Pet Passports & Documents

How to Get a Canadian Pet Passport [2020 GUIDE]

Whether you are planning on traveling with a pet to or from Canada, there are strict rules that apply.

Getting a Canadian Pet Passport to enter Canada in 2020 is easy and will just take 2 simple steps:

  1. Research – entry requirements can vary depending on your pet’s species, age and breed. There are different entry regulations for different pet species. Additionally, certain breeds of dog are banned from entering some provinces in Canada. It’s important to ensure that your pet is permitted. If you are flying, you need to ensure your fly into an airport that allows the import of pets. Furthermore, you will need additional paperwork if your pet is an endangered species.
  2. Visit the vet – dogs, cats and ferrets need rabies vaccinations and all pets need a general health check at minimum. A microchip is not required, but it is recommended.

Getting a Pet Passport to export pets from Canada in 2020 may be a little more complicated as entry requirements for different countries vary.

In this article we will discuss the requirements to get a Canadian Pet Passport in 2020.


What is a Canadian Pet Passport?

Canada does not have an official ‘Pet Passport’, however it is a term used to describe the documents that are required to travel to and from Canada with a pet. Customs officials will need to see these documents in order to clear your pet. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your pet is fit and healthy to travel. With a Canadian Pet Passport, in most circumstances, your pet will not have to face a lengthly quarantine period. 


What does a Canadian Pet Passport contain?

A Canadian Pet Passport contains all the documents required to enter or leave Canada with your pet. Essentially, it will prove that your pet is fit and healthy enough to travel. Pet Passports are required to ensure imported pets don’t pose as a health threat to other animals.

A Canadian Pet Passport can contain any of the following information:

  1. Details of ownership (name, address, passport number, telephone, etc.)
  2. Description of the animal (name, species, breed, date of birth, etc.)
  3. Official veterinarian’s details
  4. Rabies vaccination certificate
  5. Microchip details
  6. Health certificate
  7. An optional photo
  8. Rabies antibody titer test results
  9. Additional parasite treatment records
  10. Additional vaccinations recorded and treatment records
  11. Anti-echinococcus treatment record

At minimum, your Canadian pet passport will contain those listed 1-4. These are compulsory in order to travel to Canada with a pet. Those listed 5-11 are potential requirements that your pet may need, whether you are traveling into Canada or if you are traveling outside of Canada. We will go into more detail below.

All records must be signed and stamped by your official veterinarian with official stickers from the medication used.


How do I get a Canadian Pet Passport?

RESEARCH

TRAVELING TO CANADA

#1 Find out entry requirements for your pet’s species.

There are specific requirements for different species entering Canada’s borders.

If you are traveling to Canada with a dog or cat, then you’re in luck – getting a Canadian Pet Passport should be pretty simple for you. However, if you are traveling with another species then it gets a little more complicated.

For more details on specific requirements for different species skip to the ‘What are species-specific requirements for a Canadian Pet Passport?‘ section.

#2 Check your dog breed is permitted to enter Canada or the province you are traveling to.

Different dog breeds are banned in different provinces in Canada, listed below:

  • Ontario – The American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and their crosses are banned from entering or transiting.
  • The City of Toronto – also bans the breeds above, however, air transit is permitted. When transiting Toronto, advance notice must be provided and an agent must transit your dog.
  • Winnipeg –  American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier and their mixes are banned from entry or transiting.

TRAVELING FROM CANADA TO ANOTHER COUNTRY

#1 Check the entry requirements for your destination country and pet species. 

It is likely that your pet will only require a rabies vaccination, health certificate and microchip. These are the general requirements to enter many countries with a pet.

However, many countries have additional requirements, including the following:

  • Tapeworm treatments
  • Additional vaccinations, i.e. parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis and distemper
  • Import permits / licenses
  • Government endorsement

If traveling outside of Canada, find out the requirements of your destination country before visiting the vet. You will also need to check whether there are any requirements to return to your home country.

We will discuss the requirements in detail below.

VISIT YOUR VET

When booking the appointment, inform your vet where you and your pet are heading to, so they can prepare your pet’s vaccinations. If you are traveling outside of Canada, they may need to prepare additional vaccinations and treatments.

TRAVELING TO CANADA

Whether your pet needs vaccinations depends on its species and age. Only dogs, cats and ferrets require a rabies vaccination. Dogs and cats under the age of 3 months will not require a rabies vaccination.

Your vet will complete any vaccinations, if required, and perform a basic health examination to ensure your pet is well enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is happy your pet is ready for travel, they will review and stamp all your paperwork. The appointment should take no longer than half an hour.

Please note, a health certificate isn’t always required to enter Canada, however it is recommended to ensure your pet is well enough to travel. A health certificate will also make it easier for you to clear customs.

