Hey everyone,

One of the recent questions I was asked is how easy is it to bring your domestic pet to Nova Scotia?

For those of you that are coming here with a Relocation Package attached to a job offer, the transportation of your pet is often covered under your package so for the purpose of today’s blog, I thought I’d go into the essential info you need to know when coming to Canada as a visitor or as a permanent resident/worker.


If you are a U.S. Visitor:

All pets must be accompanied by their owners when entering Canada.

You must bring a certificate issued by a licensed American or Canadian veterinarian clearly identifying the pet and certifying that it has been vaccinated against rabies, the vaccine used and its expiry date.

Kittens and puppies younger than three months are exempt from rabies certification but may still be examined by a Canada Food Inspection Agency-authorized veterinarian if they appear unhealthy. Seeing-eye dogs or other guide dogs face no restrictions as long as they accompany you.

If you are an International Visitor:

If you are an international visitor and you are travelling or importing a pet, the following info will apply.

Your domestic dog or cat does not have to be quarantined and does not require a microchip or tattoo id for those dogs imported as personal pets. However, dogs imported under the commercial category (retail, breeding, special training etc) must be identified by an electronic microchip. Cats do not require a health certificate or import permit.

Dogs imported into Canada must have all necessary vaccines depending on the age of the dog. A dog that is less than 3 months of age at the time of import does not require a rabies vaccination. However, proof of a dog’s age must be provided on request. It’s worth noting that Canada does not require a waiting period between the time the cat or dog is vaccinated for rabies and the time your pet is imported into Canada, although an up to date Rabies Vaccination Certificate must be provided.

According to the Government of Canada’s website, domestic pets imported into Canada will have a documentary inspection by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the animal’s rabies vaccination is current and the animal description matches. The CBSA will also visually inspect the animal to ensure that there are no visible signs of illness.

Some animals may require inspection by the Canada Food Inspection Agency CFIA at ports of entry into Canada. A CFIA inspector is not on duty at all times at ports of entry and may be called when required.

Importers should use the Automated Import Reference System tool to determine if a CFIA inspection is required. If a CFIA inspection is required, you should make these arrangements in advance of their arrival by contacting the CFIA District Office closest to their first point of entry into Canada to schedule the inspection.

It is the responsibility of the importer to contact the CFIA in advance of travel to ensure that the inspection can be carried out without delays.

What about pet food?

Personal imports of pet food from the United States are allowed under specific conditions.

although, personal imports of pet food from other countries are prohibited.

For more detailed information, check out the Government of Canada’s website for up to date requirements.

Depending on the airline you are flying with will determine any extra documentation your pet will need to travel.

Not all airlines require a pet passport or a “Fit to Fly” certificate, so it is definitely worth checking with the airline you are booking your ticket through. If you are using a pet relocation company to bring your pet to Nova Scotia, then they may well have their own set of requirements too.

Pets in the Cabin: Air Canada allows small cats and dogs (maximum 10 kg / 22 lbs combined weight for the pet and carrier) to travel with their owners in the passenger cabin of Air Canada flights.
The cost is $50 to $100 per flight based on itinerary on flights to Canada or between Canada and the U.S. The airline permits only 2 to 4 pets in the cabin per flight, so you should make reservations for your pets as soon as possible after you have confirmed your own travel plans.

Pets in Cargo: Pets are permitted to travel on the same flight as their owners in the baggage compartment of Air Canada’s aircraft only. The fee for travel within Canada and the United States is $105 each way, excluding taxes. The fee for international travel is $270 each way.
Air Canada has a blackout period from June 20 to September 10 and December 15 to January 12. During these periods, pets may not travel as checked baggage on Air Canada flights.

Please note that temperature controlled and ventilated baggage compartments are available only on certain aircraft, and Air Canada reserves the right to restrict pet travel during times when weather may not permit safe travel for your pets.

You will need a special pet carrier to transport your pet safely and comfortably.

For more details, get in touch with your airline who can provide you with the specific requirements or if you are travelling through Air Canada, contact their Reservations dept. who can guide you as to which pet carrier is approved by the airline. Apparently, they are very specific with the dimensions but non-specific with the brand of carrier.
For more reading on bringing pets into Canada, this is a good read

As always, please feel free to drop us a line with any questions you may have or how we can help in any way.

Jane and Richard
Moving 2 Nova Scotia