“I’m going camping in Canada and I want to bring my dogs with me. Do they need any special paperwork?”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which regulates the import of food, plants, and animals, has a section on their website for people who are considering bringing their pets to Canada. A healthy pet dog that is over eight months old and accompanied by its owner requires a rabies vaccination certificate, but no other paperwork that we can find. The certificate must state that the dog has been vaccinated. It needs to include the dog’s sex, breed, color, and weight (for identification purposes), the date of the vaccination, the vaccine’s serial number and trade name (also known as a brand name – for example, Tylenol is a trade name for acetaminophen), and it must indicate how long the vaccine will be effective. (If there is uncertainty, the vaccine will be considered effective for one year after it was administered.) This certificate must be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian.
According to the Center for Disease Control website, dogs must also have a rabies certificate to cross the border back into the United States. They require a little more information, including the owner’s name and address and the veterinarian’s name, address, and license number. Otherwise, the requirements are about the same.
The website GoPetFriendly.com gives a few more tips. They recommend that, if our patron thinks their dog’s health might be called into question, it’s a good idea for them to get a health certificate from their vet as well, just to prove that their dog is not carrying anything contagious.
GoPetFriendly also calls attention to a law against pit bulls or “a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics substantially similar to any of those dogs” in Ontario. The full law can be read on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website and states that “It is against the law to bring pit bulls into Ontario, even for a short visit” and that no exceptions are made for tourists.
As our patron prepares for their trip, they can also bring up to around 44 pounds of pet food, so long as both the food and the pets it will feed are with them when they enter Canada, and so long as the food is of United States origin, and commercially packaged. (Sources vary as to whether or not the packaging can be opened.)