For more detailed information on the requirements skip ‘What are the requirements for a Canadian Pet Passport?‘.

TRAVELING FROM CANADA

If you are traveling from Canada with a pet, your pet will likely need additional treatments. At minimum your pet will need a microchip, a rabies vaccination and health check. Once your vet is happy that your pet is healthy enough for travel, they will review and stamp your paperwork.

Some countries also require that pets have a rabies titer test or rabies blood test, before entry. If your destination country requires a blood test then your vet will need to take a blood sample from your pet, before sending it off to a laboratory for testing.

We will discuss entry requirements for a Canadian Pet Passport in more detail below. Skip ahead here.


How long does it take to get a Canadian Pet Passport?

Usually, it will take under an hour to get a Canadian Pet Passport. All it takes is a quick appointment at an official veterinary clinic.

To save time, when making an appointment be sure to advise the veterinarian staff that you want to get a pet passport. This will ensure that they have everything required in stock and will allow them time to prepare.

The duration of the appointment will depend on how many treatments or vaccinations your pet requires. If your pet already has a microchip and has been vaccinated against rabies, then the appointment should be quick. In this case, your vet will just need to complete a general health check and fill in any documents. On the other hand, if your pet hasn’t been microchipped or vaccinated, it may take longer.

If traveling from Canada with a pet, it may take you longer than a day to get your complete pet passport. If you are traveling to a country that requires a rabies titer test (rabies blood test), the process will take longer. In these cases, you should allow yourself at least 4 months to prepare. This is because you must wait 30 days after your pet’s rabies vaccination to have their blood sample taken. Once you have your results back, you must then wait an additional 3 months before your pet is permitted to travel.

Give your veterinary clinic a call to confirm roughly how long it will take them based on where you are going.


What are the requirements for a Canadian Pet Passport?

Depending on your pet’s species, age and where you are traveling from/to, the requirements for a Canadian Pet Passport can be any of the following:

  1. Rabies Vaccination
  2. Microchip
  3. Health certificate
  4. Tapeworm treatment
  5. Rabies titer test / rabies blood test
  6. Additional vaccinations – e.g. distemper, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis
  7. Import permit / license
  8. CITES permit

RABIES VACCINATION

Dogs, cats and ferrets require rabies vaccinations when traveling to most countries, including Canada. If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, he or she will not need a rabies vaccination. Instead, your pet may require an official health certificate to travel to Canada. Please see below for more information on health certificates.

TRAVELING TO CANADA FROM A RABIES-FREE COUNTRY

Canada considers the following countries as being rabies-free:

Anguilla, Antigua, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Finland, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles), Saint Pierre et Miquelon, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Turks and Caicos, United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland), and Uruguay.

All dogs over 8 months old and cats or ferrets over 3 months old will need proof of a current rabies vaccination. Canada recognises both 1-year rabies vaccinations, and 3-year vaccinations.

EU Pet Passports are accepted. Alternatively, Canada will accept a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian as long as it is in English or French.

To enter Canada, your pet’s rabies certificate must show the following:

  1. Your pet’s identity;
  2. Governmental authority stating that rabies has not existed in the originating country for 6 months immediately preceding the shipment of your pet; and
  3. That your pet has been in that country for the 6 month period or since birth.

A licensed veterinarian in your country can issue your pet’s rabies certificate as long as it is endorsed by a governmental authority responsible for the import and export of pets. In the US, this would be the USDA.

TRAVELING TO CANADA FROM ALL OTHER COUNTRIES

As well as a valid rabies vaccination certificate, in either English or French, your pet may also require a health certificate. Some airlines may request a veterinary certificate of health.


MICROCHIPPING

A microchip is not required to enter Canada with a pet. However, a microchip is a requirement to enter most countries, and is recommended.

A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip is around the size of a grain of rice – and is implanted just under your pet’s skin between its shoulder blades. Each chip has a unique number that is detected using a microchip scanner.

Although Canada does not require pets to be microchipped before entry, it is recommended. If you were to lose your pet while, a microchip makes it far more likely that you will be reunited.

We recommend that microchipping your pet is the first step in the process of obtaining a pet passport. This is because in many countries your pet’s rabies vaccination won’t be valid unless your pet is microchipped first.

HEALTH CERTIFICATE

Pets are generally not required to have health certificates to enter Canada, as long as they are traveling from a rabies-free country (see above for the list of countries). If you are traveling from any other country, your airline may request a health certificate. 

Adult dogs and cats do not require health certificates to enter Canada. However, puppies under the age of 8 will require a health certificate if they are traveling unaccompanied. The health certificate must be issued and certified within 48 hours of entry.

