Flying with Your Dog to Canada – What You Need to Know
No matter your reasons for flying with your dog, you can certainly bring them to Canada as long as you meet all the requirements. Here’s what you need to know when flying with your dog to Canada.
Check with Your Veterinarian Before You Make Plans
Before you plan to leave your country, talk to your vet first. You want to make sure that your dog is mentally and physically capable of flying.
For instance, if your dog has never flown before or you’ve never flown with an animal before, then your vet will be able to help you out with whatever you need.
You may find that flying with your dog isn’t the right option. Instead, you might need to take a boat or leave your dog in the hands of a trusted, professional dog sitter.
However, if your dog is healthy enough, your vet can ensure they’re up to date on their vaccinations to meet the airline and Canadian requirements.
First, call your vet and tell them that you and your dog will be traveling internationally. Every country and airline has different requirements to bring a dog on board. So, together, you and your vet can ensure your dog is well prepared.
For example, your dog may need the following:
- Blood tests
- Health certificates
- Microchips (for identification)
Remember, some of these requirements may change from time to time. Also, the conditions will depend on where you’re headed and how old your dog is.
Requirements to Get into Canada
You can head to the Canadian Government website to find information on what you need to do to bring your dog into Canada.
On that page, you’ll need to fill out the following information:
- What animal you’re bringing to Canada
- How old the animal is
- Where you’re coming from
- Why the animal is entering Canada (service dog, personal pet, etc.)
Once you answer those questions, the website will show you what you need to prep your dog for entry.
For example, your dog will need their rabies shot, other vaccinations, and health certificates. In some cases, if you get or have a European passport, that may work.
On the other hand, Canada does not require your dog to be microchipped to enter the country. However, it’s a good idea to get your dog microchipped before traveling abroad, just in case.
However, one of the biggest requirements is that you need to give Canada advanced notice that you’re bringing a dog into the country. This is because the dog might need to be inspected upon arrival at the airport.
Unfortunately, some dog breeds are banned in Canada. These breeds include common “bully breeds” such as the:
In addition, Canada has strong humane rules about bringing a dog on an airplane. You’ll need to let them know well in advance so they can prepare and allow your dog to travel safely.
It may take anywhere between two to four weeks to get your dog into Canada. So, you’ll need to plan well in advance and accordingly.
A Quick Note About Pet Food
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has some rules about bringing pet food into Canada.
They only accept commercial pet food made in the United States. In addition, the food needs to be in possession of the traveler at all times and must only be fed to the animal that the traveler brings into Canada.
These rules are in place to prevent unwanted diseases from entering and spreading into Canada. So, when bringing dog food along with your dog, the food may be inspected upon arrival.
How Your Dog Will Fly
When flying to Canada, your dog may fly in the following ways:
- In-cabin with you
- As excess luggage (in the cabin with you)
- As manifest cargo (in the cargo hold, not with you)
Depending on the airline you take, they may decide where the best place is for your dog. It will depend on your dog’s age and breed size.
Canadian airlines take the utmost precautions to ensure all animals travel safely on an airplane.
According to the International Air Transport Association, dogs may travel better in the cargo hold. This area is well-ventilated, dark, and quiet. So, it may be less stressful for your dog.
Regardless of how your dog travels on the plane, you are 100% responsible for your dog during the flight. If you have a layover or a connecting flight, you’ll need to care for your dog.
This includes bringing them out to go the bathroom, stretch their legs, or have a water break. Then, you need to get them back into their carrier and onboard in time for the next flight.
Finally, your dog may travel in the cargo hold on a separate flight that only flies cargo. If this is the case, then you’ll need to discuss food and water with your veterinarian, depending on how long the flight is. Your dog won’t be able to eat or drink during the flight.
Also, you’ll need to arrange a time to drop off and pick up your dog once the airplanes land at the final destination.
Finally, remember that most airlines do not allow pets to travel by flight between May and September.
Since these are considered the hottest months of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, it may not be safe for the dog to travel. They could get overheated and either get sick or possibly die.
Your Dog Should Be as Comfortable as Possible
No matter where your dog travels on the airplane, you want to make sure they’re mentally prepared for the flight.
Flying on an airplane is scary for most humans, let alone dogs who don’t understand what a plane is, how it works, or where they’re going.
For instance, they may feel safer and more comfortable in the cargo hold, but if your dog has separation anxiety or is afraid to try new things, the dark cargo hold (and being away from you) may stress them out further.
So, here are some tips to ensure that your dog is prepared to fly:
- Purchase plane tickets that have as few layovers and connections as possible
- Choose arrival times to avoid extreme heat or cold
- Train your dog to get used to their carrier
- Discuss any anxiety needs with your vet beforehand
- If your dog goes into the cabin, check-in as late as possible
- If your dog goes into the cargo hold, check-in as early as possible
- Walk your dog before your flight and immediately after arrival
- Avoid food and drink a few hours before the flight
These tips will help reduce stress for your dog, and they’ll also keep them as healthy as possible.
Overall, you want to aim to keep the flight as safe and positive as possible for your pup. First, however, you need to keep up with the country and state you’re entering and the airline’s requirements.
Should You Fly Your Dog to Canada?
If your dog meets all the requirements for entering Canada and being on an airplane, then it will certainly be safe for you to travel with your dog. However, remember to give Canada advance notice and discuss options with your vet beforehand.