Crossing the Canadian border with your pets can be a bit nerve-wracking – especially if you’ve never done it before. And even if you have, pulling up to the border agent’s booth can be a little stressful. Knowing that something you say, the way you say it, some obscure pattern in your border crossing frequency, the moodiness of the agent, or random luck could cause your vehicle to be searched causes a certain amount of heartburn.

Cars lining up to cross the Canadian border from the US

Crossing The Canadian Border With Pets

When we pull up to the agent, I try to be polite, but not suspiciously so. Answering the questions without getting too chatty is hard when I’m nervous! I probably have nothing to worry about. Honestly, what idiot would choose to smuggle something over the border in this vehicle?'s New RV Wrap by blue media

All but once our border crossing have been completely uneventful. That time, we were actually on our way back home and were dealing with US border patrol. They did had us pull over and get out of the Winnebago while they walked through opening cabinets and checking in drawers. Buster barked BLOODY MURDER the whole time! It only took a few minutes, though it seemed much longer at the time, and then we were on our way.

If you haven’t been to Canada with your pets, below is a transcript of a conversation we had with the border agent during our last crossing. It’s almost identical to those we’ve had on on previous trips, and is typical of what you should expect:

Crossing the Border to Canada

Amy, pulling up to the window at the border crossing: Hello.

Border Agent: How are you?

Amy: We’re good. And you?

Border Agent: Good.

Buster: WOOF, WOOF!!

Rod to Agent: Buster’s says “hello.”

Buster: Woof!

Border Agent: Alright, what is the reason for your visit today?

Amy: We’re visiting Banff and Jasper on vacation.

Border Agent: Alright, how long are you going to be there?

Amy: We’re planning on a couple of weeks.

Buster: Woof, WOOF!

Border Agent: Any friends or family there?

Amy: No.

Border Agent: Okay, so just tourists?

Amy: Yep.

Buster: WOOF, woof.

Border Agent: Have you been to Canada before?

Amy: Yes, we have.

Border Agent: I thought you spoke Canadian rather well!

Amy: Ha, ha, ha.

Border Agent: The pups’ rabies vaccinations are up to date, right?

Buster: Woof!!

Amy: Yes, they are. We have their certificates if you’d like to see them.

Border Agent: No, that’s fine. Does anybody in the vehicle have any fireworks, firearms, or other weapons?

Amy: No.

Buster: WOOF!

Border Agent: Do you have currency in excess of $10,000?

Amy: No.

Border Agent: Okay. GoPetFriendly? Is this a pet specific rental company?

Amy: No, is a website that makes it easy for people to travel with their pets.

Border Agent: Okay. Do you have any produce or firewood?

Buster: Woof, woof, woof.

Amy: We have a few bananas.

Border Agent: That’s okay – we don’t grow them here. Okay, anything that’s going to stay in Canada?

Amy: No. (Tough at this point, I can feel Rod thinking … “Buster, if he doesn’t stop barking!”)

Border Agent: Alright, have a good day.

Amy and Rod (in stereo): Thank you!

And that was it … the whole conversation lasted less than two minutes and we were off, across the border to Canada!

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Visiting Vancouver's Famous Attractions With Dogs |

When we crossed back over to the United States, this is how it went:

Crossing Back into the United States

Amy: Good afternoon.

Border Agent: Are those license plates from South Dakota?

Amy: Yes, we are from South Dakota.

Border Agent: Can I see your IDs? (I handed him our passports.) So, what’s

Amy: It’s a website that makes it easy for people to plan trips with their pets.

Border Agent: So, you don’t have any pets now, though, right?

Amy: I do have pets – we have our two dogs with us.

Border Agent: Oh, okay, but you’re not transporting other people’s pets for them?

Amy and Rod (in stereo): No!

Border Agent: Any fruits and vegetables?

Amy: We have strawberries, blueberries and lettuce.

Border Agent: Alright, have a good day.

Amy and Rod (in stereo): Thank you!

And, as easy as that, we were back in the USA.

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Buster and Ty, the dogs in Washington DC

A Word on Vaccination Certificates

In January 2019, the United States removed the proof of vaccination requirement for pets crossing the border from Canada and Mexico. When crossing into Canada with pets, a current rabies vaccination is still required. And, although the border agents don’t always ask to see Ty and Buster’s documents, I’d never consider crossing without them.

So, as you see, most of the time crossing the Canadian border with pets a pretty simple process. And, just to be sure you have all the facts, here are the official tips for crossing the Canadian border with pets.

Has your experience crossing the border been the same as ours?

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  • How are pet medications for non contagious conditions handled at the Canadian border in and out from USA? Some are controlled medications for syringamialia.

    • Hi Jeff! Thanks for your note and excellent question. I don’t have any experience crossing the border with controlled substances, so I’m afraid I can’t help. If you call the border agent at the locations you’ll be crossing, they should be able to help you. Good luck and safe travels!

  • Thank you so much, this was very helpful, We’ll be going to Canada in a few days driving over there and I’m so nervous because I don’t want to get in trouble with my dog . I’m still kind of anxious, but thank you !!

    • You’re welcome, Jenny! It’s natural to feel a bit anxious about something you’ve never done before. But it’s really simple and I’m sure you’ll be fine. Safe travels, and enjoy the trip!

  • Thanks so much for this! We’re about to cross up into Canada for the first time with our upper and having this transcript here has put us so much at ease! Love it!

  • Thank you for this post! I have never traveled with our pets before (2 cats). Is any of this different due to COVID? (I am a dual citizen so I should be able to cross with quarantine). And any tips on helping cats travel by car (24 hours in the car to get there). Thank you!

