Travelling with animals
Before heading to the border with an animal, make sure you are aware of Canadian import and travel requirements. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers will inspect and can refuse entry, confiscate or detain an animal if:
- it is undeclared, including family pets
- you do not have the necessary permits/certificates
- it is suspected of being sick or infected with a pest or disease
- the animal is transported in a non-humane way and not kept safe from harm and injury
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for establishing import requirements for all animals, including domestic pets and non-traditional pets.
Visit importing and travelling with pets for more information.
The CFIA is also responsible for setting guidelines for the humane transport of all animals. To ensure all animals, including cats, dogs, exotics and reptiles, are transported safely, visit the CFIA webpage Protecting Pets When They Travel.
Personal, assistance or commercial dogs
As of , commercial dogs at high-risk for dog rabies to be stopped from entering Canada
From this date until further notice, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will not issue import permits for commercial dogs from countries at high-risk for dog rabies. The CBSA will deny such dogs entry to Canada. For more information: Notice to industry: New measure prohibiting the entry of commercial dogs from countries at high-risk for dog rabies – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (canada.ca)
A personal dog is a pet that lives or will live with the owner and will not be transferred or given to another person upon arrival. You, as the owner must:
- be the importer of the dog and
- have proper documentation proving that you have ownership
If you are not the owner of the dog or the dog is intended for commercial purposes (which are listed under "Commercial Dog"), it is considered a commercial import.
An assistance (service) dog is:
- a dog that provides a distinct service to the individual it is assigned to (designated handler) and
- has been certified and trained by an organization accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation or Assistance Dogs International
Assistance dogs do not include therapy animals, companionship animals, emotional support animals, or comfort animals.
If your assistance dog falls within the personal category, it is exempted from the rabies vaccination requirements.
Your assigned assistance dog is considered a commercial import if:
- it is travelling with another person or
- it is in special "training status"
Commercial dogs include dogs that are intended to be transferred/given to another person and intended for purposes such as:
- dogs used for breeding, including selling/distributing the offspring, further resale, shows or exhibitions, or scientific research
- dogs that have special "training status"
- dogs intended for further adoption, an animal welfare organization, or fostering, which includes rescue dogs (by an individual or animal welfare organization)
- Canadian commercial dogs returning to Canada
For the most up to date requirements for bringing your dog(s) into Canada, please refer to the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).
It is strongly recommended to always travel with the physical original copy of all required documents when bringing your dog(s) into Canada.
Check before you import your exotic pets
Travellers are responsible for determining if their pet is subject to CITES controls and ensuring that they possess the appropriate CITES permits/certificates for importing them into Canada. Exporting requirements for the pet of the exporting country must be met.
Visit Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for more information.
Examples of exotic pets
- Small wild cats
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