Travelling with animals
Before heading to the border with an animal, make sure you are aware of Canadian import and travel requirements. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers will inspect and can refuse entry, confiscate or detain an animal if:
- it is undeclared, including family pets
- you do not have the necessary permits/certificates
- it is suspected of being sick or infected with a pest or disease
- the animal is transported in a non-humane way and not kept safe from harm and injury
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for establishing import requirements for all animals, including domestic pets and non-traditional pets. For more information, consult Importing or travelling with pets.
The CFIA is also responsible for setting guidelines for the humane transport of all animals. To ensure all animals, including cats, dogs, exotics and reptiles, are transported safely, visit the CFIA webpage Can I Come Too? Protecting Pets When They Travel.
Dogs: assistive, personal or commercial
A service dog is defined as a dog that provides a distinct, trained service to individuals who would otherwise be limited in their ability to perform certain tasks.
An assistive service dog is exempted from all import requirements if:
- it is accompanied by the person to whom the dog is assigned and
- documentation is presented to support that the animal is certified as a service animal by a recognized organization
Your assigned assistive service dog is considered a commercial import if:
- it is travelling with another person or
- it is in special “training status”
To determine if your dog falls under an assistive “service dog”, a “personal” or “commercial” import, refer to Importing or Travelling with Domestic Dogs.
Exotic pets: check before you import
We suggest you verify if the animal is listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) controls. Travellers are responsible for determining if their pet is subject to CITES controls and ensuring that they possess the appropriate CITES permits/certificates for importing them into Canada. Furthermore, the export requirements for the pet of the exporting country must be met.
Examples of exotic pets
- Small wild cats
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