Traveling with Your Dog to Canada
What YOU Will Need
If you are a run-of-the-mill adult US citizen, you need a passport to drive across the border to Canada. If you need to apply for or renew your passport, click here. Children ages 15 and under traveling with their parents need their birth certificate issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where they were born.
If you have some unusual circumstances, like being a divorced parent having or sharing custody of a child, Wikipedia has a good overview of the information you need to know and additional documents you’ll need to bring. If you’re still not finding what you need, contact US Customs and Border Protection or the Canada Border Services Agency.
If you’ll be spending the night in Canada, you’ll need to find a great pet friendly hotel! It’s easy to find the perfect spot by searching online or reaching out to your friends for recommendations.
What YOUR DOG Will Need
Canada’s entry requirements for pets take into consideration the rabies status of the country of origin, and the US is not a country that Canada recognizes as being rabies free. Therefore, you will need proof that your dog has a current rabies vaccination. Here is the official take on the required proof:
Domestic or pet dogs may enter Canada if accompanied by an original, valid rabies vaccination certificate, which is issued by a licensed veterinarian (a veterinarian who is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the country of origin) in English or French, and which clearly identifies the dogs and states that they are currently vaccinated against rabies.
This certificate should identify the animal’s breed, color, weight, etc., and indicate the name of the licensed rabies vaccine used (trade name), including serial number and duration of validity (up to three years). Please note that if the duration of validity is not indicated on the certificate, the vaccine will be considered to be valid for one year.
Canada does not impose a quarantine on a pet arriving from any country, and there is no waiting period between the time your dog is vaccinated for rabies and the time he is welcome to enter Canada. However, your dog will have to have been vaccinated at least 30 days prior to crossing the border back into the United States. (See the Update below.)
A rabies vaccination or certification is not required for pups less than three months of age crossing into Canada, but you’ll need to be pre-approved to cross the border back into the US with an unvaccinated puppy. (See the Update below.)
Still wondering what it’s really like to cross the border with your pets? Here’s what happened to us on our last trip to Canada and back.
Update: New Requirements for Dogs Entering the United States
On August 11, 2014, the United States enacted new requirements for dog entering the country without proper rabies vaccination records. In the past, pet owners could proceed across the border without proper documentation if they entered into an agreement to vaccinate their dog and isolate him until the inoculation took effect.
Due to an increase in requests for these agreements, an investigation was performed that revealed that many people were not complying with the requirements. Now all requests for confinement agreements will be be individually reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and must be pre-approved before crossing the border into the United States. If you’re planning to travel with an unvaccinated dog, learn the steps you need to take to make sure your travel plans are not derailed.
Traveling Through Ontario
The Province of Ontario has an ugly Breed Specific Law that grants police or animal control officers sweeping powers. This includes search and seizure of a dog deemed to be a “pit bull type” based on visual inspection. If the dog is, in fact, judged to be a pit bull type, the dog will be euthanized – even though it may not have broken any other law.
There are no exceptions to this law for tourists traveling with their pets. Anyone having a dog that could be mistaken for a pit bull is urged to carry documents proving your dog’s pedigree when traveling in Ontario.
Here is a summary of the law from Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General.
Traveling With Your Cat To Canada
Driving across the border to Canada with your cat? We have a special blog post just for you!