Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

My husband and I would like to travel to Canada, but want to take our female dog along. What are the requirements for taking her across the border, and what papers do we need? Are there special shots she has to have? Are there different regulations for taking her into Canada and then returning with her to the USA? If we enter from North Dakota, are the requirements for returning through Minnesota or Montana different than North Dakota? Thank you for any information you can give me.

Sally Brovold


Thanks for writing! The state Agriculture Department referred me to Larry Schuler, area veterinarian in charge for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Here’s what he said:

“Thanks for the question. For entry into Canada, all dogs greater than 3 months of age must have proof of a rabies vaccination within three years prior to importation.

“This proof can be in the form of a rabies vaccination certificate or the vaccination can be documented on the health certificate, if a health certificate is required. There is an exception granted for assistance dogs certified as a guide, hearing or service dog which accompany their user into Canada.

“Other requirements come into play if the dogs are being moved for commercial purposes, if you have more than two dogs or if they are traveling unaccompanied by the owner. Complete information regarding traveling to Canada with a dog can be found at this website:

“By the way, cats can travel to Canada in much the same way as dogs. Cats must be accompanied by a rabies vaccination certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian clearly identifying the animal and showing that the animal was vaccinated against rabies during the three years immediately preceding importation into Canada.

“The above requirement does not apply to a kitten that is apparently under 3 months of age. The date of the vaccination and the type of the vaccine used must be identified on the rabies vaccination certificate.

“Dogs and cats can return to the U.S. with the same documentation that is required for entry into Canada.

“Regarding returning through other states, your dog or cat should be able to move through each of the states without additional documentation. However, each state may have additional requirements, and it would be wise to contact the state veterinarian in each state that you intend to visit.”

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