  • Hey! I’m planning on getting a puppy later this year in Canada and then bringing it back home with me, and will most likely have to drive in order to do this. The puppy will be about 8 weeks old as the breeder prefers not to keep them longer than that (it would cost extra). From researching it seems like I’ll need a health certificate at least, but just wanted to ask if you know how this will work? The pup won’t be able to have a rabies vaccination that young, so I’m a little worried.

    Breeder hasn’t sold to an American before, so she doesn’t know much about the process yet either. I just wanna be prepared!

    • Hi Nell! I’m surprised to hear that the breeder won’t keep the pup longer than 8 weeks. Most breeders I know prefer to have the pups with their mom at least 8 weeks and sometimes up to 12 weeks. Just makes me wonder a bit, so be sure you’ve done extensive research to be sure you’re working with a reputable breeder.

      As far as the documents you’ll need to drive across the border, as long as he or she appears healthy, you won’t need a health certificate. And since the pup will be too young for a rabies vaccination, you’ll just need something from the breeder that show’s the pup’s age and having a receipt showing you as the owner wouldn’t hurt. I hope that helps, and good luck with your new addition!

  • Hello, I will be moving to the US with my two dogs (we live in Canada). I am trying to figure out all of the documents we will need. Are you familiar with this situation? I know rabies certificates are a must.. But is there anything else?

    • Hi Elyse! Congratulations on your move and thanks for the note. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the requirements for relocation – only vacation. For most travelers, no documents are needed to drive from Canada to the US. Of course, then you’d want to get your dogs licensed in your new community, and additional documentation could be required for that. To be sure, you might want to reach out to They help people relocate with their pets all over the world every day and should be able to answer your question definitively.

  • Hello! I am preparing to take my dogs across the border as a cut through from MI to VT. I keep reading about dogs must be “safely transported”. I do not travel with my dogs in a crate, they just have seat belts that attach to their harnesses. Do you know if this is an OK method of travel?

    • Hi Amelia! Thanks so much for your note and for buckling up your pups! There’s actually no requirement that pets be in carriers or seatbelt harnesses to travel in Canada. They just need to be kept safe by not riding unsecured in the back of a pickup or other reckless methods of transportation. That said, I’m so glad you are securing your dogs in the car – it’s safer for them and you! Safe travels to you all.

  • Are there still waiting periods for the rabies certificate??? Like can i get the rabies vaccine two days before we leave?? My puppy is 3 1/2 months old & I’m leaving in a week

    • Hi Nakyra! There is no waiting period between the time your pup receives the rabies vaccine and when he or she can cross the border to Canada. Coming back into the US, there is no longer a need to show proof a rabies vaccination at the border. It sounds like you’ll be good to go! We wish you a safe trip.

  • I’m planning on having a friend watch my dog over the holidays in Victoria, BC.

    She is going to pick him up and drop him off in Washington. Will she encounter any difficulties crossing the border with our dog? Is there any additional paperwork for her to cross with our dog?

    • Hi Nathan! There is no guidance on taking a friend’s pet across the border, but I don’t believe your friend will have any trouble. She’ll need your pet’s rabies certificate, of course, but the only other thing you might want to do is provide a letter staying that she has your permission to have your dog in her possession. I hope that helps and that you pup has a fun stay!

  • I have an uneutered Great Dane. Are there any restrictions to cross into Canada and back into the US for this breed and for unneutered dogs? He is 7 and healthy. I wi have a rabies cert with me.

    • Hi Juan! Thanks for your note. Nope, as long as you have a current rabies certificate, you’ll have no trouble driving from the U.S. to Canada and back with your Great Dane. I hope you both have a fantastic trip!

  • I have 3 senior dogs (over 12) who no longer receive Rabies vacs, but titer tests. They all are within acceptable range and have documentation confirming this (Kansas State Lab via my local vet) Is this acceptable for border crossings?

    • Hi Laura! Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, the Canadian authorities do not provide any guidance as to whether documentation of titer tests are sufficient to cross the border. My advice is to call the border crossing and speak to an agent before departing on your trip. If they tell you that your documents will be sufficient to cross, make sure to take down the name of the person you spoke to and the date of your conversation so you have it when you cross.

      Of course, coming back to the US will be no problem, because vaccination certificates are no longer required for dogs driven over the border from Canada.

      Good luck, and safe travels!

    • Laura, I am in the same situation as you. What happened when you got to the border crossing? Thanks for any info you can provide.

  • Thank you so much for for this. It is so awesome when we share information, and our experiences and all that jazz. We make it so much easier for the next people. I am bringing my new pup across the border and this article has helped me so much. My fears have been relieved even before I have left! Thank-you.

    • Congratulations on your new addition, and I’m so glad we could help! We wish you safe and happy travels.

      • Thank you. You never know what you are getting into and this DEFINITELY helps answers all those crazy questions that go on in worried mind, especially when it comes to your pet that cannot tell anybody “Hey, I’m good, let me in. They are with me”

        Thanks again

  • We actually had our car fully searched when re-entering the US through Detroit with our dog. We had to put our dog in a crate they provided next to the car and wait inside a waiting room with no windows for about 30 minutes. Luckily it didn’t take too long, but we were worried about our pup out there by himself! But he seemed fine when we got out. Also, they wanted to confiscate was our unlabeled dog food (it was in a resealable travel container). We had purchased it in the US and told them that. They believed us luckily and we got to keep it. They said dog food purchased in Canada could not be brought into the US.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Elly! I know that it’s sometimes the luck of the draw. I can imagine how nervous you must have been leaving your pup out there – I would have felt the same way! I’m glad it was a pretty quick process for you and that everything worked out alright. Waggin’ trails!

    • Our pleasure! Hopefully sharing our experiences helps build the confidence of other people traveling with their pets, Amanda. There are so many beautiful places to visit in Canada, it would be a shame to miss them.

