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Crossing the US-Canada border with your dog

For many people in Canada and the United States, their dogs are like members of their families. However, it can become quite a challenge when dog owners want to travel across borders with their canine companions by their sides. For those travelling in either direction between Canada and the United States, the good news is that it is not particularly complicated to prepare for such a border crossing.  

Whether dog owners travel by road or by air, the basic regulations apply. When it comes to taking pets across the border, rules for cats and dogs are far less complicated than for other pets. Travellers should keep the following regulations in mind: 

  • The U.S or Canadian citizens must show passports or alternative secure documents typically accepted for border crossings between the two countries. 
  • For pet dogs and cats older than three months, certificates must document that the pet was vaccinated against rabies. 
  • A veterinarian’s signature must be on the certificate, which must also include a description of the pet cat or dog. 
  • Vaccination tags on the pet’s collar will not be sufficient proof of rabies immunizations. 
  • Documentation must include the product name of the vaccine, the lot number and its expiration date. 
  • Travellers to Ontario will not be permitted to take Pit bulls along. 
  • There are no import restrictions on service animals. 
  • Kittens and puppies younger than three months are too young for vaccination, and a veterinarian’s certificate of good health will be sufficient. 

If, for example, an American citizen is bringing a cat or dog along on vacation in Canada, remember that vaccination proof will again be required upon crossing the border on the return trip. Therefore, it’s important to ensure the return is still within the required three-month period. Answers to any other questions or help with any issues that arise regarding taking pets on cross-border trips can be obtained from an experienced lawyer that focuses on unique cross-border legalities. 

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