Moving to Canada With Your Pet

Thinking about moving to Canada with your beloved furry companion? Whether you're considering pet immigration to Canada or simply planning to bring your pet along as part of your relocation process, we've got you covered.

Let us walk you through the requirements for immigrating to Canada with pets. From understanding Canada's immigration policies for pets to ensuring a smooth transition for your four-legged friend, our expertise in Canada immigration pets will help you make this journey a stress-free experience.

Discover how to move to Canada with your pet seamlessly and enjoy a new life together.

Canadian Import Guidelines for Animals

Canadian Import Guidelines for Animals

When planning to bring your beloved pet into Canada, it's important to understand the rules and regulations governing animal importation. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) oversees all aspects of importing and exporting animals to and from Canada, ensuring the safety and health of both animals and the Canadian population. As a responsible pet owner, it's crucial to be well-informed about the requirements specific to your situation before embarking on your journey to Canada.


One of the fundamental requirements for bringing your pet into Canada is ensuring they are up-to-date with their vaccinations, particularly the Rabies vaccine. Here's what you need to know:

  • Rabies Vaccination: Your cat or dog must have a valid Rabies vaccination, and the certificate must meet certain criteria. It should not be less than 30 days old and should not be older than a year before your pet's travel date. To avoid last-minute panic or delays, it's advisable to arrange for your pet's Rabies certificate as early as possible.
  • Microchipping: In addition to the Rabies vaccination, your pet must have a microchip. This microchip helps identify your pet and ensures their records are in order.

Pet Health Certificate

Depending on your pet's species, country of origin, health status, and purpose of import, you may be required to obtain a pet health certificate from a licensed veterinarian. This certificate verifies that your pet is free from diseases and is fit for travel. Be sure to check with the CFIA and consult with your veterinarian to understand the specific requirements for your pet.

Entering Canada by Air

If you're planning to enter Canada by air with your pet, it's essential to coordinate with the airline and understand their specific regulations and guidelines for traveling with animals. Airlines may have additional requirements and fees for pet travel, so make sure to book your flights accordingly.

Puppies and Kittens

If you are bringing a young puppy or kitten to Canada, there are some additional considerations:

  • Age Requirement: Your pet must be at least three months old to be eligible for entry into Canada. Pets younger than three months are considered too young to receive a Rabies vaccination.
  • Mother's Rabies Certificate: If your pet is younger than three months, they will need to travel under their mother's original and valid Rabies certificate, which should be at least 30 days old and less than one year old.

Banned Breeds

Certain breeds of dogs are banned or restricted in Canada. The rules regarding banned breeds can vary by province or territory, so check the local regulations in your intended destination to ensure your pet's breed is allowed.


Good news for responsible pet owners: as long as you meet the Rabies and documentation requirements, your pet will not have to undergo quarantine upon arriving in Canada. This is a relief for you and your furry friend, as it allows a smoother transition into your new Canadian adventure.

Before you embark on your journey to Canada with your pet, consult the CFIA website and communicate with your veterinarian to fully understand the requirements and regulations that apply to your specific situation. This preparation will help ensure a hassle-free entry for your pet, allowing you both to start your Canadian experience on the right paw.

Travel Documents for Your Pets

Traveling with your beloved pet to Canada is an exciting prospect but comes with responsibilities. To ensure a hassle-free experience for both you and your furry, feathery, or scaly companion, having the right travel documents in place is essential.

The Basics of Pet Travel Documentation

Before embarking on your journey, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements set by the Canadian government. These requirements are governed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which oversees the entry of animals and animal products into the country. To ensure a smooth entry for your pet into Canada, consider the following key documents and certificates:

  1. Certification of Rabies Vaccination

    Who Needs It: This certificate is required for mammals from countries not recognized as rabies-free.

    Why It's Important: Canada takes rabies prevention seriously, and this certificate ensures your pet has been vaccinated against this potentially deadly disease.

  2. Veterinary Certificate

    Who Needs It: Mammals coming from countries recognized as rabies-free.

    Why It's Important: Even if your country is considered rabies-free, this certificate provides proof of your pet's health and suitability for travel.

  3. Proof of Your Animal's Age

    Who Needs It: Pets that require a rabies vaccine but are younger than three months old.

    Why It's Important: This document verifies your pet's age and eligibility for certain vaccinations.

  4. Veterinary Certificates Against Avian Influenza

    Who Needs It: Birds being imported from countries outside of the United States.

