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The first step to a smooth trip is to ensure that you bring a general certificate of health for your pet, as it is required by many states and airlines. Click here to download the Canadian International Health Certificate. It must be printed on legal paper (8.5” x 14”) and must be completed by a veterinarian in Canada and then endorsed by an official government veterinarian. There will be a fee for the service.
If your pet appears sick on the date of travel, border officials may deny her entrance to the U.S. or may require her to be examined by a veterinarian at your expense.
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Additional regulations vary for dogs and cats.
The biggest concern for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the transmission of rabies, so you must bring proof that your dog has been vaccinated. If your pet is a puppy or is receiving the vaccine for the first time, she must be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to entry to the United States. If she is over 15 months old and is up to date on her boosters, she can enter the country without waiting 30 days.
Your valid rabies vaccination certificate must include:
1. Name and address of owner
2. Breed, sex, age, colour, markings and other identifying information for the dog
3. Date of rabies vaccination and vaccine product information
4. Date the vaccination expires
5. Name, license number, address and signature of veterinarian who administered the vaccination
Puppies under four months of age will be denied entry to the U.S., as they cannot be vaccinated for rabies before three months old.
Some states may require additional vaccinations, health certificates or even restrict certain breeds such as pit bulls. Check the import requirements for your destination state here.
In general, cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for entry into the United States, but some specific states do require it. To find out if your final destination requires the vaccination, click here for the contact information for the state veterinarian.
Cats arriving in Hawaii or Guam are subject to locally imposed quarantine requirements. Click here for more information.
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