Immigrating to Canada with Pets: Step by Step Guide

Immigrating to Canada with Pets: Step by Step Guide

When you have a pet, you certainly don't want to have to be parted from them! Because of this, many people immigrating to Canada who currently have a pet will want to bring their companion with them to their new home. Here, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration doctors explain how to properly bring your pet into Canada.

Our pets are near and dear to our hearts, and when moving to a new place, pet owners will obviously want to bring their companion with them if at all possible. Because of this, there are avenues available for people who are immigrating to Canada to bring their housepets with them to settle in their new home. 

When bringing a pet with you into Canada when travelling there to being your permanent residence, you will need to prepare a number of documents in addition to the standard required permanent residence documents all immigrants will need to provide at the border. 

The following is a step-by-step guide for bringing your beloved animal companion with you when immigrating to Canada.

1. Ensure You Have The Documentation You Need

While planning your travel to Canada with a pet, you will need to ensure that your pet companion, whether they are a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or even spider, has the required certifications provided by a licenced veterinarian and that, if necessary, you have filled out any animal import documents and forms to produce when crossing the border into Canada.

Some of the most commonly required forms and certifications  for animals being brought into Canada include:

  • Certification of Rabies Vaccination (for mammals from countries that aren't recognized as rabies-free)
  • A Veterinary Certificate (for mammals from countries that are recognized as rabies-free)
  • Proof Of Your Animal's Age (for pets that would require a rabies vaccine but are younger than 3 months old)
  • Veterinary Certificates Against Avian Influenza (for birds being imported from countries outside of the United States)

The specific import requirements for household pets and personal animals into Canada are governed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which sets out regulations on both animals and animal products being brought into the country. 

They provide a handy tool to help people immigrating into Canada and hoping to bring their pet with them understand the forms, certificates and vaccination records they will have to produce at the Canadian border when travelling with their pet.

Documents and Forms For Pet Travel

2. Arrange A Health Check To Ensure Your Pet Can Make The Trip

Beyond the health checks and certifications that a pet needs to be allowed across the Canadian border, they should also be checked by a licensed veterinarian to ensure that they are actually up for the trip!

Long-distance travel, especially if it is by airplane, can be very hard on our animal companions and you want to make sure your beloved pet is set up to stay as comfortable and healthy as possible throughout their travel.

3. If Travelling By Transit, Contact Your Provider For Pet Accommodations

If you are travelling by plane, bus or some other kind of transit, it's important that you contact your provider well in advance of your trip to ask them if they provide transportation for animals. If they do, they will inform you about their requirements for animal travel crates, behaviour and more. 

The rules and guidelines for this will change from provider to provider, so make sure you ask.

4. Ensure You Have a Suitable Travel Container For Your Animal

The proper size, shape and contents of the proper travel crate for your pet will depend on their specific species, breed and needs. However, some good guidelines to keep in mind include:

  • Giving your pet enough room to stand, sit, lay down, and turn around
  • Have lots of ventilation
  • Have a water spout or dispenser to prevent dehydration

5. Make Sure You Will Have A Chance To Give Your Pet Adequate Food and Bathroom Breaks

 For long periods of travel, make sure you plan in stops, if possible, and pack enough food to get your pet through the trip.

When packing food for your trip, ensure that you don't pack any food that is prohibited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. If you still have any prohibited foods when it comes time to enter the country, it will be confiscated.

As an alternative to packing a large amount of pet food, many airports have small amounts of pet food available for purchase that will be safe to bring into Canada if your pet will need a quick meal after the plane lands.

6. Make a Quarantine Plan If Your Pet Won't Meet Vaccination Requirements

In cases where an animal hasn't been able to be vaccinated because of their age, or if they are vaccinated but are of a specific selection of species, they will have to quarantine for a period of time dictated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency upon arrival in Canada. 

If this is the case for your pet, at the border you will be asked about your quarantine plan. Make sure you research the requirements of your pet's quarantine in Canada. There are some small fees associated with quarantine inspections if your pet requires one.

Are you hoping to bring your pet with you when you immigrate to Canada? The doctors at Immigration Physician Ottawa can help to make sure your human health certificates are in order so you can just worry about your furry friend. Contact us today for more information.


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