    Why It's Important: Protecting Canada's avian population from diseases like avian influenza is crucial, and this certificate helps monitor and prevent potential outbreaks.

Canadian International Health Certificate

Canadian International Health Certificate

One of the essential documents for pet travel to Canada is the Canadian International Health Certificate. This certificate is designed to accompany pet dogs and cats to other countries. Here are some key details about this certificate:

  • Format: The Canadian International Health Certificate must be printed on legal paper (8.5" x 14"). No other format will be accepted.
  • Language Options: The certificate is available in bilingual and trilingual versions, making it accessible to a broader range of travelers.
  • Completion: To obtain this certificate, you must have it completed by a licensed veterinarian in Canada. An official government veterinarian must also endorse it.
  • Fees: Be prepared to pay a fee for this service, as it involves the expertise of both a private veterinarian and a government official.

Exceptions to the Rule

Not all pet travel situations require a Canadian International Health Certificate. You may not need this certificate if:

  • Your destination country provides its health certificates.
  • You are traveling to countries or zones that have negotiated specific veterinary health certificates with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Before leaving Canada, contacting the embassy of your destination country is essential. Each country may have unique requirements and regulations for importing animals. Ensuring you have all the necessary documents will help you avoid any unexpected issues when crossing the border.

Bringing Your Dog to Canada

While restrictions exist on the import of dogs, as long as your dog is healthy and disease-free, you should be able to bring your pup to Canada as long as you follow the proper procedures.

Personal vs Commercial Import

The first step to importing dogs to Canada is determining if the dog is being imported for personal use or commercial use:

Personal Import:

  • The import of a dog (regardless of age) that a Canadian resident personally owns as a pet or as a service dog that is accompanied by the person to whom the dog is assigned.

Commercial Import:

  • The import of a dog for sale, adoption, breeding, show, exhibition, scientific research, or animal welfare organizations.

Most pets will be classified as personal imports. Still, if your dog is not traveling with you or is being brought into the country for sale, then the dog qualifies as a commercial import and will require a permit if older than eight months. Applications for permits should be submitted 30 days before travel and can be accessed on the CFIA website.

Documentation and Inspection Required for Dogs

All dogs entering Canada require proof of all necessary vaccines, depending on the age of the dog. A dog under three months of age during the import does not require rabies vaccination.

Most dogs imported into Canada will undergo an inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which has agents at every Canadian port of entry (POE). In certain circumstances, dogs may require inspection by a CFIA agent. Dog owners should use the CFIA Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) to determine if their dog will require a CFIA inspection and plan accordingly.

The CBSA inspection for animals is 31.27 CAD + tax for the first animal in a shipment, plus an additional 5.21 CAD + tax for each additional animal. Suppose a dog does not meet Canada’s import requirements for rabies certification. In that case, it will be subject to additional fees and must undergo vaccination against rabies at the owner’s expense within two weeks of arrival.

If traveling to Canada by plane, pet owners should check with their airline, as many airlines will require additional documentation and travel restrictions for dogs.

With all of this in mind, dog owners should feel confident in their abilities to bring their canine friends along with them to Canada.

A hard copy of all required original documentation may be requested during the inspection, and the importer must be able to provide such records if asked. As such, it is strongly recommended to travel with a physical original copy of all required documentation.

Bringing Your Cat to Canada

Canada is a beautiful country, and if you're planning to move or take a trip with your feline companion, you need to be aware of some important regulations and requirements. When bringing cats into Canada, the primary concern is rabies, a viral disease that poses a significant health and safety risk. To ensure a smooth entry for your furry friend, here's what you need to know:

Rabies Vaccination Certificate:

If you're traveling with your cat, you must have a rabies vaccination certificate. This certificate should confirm that your cat has been properly vaccinated against rabies. The exact details and requirements for this certificate are on the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) website. Alternatively, the European Union pet passport is also accepted if it contains all the necessary information.

Veterinary Certificate:

For cat owners bringing their pets from countries officially recognized as rabies-free, you can obtain a veterinary certificate. This certificate attests that your cat is being imported from a rabies-free country where no rabies cases have occurred in the six months preceding your travel to Canada.

If your cat doesn't meet these import requirements, you'll be responsible for ensuring your cat receives the rabies vaccination within a specified period and providing the vaccination record to a CFIA office.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Inspection

Most cats imported into Canada will be inspected by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA agents are stationed at every Canadian port of entry, so you don't need to notify them about your cat's travel plans; an agent will always be authorized to perform the inspection.

