vaccinated within a specified period (at your own expense). The vaccination record will then have to be provided to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.
Assistance Dogs are Exempt
Assistance dogs certified as vision or hearing dogs entering Canada from the U.S. are exempt from the import requirements, so long as the person who is assigned to the assistance dog accompanies it to Canada.
Be Aware of Local Laws
If you are traveling to Canada with your dog, you should also do some research into the local laws of your destination to see if additional rules and restrictions apply. For example, the province of Ontario maintains a ban on pit bulls and does not allow pit bulls to enter the province.
Doing your homework ahead of time and having the appropriate documentation can make for a stress-free and enjoyable vacation in Canada for you and your dog.