We just got back from a dog friendly road trip to beautiful Squamish, BC. This is our fourth trip across the border and we have gotten several questions about traveling to Canada from the US with dogs. People ask how hard or easy it is and what kind rules you need to follow.
If you plan to cross US-Canadian border, you will need paperwork proving that your dog has had a rabies vaccination. This paperwork should list your licensed veterinary clinic, the trade name, date, and expiration date of the vaccination, and contain your vet’s signature. The rabies certificate must also include the owner’s name (your name) and a description of your pet (breed, color, and weight).
For more details on the process of crossing the border with a puppy read What Every Dog Owner Ought to Know About the Canada/US Border Crossing from our friend Montecristo Travels.
Be aware of the timing requirements. When you are entering Canada, there is no required waiting period between the time the animal is vaccinated for rabies and the time the animal is imported into Canada. However, entry into the US requires that your dog had a rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior.
I’ve done some research on what kind of food and treats you can’t cross the border with. It’s a little confusing because even the regulatory documents seem to contradict themselves sometimes.
To be safe, you should probably not try to bring things containing beef into BC, Canada (I am not sure about other parts of Canada). You can’t bring pet food and treats containing lamb or goat into the U.S unless the label on bag or can shows US origin.
The bottom line is to make sure all food and treats are in their original packages, which lists the ingredients and sources, and be prepared to leave any items deemed to be prohibited in the custom’s trash can.
For more details about bringing food and treats across the border, read Traveling With a Pet Dog Between the US and Canada: The Fine Print from our friends at DogJaunt.
It can be nerve-wracking driving across the Canadian-US border if you don’t do it often. The border guards rarely smile and ask a ton of questions that sometimes seem irrelevant. The questions we always get asked are where are you from? What is the purpose of your trip? how long will you be staying? Where are you staying (including address)? We also often get asked small details about where we are going or an event we are traveling to Canada for.
I am pretty sure making you nervous and asking details is a way of determining whether you are lying or not. I’m not sure if it is true but I have heard that the guards are trained to make you nervous on purpose because a normal, honest person will get nervous but someone with less than good intentions will act “strange” – either sweating bullets or playing to too cool.
Traveling across the border has been really easy for us. I proudly waived my paperwork for Chester and Gretel our first time across but the border guard did not ask to see it. I have never been asked about treats or food I am bringing across the border either. Although it’s rare, I have heard of people asked to pull aside for an inspection by border guards though.
You can see a transcript of an actual conversation our friends at GoPetFriendly had with a border agent here to get another perspective on crossing the border.
You may also be interested in reading:
Taking Your Dog to Canada from the folks at GoPetFriendly. This article has more information about border crossing paperwork requirements for humans as well as a “special warning” if traveling to Ontario.
10 Tips for Adventure Road Tripping with Your Dog by yours truly. I talk list some things to consider when traveling log distances with your dog in the car and searching for dog friendly hiking trails.
Have you traveled across the US-Canadian border with pets? Do you have any tips or stories you can share?