  • Hello – we are going up to Canada from the US and taking an unopened bag of dog food per the regulation. Does anyone know if it’s an issue for us to return to the US with this same bag? Just wondering if the US border agents will have an issue since it will have been opened. Thanks.

  • Hi Brennen! Wow – that sounds like quite an adventure! No, I wouldn’t expect to get any hassle from the border agents regarding your dog as long as you’re able to provide them with a current rabies certificate. Good luck on your trip, and waggin’ trails!

  • hey! I’m planning on doing a big walking trip from northern BC to Coloerado and i am wondering if i should be prepared to be hassled by the border agents? He has all his shots and paperwork.but i haven’t heard of anyone doing this so i figured i’d leave a comment and be a bit more prepared cheers!

  • Is there a link that people can post to, in the breed baned locals to note “hey, just so you know, you are not getting my tourist dollars, idoits!”? Don’t have a pit mix, nor does she look like one, but have had her DNA done & I am laminating it & having it with me JIC.

  • Don’t know about the legal accessibility laws in Canada. I am sure they are posted. However, in general Canada is more tollerent to (dogs at least) animals than the US. It is up to the establishment, with food distribution areas being more “selective”, in general. This is true for shops & National Park trails & buildings. Trails, they allow it, don’t recommend it very lengthly & strongly, but they allow; some exceptions due to “sensitive ecology” but it is explained. Even the hike in an area where they required hiking groups of 6 (people, preferably 16 or older counted as the minimum 6) they allowed animals (heavy bear of the grizzly type activity). Last time we were in Banif was 2012. Going again this summer & we have a service dog, now. 2012 we had a non-service dog, but had an RV + she was not a hiker, but she did go on the trams & shorter hikes with us with no problem.

  • Thank you, Diane! I’m so glad to see that your experience crossing the border was similar to ours. Each border agent is a little different and, in all the times we’ve crossed the border, we’ve never had any trouble.

  • Our vet is out of town so we got our rabies vaccination certificate signed by another vet at the office as “verified” it was done. Do you think this could cause issue? Thanks for your help!

  • Hi Kriste! Yes, you can absolutely put a muzzle on your dog if you feel it will make crossing the border less stressful for you both. I recommend you start getting him used to the muzzle well before your trip. (It’s a good idea for all dogs to be acclimated to a muzzle in case they are ever injured and need to be muzzled for the safety of the veterinary staff.) Break the training down into small steps – start by just letting him sniff the muzzle, then rest is on his face face without closing the clasp, when he’s done each step, give him lots of treats. As he gets comfortable with each step, move on to the next one, working up to him wearing the muzzle for 10-15 minutes. He’s a GSD, so he’ll pick it up quickly. Good luck, and have a great trip!

  • I have a German Shepherd that I plan on taking with me to Canada. He is very vocal, especially when someone is near our vehicle. I dont go through drive-thru restaurants because I cant hear the employee asking for my food order and they cant hear me because of his barking. Is it ok to put a muzzle on my dog? It doesnt totally silence him but I sure can hear better.

  • I’m so glad that you’ve experienced easy crossings, too, Jen, and thanks for your note. Knock on wood neither of us ever have to go through one of the difficult crossings!

  • This has also been our experience, both times were when we were immigrating across the border with our pets. We’ve always had the rabies certification, and when we moved from Canada to the US we also had the health certificate (we had two vets told us they weren’t needed on our way back, so we figured if we ran into tough circumstances we’d find a vet near the border to do a checkup). Anyway, on our way down in 2004 we were doing all the visa paperwork and told the agent “We have our cat’s documentation here, she’s in the car…” Agent:”I hate cats”… Us: “…” Agent: “That’s it.” Us: ??? And we walked out, and were officially living in the US. On our way back to live in Canada again (2017), not one question, nothing, from anyone — and we had three crossings within an hour because we had to return across the US border to do our botched up car paperwork. What a morning, but dogs took it like champs :) That said, I’ve had neighbours travel with dogs (Canada to USA) that had their entire car inspected, dog food taken away, and even their dog taken into a room to be inspected (!!!). So I never take my experiences, so far, for granted.

  • Too funny, Tom! I think crossing the border can be a little intimidating when you’ve never done it before, but as you know with all your experience, it’s very rare for there to be any issues. Thanks for your note – I hope it gives other pet travelers more confidence when planning their trips to Canada. Waggin’ trails!

  • We’ve crossed the US/CDN border many, many times with our pets, and your account is exactly what we’ve encountered. We always had our rabies certificates, but only ONCE were we actually asked to hand them over and that was also an exceptional crossing in that the agent seemed to be under evaluation because she asked us every question in the book! This was also the crossing when we were asked WHAT guns we were carrying—NOT IF we had any guns but WHAT guns we had. And then there was the time we spent 5 minutes talking with the agent about Ice Wine after having declared we had a bottle of it.

  • Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the accessiblity laws in Canada, Jeanne. I imagine they’re similar to those here in the US, but I haven’t looked into them. Good luck with your trip – Banff is gorgeous!

  • Hi Barb! Thanks so much – we’re happy to be able to help. It sounds like you have a great adventure coming up, and the only document you should need for your dogs to cross the border into Canada and then into the US is their valid rabies certificate. As long as they all are healthy and none are puppies that have received their vaccination within 30 days of travel, it’s really very simple. I’ve written more about the specifics here: luck, and waggin’ trails!!

  • First off you rock! I came across your site by accident and now I know i will get straight answers here. Hubby, our 3 labs and I are moving back to the lower 48 after having spent a year in Alaska. What documentation do we need for our “boys: for entry into Canada and than into the US from Canada – we are driving the ALCAN (in the spring this time!!). We are being told 50 different things that the labs need done prior to traveling, can you help?

