Endless hiking trails, mountains, refreshing emerald colored lakes in the summer or never-ending champagne powder slopes in the winter, Canada has it all. Especially for our for legged best friend. Canada has a lot to offer when it comes to the happiness of your dog. It is a perfect road trip destination where the drive usually is more impressive than the destination. But how do you travel to Canada? And which places can you visit while you are there? We are here to help.
Canada has different import regulations depending on where you are traveling from. Dogs that are imported as pets (so not for breeding purposes) do not have to be quarantined. Also, a microchip or identification tattoo is not required.
If you travel from a rabies free country, you can choose between a veterinary certificate or a rabies vaccination certificate. You can find the countries that are rabies free according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on our Import regulations for Canada section or the website of the Canadian government.
If you travel from a non-rabies free country, a rabies vaccination certificate is mandatory. If your dog is younger than three months of age (before the rabies vaccinations have been administered), proof of the dog’s age must be provided on request.
Rabies Vaccination Certificate
The European Union pet passport is an acceptable alternative to the rabies vaccination certificate as long as all the required elements outlined below are included.
The rabies vaccination certificate must be written in English or French, be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian, identify the animal (breed, sex, colour, and weight), state that the animal is vaccinated against rabies, indicate the date of vaccination, indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine and specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).
The veterinary certificate must be written in English or French, be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian, identify the animal (breed, sex, colour, and weight), state that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or for at least six months immediately preceding shipment to Canada and be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six months immediately preceding the animal’s shipment to Canada.
Whether you come to Canada via land or air, a thorough inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency take place to ensure the documents are in order and the dog matches the description in the documents. In some cases, the CFIA will conduct an inspection as well, for which a $30 + tax fee applies to the first animal. Any additional animals will incur a fee of $5 + tax. Once all the inspections are done, you are free to explore the land of maple bacon!
Where to go
Canada’s landscape varies from high mountain tops in the Rockies to the wet rain forests in the coastal Pacific North West. With flying being one of the more expensive ways of traveling in Canada and mother nature putting on a beautiful display basically anywhere you go, road tripping is the best way to see Canada with your dog. This can range from hiring a car and sleeping in motels/hotels, renting an RV or fully submerging in Canadian culture by camping along the way.
Some must see places are Banff, Whistler and Tofino on Vancouver Island. Pet friendly accommodation is easily found along the way. Most hotels or resorts offer pet friendly rooms for an additional nightly fee. You can usually filter for pet friendly options on all major accommodation provider websites. In British Columbia, campsites can be found on the BC parks website and for Alberta on the website of the government of Alberta. One of our favorite free spots is the Wapta Falls recreational site. Just outside of Banff National park, overlooking a beautiful waterfall. If you do decide to go camping in Canada. Make sure to bring bear spray and pack in what you pack out. Always clean up your campsite if you are away from your tent or during the night. You can find more information on camping with your dog in our blog about camping with dogs. (LINK)
The chances of you encountering wildlife while traveling around Canada with your dog are pretty high. From grizzlies, black bears, moose and even cougars to name a few. Complying with local leash laws is of upmost importance to protect wildlife and yourself from any dangerous encounters that can end in tragedy. Make sure you are in control of your dog at all times!
With Canada being such a diverse country, there are many dog friendly activities you can do to explore this beautiful country. The first and most obvious activity is hiking. For all levels of fitness, you can find stunning trails with breathtaking views. All Trails has collected over 8000 trails all across Canada you can choose from. Make sure to double check if the trail is dog friendly and what the local leash laws are. There might be more than 2 million lakes in Canada. These lakes lend themselves perfectly to go kayaking or paddle boarding with your dog. May of the bigger lakes have gear rental facilities on site, otherwise you will usually find a shop in the closest town to provide you with everything you need. It does require some practice to successfully kayak or paddleboard with your dog, so be patient!