Quarantine rules for international pet travel to Canada

pet quarantine rules

Traveling with pets can be both exciting and challenging, especially when dealing with pet quarantine rules for international trips to Canada. For those planning a trip to Canada with their furry companions, understanding the pet quarantine regulations is crucial. This article will guide you through the essential pet quarantine rules and tips to ensure your pet’s journey to Canada is smooth and stress-free. By focusing on the necessary preparations, you can ensure a safe and happy arrival in Canada for both you and your pet. Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or embarking on your first international adventure with your pet, these insights will help you navigate the pet quarantine process in Canada.

Several countries have different levels of success in eradicating dangerous animal diseases like rabies. Since animals can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, pets can be subject to quarantine before being allowed in a new country if coming from a high rabies-risk country. The quarantine period ensures that the pet is healthy and free from diseases that could spread to other animals or people. Taking precautionary measures is important not only to protect the health of the local population but also to ensure the stability of the country’s ecosystem. 

If you are thinking of international travel with your dogs, cats, or other pets, you must check the country’s quarantine regulations before travelling so that it can help you plan your trip better. If you’re planning to travel to Canada, then we have covered all the details that you need to know about the pet quarantine Canada rules and regulations.

You may be wondering if your pet will be put in quarantine upon arrival. The good news is that if your pet is healthy and has met all of the requirements for importing pets into Canada, there is no mandatory quarantine period. However, if your pet does not meet the requirements, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will put your pet in quarantine, and in critical situations, the CFTA may order you to return your pet home from the country.

Pet Import Requirements to enter Canada

Pet Import Requirements to enter Canada

It is essential to understand the necessary requirements and proper documentation to ensure a smooth entry process. Whether you’re relocating permanently or just visiting, Canadian authorities have specific regulations in place to safeguard both animal and public health.


Canada does not require a microchip or tattoo identification for pets. However, pet dogs under 8 months of age imported under the commercial category must be identified by an electronic microchip. We still highly recommend all pets are microchipped before entering Canada, as remember we also need to consider the exporting countries requirements, and the airline requirements, and the safety of your pets. So for all of these reasons clear pet identification is crucial.

Rabies Vaccination Requirements

Rabies is a significant health and safety concern when importing pets due to its viral nature. To prevent the spread of this disease, all pet owners bringing their animals to Canada must provide proof of rabies vaccination, ensuring their pets are free from this dangerous virus.

Rabies Vaccination Certificate

Pet owners can obtain a certificate from their veterinarian to prove that the pet has received the rabies vaccine. The exact requirements for this certificate are listed on the CFIA website.

Documentation and Inspection Required for Dogs and Cats

Dogs: All dogs arriving in Canada need to show proof of all necessary vaccines, depending on their age. A dog less than three months old does not require rabies immunisation. However, most dogs arriving in Canada will undergo an inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency(CBSA), which has an agent at every Canadian port of entry(POR). A tax is charged for CBSA inspections of animals. 

Cats: Cats under three months old are exempt from import restrictions, while those older than 3 months are subject to import requirements. Also, the cats do not require a health certificate or import permit. The only document the cat owner needs to show is regarding the rabies. The document must include that they are rabies-free and have been properly vaccinated or are from a rabies-free country.

Why do Pets need Appropriate Documentation?

pet documentation

Documentation is very important when travelling with pets to Canada. Proper documentation provides a legal record that your pet meets all the health and safety standards required by the Canadian government. This is essential for the well-being of your pet and for the protection of Canada’s local fauna and flora from potential diseases that foreign pets may carry. Additionally, having all the necessary documentation can ensure a smooth entry for you and your furry companion. It also gives you peace of mind knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to comply with regulations and prioritise the health and safety of your pet and the environment. Remember, responsible pet ownership extends beyond borders, and by following these rules, you’re helping to protect Canada’s natural environment.

Why are there Quarantine Requirements?

Quarantine is a precautionary measure to ensure that imported animals do not bring any diseases into the country. The rules for quarantine can change depending on what kind of pet it is and where the pet is from, but the main goal is to keep both the pets and the local animals safe. Understanding the quarantine requirements is really important if you are bringing your pets to Canada. If you don’t follow the rules and requirements, then it could mean delays, extra money, or even sending your pet back home. So, it’s smart to know what you need before starting your trip.

How to Avoid Pet Quarantine in Canada?

Avoid Pet Quarantine in Canada

Health Check-ups before travelling: Before your pet travels, make sure they see a vet for all the necessary health checks and vaccinations. This helps ensure they’re fit and healthy for the journey ahead.

Documentation: Make sure you have all the right paperwork, like permits and health certificates. Having everything in order can make the process faster and easier.

Direct Flights: If possible, pick a flight that goes straight to your destination without any transits. This can lower the chances of your pet being exposed to illnesses from other animals during the journey or transiting through a high risk Rabies endemic country.

Use a Trusted Pet Travel Agency: Consider consulting with a pet travel agency like Ferndale Kennels that has experience in handling these kinds of trips. We can help you to relocate your pet to Canada smoothly.

Follow Provincial Laws: Different provinces might have their own rules about bringing pets in. It’s important to follow the rules, too, as it could help you avoid longer quarantine times set by the federal government.

Early Application: Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for the permits and get all your paperwork together. Start the process early to give yourself plenty of time to sort everything out.


Understanding Canada’s pet quarantine regulations is essential for you and your furry friend. While quarantine may seem challenging, proper preparation and following the requirements can help avoid such measures. By ensuring your pets are healthy, up-to-date on vaccinations, and accompanied by the necessary documentation, you can navigate the process smoothly. Whether relocating or visiting, taking proactive steps to comply with regulations ensures a safe and enjoyable experience for both you and your pets in the Great White North.

Frequency Asked Questions

Do pets need to undergo quarantine upon arrival in Canada?

No, pets that meet all the requirements for importing into Canada do not need to undergo quarantine. However, those not meeting requirements may be subject to quarantine or even return to their home country. Import rules greatly vary depending on your country of origin and the Rabies status.

What are the primary requirements for importing pets into Canada?

Essential requirements include proper documentation, such as rabies vaccination certificates, and adherence to health standards set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

How can pet owners avoid quarantine for their pets when entering Canada?

Measures such as health check-ups before travel, proper documentation, choosing direct flights, consulting reputable pet travel agencies, and following provincial laws can help minimise or avoid quarantine.

Can I bring exotic pets into Canada?

Yes, you can bring exotic pets, but additional regulations are required. Consulting with us can provide specific guidance for exotic pet imports.

Dr Matthew Murdoch

Dr Matthew Murdoch

Veterinary Surgeon, Director

Dr Matthew is a UK-trained practicing Veterinarian and a globally recognized expert in pet travel who is committed to providing safe and smooth journeys for your beloved pets. His compassion and care for animals are second to none.