Travelling with your dog: import rules
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In order to be compliant with the Service Fees Act (SFA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will begin adjusting its fees based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) starting March 31, 2020, and on every March 31 going forward. For 2019-2020, the rate of increase will be 2.2%.
Learn more about adjusting service fees for inflation.
All existing requirements for importing and exporting animals continue to apply. However, due to broad travel restrictions and limitations on non-essential travel, individuals, rescue organizations and adoptive families should postpone travel for the purpose of importing any animals, as their travel is being considered non-essential at this time. Additional information about animals and COVID-19 is available on the Government of Canada's website.
Please note that
- Domestic (pet) dogs entering Canada do not have to be quarantined.
- Canada does not require a microchip or tattoo identification for dogs imported as personal pets. However, dogs under 8 months of age imported under the commercial category (dogs for retail sale, breeding purposes, show or exhibition, scientific research, dogs in 'special training status', and dogs destined for adoption and/or animal welfare organization) must be identified by an electronic microchip.
- The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may refer any animal presented at the border for secondary inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Expect delays.
These requirements apply to:
- animals entering Canada permanently
- animals in transit through Canada on their way to a final destination
- animals entering Canada for a temporary visit
Requirements for dogs coming into Canada
Advance notice of arrival may be required
Some animals may require inspection by the CFIA at ports of entry into Canada. A CFIA inspector is not on duty at all times at ports of entry and may be called when required. Importers should use the Automated Import Reference System tool to determine if a CFIA inspection is required. If a CFIA inspection is required, importers should make these arrangements in advance of their arrival by contacting the CFIA District Office closest to their first point of entry into Canada to schedule the inspection. It is the responsibility of the importer to contact the CFIA in advance of travel to ensure that the inspection can be carried out without delays.
Dogs may require additional documentation when flying. Please check with your airline to determine whether you meet its requirements.
You should be aware of the companion animal container guidelines issued by the International Air Transport Association.
Dogs imported into Canada must have all necessary vaccines depending on the age of dog. A dog that is less than 3 months of age at the time of import does not require rabies vaccination. However, proof of a dog's age must be provided on request.
Inspection fees, taxes and duties
Dogs imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the animal's rabies vaccination is current and the animal description matches. The CBSA will also visually inspect the animal to ensure that there are no visible signs of illness. The CBSA may contact the CFIA when veterinary guidance or expertise is needed. For fee amounts refer to the CFIA Fees Notice.
If the shipment does not meet Canada's import requirement for rabies certification (even if the animal is being imported from the United States), the animal will be ordered to undergo vaccination against rabies at the owner's expense within two weeks of its arrival. For fee amounts refer to the CFIA Fees Notice.
Any applicable taxes or duties are calculated by the CBSA.
As indicated above, in certain cases, a shipment will need to be inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Additional fees for the cost of the CFIA inspection will apply.
All fees must be paid at the time of inspection. Please note that domestic dogs originating from the United States are subject to an import inspection but are exempt from inspection fees.
Personal imports of pet food from the United States are allowed under specific conditions.
Personal imports of pet food from other countries are prohibited.
This tool is for information only. If you have questions about importing an animal into Canada, please contact us by phone at a CFIA area or regional office.
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