Bringing your pet to Canada

It’s understandable to want to take your pet with you on your move abroad. However, it’s important to be aware that Canada has a number of regulations when bringing your pet into the country.

How to Transfer Your Pet

The requirements for transferring your pet into Canada vary depending on the type of animal, age of the animal and where the animal is travelling from. For a full list of requirements, see the Canadian Government website.

For pets such as cats and dogs, it is usually sufficient that the animal is vaccinated and does not have serious infections such as rabies. You will also usually be required to present a vet certificate from a registered veterinarian verifying the above information. Once the animal is accepted by the authorities as being healthy, you will not need to quarantine your pet cat or dog.

However, there are stricter regulations on other types of animals. For example, turtles and tortoises require an import permit to enter the country, as they can transmit infectious diseases. As the requirements of each animal vary, it’s always best to check with the Canadian government before making plans to import your pet. The government has a handy import reference system, where you can find out importation requirements.

  • It is sometimes advisable to use a specialist pet transfer company when transferring your animal.  
  • If transporting your pet by plane, check in advance with the airline what their pet transfer policy is. Many airlines have special requirements, e.g. using a special pet carrier.
  • Pet carriers must be large enough for the animal to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. They should also be well ventilated. If in doubt what kind of carrier your pet needs, speak to your veterinarian.
  • If bringing your pet into the country via a vehicle, remember pets are not allowed roam freely in the back of a pick-up truck or van.
  • Do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, particularly if temperatures are very hot or cold. If you must, only leave the animal alone for a short period of time and ensure it has access to water and fresh air.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing ID at all times (e.g. collar with contact information).


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