How to bring pets to Canada
Taking your pet with you when moving to a new country can be very comfortable, but it can also be a daunting task. Luckily, Canada has relatively simple rules for importing pets, and there are some requirements to keep in mind. This guide will walk you through the process of bringing your pet into Canada and highlight important considerations to keep in mind.
Basics for Bringing Pets into Canada
Canada has several requirements that all pets must meet in order to be allowed into the country. First, it is important to note that Canada is a rabies-free country and is committed to maintaining that status. Therefore, all cats and dogs entering Canada must show proof of rabies vaccination, or that they are from one of the countries on the “rabies-free” list. This is an essential requirement and without proof of vaccination, your pet will likely be denied entry.
Other basic requirements include:
- The rabies vaccination certificate must be written in either English or French and be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian
- The certificate must provide information on the animal’s breed, age, sex, color/markings, weight, and microchip/tattoo number if applicable
- The certificate must indicate that the animal is vaccinated against rabies and specify the date of vaccination, the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine, and the duration of immunity
- The certificate must bear the name and signature of the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate and the date it was signed
Cats and dogs must be at least three months of age at the time of vaccination. Puppies and kittens younger than three months and are therefore not vaccinated, require proof of age.
Aside from the above requirements, there are no fees for bringing your pet to Canada. However, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) employee will review the paperwork to ensure the pet is healthy and well cared for. Testing costs just over $30 for the first pet and $5 for each additional pet. If your pet requires further testing, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) official will be called to test your pet for an additional fee.
Documents required for pets
As previously mentioned, a rabies vaccination certificate is required for pets to enter Canada. However, depending on the type of pet you have and where you are bringing it, additional documents may be required. For example, if you bring a bird into Canada, you will need a veterinary health certificate stating that the bird is free of bird flu.
Dogs under 8 months of age imported under the commercial category or pets intended for adoption must be microchipped. Canada does not mandate the microchipping or tattooing of imported personal pets, but it is strongly recommended. Microchips are radio frequency identification transponders that are scanned by veterinarians if your pet goes missing and is taken to an animal shelter. The chip has an identification number that acts as a reference to find the owner’s contact information in a national, state, or city database. Reptiles and rodents must also observe special rules. For example, the CFIA prohibits the importation of amphibians and reptiles, including turtles and tortoises, due to the risk of salmonella virus. Rodents such as rats, hamsters and guinea pigs are allowed without certification.
Paperwork isn’t the only thing to consider. You should also think about how your pet will be transported to Canada. If you plan to air your pet into Canada, it’s important to check with the airline for specific policies and regulations. Each airline has different requirements and fees for transporting pets, so it’s important to know what to expect. Some airlines allow pets to be carried on board with their owners, while others require pets to travel in cargo. In some cases, airlines offer pet transportation services to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for you and your furry companion.
When transporting pets, it is important to make sure they have access to water and are comfortable. If traveling by air, have an appropriately sized carrier or carrier that allows your pet to comfortably stand, turn, and lie down. It’s also a good idea to provide familiar things like a favorite blanket or toy to keep your pet calm and relaxed during the trip.
Once you arrive in Canada, you will need to clear customs with your pet. A CBSA agent will review your paperwork to ensure your pet meets all necessary requirements for entry. This may include a physical examination to ensure your pet is healthy and free of contagious diseases.
If your pet does not meet entry requirements or appears ill, it may be refused entry into Canada. In some cases, pets may be quarantined for a period of time until released by their owners.
It is important to note that bringing pets into Canada is serious business and failure to comply with rules and regulations can result in fines, penalties and even loss of the pet. To avoid problems, it’s always best to be well prepared and ensure that your pet meets all the necessary requirements to enter Canada.
Bringing your pet into Canada can be a complicated process, but with the right information and preparation, it can be done safely and hassle-free. Check with your veterinarian, CFIA, and airline to make sure you have all the required documentation and meet all entry requirements. Pets are important members of our family and with a little effort they will keep us safe and happy during our trip to Canada. By following the necessary steps and making sure your pet meets all entry requirements, you can enjoy years of fun with your furry friend.
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