Food, plant and animal inspections
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 or 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.
On this page
- Assistive, personal or commercial dogs
- Check before you import your exotic pets
- Examples of exotic pets
Assistive, personal or commercial dogs
A personal import includes:
- a personally owned dog by a Canadian resident as a pet or
- an assistive (service) dog that is accompanied by the person to whom the dog is assigned
An assistive (service) dog is defined as a dog that provides a distinct, trained service to individuals who would otherwise be limited in their ability to perform certain tasks.
An assistive (service) dog is exempted from all import requirements if:
- it is accompanied by the person to whom the dog is assigned and
- documentation is presented to support that the animal is certified as a service animal by a recognized organization
Your assigned assistive (service) dog is considered a commercial import if:
- it is travelling with another person or
- it is in special “training status”
Imported “Commercial Dogs” include:
- Dogs for sale (retail), breeding (not direct retail), show or exhibition, scientific research or dogs that have Special Training Status
- Canadian commercial dogs returning to Canada
- Dogs destined for adoption and/or an animal welfare organization
To determine if your dog falls under an assistive ‘service dog’, a ‘personal;’ or ‘commercial’ import, visit Travelling with your dog: import rules.
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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