Keep in mind that a fee is associated with the CBSA inspection. The first animal in a shipment costs CAD30 plus tax, and for each additional animal, it's an extra CAD5 plus tax. If your cat does not meet Canada's import requirements for rabies certification, additional fees will apply. Your cat will be required to receive a rabies vaccination at your expense within two weeks of arrival.

Bringing Other Pets to Canada


If you plan to bring your feathered friend to Canada, you'll need an import permit issued by a local CFIA office. This requirement applies as long as your bird is coming from a country officially recognized by Canada as being free of highly pathogenic avian influenza and you meet the necessary import conditions, which may include quarantine.


From the U.S. 🇺🇸

For equine companions from the United States, you'll need an Export Certificate issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certificate VS 17-140 or VS 17-145.

From Outside the U.S.

If your horse is coming from a country outside the United States, you can review the specific import requirements using the Automated Import Reference System.

Insects and Spiders

Yes, even those with eight legs can find a new home in Canada! If you have an unusual affinity for insects or arachnids, bringing your pet to Canada might still be an option. Check out the national policy guidelines under the provision of the Plant Protection Act to determine if your creepy crawly companion qualifies for a new life in Canada.


Bringing domestic rabbits to Canada from countries other than the United States involves permit and quarantine requirements. You'll need to apply for a permit from the CFIA at least 30 days in advance. To import your rabbits, you'll need to:

  • Confirm that the rabbits have been in your possession as personally owned pets.
  • Personally accompany the rabbits from the country of origin to Canada.
  • Be prepared for a likely quarantine period.

If your rabbit has been vaccinated for myxomatosis, submit the complete vaccination history. After applying for the import permit, you must arrange suitable quarantine facilities in Canada, subject to CFIA inspection and approval, before the permit can be issued.


Most rodents can be brought into Canada without requiring an import permit, health certificate, or visual inspection. However, there are exceptions. Pet prairie dogs, Gambian pouch rats, squirrels, and rodents from Africa are not permitted entry into Canada. For other common pet rodents, the process is relatively straightforward.

Remember, regardless of the type of pet you have, it's crucial to stay informed about Canada's import regulations and ensure you meet all the requirements before making the journey with your cherished companion.

Ready To Immigrate to Canada with Your Pet?

Ready To Immigrate to Canada with Your Pet?

Embarking on the journey of immigrating to Canada with your beloved pet can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Still, it involves careful planning and consideration.

Beyond the anticipation of exploring a new country, you'll need to ensure your furry friend can accompany you smoothly. First and foremost, don't forget the essential paperwork for your pet, including up-to-date vaccinations and health certificates. Equally crucial is securing the correct visa for yourself and any other necessary immigration documents.

To navigate the complexities of Canadian immigration, it's highly recommended to engage the services of a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), who can guide you through the application process and ensure you meet all the requirements.

Additionally, arranging for a reputable pet carrier company will ensure your pet's comfort and safety during the journey. By attending to these details, you'll be well-prepared for a seamless transition to Canada with your cherished companion by your side.

Traveling to Canada with your pet can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and adherence to specific documentation requirements. By staying informed about the necessary certifications and documents, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey for you and your beloved animal companion.


Can I Travel With An Exotic Pet?

Traveling with exotic pets to Canada requires additional considerations compared to common domestic animals like dogs and cats. Researching and compiling with Canada's regulations regarding the importation of exotic animals is essential.

Specific permits may be required, and you should contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or consult a wildlife expert to ensure that your exotic pet can be brought into the country legally. Always check with the airline you plan to use, as they may have their policies regarding exotic pets.

What Fees Do I Need to Pay?

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 CAD inspection fee and 5 CAD 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 according to your pet’s weight class. For example, a pet with a cage that does not exceed 23kg and 59 inches costs 500 CAD at Emirates Airlines.
  • Rabies vaccination: Rabies vaccines for animals cost 7-20 CAD. 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 Company Can I Use to Transport My Pet?

When transporting your pet to Canada, choosing the right pet carrier company is crucial. Several reputable companies specialize in pet transportation internationally.

Some well-known options include PetRelocation, Air Animal, and PetPort. Researching these companies, reading reviews, and obtaining quotes is important to determine which aligns best with your needs and your pet's comfort and safety. Be sure to check if the company has experience with international pet transportation, as it involves specific regulations and requirements.