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What to do before bringing your dog to Canada

If you're travelling to or returning to Canada with your dog, there are some essential steps you'll need to take.

Many countries, including Canada, have stringent requirements for dogs entering from abroad, to prevent the spread of diseases.

Disease risk

Canada's dog import requirements help prevent serious animal and zoonotic diseases, such as rabies caused by canine-variant viruses (dog rabies) from entering the country. Dog rabies is a fatal disease that kills thousands of people every year globally. Imported dogs that are infected with the disease pose a risk to our friends and family, our pets, livestock and wildlife.

Some dog import requirements must be completed at specific times. It is your responsibility to make sure that your dog meets all the requirements and you have all the relevant documents prepared before travelling to Canada. If you fail to do so, your dog may be refused entry into Canada.

Long journeys can also have a serious impact on your dog's health and well-being.

Before travelling with your dog, make sure to follow these steps:

1. Meet Canada's dog import requirements

If you're bringing a dog into Canada, you will need to meet specific import requirements. These requirements depend on various factors, such as

Before you plan any travel arrangements, find the requirements for your specific situation in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) pet import tool.

It is your responsibility to make sure that all the requirements are met before travelling to Canada.

Note: if you're travelling to another country from Canada, you will also need to meet the other country's import requirements.

Information on other country import requirements

2. Consult a veterinarian

Talk to your veterinarian to consider the risks of travelling and confirm that your dog is healthy and has all the required tests, vaccinations and treatments to enter Canada. Ensure that all of your dog's records are ready and up to date, and that the required documentation is completed.

3. Prepare for travel by air

Airlines may require additional documentation or have additional requirements when travelling with an animal by air. Check with your airline to determine what requirements are needed for your situation.

You'll also want to do some preparations in advance, such as finding the appropriately sized container and training your dog to its new surroundings. See more detailed information on travelling by air from the International Air Transport Association.

4. Copies of the required documentation

Print out hard copies and retain digital versions of all the documents that support the necessary import requirements.

It is your responsibility to make sure that all the information in your documents is correct before travelling to Canada.

Dogs that don't meet the CFIA's requirements

If a dog arrives at the border and does not meet Canada's import requirements, the situation will be reviewed and a decision made regarding the animal's eligibility to enter Canada. Depending on the facts of the case and the non-compliance(s) with CFIA requirements, the animal may be ordered to be removed from Canada, fines may be applied or legal actions may be pursued.

Adopting or buying a dog from abroad

Dogs acquired from outside of Canada will also need to meet import requirements. It is your responsibility as the dog owner to make sure the dog is eligible to be brought into Canada.

Do your research and ask these questions before making a commitment.


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