If you are traveling from Canada to another country, it is likely that your pet will need a health certificate.

A health certificate is a compulsory requirement to enter many countries, including the US. In some cases, your health certificate will also need to be endorsed by the country’s authority responsible for the import and export of animals.

Check the specific entry requirements for your destination country.

TAPEWORM TREATMENT

A tapeworm treatment is not required to enter Canada with a pet. However, if you are traveling to other countries from Canada, dogs may need a tapeworm treatment.

This only applies to dogs, not cats, ferrets, rabbits, birds or any other pets.

For example, if traveling to UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway, your dog must be treated against tapeworms. The treatment must be administered between 24 hours (1 day) and 120 hours (5 days) before entry. If you fail to have your dog treated within this time scale, then he or she may be put into quarantine for up to 4 months. Time scales may vary for other countries. 

Generally, tapeworm treatments must be administered by a vet and officially documented. Customs officials will need to see proof.

Check whether your destination country requires a tapeworm treatment.

RABIES TITER TEST

A rabies titer test is not required to enter Canada with a pet. However, if traveling to other countries from Canada, your pet may ned a rabies blood test to show that their rabies vaccination was successful.

Generally, your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. Your vet will then send the blood sample to an approved blood testing laboratory.

To qualify for travel, the blood rest results must show that your pet’s vaccination was successful – i.e. your pet’s blood must contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody.

Usually, you must then wait 3 months from the date of the blood sample before travel.

Check whether your destination country requires a rabies blood test.

ADDITIONAL VACCINES

Additional vaccines are not required to enter Canada, unless your pet is a dog under 8 months of age traveling on their own. 

Puppies (dogs under the age of 8 months) entering Canada without their owners must be vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, and parainfluenza, no earlier than six weeks of age.

If you are traveling to other countries from Canada, your pet may require additional vaccinations.

This is dependent on the country that you are visiting, as different countries and territories have different requirements.

For example – Turkey requires that all dogs need vaccines against parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis and distemper before being allowed into the country. 

Check whether your destination country requires additional vaccinations.

IMPORT PERMIT / LICENSE

You may require an import permit to enter Canada, depending on the species and age of your pet.

Dogs and cats traveling with their owners do not require import permits to travel into Canada. However, unaccompanied dogs under the age of 8 months will need one.

Rabbits, ferrets and birds traveling to Canada from any country other than the US will require an import license issued by the local CFIA office in the destination province. These pets must travel with their owner who must also carry a statement stating they have always been in their possession.

You may need an import permit if you are traveling from other countries from Canada.

Many countries require import permits when visiting with pets, these usually must be issued from your destination country or province.

For example, if you are traveling to Thailand with your pet, you must obtain a import permit from the Thai Department of Livestock Development (DLD).

Check whether your destination country requires an import permit.

CITES PERMIT

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

If your pet is an endangered species, you will need to apply for a CITES Permit.

If your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under CITES. You can check whether your pet is protected here.


What are species-specific requirements for taking pets to Canada?

TAKING DOGS TO CANADA

Dogs over the age of 8 months must have a valid rabies vaccination – 1 year and 3 year vaccinations are accepted.

Puppies entering Canada without their owners (or commercially) will need to be vaccinated for distemper, hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and parainfluenza, no earlier than six weeks of age.

Certain dog breeds are banned in different provinces in Canada, listed below:

  • Ontario – The American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and their crosses are banned from entering or transiting.
  • The City of Toronto – also bans the breeds above, however, air transit is permitted. When transiting Toronto, advance notice must be provided and an agent must transit your dog.
  • Winnipeg –  American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier and their mixes are banned from entry or transiting.

TAKING RABBITS TO CANADA

Rabbits are permitted to enter Canada from the US without any form of documentation. However, it is likely will be inspected by border officials upon entry.

Rabbits are permitted to enter Canada from any other country, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Owners must have an import permit from the local CFIA office in the destination province
  • The rabbit must travel with their owner
  • The owner must possess a statement that the rabbit has always been in their possession
  • Rabbits may need to spend time in quarantine.

Rabbits do not need rabies vaccinations, or any other vaccinations to enter Canada.


TAKING RODENTS TO CANADA

Rodents do not need a permit or health certificate to enter or transit through Canada. The following are species are permitted:

  • Agoutis
  • Beavers
  • Capybaras
  • Chinchillas
  • Chipmunks
  • Coypus
  • Gerbils
  • Gophers
  • Groundhogs
  • Guinea pigs
  • Gundis
  • Hamsters
  • Jerboas
  • Lemmings
  • Maras
  • Marmots
  • Mice
  • Muskrats
  • Pacaranas
  • Pacas
  • Porcupines
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rats
  • Springhares
  • Squirrels
  • Tucotucos
  • Viscachas
  • Voles

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has placed restrictions on the importation of the following pets:

  • Prairie Dogs, Gambian Pouch Rats, or Squirrels from most countries; or
  • Any rodents from Africa.

