Canada Pet Import Regulations

Author Veterinary Consultant
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Canada Pet Import Regulations

Canada Pet Import Regulations

Effective from May 15, 2021, permits for the import of dogs into Canada for commercial use have been temporarily suspended. The suspensions apply to dogs under the age of 8 months for breeding, exhibitions/competitions (permanent residency), and import for resale or adoption by new owners.

The import requirements to bring dogs to Canada for a short-term exhibition/competition/test and for a temporary stay remain unchanged.

The rule was implemented following an inspection of dog air transportation in June 2020, which revealed the presence of several dead and sick animals, as well as non-compliance with standard quality and regulations for animal transportation. As a result, legal actions have been taken to address the issues identified.

Rabies vaccination is mandatory for all animals entering Canada. A primary vaccination must be administered when the pet is at least 12 weeks old. After being vaccinated against rabies, all animals will undergo a compulsory 28-day quarantine period to ensure that immunity has developed properly. This means that any animals under 16 weeks of age are not allowed for import to Canada.

To meet the requirements for the import of dogs and cats to Canada (age 3 months or older), your pet requires a rabies vaccination certificate and EU pet passport, that should possess the following components:

  • Passport is in English or French;
  • Passport is issued by a licensed veterinarian;
  • Passport includes identification details of the animal (age, breed, gender, color, weight, microchip or tattoo number);
  • Rabies vaccination;
  • Vaccination date;
  • Trade name and serial number of the licensed vaccine;
  • Vaccine expiration date (otherwise it will be considered valid for 1 year);
  • The name and signature of the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate, along with the date of its signing.

What can I do if my animal cannot be vaccinated against rabies?

If there is medical proof of a previous allergic reaction what makes rabies vaccination problematic, the Veterinary Health Inspection Agency (CFIA) may grant an exception under certain conditions. These conditions include additional requirements for the animal. In this case, the pet owner is required to submit a written request to the National Permit Center at their own expense. This request should include a fully-completed Application for an Import Permit and a signed letter from the animal's veterinarian detailing the medical reason that makes the rabies vaccination problematic.


The veterinary letter must include the following details:

  • The letter must be written in English or French language;
  • The text must be clear and well-written;
  • The letter must be issued on the clinic's official letterhead;
  • The letter must be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian;
  • Identification details of the animal (age, breed, gender, color, weight, microchip or tattoo number).;
  • Owner details;
  • The name and signature of the licensed veterinarian who issued the letter, as well as the date on which the letter was signed.

An animal must pass the Rabies Neutralizing Antibody Titer Test (RNATT) to be allowed for import into Canada. This test must be carried out within the six months prior to entry and at least thirty days after any previous rabies vaccination. Your pet's identification information must be clearly indicated on the lab report, which must accompany the animal upon entry into Canada. Permission will be granted only if the results of the test are satisfactory (titer of at least 0.5 IU/ml).

Identification of the animal must come either from a microchip or from a clearly visible tattoo. Whichever method is used, it must be recorded in all accompanying documentation, including the veterinarian's letter.


Restrictions on importing animals into Canada include the following categories:

These include wild cats kept as pets and hybrid dogs or cats purchased for import as a pet.

Examples of hybrid dogs and cats include:

  • Savannah;
  • Bengals;
  • Other crosses involving wolf-dogs.

Domestic hybrid dogs and cats of F1-F4 generations are also off-limits for import.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is convinced that hybrid dogs and cats of generations between F1 to F4 arising from a cross with a wild parent are considered wild. However, they may permit the importation of these domestic hybrids under select circumstances. In such cases, the owner has to meet additional specific requirements.

Before the CFIA considers a request for the importation of animals, it is essential to provide proof of possession of CITES permits. The CFIA will undergo a case-by-case examination to determine whether the animal is eligible for import into Canada and the specific necessary requirements. The CFIA will issue an import permit only after successful completion of their assessment.

Individual import request for an F1-F4 hybrid animal is assessed by the CFIA depending on the priority. The evaluation time may take up to three months.

To make a request, you must send a written request to the National Permit Center, including the following:

  • Completed application for an import permit;
  • Documents confirming ownership of the animal in the country of origin for at least six months prior to the date of filing the import permit request;
  • Documentation confirming that the animal was born in captivity;
  • Documentation confirming the requestor's presence during animal transport to Canada from the country of origin;
  • Copies of valid CITES permits;
  • Valid proof of Vaccination against Rabies.

In the event that the animal does not meet the requirements, the CFIA will make a decision regarding the animal's eligibility to enter Canada. Depending on the circumstances and non-compliance with the CFIA's standards, the animal may be deemed unfit for import and ordered to leave. Fines or legal action may also be considered in certain situations.

If the animal does not comply with Canada's requirements for rabies vaccination, the owner is mandated to administer the shot against rabies at their own charge within two weeks from the moment of entry into the country. After the vaccination has been administered, the owner has to present valid certificate confirming the successful vaccination to the CFIA Animal Health Office with.

Customs And Flight

Upon arrival at a Canadian airport, or land border, the imported animal will be examined by a CFIA veterinarian. Prior to the trip, it is essential to ensure that the animal's inspection will occur at the correct location during entry into Canada. This step is necessary to facilitate the import of the pet and avoid any potential delays or difficulties in transit.

When transporting dogs via air, it is imperative to select a quarantine facility in case additional inspection and/or quarantine. The location of quarantine must be specified in the original application for an import permit. The chosen quarantine facility must have pre-approval by the CFIA. Before issuing an import permit, the CFIA requires information on the designated quarantine facility, as well as its storage capacity for animals.


Which dogs are classified as objects?
  • Dogs for resale;
  • Dogs intended for breeding and not direct retail sale;
  • Dogs for exhibit or competition;
  • Dogs for scientific research;
  • Dogs for adoption or intended for animal welfare organizations in Canada;
  • Dogs in a special training status.
  • Canadian commercial dogs which are returning to Canada.
What type of antibody titer test is approved for entry into Canada?
The virus neutralization test with fluorescent antibodies (FAVN) is the only allowed Rabies Nullifying Antibody Titer Test for traveling with pets.
Does Canada require microchipping for animals being exported into the country?
Canada does not mandate the obligation use of microchips or tattoos for pet dogs imported as personal pets or pet cats. However, dogs that are under 8 months of age under the commercial categories (i.e. dogs intended for sale, breeding, exhibition, competition, research, those with a "special training" status, and dogs intended for adoption or animal welfare) must have an electronic microchip for identification purposes.
Useful tips

When traveling with an animal by air, airlines may require additional documentation or impose additional requirements. It is crucial to verify with your chosen airline if you meet its own particular requirements. Before travelling, it is essential to review and follow the guidelines specified in the IATA Regulations for the Transport of Live Animals (LAR).

The official website of the Government of Canada.

Bringing animals to Canada: Importing and travelling with pets.