  • Hi Heather, and thanks for those kind words about my site! I’m happy to help. Taking your bunny to Canada looks like it will be a cinch. The Canadian website says, “Domestic or pet rabbits imported from the United States must be presented to Canada Border Services Agency staff upon entry. The importation of pet rabbits does not require import permits or health certificates.” (Link:…/1331850639367/1331850850188) Getting back into the US is also easy for pet rabbits – the CDC imposes no requirements for their transportation across the border. Here’s a link:…/bringing-an-animal-into-the…/Have a terrific trip!

  • I am driving from Phoenix to Homer, Alaska with my pet bunny, are the requirements the same for a bunny, health certificate from a vet? Thank you so much for you website and information….there is a lot of information out there but yours in nicely organized and up to date, thank you!! �

  • We’re planning our Canada/Alaska (rv) trip with our dog, in a couple of months; will have Rabies info and Health certiticate from our vet. How and where do I go to get a health cerrifixate when we retrurn from Alaska, crossing Canada, back into USA. We plan on being in Alaska for several weeks…longer than the 10 day for a health certificate?

  • thank you very much for your response. I hope my current documents are sufficient as they set out all the information stipulated in the requirements – fingers crossed! �

  • That’s a great question, Samantha! I’m not familiar with the information that’s provided in a dog’s EU passport, but the stated requirement for rabies certificate to cross the border from the US to Canada are as follows: Domestic or pet dogs may enter Canada if accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate, which is issued by a licensed veterinarian in English or French, and which clearly identifies the dogs and states that they are currently vaccinated against rabies.This certificate should identify the animal’s breed, color, weight, etc., and indicate the name of the licensed rabies vaccine used (trade name), including serial number and duration of validity (up to three years). Please note that if the duration of validity is not indicated on the certificate, the vaccine will be considered to be valid for one year.If your pup’s passport includes all the required information, I don’t see that there would be a problem at the border. We hope you have a great trip – waggin’ trails!

  • Hi, I have recently moved to Washington State, US from the UK with my 4 year old black lab. He has an EU passport with his rabies injection documented. I plan to drive to Vancouver, CA for the weekend to see friends and take him. Do you foresee there being any issues as he has EU papers (and not US/Canadian) albeit they confirm he has had his injections, microchip number etc? Many thanks Samantha Kellie

  • Hi Amanda! I’m glad you and your pup have arrived safely. I don’t want to alarm you, but want you to be aware that while you’re in Ontario, you are violating their breed ban. If your dog is discovered there by authorities, she could be taken from you and euthanized – even if she’s done nothhing wrong. I have not heard of that happening for some time now, but it has in the past, and I want you to be aware of the risk. I wish you both the very best.

  • Amanda, only the Province of Ontario currently has a ban on pitties and pit mixes. The City of Montreal has passed similar laws, but they are currently being challenged in court (as of November 2016) and the ban has not been enacted. If you’re considering a trip to Ontario, I would recommend not taking your girl with you. If you’re going to other parts of Canada, you will no doubt find people who believe the pit bull ban in Ontario is a horrific as you and I do. I hope this helps!

  • Ok, super freaked about them euthanizing pits or pit mixes. Does that literally mean that they can take my dog from me at the border and euthanize her? She’s a pit crossed with a lab (I think, haven’t had her typed), and whether she looks like a pit is in the eye of the beholder… I think she does, my mother doesn’t. Will I ever be able to bring her with me?

  • Hi Leah! There is no limit on the number of cats you can take across the border with you, as long as they’re all your pets. Crazy cat ladies deserve vacations, too! ;-) We have all the details on the documents you’ll need in the “Tips for Taking Your Cat to Canada” post, which you can click over to above. We hope you have a terrific trip!

  • I see most normal people ask about 1-2 animals…but what if you are a crazy cat lady who dosent trust anyone to take care of all your furrbabies, so you decide to take all of them with you to visit your sister in Canada? Is there a limit on number of animals?

  • You’re so welcome, Myrna! It sounds like you have a great trip planned. This year the closest we could get an RV spot to Banff was in Cochrane, and it was nice. A leash-free path runs along the river just outside the RV park, so if your dog likes playing off-leash with other dogs, that might be a good option. The last time we were in the area we stayed at Mt. Kidd in Kaninaskis. It was lovely, if a bit of a drive from Banff and Lake Louise. Depending on when you’re going, my advice would be to make your reservations early. Next year is the Canadian National Park’s anniversary and admission to all of their national parks will be free for the entire year. Banff is always busy anyway, but they’re expecting especially big crowds next year. I hope that helps – waggn’ trails!

  • Thanks for posting your “crossing border with pets” experience. It helps a lot. We plan to make a road trip that will include crossing Canada from either Washington or Idaho and coming back thru Montana. Can you suggest any pull hook ups campsites in Canada (Banff, Jasper, or Waterton ) and Montana?

  • Hi Yumi. The inspection fee is waived for dogs and cats traveling by car from the US to Canada – so you’ll be able to use that money to by extra treats for the dogs! Have a great trip, and waggin’ trails.

  • Hi, we re crossing the border from chicago to niagara fall, with our two shiba inu by car. Is there an inspection fee to cross the border? I saw like 30$ for first dog and 5$ additional dog. Is that right? Also do they accept US dollar?

  • How about birds? I have 4 pet pigeons that are part of my family. Do they require special documentation as well, to travel into Canada? I read about dogs and cats, so that won’t be a problem. Just want to know. Their wings are clipped, so they can’t fly away, and they’re retired racing pigeons.

  • Hi! I’m planning a 2 day visit to Vancouver Canada soon. One of my dogs cannot get vaccines since they cause him to have seizures. Would a letter from the vet help to let him through. He is 8 years old, and healthy sinced we stopped the vaccines.

  • I’m happy I found your site … I’m travelling to the US in a few weeks via Maine from Canada then the next day crossing back into Canada via the US/Quebec border crossing. I have my 7 yr old Cairn terrier up to date records and her Rabies vaccination proof which was signed by our vet. Do you think there is anything else I should I be concerned about anything else ?

  • I wish I could be more difinitlve, Keri Sandford, but the law states that the ban applies to “pit bull type” dogs, based on visual inpsection. Whether a dog is a “pit bull type” seems to be intentionally vague and is open to interpretation by the officer. Bull Terriers are not specifically mentioned. I hope that helps!

  • Glad I found this site. We were planning on taking a road trip with out dog, a pit/chocolate lab mix in a few weeks. Thank God I learned there is a ban on pit bulls in Ontario. Breaks my heart, as our Louie is a kind and gentle soul. I trust him with the kids more than I trust most dogs. I guess we need new travel plans.

  • Hi Sheila! Congratulations on your new addition! You’ll need a valid rabies certificate for your pup to cross into Canada, and a valid rabies certificate showing that her vaccination was administered at least 30 days prior to the day you cross back into the United States. You can find more details about what must be included on the rabies certificate here:, we wish you a long, happy, adventure-filled life together. Waggin’ trails!

  • Hi there, we have adopted a Pomchi who is just over a year old (not quite sure). My husband is planning to take her along in his transport trailer to Buffalo everyday. What are the documents he needs to show to the border officials? We just got her yesterday.

  • Hi Bunny! If you’re driving across the border, and Sophie looks to be in good health, you won’t need a health report to cross the border. A vaild rabies certificate is all you’ll need. (Health certificates are only needed for animals that appear ill, to verify that the cause of their illness is not contagious.) If you and Sophie are flying, you’d need to confirm with your airline their requirements for health certificates, but most need a certificate that was issued within 10 days. Good luck, and have a great trip!

  • I am planning a trip home to Canada this summer from NC. This is the first time I will be taking my seven yr old mixed breed dog,Sophie. She will be getting her vaccinations done June 27 and I was going to get her rabies done at that time even though it is not due until Aug 10. The vet has told me she will give Sophie a 30 day written health report that is good for travel for 30 days. We leave on July 27 and return back to US on Aug 5, Will she be able to get back into the US with her health report having expired since it is being done on June 27

  • Hi Christopher! It sounds like all your paperwork in order, so your crossing should be perfectly smooth. Ontario does have a breed ban against pit bulls, but the documents from your vet will clearly identify your dog’s breed, so no need to worry there. It’s always a little nerve wracking going across the border, but we’ve done it many times and never had any issues. Try not to worry, and have a great trip!

  • Hi, my wife and I will be travelling to Ottawa Ontario from Houston Texas with our dog for a few weeks to visit her family. Ace is a 1 year 8 month old Doberman / Labrador. He is 50 lbs – so not very big and the biggest suck ever. Do you think this will be an issue with the border patrol? We have his adoptive papers, his rabies cert is up to date (he was vaccinated Jan 29 2016 and it expires 2018) as well as all health paperwork signed and ready for travel.My wife is a little concerned from reading information online some of the border stuff is a little scary. Suggests that if they think they are a bully breed they can seize your dog – even though Ace is not.

  • Hi Anne! Your veterinarian is incorrect. To drive across the border (and back) with healthy dogs who are current on their vaccinations, the only paperwork you need is a rabies certificate that meets the requirements laid out above. If any of your dogs appeared unwell, you’d need a health certificate stating that their condition was not contagious, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. I think your vet may be confusing the requirements for flying with pets and driving with them. I hope that helps, and that you all have a great trip!

  • Hi, My family and I will be travelling to Canada with our two 9 month old Doberman Pinsher puppies and one 15 year old MiniaturePinscher this July in our RV. All our dogs are up to date on all their shots as well as the rabies. My question is my Veterinarian is telling me that I’ll need to full out extensive paperwork and have her full out certificates and re-examine each dog for thier health and that I will need to get paperwork from the board of health in my state of New Jersey, plus my veterinarian is telling me that I’d need to do all that over again just to cross back over into the states. I have not find any information to help corroborate that this is true. Can you please offer any information on this. Thank you

  • Yes, it is ridiculous and disappointing, Ju Liane Renée. Sadly, there are some other Canadian cities that are looking at imposing breed bans right now. Let’s hope they change their minds!

  • Hi Beth Seymour. I’m sorry I’m not being very clear. The rules for the US and Canada are different so let’s use an example to help illustrate – say that a dog got vaccinated on January 1st. That dog may cross into Canada from January 1st until the day the vaccination expires. Crossing back to the US requires a waiting period, so a dog who was vaccinated on January 1st has to wait until January 31 (30 days) to cross back into the US, but can then do so any time until the vaccination expires. Does that make sense?

  • Ok I’m just curious because of this statement made in your post- or maybe I just don’t fully understand it! :) It has not been nor will he be vaccinated at least 30 days before coming back- its just a weekend trip. Maybe I’m just confused.”There is no waiting period imposed between the time your dog is vaccinated for rabies and the time she enters Canada. However, your dog will need to be vaccinated at least 30 prior to crossing the border back into the States. (See the Update below.)”

  • Hi Debbie! I understand your concerns about your dog’s health, and I wish I had a better answer for you. There are no excemptions for eldery dogs, so to see if you could get an exemption specifically for your dog you’d have to contact the Canadian authorities and the US Centers for Disease Control. Unfortunately, given that she’s never been vaccinated and therefore has no resistance at all to rabies, I don’t think the chances are very likely. I’m sorry to not be able to give you better news.

  • Hi Beth! Yes, as long as your dog’s currently vaccinated – and it sounds like he is until October – and you have his rabies certificate that meets the requirements laid out in our “Taking Your Dog to Canada” post, you should have no trouble crossing the border to and from Canada. Here’s a link to verify your rabies certificate has the information you need it to: I hope you and your pup have a great trip!

  • Hello!My dog, who just turned one, isn’t due for his rabies shot again until October. The last time he received it was when he was about 6 months old. I have all paperwork showing that it is up to date- will they let me across the Canada Border?

  • My 3lb chichuahua is 14 years old & pretty frail. She has NEVER had a rabies vaccination & now I am worried it will harm her (?) We are going through Canada to Alaska. Are there any exceptions for elderly dogs? Thanks

  • Hi! We are planning a road trip this summer with our two dogs and two cats to the USA from Canada for two weeks. Other than the rabies vaccinations, are there any restrictions for cats and dogs? All have been our pets for years. Thank you!

  • Sadly, Kristin, pit bulls have been confiscated and killed in Ontario, which is the only Canadian province that bans them. People traveling with their pit bull and crossing into Ontario from the US would most likely be turned away at the border, but if you entered Canada in a different province and then drove into Ontario, your dog’s life could be at risk. It’s definitely not worth taking the chance.

  • Kristin Haughey . I had traveled with my pit/shepard/mastiff mix in the past five years several times with no issues. However some counties are much more serious with the 1994 regulation regading pits. I’ve read newspaper articles from Kitchener and Woodstock that describe dogs being confiscated and a lengthy court case denying the dogs breed classification. The dog removed from the family while weeks passed . This happened to a local family! Not just visitors. I couldn’t find an update or the outcome. That was enough for me to stop taking my sweet dog with me. I don’t know of any first hand occurrences.

  • I have read places that they can euthanize your dog, but does it actually really happen? I can’t find anyone who says that happened to them. I’ve read people being turned away but never that they killed the pitbull.

  • Hi Georgina! To be sure that you’d be allowed to cross the border to and from Canada with a dog that has no rabies certificate you’d have to contact both countries to receive a special exemption.In the US, the agency you’d need to contact is the CDC (you can find contact info in this post:…/) and in Canada it’s the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. You’d need to have a document from each of them indicating that your dog has received an exemption and can cross the border. I wish there was an easier way, unfortunatley there’s currently no protocol for these situations. Good luck!

  • Is it possible live in Upstate New York, but cross the border to Ottawa to take my cat to see a vet oncologist there? These would just be visits for the day. The oncologist in Ottawa is the closest one to me. Thanks!

  • We have a 14 year old Australian Cow dog that is allergic to rabies shots, the first one she got almost killed her. We have been able to license her in the US with documents from the Vet are we going to be able to get the same treatment entering Canada?

  • Do not bring any “pit bull” or any dog that could be judged by it’s looks only as a pit bull, into Ontario. They can seize your dog and euthanize it. This is a provincial wide law, and they are acting on it.

  • Hi Jenna! While your pets aren’t required to be in a carrier or seat belt harness when crossing the border, we highly recommend that they are. The most important part of taking a trip with your pets is making sure that you all come home safely, and a seat belt harness or secured carrier will protect your pets in an accident, keep them from distracting you while you’re driving, and prevent them from bolting out of the car in unfamiliar territory. Here’s a bit about the harnesses we use for Buster and Ty:…/Waggin’ trails!

  • Hi, quick question, do you know if the pets need tp be in a carrier or kennel while crossing. I am planning on taking my 2 dogs to canada in a few weeks and just having them loose in the vehicle. Havent been able to find any requirements on this? Thanks

  • Joan, I’m sorry you had some difficulty crossing the border. Yes, the specific requirements that the rabies certificate must meet are provided in this blog post:, both US and Canadian border agents will accept a 3-year rabies vaccination, as long as your rabies certificate specifically says that the vaccination is good for three years. If the certificated doesn’t indicate when the vacciniation expires, the border agents will assume it is a one-year vaccination. I hope that helps!

  • Ours was a little different when we traveled US to Canada and return. We were told our rabies certificate had to be hand signed by a vet. The reason I came to this site was to see if 3 year vacinations were honored the same as 1 year and I believe not all states accept the 3 year.

  • Becky, since their pup will be too young to be vaccinated for rabies, your family will need to contact the Center for Disease Control to get special permission to bring a dog without rabies vaccination into the US. Here’s a link that provides more about the US’s requirements:…/Also, depending on how long they’re staying, Canada requires dogs older than 14 weeks to have their rabies vaccination, so she might have to get her shot here before crossing back over into Canada.

  • My family is traveling from Ontario to North Carolina across the Erie border. They will have their puppy with them, she will be about 8-10 weeks. What sort of documentation will they need to cross ?

  • Hi Elena! Congratulations on the new addition to your family, and I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic trip together. You will definately need to have proof of your pup’s rabies vaccination. This post has a bit more specific information about the documentation you and your pup will need to cross the border: you have any more questions, be sure to let me know and I’ll do my best to help. Waggin’ trails!

  • Hello! We are planning a road trip from the US to Canada to see Niagara Falls at the end of March. We just got a new Yorkie puppy – he will be 4 months old at the time of travel – we decided to take him with us, I would like to make sure that we will have happy travels together. I know that we will definitely need a list of all vaccinations – I’m not sure about the rabies vaccination. Thank you in advance!

  • We’re happy to help, Jamie! Yes, regarding dog food “the product must be of United States origin and be commercially packaged.” That means it should be sealed, or otherwise you could have dumped the food out and replaced it with something that’s not allowed. That being said, we’ve crossed the border many times and never had our dog food checked. Crossing back into the US, we don’t have the same requirements on pet food – so you should be fine with an open package.Regarding your question on service dogs, I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer. All dogs, as long as they have proof of vaccinations, are allowed to cross the border, so I can’t imagine you’ll have any issues crossing with Corbin.Have a great trip, Jamie, and waggin’ trails to you all!

  • Hi Nikki! Your trip sounds fantastic, and I’m sure you’ll all have a terrific time. The official requirements on the website state, “Domestic or pet dogs may enter Canada if accompanied by an original valid rabies vaccination certificate.” My advice is to ask the veterinarian who originally did your dog’s vaccinations to re-issue the original document and list you as the dog’s owner. That way you’ll avoid any chance of having an issue at the border. Good luck and waggin’ trails!

  • What a great article! Just a few questions. First, I wanted to clarify about dog food. Did I read somewhere in these comments that the bag has to be sealed? If so, does that mean if I enter Canada with a new bag that I cannot bring what he doesn’t finish back into the U.S. (the ingredients in his food are permitted entry in both countries)? Also, Corbin is my daughter’s service dog. She will be traveling with us so that requirement is met but I saw on another site that he has to have a certificate from a reputable organization stating his service dog status. Since the United States does not require service dogs to EVER have a certificate, how do you suggest I handle it? TIA!

  • Hello! I am planning to go to Vancouver from Washington in a few weeks and I want to be fully prepared to allow access over the border. I do have an official vaccination record of my dogs shots, all up to date. The copy is a carbon copy, Is that okay? That’s all they give. It does say OFFICIAL PROOF OF VACCINATION on top.Also, I adopted him from another couple a few months ago. Their names/addresses are provided at the top of the vaccination records. Do you think that will be a problem? I don’t want any confusion as to who our dog belongs to as we cross the border. :)Thanks in advance!

  • Thanks for your reply! Update, might come in handy for other readers: Crossing the border was super easy, the only thing was that the dog had to be outside of the RV and in a super COLD concrete kennel, for about an hour, while they checked our RV. Afterwards, they told us that they saw our own plastic crate, and that the dog would have been allowed to be in his OWN plastic crate if we would have asked. So people: JUST ASK! This would make it much more comfortable for the dog. Regarding vet stuff: They didn’t ask us for a thing, they only thoroughly checked the RV for food stuff. The dog’s food had to be in the original packaging, which it was.

  • Hi Emma! As long as you have the dog’s vaccination documentation, that should be all you need to show the border agents when you cross. The agents do not make crossing with a newly adopted dog more difficult, and the fact that the address on your drivers licence and the one on the adoption paperwork do not match is not a concern. The only potential issue I see is that the dog must have been vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days prior to crossing the border into the United States. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t have any trouble. If the dog was vaccinated less than 30 days before you’re planning to cross the border, you’ll have to make special arrangments in advance. You can read more about that situation, if necessary, here:…/Congratulations on the new addition to your family, and waggin’ trails to you!

  • It’s my pleasure, Maggie, and congratulations on moving into the RV! We’ve been loving this way of life for nearly six years and it just keeps getting better. Maybe we’ll cross paths someday on the road – it would be fun to meet up. Waggin’ trails!

  • Hi there, I have a couple of questions! My documented address is different from the address I have written down for the shelter I am adopting from. This is because I am adopting this dog to have at my dad’s house, as I am there more than I am at the address that is on my license. Will this be an issue at the border? Will there even be something to show the person at the border the address the dog will be going to? I just want to be sure.Do they give you more trouble if you’re bringing in a dog that you have just adopted?

  • Hi Anouk! Yes, if you’re driving across the border from Canada to the US, all you should need is your dog’s rabies certificate. And yes, Buster believes his contribution to the conversation is the most important part! =DWaggin’ trails to you!

  • Hey, I love this post! Buster really contributed to that conversation, didn’t he? ;)I have a question: I flew to Canada from the Netherlands 2 months ago, and we’ll soon cross the border to the US. Our doggy had a veterinarian check at home before the flight and was declared healthy, + he has a rabies certificate. Do you think that’s enough to cross the border? This information is SO hard to find online!

  • Hi Pablo! As long as your pet appears healthy, the only certificate you’ll need to cross the border between the US and Canada is a rabies certificate. And, the procedure may be slightly different if you’re flying across the border. We’ve driven back and forth across the border a number of times with Ty and Buster and we’ve never been charged any kind of fee. Have a great trip, and waggin’ trails!

  • Hi, great post!!… I have two questions about crossing the border: 1) Do I need to ask for a veterinarian certificate in advance? or just the vaccination registry is enough?… and, 2) I had in mind that I had to pay for entering with pets to the USA. Is this only required in certain situations?

  • Exactly, Lorrin! As long as you pay attention to the rules and you’re prepared when you get to the border, crossing back and forth shouldn’t cause anyone heartburn. It’s great that you were able to travel so much this year! Caravaning to Alaska sounds like a wonderful experience.

  • Yep, eggs and raw chicken do not cross the boarder! Or was that the road?! Some vegies too! We crossed the boarder one way or other about 8 times this summer! Into CA, then into AK then back and forth as we traveled into and out of Haines, Skagaway and so forth. We had no problems! Follow the rules and things go smoothly! We were with a group of 23 RVs. Some had more problems than others. Guns are not eazy either! But can be done with the right paperwork and fees! Just follow the RULES!!! and Enjoy!!!

  • Just returned from Canada — remember NO chicken, eggs or fruits & vegetables — either in to Canada or when returning to the US. We were asked questions by the US Border Agent for at least 10 minutes — often he repeated the same questions ! He reminded us that if we were not telling the truth about the food, we would be given a $300 fine. He finally asked — so what food do you have in that RV ? We told him – “Not much — just some bread & general go withs” Then my husband said, “We know the rules about food.” He asked if we had pets – never asked to see their papers (We travel with 2 collies). I always travel with current health & shot reports with the dogs’ photos on the bottom half. And don’t forget the alcohol limits Those are strict — and usually a repeated question.

  • Hi Courtney! You could print that form and have your vet complete it, but unless your pet appears to be ill, it’s not necessary. All you’ll need, assuming Oliver is healthy, is a valid rabies certificate that shows he as vaccinated at least 30 days before you’ll return to the US. This post may be better for answering your specific questions: hope that helps and that you all have a fantastic trip. Waggin’ trails!

  • We will be traveling to Canada to visit family in October… Oliver (our Shih Tzu) will be almost 5 months at that time. After doing research on the USDA page I’ve seen a form that they have for our vet to fill out… My question is do I print this form out for my vet to fill out or would they already have access to this. Does the health certificate need to be filled out by a vet that is accredited with APHIS?

  • we are bringing our 2 – 5 month old kittens to canada for a week. we have their rabies documents for their vaccinations. anything else we need? what about coming back into the U.s.? we are leaving in 2 days. we had a sitter but they got sick. :(

  • No, as long as the rabies certificate indicates that the vaccination is good for multiple years, that’s accepted in Canada as well. If the rabies certificated doesn’t indicate how long the vaccination is for, then it’s assumed to only be good for one year, Nina.

  • Yep, you’re understanding is exactly right, Nina. I completely understand – it’s definitely best to verify that everything is in order before you head for the border. I hope you and your dog both have a great trip!

  • Ok, I found my answer. If my dogs vaccine is good for 3 years and it states that on the certificate, then he is good for crossing. If there is no indicator for the vaccines duration on the certificate, then Canada requires it be within one year. I asked because, in the past, when kenneling my dog, our kennel requires kennel cough vaccine be given within the past 6 months. I got stuck, because our vet gave a yearly vaccine, and the kennel would not accept it, because it had been given 8 months prior. So I wanted to make sure he didn’t need to have been vaccinated against rabies within the last year, as a requirement to go to Canada.

  • I was wondering what is a current rabies vacination. I thought I heard that different states in the US have different vaccination schedules. Some yearly, some every 2 or 3. We live in NJ and I believe my dog is 1 3/4 years into his vaccine, which is up-to-date for NJ, but over the year mark. Is Canada on a yearly schedule.?

  • Hi Susan. Yes, you will need to contact the CDC ([email protected]) and get a home confinement agreement before your trip. You won’t have any trouble getting into Canada since your pup is less than 3 months old, but the rules have changed on bringing unvaccinated dogs into the US, and pre-approval is now required. I hope that helps, and that you have a great trip!

  • That’s a good question! Many years ago when the mad cow scare was going on and the US was very particular about what dog food was allowed in the country, we were told that we could bring the dog food into the US if it was in an unopened bag. Ever since, we have just followed that rule, but I couldn’t say whether it’s still applicable. I know that we purchase our dog food in the US and bring it across into Canada, and there are no issues. You might want to check with the USDA on what’s permitted, for the official word. :-)

  • Like most people, I get nervous about things I haven’t done before – especially when there are a number of rules and regulations involved. Hopefully we can spread the word that crossing the border to Canada from the States isn’t something that people should be concerned about. Thanks so much for your note, Joan!

  • We live on the border of Canada and the U.S. Our vet is in the U.S. We have no issues crossing the border in either direction. We have passports, the dogs have proof of their vaccinations. It’s not as scary as everyone thinks! We have a campground and see a ton of U.S. travellers with their fur kids. No issues.

  • Hi Amy, and congratulations on your move! The regulations for crossing the US/Canadian border with dogs state that the rabies vaccine is not effective in puppies less than 3 months old – though I can certainly understand your desire to wait until your pup is a little older. Further, the vaccine would have to be given at least 30 days prior to your crossing to be considered fully effective. The issue is that the new regulations regarding home confinement agreements were only established in August, so there hasn’t bee a lot of experience with the process yet. My suggestion would be to email the CDC at [email protected], present the situation with your pup, and see what they have to say. Both Canada and the US are going to require you to have the cats vaccinated for rabies before crossing the border. Even if they were vaccinated before you adopted them, the longest rabies vaccine only lasts for 3 years, so to avoid problems at the border, it would be best to have current rabies certificates for them as well.I hope that helps! Good luck and waggin’ trails.

  • We are moving to Alaska from CA passing through Canada and back into the United States in Alaska, in may, we have four dogs and two cats. 3 out of 4 of our dogs are UTD on their rabies, but our youngest dane will only be (almost) six months old and will not be old enough for his rabies. Our cats as well, I am certain are not UTD on their rabies…. They are rescues and I was not given an shot records when we adopted them 3 years ago. What are your thoughts?

  • Yes, all you should need is their rabies certificates, Carol, as long as they all appear healthy. If there could be any question about their health, it would be best to have a certificate along for them. (Only animals that appear healthy are allowed to be transported across the border.) And, don’t worry about the barking … we had to get out of the RV once and Buster barked his crazy head off the whole time the border agents were in our RV. They still let us pass with no problems.

  • We are going to Canada for the first time with our three dogs. The vet thought we might need Canadian Health Certificates filled out for each dog. (She does them for horses that go that way.) I seems like all I need are their Rabies Certificates and we should be fine. We have a 5th wheel. Of course I’m nervous that we will have to get out with them and they will bark, etc. I am sure if that happens, it will be nothing new for them!

  • Hi Lisa! At the border, the agents may do a visual inspection to be sure that your cat appears to be in good health. That would likely mean they might peer into his carrier. They don’t handle the pets themselves, so I think you and the grumpy old man should be fine! ;-) I hope you have a great trip!

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