How To Import Dog And Cat Into Canada

Your how to guide on pet imports into Canada

import dog and cat

When importing puppies, dogs, kittens, or cats, you must know what is involved in the process. Many parties such as Customs and other Participating Government Agencies have regulations that must be followed.

Accompanying (self transporting) your personal dog or cat across the border that was purchased in the U.S. and bringing it to Canada does not require a formal entry. However, shipping your personal pet (unaccompanied) does. Importing a dog that is for sale, adoption, breeding, show, exhibition, scientific research, or for animal welfare organization is considered a commercial importation and requires a formal entry as described on this page.

Are you accompanying your pert across the border and want to know what is required? Download our infographic here.

Note: During the COVID Pandemic, the border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed to non-essential travel. This is affecting Canadian buyers of animals’ bred in the U.S. as they are unable to drive across the border to pick them up. Many people are wondering how they can bring their pets to Canada.

Parties Involved:

Import Fundamentals:

  • Your pet will undergo a visual inspection at the border to ensure it is free of disease and well enough to travel
  • In Canada, each provincial and city authority may have specific restrictions. Please see your area’s restrictions before importing
  • It is recommended that you begin the import process 30 days before the date of importation to allow all parties to prepare
  • A dog import permit may be required if the animal is younger than 8 months of age. (some exemptions are in place for temporary entry into Canada if younger than 8 months old.) A dog permit is not required for dogs older than 8 months
  • Pets will require microchips if younger than 8 months old (personal pets are exempt)
  • Dogs and cats bred in a country outside of the country could harbor disease not experienced in Canada. Therefore special procedures and requirements are in place at the border to protect pets residing in Canada
  • Animals must undergo an examination by a qualified veterinarian in the country of origin (the U.S.)
  • For dogs and puppies, a rabies vaccination certificate must be provided along with other vaccinations as outlined by the Government of Canada
  • Duty and tax must be paid upon importation into Canada for all goods valued at $20.00 and greater
  • The rate of duty is determined by the tariff of the commodity being imported, the value of the goods and, the origin of the goods.
  • Certain import documentation is required to be presented to the border services officer at the port of entry.
  • Your import may be subject to a customs review, inspection or audit prior to, or after the importation. Additional fees may be levied by the Government of Canada for these services.
  • You are required to keep your import records for six years following the date of import and can be audited by Customs at any point during this time.

FAQ: Pet, Dog, Cat Imports

How Much Does It Cost To Import A Dog From The US Into Canada?
If you are importing a pet into Canada for commercial purposes, you will be required to act as the importer of record and submit a formal entry to Canada Customs. Every commercial shipment into Canada is subject to duty and tax payment, calculated at the time of import (unless the goods are entering under a free trade agreement).
What Documentation Is Required (Dog Import Permit)?

For personal pets entering from the U.S.:

  • Rabies vaccination certificate (Dog’s and *Cat’s older than 3 months of age) (if your  pet does not meet these requirements you will be required to have it vaccinated within two weeks of entering into Canada)
  • Proof of age

For commercial, pets entering from the U.S.:

  • A Rabies vaccination certificate (Dog)
  • A commercial invoice that lists the value of the import
  • A dog import permit (If the dog is younger than 8 months old or older than 8 months and being imported on a temporary basis for a show or competition).
*Cat’s entering Canada from the U.S. that are accompanied by their owner are not categorized as ‘personal’ or ‘commercial’ as with dog imports. No other documentation is required other than a rabies vaccination.
Do You Have To Pay Duty On A Puppy Or Kitten/Cat?

Personal pet imports are duty-free.

Commercial animal importations require a value for customs and therefore duty.

Are Dogs Required To Quarantine When Entering Canada?

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association recommends quarantining your dog for 14 to 30 days upon entering into Canada. They also recommend that you monitor for illness during this time and keep the animal away from other animals and high-risk people.

How Long Does It Take To Import A Pet Into Canada?

If importing a dog for commercial purposes, it is recommended that you begging to get your documentation in order 30 days prior to crossing the border.

What Is A CFIA/ACIA 5860?

A CFIA/ACIA 5860 is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Dog Permit application. It is required from all dogs entering Canada for commercial purposes if they are younger than 8 months old.

Must Pets Be Electronically Microchipped?

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