Across the Border

Travel To and From Canada: Traveling across the international border with your pet – either from the United States into Canada or from Canada into the United States – should prove largely hassle-free, although some basic regulations need to be kept in mind.

  • U.S. citizens taking pet cats and dogs 3 months of age and older into Canada must carry a rabies vaccination certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian that describes the animal, provides proof of rabies vaccination and includes documentation of the product name, lot number and lot expiration date. Collar tags are not sufficient proof of immunization. The certificate also is needed to bring a pet back into the United States; make sure the vaccination doesn’t expire while you’re in Canada.

  • Canadian travelers may take pet cats and dogs into the United States with no restrictions, but U.S. Customs requires that dogs have proof of rabies vaccination no less than 30 days before arrival. For additional information on U.S. regulations, contact the USDA-APHIS National Center for Import and Export, (301) 734-8364.

  • Pit bulls are not permitted into Ontario. Service animals are exempt from import restrictions. Also exempt are puppies and kittens under 3 months of age; obtain a certificate of health from your veterinarian indicating that the animal is too young to vaccinate.

International Travel: If you plan to travel abroad with your pet, prepare for a lengthy flight and at least a short quarantine period. Be aware that airline and animal workers in other countries may not be bound by the same animal welfare laws that exist in the United States and Canada.

  • As with any trip, have your pet checked by your regular veterinarian within 10 days of departure to obtain a health certificate showing proof of rabies and other inoculations.

  • Contact the embassy or consulate at your destination for information about documentation and quarantine requirements, animal control laws and animal welfare regulations.

  • Island nations such as Australia and the United Kingdom, which are rabies-free, have adopted the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) to allow entry for dogs and cats from the U.S. and Canada without the usual 6-month quarantine. Pets must be tested and vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days prior to travel, be implanted with microchip identification and receive a certificate of treatment from an official government veterinarian. For information, visit Hawaii, which has a standard 120-day quarantine for all imported animals except guide dogs, has adopted a similar expedited program of 5 days or less; a pet must have been vaccinated at least twice for rabies in its lifetime.

  • If you are traveling with an animal other than a domesticated dog or cat, check with USDA-APHIS for restrictions or additional documentation required. The booklet ‘‘Bringing Pets and Wildlife into the United States: Licensing and Health Requirements’’ has general information about traveling with animals; write to U.S. Customs & Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20229; phone (877) 227-5511, or visit

Find this information and more in Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook.

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