Crossing the Border with Pets: Canada Edition

If you grew up in the United States like I did, there are only two borders that you can cross when taking a road-trip out of the country: Mexico or Canada. Crossing into Canada is relatively easy, but what about when you are taking a pet with you? Read on to discover what you need to know about crossing the border with pets.


USDA APHIS stands for the United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  They are the go-to resource for pet travel into and out-of the United States. Their website allows you to pick your country of export or import. For each location, they provide a list of specific requirements needed for traveling with pets. I highly recommend checking this site prior to any international travel with pets. This site will give you the most up to date information available.

Canada’s Requirements for Crossing the Border with Pets

First, it is important to note that although the requirements for cats and dogs are similar, there may be small variations for some countries (especially if animals are not traveling with their owners). On the USDA APHIS website, each category is listed separately.

For dogs and cats traveling with their owners, the following documentation is needed:

  1. Proof of Rabies Vaccination

Yep, that’s it. If your pet is traveling with you, all you need is your pet’s rabies certificate. If your dog is not traveling with you, you may also need a health certificate.

Also, if your pet is too young to be vaccinated for rabies, check out the age specific requirements.

United States’ Requirements for Crossing the Border with Pets

So you made it across the border into Canada. You had a lovely trip with your pet. Now you want to return to the United States. What do you need?

  1. Proof of Rabies Vaccination

So make sure you have your rabies certificate when traveling in both directions. And I also recommend checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for additional information.

What if Your Pet is Flying?

Additional documentation may be needed if your pet is flying into the country. See your specific airline for details. And also research thoroughly regarding your airlines pet policies. Different airlines will allow dogs in different areas of the cabin, have different temperature control regulations, etc.

Time to Plan an International Vacation

Now that you know the basics for traveling between Canada and the USA with pets, it is time to plan a trip. On our “Great American Road Trip” Glia and I are incorporating a brief border crossing to visit Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. This park borders Glacier National Park and is much more pet friendly. The images online look stunning and we are so excited to have an alternative to Glacier. Glacier is a stunning park that I have visited once without Glia, and I highly recommend visiting. However, dogs are not allowed on any of the trails there. Since Glia and I love hiking, we can’t wait to explore a similarly beautiful national park just across the border.

What are your experiences crossing the Canadian border with your pet(s)? If you are planning your first road trip with a pet, check out our list of planning suggestions.





Kate is the writer of Pawsitively Intrepid. She has spent the last 9 years working full-time as a veterinarian, treating dogs and cats. But as of June 2023, she is taking a year to travel with her dog, volunteer, and work on some passion projects.

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