<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1725998324363317&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

All you need to know about international pet transport to Canada

Canada is a pet-loving country and dogs and cats are welcome here. Canadian cities are incredibly pet friendly, with several exciting pet-friendly activities, restaurants and public parks. The great outdoors in Canada has numerous stunning dog-friendly trails that you can enjoy with your pup. Cats and dogs alike are common pets in Canada, and dogs are welcome in most public places.

International pet travel to Canada is a time-bound process that involves documentation, vaccinations and health tests. Every step of the process must be completed satisfactorily for your pet to be able to travel to Canada. If you are planning to ship your pets to Canada, here’s all you need to know:


Unlike most countries, it is not mandatory to microchip your pet dog or cat when they are travelling to Canada. Dogs and cats that are imported under the commercial category that includes pets for sale, for breeding purposes, for exhibition or show, for scientific research and dogs destined for adoption must be identified with a microchip.

If your dog or cat is travelling to Canada accompanied by you as a pet and not being imported in the commercial category, they do not need a microchip. However, it is an excellent practice to microchip your pet before international travel. Microchips are invaluable in identifying your pet if they are lost or stolen. Make sure your pet gets an ISO-compliant microchip and remember to update your contact information every time you change addresses.

Reason for import

Canadian pet import regulations require you to declare the reason for import before bringing your cat or dog to the country. There are three categories of import, and the rules are different for each group.

  • Personal imports: This category includes the import of pet dogs and cats. The pet parent must accompany the pet into the country.
  • Commercial: Shipping of dogs and cats for sale, adoption, breeding, exhibition or shows, scientific research, etc. fall under the commercial category. Dogs that are imported for adoption on behalf of an animal welfare organisation are also considered commercial imports.
  • Assistive imports: Service dogs are included in this category.

Know your country category

Pet transportation rules in Canada are different depending on the country of origin. Check the country category of the origin country before making pet travel plans to Canada. Canada recognises two categories of countries depending on their rabies status:

  • Rabies-free countries: Canada recognises the following countries as rabies-free – Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
  • Other countries: All other countries not classified as rabies-free fall in this category

Vaccinations and rabies certificate

Pet dogs and cats travelling to Canada must be vaccinated against rabies before the date of the flight. If the dog or cat is less than three months of age at the time of the pet relocation, they will not need a rabies vaccination. However, pet parents must produce proof of the pet’s age upon request.

Pet dogs and cats need a rabies certificate before entering Canada. European pet passports that are up-to-date are also accepted. The rabies vaccination certificate must have the following details:

  • It must be written in English or French.
  • It must be issued and signed by a licensed vet.
  • The certificate must include all identifying features of your pet, including breed, colour, weight, microchip number etc.
  • The certificate must state that the pet has been vaccinated against rabies and indicate the date of vaccination and duration of immunity.
  • The name of the vaccine and the serial number must be mentioned.

If your pet dog or cat does not meet the Canadian import requirements, pet parents will need to get the pet vaccinated against rabies within a specific period upon arrival and provide the vaccination record to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Cats and dogs that are less than eight months old and those that are being imported in the commercial category must be vaccinated against rabies before they arrive in Canada.  

Arriving in Canada

Pets moving to Canada can enter at any of the international airports across the country. Some of the oft-travelled to cities for pet travel in Canada are Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa. All pets entering Canada are subject to inspection by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

The inspecting officer will look for any signs of disease or visible signs of illness. Your pet’s health certificate or rabies certificate will also be checked to see if it meets all Canadian import specifications. If your pet dog or cat shows any signs of illness or disease, they will be further examined by an authorised vet at your expense.


Canadian pet import regulations do not require your pet to be quarantined upon arrival. However, the government of Canada can refuse entry to pets that do not comply with the pet import requirements.

Call the international pet travel experts

International pet transport to Canada is simpler to accomplish with the assistance of pet shipping experts. Moving your pet dog or cat to a different country comes with several challenges; you have to ensure all regulations are met, make sure your pet is transported on a pet-friendly airline, get the correct pet travel crate for your pet, and much more. An experienced pet transport company can make sure the pet travel experience is smooth and stress-free. If you need pet transportation services to Canada, contact our team at Petraveller for a detailed quote and a travel itinerary.