Canada

Canada


Importation of cats and dogs into Canada depend on, among other things, whether the country of export is recognized as duty-free. Be sure to check Canada's current list of countries recognized as rabies-free.


Cats

Domestic cats entering Canada do not have to be quarantined. If you are importing a cat three (3) months of age or older, you must meet the following import requirements. Cats less than three (3) months of age are exempt from the import requirements. The import requirements apply to pet cats entering Canada permanently, as well as pet cats passing through Canada on their way to a final destination.

Import requirements will vary depending on the age of the cat and the rabies status of the country of export.

Importing domestic cats three (3) months of age or older from countries recognized by Canada as being rabies free

Cats may enter Canada if they are accompanied by rabies certification. This means they must have:

  • a rabies vaccination certificate;
  • OR
  • a veterinary certificate declaring that the cat originates from a country recognized by Canada as being rabies-free.

The rabies vaccination certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

The veterinary certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or for at least six (6) months immediately preceding shipment to Canada; and
  • be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority*, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the animal's shipment to Canada.

*Note: a competent government authority refers to a veterinary agency or other government agency that manages a country's animal health and welfare situation, as well as handles the responsibility of veterinary certification for the purposes of international trade. The document can be either:

  • a letter issued on the competent government authority's letterhead, which must be dated, stamped and signed by an official of the competent government authority in the country of origin; or
  • a letter by the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate, which must be endorsed by the competent government authority.

The import requirements also apply to cats that were originally from Canada and are returning to Canada from a rabies-free country.

The import requirements also apply to cats leaving a country that imposed quarantine, if the cat leaves before that quarantine period is completed.

Importing domestic cats three (3) months of age or older from countries not recognized by Canada as being rabies free

Cats may enter Canada if they are accompanied by:
a rabies vaccination certificate.

The rabies vaccination certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

Additional cat import information

Canada does not require a waiting period between the time the animal is vaccinated for rabies and the time the animal is imported into Canada.

If the cat does not meet the import requirements relating to rabies certification, owners will be required, at their own expense, to do the following:

have the animal vaccinated against rabies within a specified period of time; and
provide the vaccination record to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.

If you are importing a non-domestic cat, you must meet additional import requirements before the non-domestic cat enters the country. Please refer to the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for more information.


Dogs

Domestic dogs entering Canada do not have to be quarantined. However, if you are importing a dog, you must meet the following import requirements. The import requirements apply to pet dogs or those described as personal importations. They apply to pet dogs entering Canada permanently, as well as pet dogs passing through Canada on their way to a final destination.

Import requirements will vary depending on the age of the dog, the rabies status of the country of export, and

the purpose of the importation.

Importing dogs less than eight (8) months of age from countries recognized by Canada as rabies-free

Import requirements for dogs accompanied by their owners

Dogs that are accompanied by their owners require rabies certification. This means they must have:

  • a rabies vaccination certificate;
  • OR
  • a veterinary certificate, declaring that the dog is originating from a country recognized by Canada as being rabies-free.

If you are using a rabies vaccination certificate, it must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

If you are using a veterinary certificate, it must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or for at least six (6) months immediately preceding shipment to Canada; and
  • be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority*, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the animal's shipment to Canada.
  • *Note: a competent government authority means a veterinary agency or other government agency that manages a country's animal health and welfare situation, as well as handles the responsibility of veterinary certification for international trade. The document can be either:
  • a letter issued on the competent government authority's letterhead, dated, stamped, and signed by an official of the competent government authority in the country of origin; or
  • a signed letter written by the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate, which must be endorsed by the competent government authority.

Import requirements for dogs not accompanied by their owners

Dogs that are not accompanied by their owners require:

  • the rabies vaccination certificate as described above;
  • OR
  • a veterinary certificate declaring that the dog is coming from a rabies-free country, as described above;
  • AND
  • a veterinary certificate of health (differs from the veterinary certificate described above).

The veterinary certificate of health must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • be issued and signed by the licensed veterinarian who performed the examination;
  • specify the date and time of the examination;
  • state that the veterinarian is satisfied that the animal:
  • is not less than eight (8) weeks of age at the time of the examination;
  • is free of any clinical evidence of disease;
  • was vaccinated, not younger than six (6) weeks of age, for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus;
  • can be transported to Canada without undue suffering due to infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue, or any other causes;
  • include the name and signature of the licensed veterinarian.

