Pet Travel. Made Easy.

What Is It Like To Cross the Canadian Border With Your Pets?

Crossing the Canadian border with your pets can be a bit nerve-wracking – especially if you’ve never done it before. And even if you have, pulling up to the border agent’s booth can be a little stressful. Knowing that something you say, the way you say it, some obscure pattern in your border crossing frequency, the moodiness of the agent, or random luck could cause your vehicle to be searched causes a certain amount of heartburn.

Cars lining up to cross the Canadian border from the US


Crossing The Canadian Border With Pets

When we pull up to the agent, I try to be polite, but not suspiciously so. Answering the questions without getting too chatty is hard when I’m nervous! I probably have nothing to worry about. Honestly, what idiot would choose to smuggle something over the border in this vehicle?'s New RV Wrap by blue media

All but once our border crossing have been completely uneventful. That time, we were actually on our way back home and were dealing with US border patrol. They did had us pull over and get out of the Winnebago while they walked through opening cabinets and checking in drawers. Buster barked BLOODY MURDER the whole time! It only took a few minutes, though it seemed much longer at the time, and then we were on our way.

If you haven’t been to Canada with your pets, below is a transcript of a conversation we had with the border agent during our last crossing. It’s almost identical to those we’ve had on on previous trips, and is typical of what you should expect:

Crossing the Border to Canada

Amy, pulling up to the window at the border crossing: Hello.

Border Agent: How are you?

Amy: We’re good. And you?

Border Agent: Good.

Buster: WOOF, WOOF!!

Rod to Agent: Buster’s says “hello.”

Buster: Woof!

Border Agent: Alright, what is the reason for your visit today?

Amy: We’re visiting Banff and Jasper on vacation.

Border Agent: Alright, how long are you going to be there?

Amy: We’re planning on a couple of weeks.

Buster: Woof, WOOF!

Border Agent: Any friends or family there?

Amy: No.

Border Agent: Okay, so just tourists?

Amy: Yep.

Buster: WOOF, woof.

Border Agent: Have you been to Canada before?

Amy: Yes, we have.

Border Agent: I thought you spoke Canadian rather well!

Amy: Ha, ha, ha.

Border Agent: The pups’ rabies vaccinations are up to date, right?

Buster: Woof!!

Amy: Yes, they are. We have their certificates if you’d like to see them.

Border Agent: No, that’s fine. Does anybody in the vehicle have any fireworks, firearms, or other weapons?

Amy: No.

Buster: WOOF!

Border Agent: Do you have currency in excess of $10,000?

Amy: No.

Border Agent: Okay. GoPetFriendly? Is this a pet specific rental company?

Amy: No, is a website that makes it easy for people to travel with their pets.

Border Agent: Okay. Do you have any produce or firewood?

Buster: Woof, woof, woof.

Amy: We have a few bananas.

Border Agent: That’s okay – we don’t grow them here. Okay, anything that’s going to stay in Canada?

Amy: No. (Tough at this point, I can feel Rod thinking … “Buster, if he doesn’t stop barking!”)

Border Agent: Alright, have a good day.

Amy and Rod (in stereo): Thank you!

And that was it … the whole conversation lasted less than two minutes and we were off, across the border to Canada!

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When we crossed back over to the United States, this is how it went:

Crossing Back into the United States

Amy: Good afternoon.

Border Agent: Are those license plates from South Dakota?

Amy: Yes, we are from South Dakota.

Border Agent: Can I see your IDs? (I handed him our passports.) So, what’s

Amy: It’s a website that makes it easy for people to plan trips with their pets.

Border Agent: So, you don’t have any pets now, though, right?

Amy: I do have pets – we have our two dogs with us.

Border Agent: Oh, okay, but you’re not transporting other people’s pets for them?

Amy and Rod (in stereo): No!

Border Agent: Any fruits and vegetables?

Amy: We have strawberries, blueberries and lettuce.

Border Agent: Alright, have a good day.

Amy and Rod (in stereo): Thank you!

And, as easy as that, we were back in the USA.

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A Word on Vaccination Certificates

In January 2019, the United States removed the proof of vaccination requirement for pets crossing the border from Canada and Mexico. When crossing into Canada with pets, a current rabies vaccination is still required. And, although the border agents don’t always ask to see Ty and Buster’s documents, I’d never consider crossing without them.


So, as you see, most of the time crossing the Canadian border with pets a pretty simple process. And, just to be sure you have all the facts, here are the official tips for crossing the Canadian border with pets.

Has your experience crossing the border been the same as ours?



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  • debi says:

    Thank you for this post! I have never traveled with our pets before (2 cats). Is any of this different due to COVID? (I am a dual citizen so I should be able to cross with quarantine). And any tips on helping cats travel by car (24 hours in the car to get there). Thank you!

  • Nell says:

    Hey! I’m planning on getting a puppy later this year in Canada and then bringing it back home with me, and will most likely have to drive in order to do this. The puppy will be about 8 weeks old as the breeder prefers not to keep them longer than that (it would cost extra). From researching it seems like I’ll need a health certificate at least, but just wanted to ask if you know how this will work? The pup won’t be able to have a rabies vaccination that young, so I’m a little worried.

    Breeder hasn’t sold to an American before, so she doesn’t know much about the process yet either. I just wanna be prepared!

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Nell! I’m surprised to hear that the breeder won’t keep the pup longer than 8 weeks. Most breeders I know prefer to have the pups with their mom at least 8 weeks and sometimes up to 12 weeks. Just makes me wonder a bit, so be sure you’ve done extensive research to be sure you’re working with a reputable breeder.

      As far as the documents you’ll need to drive across the border, as long as he or she appears healthy, you won’t need a health certificate. And since the pup will be too young for a rabies vaccination, you’ll just need something from the breeder that show’s the pup’s age and having a receipt showing you as the owner wouldn’t hurt. I hope that helps, and good luck with your new addition!

  • Elyse G says:

    Hello, I will be moving to the US with my two dogs (we live in Canada). I am trying to figure out all of the documents we will need. Are you familiar with this situation? I know rabies certificates are a must.. But is there anything else?

    • Amy at says:

      Hi Elyse! Congratulations on your move and thanks for the note. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the requirements for relocation – only vacation. For most travelers, no documents are needed to drive from Canada to the US. Of course, then you’d want to get your dogs licensed in your new community, and additional documentation could be required for that. To be sure, you might want to reach out to They help people relocate with their pets all over the world every day and should be able to answer your question definitively.

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