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Can I Bring my Dog To Canada?

You’re all set to travel to Canada and the kids are super excited! You have everything planned out including accommodation and itinerary. But before you proceed to pack your bags, one question springs to mind, “Can I bring my dog to Canada?” Read on to learn if you should keep your dog home with a pet sitter or bring them along for the adventure. 

As one of the largest countries in the world, second only to Russia, Canada is not short of beautiful landscapes for travelers to enjoy when they visit. 

Here’s what you need to know before you bring your dog to Canada:

  • If you’re flying, use an IATA-approved crate
  • Small dogs can travel in the cabin
  • You can bring your own pet food but not commercial quantity amounts
  • Health certificates may be required for dogs who look unhealthy or are ill
  • Puppies younger than four months old will be not be allowed back into the US
  • Drive with dogs in a way that keeps them and you safe

Here are some tips to help you bring your dog across the Canadian border without experiencing any difficulties.  

Carrying an IATA Dog Crates

If you are traveling on a plane, the crate that you transport your dog in must meet the airline’s requirements for size, material, and weight and be IATA approved. Crates that meet the requirements can be purchased in pet stores or online.

Because you’re trying to have a relaxed, hassle-free vacation, it is wise to invest in a crate with wheels. It isn’t an airport requirement but it sure helps when your hands are full of luggage and children in the airport! 

Note that the wheels should be removable though.

Pet Food and Treats Across the Border

You can carry food with you when you bring your dog to Canada from the US, as long as it weighs 44 pounds (20 kilograms) or less. These are the pet food requirements when importing pets: 

  • The pet food must be commercially packaged with its seal intact and purchased from the US. 
  • The dog can not travel with the pet food in the cage, it must be in the traveler’s possession at the time of entry. 
  • If you are traveling with dog food, then you must have a dog accompanying you at the time of entry. 
  • The pet food you carry must be used to only feed the dog you came with into Canada.

Flying With Your Dog

There are important notes to check with your airline before you travel with your dog:

  • Does the airline accept pets?
  • Find out whether your dog is eligible to travel with you in the cabin or will have to travel in the hold. Most airlines don’t have an issue with cabin travel as long as your hand luggage and pet’s collective weight is less than 17.3 pounds (8 kilograms). 
  • Is there a direct flight to the destination? Try and avoid long flights because they may be stressful for the dog. 

How to Properly Care for Your Dog When Driving to Canada

If driving is more your style, here’s how to keep Rover happy as you cross into the magical land of maple syrup and happiness.

Keep Your Dog Contained

If you know that your dog can easily distract the driver, then it’s wise to keep him contained. One of the ways to do that is to put them in a carrier. You should not let the dog roam freely. Neither should you expose the dog to flying debris. 

Be Aware of the Weather

You should not subject your dog to long periods of time in a parked car, especially when the weather is very hot. If you do need to leave the dog in the vehicle, let it be for a short time period and make sure your pooch has fresh water. 

You can also create a cross breeze in the car by leaving the windows on either side of the car a little open. 

Provide Ample Food, Water, and Rest

When you’re going on a long trip, make sure there’s enough food and water. Make regular stops too so pupper can stretch his legs or rest. 

Important Points to Note Before You Bring Your Dog Across the Border

  • Domestic dogs, or pets in general, don’t have to be quarantined.
  • If you are importing pets, you don’t need tattoo or microchip identification for your dog if you import him/her as a personal pet. If your dog is eight months or younger, and is imported under the commercial category, then they must have an electronic microchip as an identifier. The commercial category includes dogs for breeding purposes, scientific research, dogs that will be adopted, dogs for retail sales, dogs in ‘special training’ status and dogs intended for a show or exhibition. 
  • The CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) is at liberty to refer an animal that is presented at the border for secondary inspection to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency). If that happens, you should expect delays.

FAQs: Traveling With Your Dog to Canada

Here are some of the most common questions we get about traveling with dogs from the US to Canada:

What vaccines are required when importing pets?

When importing your dog into Canada, you should ensure that your dog has received all the necessary vaccines.  A puppy that’s three months old or younger at the time of travel does not require a rabies vaccination. You are, however, required to provide proof of the dog’s age upon request.

Do I require a health certificate to bring my dog to Canada?

Health certificates are generally not necessary when you bring your dog to Canada from the US. Border agents do have the mandate to refer any animal trying to get into Canada to a secondary inspection. This doesn’t normally happen though if your dog looks healthy. If your dog looks ill, then the border agents will step in and ask for a health cert from a veterinarian.  If you want to travel with your dog and you know that his/her health may be questioned, get a certification from your vet before you decide to travel. 


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