Canadian Border Requirements for Pets

If you're planning a trip to Canada from the United States, bringing your pet with you isn't a difficult process, as long as you have the proper documentation with you.

Dog and Cat Border Requirements

If you're bringing Fido or Fluffy across the border, the same requirements apply. Canada does not require domestic cats and dogs entering from the U.S. to have:

  • Microchip identification
  • Tattoo identification
  • A quarantine period.

It does require that the animal have a current rabies vaccination if the dog or cat is more than 3 months old. If the animal is younger than that, a vet must provide written proof of the animal's age. The rabies vaccination certificate must include:

  • Gender, breed and color
  • Vaccination date
  • Immunity duration -- for example, one or three years
  • Name and serial number of the vaccine

These regulations apply to personal pets. Dogs and cats brought into Canada for commercial purposes -- including rescue animals -- do require microchipping, a veterinary certificate of health and an import permit, along with a valid rabies certificate.

Equine Requirements

Bringing a horse into Canada from the U.S. requires U.S. Department of Agriculture export certificate VS17-140 or VS17-145. Contact the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service office in the state from which the horse is originally traveling. The forms are health certificates, which must be signed by a veterinarian. These include a certificate for a negative Coggin's test conducted within the previous six months, including the date the animal's blood was drawn and the date tested. For equine health purposes, Canada may refuse entry to horses originating from certain states at particular times. For example, in June 2014, Canada stopped allowing horses to enter the country from Texas because of an outbreak of vesicular stomatitis.

Bird Importation

Importing pet birds is a bit more complicated. The owner -- or an immediate family member -- must accompany the bird, and your pet will undergo a health inspection at the entry port. You must sign a document declaring that your bird has not been out of your possession for the past 90 days, and that it has had no contact with other birds during that period. You must state that these are your personal birds and you are not selling them. You can't bring a bird into Canada if you -- or any immediate family member -- has done so within the previous 90 days.

Only certain birds fall into the category of pets. These include:

  • Parrots and parakeets
  • Canaries
  • Finches
  • Cardinals
  • Songbirds

Birds not considered pets include:

  • Game birds
  • Domestic fowl
  • Pigeons
  • Doves

Warnings

  • In January 2015, the Canadian government banned the importation of pet birds and bird-related items from the states of Washington and Oregon because those states suffered an avian influenza outbreak.

Rodents and Rabbits

Importing pet rodents and rabbits to Canada from the U.S. is quite simple, as health certificates, import permits or inspections aren't necessary, However, certain rodents are prohibited. These include:

  • Squirrels
  • Gambian pouch rats
  • Prairie dogs
  • Any species of African rodent.

Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.