Pet Travel to Canada

With Canada being an extremely popular emigration destination for UK citizens, as you might expect, Canadian airports see their fair share of imported pets each day. With lots of direct non-stop flights from the UK to Canada, you can relax and expect a relatively smooth transit for your pet.

In this guide, you will find the most relevant and up to date guidelines on how to successfully transport your pets to Canada. Of course, we are always just a call away to answer more specific questions you have.

Pet Export UK to Canada

As with most other countries, your pets will need to meet the import requirements, to be accepted into Canada. However, compared to others, the requirements are quite simple.

One of the standards essential for all pet transport is that your pet carrier meets the guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association. These requirements are to ensure the health and safety of both your pet and those involved in the transit of it.

Pet Vaccinations Canada

Animals coming into Canada do not have to enter quarantine, but they must meet certain health regulations. Animals which enter Canada & do not meet the requirements will be returned to their country of origin. Therefore, it is important to have all the essential paperwork when taking a pet to Canada. The only pets which can enter Canada without any paperwork are assistance and service dogs with their owner.

Taking Dogs to Canada

The simplest way to export your dog or cat to Canada is to have them vaccinated against rabies in the UK – this is recommended as Canada is not a rabies-free country.

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).

Paperwork for taking dogs and cats to Canada

If you have the rabies vaccination mentioned above, then the only other document requires is a ‘fit to fly’ letter, issued by the vet, to state that the animal has been examined, is free from contagious disease and fit to fly. We recommend having this issued no more than 72 hours prior to travel.

If your pet doesn’t have a rabies vaccination, then they will need a DEFRA export certificate that confirms the pet is coming from a rabies-free country. The DEFRA export health certificate must be applied for in advance of travel and can only be completed by an OV (Official veterinarian). But please remember, if a rabies vaccination has been given, the DEFRA Export Health Certificate is NOT required.

Canadian Airport Inspection

On arrival in Canada, your pet’s importation documentation will be inspected by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and a visual inspection will be carried out to ensure there are no signs of illness and there will be fees to pay on arrival for this service.

Other pets

If you are looking to import pets other than dogs and cats to Canada, there are varying requirements depending on the species and province of residence. For example, domestic rabbits and ferrets are subject to permits and quarantine. Whereas, pet reptiles or amphibians (excluding tortoises and turtles) do not require border inspection, permits etc. To obtain the most accurate information in relation to your specific pet travel requirements, please visit the Government of Canada.

Airlines carrying pets to Canada

There are a few airlines that operate direct services to Canada suitable for both passengers and pets (but please note, the pets will need to travel in the cargo hold as opposed to in the cabin) Airlines that operate this service are:

  • Air Canada
  • British Airways
  • Air Transat

There are also in-direct options that may offer more destinations, such as Lufthansa or KLM, both of which have great on-site facilities for pets during the layover.
While not all planes are suitable for transporting pets to Canada, an increasing number are. However, some of the smaller airports may not always have the facilities to receive pets.

We recommend you contact one of our Canada pet shipping experts before you book your pet’s flight to Canada so that we can advise on flights and airports which are suitable for live animals. We also recommend reading through this driving in Canada guide if you’re planning on spending some time in the country!

Arranging a flight for your pet to Canada

If you have any questions or would like to receive information on available flights, airports, airlines and fees to export your pet, please fill in our online quotation request form and one of our Canada pet travel experts will be back in touch.

Alternatively, please email us at: