Relocating Your Family to Canada

You’ll know that relocating to another country has its challenges and can be grey-hair inducing. Add an animal or two into the mix, and your anxiety levels could be through the roof. At PetAir, they understand that these furry animals are very much part of your family and will help guide you through the process with ease. Remember, it’s something that they do all day, every day. PetAir has fine-tuned their services to accommodate both you and your animals and take the stress out of travelling. 

What is the process?

We firstly recommend that you give yourself ample time to ensure the smooth running of your relocation. Please start the process as soon as you have your relocation confirmed because it can take a few months. There can be unplanned setbacks or delays with vaccination requirements, animal illness or administration errors.

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The rules and regulations surrounding pet importation are often changing. You can breathe easily with PetAir. They have fully trained experts that understand the importance of your pets and the ever-changing landscape. They will make sure that your pets meet the import requirements. Each pet must be fully vaccinated and be at least three months old. 

Banned breeds

Although Canada does not have a blanket ban on aggressive dog breeds. The following provinces prohibit the following:  


  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier


  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier



It’s essential to ensure that your pets have all of the relevant vaccinations within the stipulated times.


  • Leptospirosis
  • Parvovirus (DHLPP)
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Distemper



  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis
  • Calicivirus
  • Panleukopenia (FVRCP)


All of these vaccinations should be administered no less than two weeks before your export date and must be valid.


Canadian Recognised Rabies Free Countries

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Cayman Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Ireland (Republic of)
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin (Netherlands Antilles)
  • Saint Pierre et Miquelon
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
  • Uruguay

Rabies Vaccine and Certificate

Cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies. Your veterinary surgeon will provide you with a certificate that states the microchip number, the validity of the vaccination, and the date of inoculation. Rabies vaccines are valid for one, two or three years. The vaccine must be the inactivated variety. You do not require a titre test. There is also no waiting period between the time your pet is vaccinated for rabies and the time that he or she is imported.

The certificate must comply with the following:

  • Must be written in English or French 
  • Identify your pet by stating breed, colour and weight
  • Show the date of the rabies vaccination and include the trade name and serial number of the licensed vaccine
  • Specify the duration of immunity
  • Be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian

Important Information

The European Union pet passport is an acceptable alternative to the rabies vaccination certificate. Your licensed veterinarian must record all of the necessary details in the passport.  

If a pet does not meet the import requirements for rabies certification, you will be required, at their own expense, to:

  • have the animal vaccinated against rabies within a specified time
  • provide the vaccination record to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office


The authorities will only identify your pets with a microchip, and the corresponding vet stamped pet passport. A microchip is an integrated identification circuit placed under the skin of your pet. The rice grain size chip uses passive radio-frequency identification technology. It must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is administered. The Canadian government accepts microchips that comply with  ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.

Import Permit

No import permit is required.

Veterinary Certification

You will need to send an official health certificate that states the name, age, description and microchip identification number of each pet within seven days of your flight. The microchip identification number is 15-digits long. Without this, the government will deny your pet entry into the country. 

The health certificate must also include the following information before export and must be in English or French. It must be issued on a competent government authority’s letterhead, signed, stamped and signed by the appropriate government body from the country of origin.

  • The animal has been examined and found to be healthy and free from any clinical sign of rabies and infectious or contagious diseases 
  • The animal has been vaccinated against rabies using an approved anti-rabies vaccine
  • The vaccination history and health status of your pet
  • That your pet is healthy enough for air travel 
  • Description of your pet including breed, colour and weight 
  • State that your pet has been in the exporting country for at least six months before shipment

The certificate must be accompanied by a letter from a competent government authority, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin at least six months immediately preceding your pets shipment.

Make at least five copies of the certification and vaccination records for the following:

  • Airline
  • Pet travel crate
  • Transit permit (if necessary)
  • Canadian quarantine
  • One for you


Personnel from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will inspect your pets to ensure that documents and vaccinations are in order. A visual health inspection is carried out to make sure that there is no visible sign of illness. 

Cats and dogs do not require a health certificate or import permit.


Domestic cats and dogs entering Canada do not have to be quarantined.

Additional Information

There are no restrictions on the number of pets imported, but the local Canadian authorities might have local regulations about the number of pets that can be kept in residential premises.

We hope that this reassures you, but should you need more specific advice, please let the helpful team at PetAir help, they are all delighted to help you.

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