Can I bring my pet to Canada?

Whether you are bringing a new pet home to Canada or bringing your beloved furry family member to join you in Canada there are things to keep in mind.

Adopting or Bringing your Pet into Canada

The importation of pets into Canada is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Under the National Animal Health Program, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has requirements for all animals coming to Canada; including new pets and your beloved fur family members.

The Agency can refuse entry to any animal if the rules are not followed. You can use this tool to find out which import guidelines you need to follow for your specific type of pet. This tool includes information about the most common pets imported to Canada.

The CFIA warns that you should be cautious about importing a dog you have never met or when buying online even within Canada. You don’t want to unintentionally support puppy mills, find yourself with a sick dog, or worse, face the heartbreak of having to euthanize your new pet.

Travelling with your Pet

Moving with your family pet can be stressful; for you and your furry family member. Some pets enjoy travelling with their families, and it can be perfectly safe if you follow these guidelines from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).

Before you travel for the first time with your pet, check with their vet to make sure they are healthy enough to travel. Some destinations need proof of current vaccines and other health documents from your pet’s vet; especially if you are travelling outside of Canada.

Car Travel

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency offers some helpful tips if you want to travel with your pet by car.

To keep everyone safe while you are travelling you should:

  • Contain your pet - do not let your pet roam freely while you’re driving because they may distract you or other drivers
  • Watch the weather - never leave your pet in a parked car for extended periods of time; temperatures can change quickly inside a car, especially during summer and winter
  • Provide food, water and rest - just like people, pets need rest breaks on long drives; make sure you plan for food, water and bathroom breaks for your pet while travelling

Air Travel

Airlines usually have specific guidelines for travelling with animals. Some smaller animals are allowed in the cabin in certain types of carriers, while others have to travel separately from you in a specific travel enclosure. The rules for Service Animals are different.

You should check with your airline before buying your tickets so you can make plans for yourself and your pet.

If you are travelling outside of Canada you may want to contact the country’s local consulate or embassy to ask about:

  • Vaccination and documentation requirements for your service animal
  • Import and export regulations for service animals
  • Restrictions related to the type of animal
  • Quarantine requirements, especially if you are travelling to an island country

For More Information

  • Travelling with Animals - Information about how to keep your cats, dogs, exotic pets and reptiles safe while travelling. From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Traveller’s Pet Corner - Information required to assist you in making transportation arrangements for dogs and cats with the airlines. From the International Air Transport Association.
  • Bringing Animals to Canada - Canada has specific import requirements in place to avoid introducing animal diseases to protect its people, plants and animals. From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Adopting a Pet - If you and your family are interested in buying or adopting a new dog there is information you should consider. From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Last updated: July 22, 2021 4006492