TAKING FERRETS TO CANADA

Ferrets entering Canada from the US over the age of 3 months from the US must have proof of current rabies vaccination.

Ferrets entering Canada from any other country also require an import permit issued by the local CFIA office in the destination province is required.


TAKING BIRDS TO CANADA

Birds are permitted to enter Canada from the US, as long as the following conditions are met:

  1. Owners must accompany the bird into Canada;
  2. The birds must be found to be healthy when inspected at the port of entry;
  3. The owner must sign a declaration stating that the birds have been in his/her possession for the 90 day period preceding the date of importation and have not been in contact with any other birds during that time;
  4. The owner must sign a declaration stating that the birds are the owner’s personal pets and are not being imported for the purpose of re-sale; and
  5. The owner or any member of the family must not have imported birds into Canada under the pet bird provision during the preceding 90 day period.

Birds may be permitted to enter Canada from other countries. 

Bird owners from countries other than the US require an import permit from the local CFIA office in the destination province. Canada bans the import of birds from certain countries and has additional requirements from others. More information can be obtained at the local CFIA office.

To prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza, birds from the following countries are prohibited:

  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Vietnam

How much does a Canadian Pet Passport cost in 2020?

The cost of a Canadian Pet Passport can vary drastically. The price you pay will depend on the following:

  • Your home country
  • Where you are traveling to
  • The veterinary clinic that you visit
  • The species of your pet
  • Whether your pet already has a microchip and rabies vaccination

Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different prices for veterinary treatments and vaccinations. If you want to save some money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics.

Different countries have different requirements for importing pets.

If you are traveling to Canada with an adult dog or cat, your pet passport should be cheap, as you will only need to pay for for a rabies vaccination. However, other countries have much stricter regulations and will likely cost more. 

Additionally, some pets species may require more treatments and vaccines than others. For example, only dogs will require tapeworm treatments when travelling to the UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Malta.

If your pet already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your Canadian pet passport. If traveling to Canada with an adult dog or cat, you won’t have to pay anything on top of your travel.


How to use a Canadian Pet Passport

You can use your pet’s Canadian passport just as you would your own passport!

When crossing a border, you will need to inform the customs agent that you are bringing your pet. You will need to inform your travel company that you will be bringing your pet along. It’s important to do this as some companies do not allow pets.

When at the border, you will simply need to present both your passport and your pet’s passport.

It is important to keep in mind that vaccinations must remain up to date in order for your pet’s passport to be valid. Canada accepts both 1 year and 3 year rabies vaccinations. Additionally, remember to check border requirements prior to entry in case the country has additional requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

What are the requirements to return to Canada after travel?

The same requirements apply to dogs or cats that originated from Canada and are being returned directly from a country designated by the Minister as having been free from rabies and living there for not less than six (6) months. Thus, your dog or cat will need either proof of current rabies vaccination (EU Pet Passport is accepted) OR a health certificate in English or French and completed by a licensed veterinarian.

Can my pet travel to Canada with an EU Pet Passport?

An EU Pet Passport permits pets to travel to EU countries and listed non-EU countries without having to face quarantine. As Canada is a listed non-EU country, those of you with EU Pet Passports are in luck. Therefore, dogs, cats and ferrets with an EU Pet Passport can travel to Canada without facing quarantine.

Can I bring my puppy or kitten to Canada?

Yes, however, dogs under the age of 8 months must be shipped commercially. Thus, you must also have an import permit for your puppy. Dogs and cats under 3 months old are exempt from import requirements if entering Canada with their owner. Thus, they do not require the rabies vaccination. You should, however, provide proof of age and ownership.

Can I relocate to Canada with my pet?

Yes, many people relocate to Canada each year. As long as you follow the guidelines above then moving to Canada with a pet should be simple. This means, making sure that your pet has any required vaccinations and has all the documents required to enter Canada.

Bottom Line

Obtaining a Canadian pet passport for your pet is simple, as long as you are aware of the guidelines. How to get a Canadian Pet Passport and the regulations, depend on your pet’s species, breed, age and where you are traveling from or to. If you are traveling to Canada with an adult dog or cat who is your pet then the process should be very simple. Your pet will simply need a valid rabies vaccination certificate. However, if your pet is another species, such as a rabbit or bird, then you may require an import permit and health certificate. If you are traveling from Canada to another country, the requirements vary a lot as each country has its own entry requirements. However, it is likely that your pet will need a microchip, rabies vaccination and health certificate.

Hope you have found this helpful – happy travels!

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