Moving your pet to Canada

Emigrating is a massive step to take but, if you can take your beloved pets with you, the transition will be easier.  Taking your pets to Canada is simple compared with many countries, as long as you follow the strict guidelines set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which deals with all animals coming into Canada.

There is no quarantine in Canada for cats, dogs and ferrets as long as the correct procedures are followed.

Microchipping is not compulsory for pet importation to Canada but it is recommended, just in case your pet gets lost.

Vaccinations: –
2a.  For cats over 3 months and dogs over 8 months entering from rabies free   countries
You will need either a health certificate in French or English from a vet, or a pet passport as proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.  This must also include a statement from a licensed vet or government body that there has been no rabies outbreak in your country of origin during the last six months and that your pet has been in that country for the last six months.

The following are countries which Canada considers to be rabies free: – Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Pierre et Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland), and Uruguay.

2b.  For cats over 3 months and dogs over 8 months entering from all other countries
You will need a valid rabies vaccination certificate and health certificate signed by a registered vet.  There is no required waiting period after the rabies vaccination is given.

2c.  Dogs under 8 months entering from any country
Canada is one of the countries in the world which is very aware of the ills of puppy mills and is doing its bit to stop this highly lucrative but cruel trade.  If you are not travelling with your puppy and/or the puppy’s papers are not in your name, the Canadian government will assume the puppy is a commercial import.  As such, your little pup will be microchipped and have to undergo a health check and then it will be issued with an Import Permit.  The only exception to this rule are puppies being brought into Canada from the States to enter dog shows.  Proof of entry into a dog show, plus a rabies certificate must be shown before the puppy will be allowed into Canada.

2d.  Puppies and kittens under 3 months
There is no need for a rabies certificate or other vaccinations unless the animal is travelling unaccompanied or there is a change of ownership.

Blood Titer Test
The Canadian Government does not require a Titer test, no matter which country you are coming from.

Health Certificate
The health certificate for your pet must be completed by a registered vet.  It must be in English or French, depending on which part of Canada you are emigrating to.  It should have the pet’s name and breed, its age, the date of its rabies vaccination, with manufacturer, batch number and expiry date.  It should also contain your personal details.

Arriving by Air
Your pet will be examined by a vet on arrival.  Should he/she appear to be unwell, further tests will be done before he/she is released into your care.

Banned Breeds
Note that Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers and not allowed into the territory of Ontario, even in transit.  The city of Toronto also has a ban on these breeds but will allow them to transit and long as notice is given and a pet agent handles the transit.

Other Pets
Rabbits imported from the States don’t need any documentation.  Those imported from any other country require an import permit and will be quarantined.  You must also prove that the animal is yours.
Rodents (including hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils) can enter Canada without any documentation.
Birds being brought from anywhere other than the US, must have an import permit.  Note that birds from certain countries are not allowed.


If your pet is on the CITES list, you’ll need to apply for additional permits.

It’s always sensible to employ a professional pet travel company to organise the shipping of your beloved pet.  That way, you’ll know that all the necessary paperwork has been completed and there will be no problems on arrival.


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