Moving to Canada With Your Pet

Is your pet accompanying you to Canada? Wondering what to expect or what to do next? Traveling abroad with a pet is a unique experience for many. Each country has its own rules and regulations that pet moms and dads should adhere to, to ensure the health, safety, and comfort of their fur babies during the long trip.

The good news is that Canadians have a special fondness for animals and this is shown through their lenient policies when it comes to pet travel. Unlike many other countries, your four-legged friend won’t have to be kept in airport quarantine for a few days when you arrive at your destination in Canada. As long as your pet is in good health and has the necessary documents to prove it, you’ll be able to reunite with your furry friend right away. In this blog, we walk you through a few important steps when moving to Canada with your pet. We also uncover essential documents and break-down more or less the costs involved.

Moving to Canada With Your Pet - What You Need to Know

Cat in a carrier at airport

Which Animals Need Import Permits?

We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but only dogs and cats qualify as pets that can travel to Canada without import permits but only if they are entering Canada as domestic imports (pets accompanied by owners) and not for commercial purposes such as adoption, show exhibition or scientific research.

You can apply for an import permit from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) if your pet is of the feathered or eight-legged kind aka non-traditional pets or qualifies under a commercial category.

Other Important Things to Know Before Moving to Canada With Your Pet:

  • Commercial dogs and cats older than 8-months don’t need import permits but proof of age is required upon entry.
  • The American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and their crosses are banned from entering or transiting the provinces of Ontario, Toronto, and Winnipeg.
  • Domestic dogs and cats accompanied by owners don’t need to be microchipped for identification purposes.
  • You may bring pet food (limit of 20kg) into Canada if the pet food is a product of the USA and is commercially packaged. Your pet must accompany you at the time of entry.

Does My Cat or Dog Need a Rabies Certificate?

Husky at vet getting his pre-travel checks

Your pet needs a rabies vaccination certificate if you're traveling from a country that is not recognized as being rabies-free (see below) by Canada. If you are traveling from a country recognized as being rabies-free then you’ll only need a veterinary certificate that declares your pet’s origins. This only applies to cats and dogs older than 3-months of age. However, proof of your puppy and kitten’s age must be provided on request.

Countries Recognized as 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
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Island)
  • Uruguay

Airport: Health & Comfort Checks

Most airlines have specific requirements for transporting animals. It’s best to contact your airline in advance to find out what you need to do before arrival. For instance, depending on your pet's weight classification and the length of your flight, they might be able to be checked-in as hand luggage instead of checked baggage or cargo.

Pets that are checked-in as baggage need to be transported in airline-approved carriers or kennels that are escape-proof and well ventilated. The crate must be the correct size for your pet to sit comfortably, stand, and turn around in. You can hire crates from companies like PETport.

Your airline may also require a health certificate from a licensed vet that proves your pet is in good health to make the journey and have had all its vaccinations.

What Fees Do I Need to Pay?

Pug dog sitting next to his owner

Moving to Canada with your pet does come with a price tag. The fees you need to pay will differ depending on your airline and your pet's weight and height. However, for animal lovers, it's a small price to pay to bring their beloved pets with them to Canada.

  • Inspection Fees: There is a $30 inspection fee and $5 for each additional animal when you arrive in Canada. The fee must be paid at the time of inspection.
  • Animal Excess Baggage Fees: Fees differ from airline to airline and according to your pet’s weight class. For example, a pet with its cage that does not exceed 23kg and 59 inches cost $500 at Emirates Airlines.
  • Rabies vaccination: Rabies vaccines for animals cost $7-$20. The first booster shot is needed after one year, and subsequent boosters typically every three years.
  • Import Fees: The CFIA will advise you on the fees that apply to your particular pet and situation.

What About You, Fur-Parent? Got Your Visa Yet?

With all of the arrangements to get your pet safely and comfortably to Canada, you might forget about your own crucial documents, like your visa! Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the extra admin because, at CanadianVisa.Org, we can take care of your paperwork filing and application submission on your behalf. We are an immigration and visa agency situated in Vancouver, British Columbia headed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants who are certified by the Government of Canada to assist clients with this tedious process. Let’s get you and your fur-child to Canada! Click on the link below to get started.