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If you're thinking of buying or adopting a dog

If you and your family are interested in buying or adopting a new dog from a reputable breeder, rescue organization, a local shelter run by your municipality or local humane society, there is information you should consider.

Canada has strong animal health requirements for the commercial import of dogs that are less than 8 months of age but it is possible that dogs bred for commercial sale may have been exposed to other diseases or parasites that are not apparent when they are imported, or where they are kept in Canada before being sold.

Before taking a dog home, you should consider asking for:

More information to help with your dog ownership decision

Canadian Kennel Club

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association

Humane Canada

Humane Society International (Canada)

National Companion Animal Coalition

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada

Roles and responsibilities

Importers

Importers are responsible for ensuring the health of the animals in their care. They must also verify and follow all relevant import requirements before entering or re-entering the country. This includes complying with other federal, provincial/territorial or municipal requirements prior to travelling. Please check in advance to avoid surprises and delays.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for regulating the importation of animals, including dogs, into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals and humans. CFIA veterinarians administer and enforce the humane transport and import requirements at the border. CFIA veterinarians inspect all import shipments that require a permit. They are available to provide inspection services when requested by the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Canada Border Services Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is responsible for inspecting certain commodities at the border on behalf of the CFIA. If an animal is found to be non-compliant with the CFIA's humane transport and/or import requirements, CBSA may refuse the animal entry or refer it to the CFIA for further inspection.

Provinces and territories

Provinces and territories are responsible for the protection and humane treatment of animals once imported.

Cities and municipalities

Cities and municipalities are responsible for business licensing and by-laws related to animal sales.

Dogs less than 8 months of age

All commercial import shipments of dogs less than 8 months of age require an import permit which specifies the conditions for import. There will be some variations in the permit conditions depending on the country of origin and the exact age of the animals but for most shipments, the import permit will require documents showing each animal:

You should be cautious about importing a dog you have never met or when buying from an on-line broker in Canada so that you don’t unintentionally support puppy mills, find yourself with a sick dog, or worse, face the heartbreak of having to euthanize your new pet.

More information on import permits and humane transport

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