All information must be recorded legibly in the veterinarian's handwriting.

The dog must be imported into Canada 72 hours or less after the examination.

If you require a veterinary certificate declaring that the dog is coming from a rabies-free country, along with a veterinary certificate of health, both of these may appear on the same document.

Importing dogs less than eight (8) months of age from countries not recognized by Canada as being rabies-free

Import requirements for dogs accompanied by their owners

Dogs that are accompanied by their owners require:

  • a signed rabies vaccination certificate.

The rabies vaccination certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

Import requirements for dogs not accompanied by their owners

Dogs that are not accompanied by their owners require:

  • a rabies vaccination certificate as described above;
  • AND
  • a veterinary certificate of health.

The veterinary certificate of health must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by the licensed veterinarian who performed the examination;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • specify the date and time of the examination;
  • state that the veterinarian is satisfied that the animal:
  • is not less than eight (8) weeks of age at the time of the examination;
  • is free of any clinical evidence of disease;
  • was vaccinated, not younger than six (6) weeks of age, for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus;
  • can be transported to Canada without undue suffering due to infirmity, illness, injury, fatigue, or any other causes;
  • have the name and signature of the licensed veterinarian.

All information must be recorded legibly in the veterinarian's handwriting.

The dog must be imported into Canada 72 hours or less after the examination.

From countries not recognized by Canada as rabies-free.


Importing dogs eight (8) months of age or older from countries recognized by Canada as being rabies-free

Dogs may enter Canada if they are accompanied by rabies certification, which means they must have:

  • a signed rabies vaccination certificate;
  • OR
  • a signed veterinary certificate, declaring that the dog is originating from a country recognized by Canada as being rabies-free.

The rabies vaccination certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

The veterinary certificate must:

  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal as in breed, colour, and weight;
  • state that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or for at least six (6) months immediately preceding shipment to Canada; and
  • be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority*, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the animal's shipment to Canada.

*Note: a competent government authority refers to a veterinary agency or other government agency that manages a country's animal health and welfare situation, as well as handles the responsibility of veterinary certification for the purposes of international trade. The document can be either:

  • a letter issued on the competent government authority's letterhead, dated, stamped, and signed by an official of the competent government authority in the country of origin; or
  • a signed letter by the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate, which must be endorsed by the competent government authority.

Importing dogs eight (8) months of Age or older from countries not recognized by Canada as being rabies-free

Dogs may enter Canada if they are accompanied by:

a rabies vaccination certificate.

  • The rabies vaccination certificate must:
  • be written in English or French;
  • be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • identify the animal (as in breed, colour, and weight);
  • state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies;
  • indicate the date of vaccination;
  • indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine; and
  • specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

Additional Information

The import requirements also apply to dogs that were originally from Canada and are returning to Canada from a rabies-free country.

The import requirements also apply to dogs leaving a country that imposed quarantine, if the dog leaves before that quarantine period is completed.

Dogs do not require rabies vaccination or certification if they are less than three (3) months of age at the time they are imported into Canada.

Canada does not require a waiting period between the time the animal is vaccinated for rabies and the time the animal is imported into Canada.

If a dog does not meet the import requirements for rabies certification, owners will be required, at their own expense, to do the following:

have the animal vaccinated against rabies within a specified period of time; and
provide the vaccination record to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.

There may be additional requirements for dogs that are being imported for breeding or commercial purposes.

If you frequently import dogs or import several dogs at once, it may be considered commercial.
Commercial shipments are defined by the Canada Border Services Agency as any dog from which revenue may be generated, including breeding dogs that are not for immediate retail sale.
Please refer to the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for more information.

Assistance dogs are exempt from import requirements when the person who is assigned to the dog accompanies it to Canada. This includes dogs certified as vision or hearing dogs.

The province of Ontario does not permit pit bulls to enter the province. For information on Ontario's pit bull ban, visit the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website.

Other provincial or municipal legislation may also apply. Please check with local authorities before you import a dog.

 

Incorrect or missing information? Please contact us and let us know.

 

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