Travelling domestically with pets requires nothing special. Besides food, pet identification (i.e. dog tags) and other pet supplies, you need only to focus on transportation comfort and accommodations (i.e. pet-friendly hotels). Airlines and public transit services may throw some exceptions, such as asking for ownership and veterinarian health-check documents, but you at least you still avoid the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and other import agencies.
Should you leave the country—or if you live outside of Canada and wish to bring your pets here—the process gets more complicated. Regardless where you choose to travel, you will be expected to provide numerous documents. Find below some common requests.
- Vaccination History: Some countries require specific vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease. For instance, rabies is a particularly dangerous disease that all animals need screening for and protecting against.
- Veterinary Inspection: While the vet may also review the pet’s vaccination history, the official veterinary document reports the overall health of the animal, ensuring that it is safe for travel and does not carry potentially threatening viruses or transmittable diseases. The veterinary inspection will include health certificates.
- Animal Identification: Depending on the destination and animal, you may need microchip-identification in addition to the standard ownership paperwork.
- Acclimation Certification: This document contains information on how the animal handles extreme hot and cold weather conditions.
Travelling with Exotic Pets
If your companion is exotic—birds, reptiles, amphibians and some marine life—then you must obtain a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permit. THE CITES program aims to stop the over-exploitation of animals through illegal trading and poaching. For residents who frequently travel internationally with their CITES pets, Environment Canada can issue pet passports to expedite the process.
Pet Illness or Death
Unfortunately, accidents do happen and your pet may be stricken by illness during your vacation. This can be a serious headache when returning home because you will need to carry out an in-depth screening to ensure your animal is safe for transportation. Should an emergency occur, reach out to your veterinarian immediately for advice.