How to Bring Dogs Into the United States From Canada

No visa is necessary to cross the border with Fido.
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Whether you're traveling with Rufus roundtrip or bringing him into the United States for the first time, relax -- the US/Canada border is a friendly one when it comes to dogs. If you're driving across the border, it shouldn't take more than a couple of days to get things ready for Rufus, so you both can have a relaxed and trouble-free road trip.

Step 1

Get Doggie vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before you plan on crossing the border. This applies only to dogs who are at least three months old. Younger pups don't need a vaccine, so things will be even easier.

Step 2

Ask your vet for a proof of vaccination in the form of a signed certificate. Keep in mind this is not a health certificate, it's just a paper that shows Doggie has been vaccinated against rabies. The certificate should be very specific, and include your dog's breed, sex and age, microchip or tattoo info (only if available, as this is not a requirement for border crossings) and any markings that make Doggie easy to recognize, such as that white spot on his forehead. Make sure your vet adds info about the vaccine itself, such as the reference number, brand and how long it's valid for. Rabies vaccines are valid for either one or three years, depending on the company that makes them.

Step 3

Make sure any dog food you bring is in its own sealed bag. You might have trouble crossing the border with an open bag of food, as there are specific regulations regarding pet food. For example, you're not allowed to cross the border with pet food that contains lamb, sheep or goat meat, according to Oromocto Veterinary Hospital. To avoid trouble, and to make sure Doggie has enough food to get through the first couple of days in the US until you locate his favorite brand again, buy a small bag of food and bring it with you, sealed.


  • If you're flying, rather than just crossing the border, ask the airline if they need anything additional to let you bring Doggie aboard. Some airlines might ask for an additional certificate of health, while others have no additional requirements.

  • Always bring a leash with you if you're driving through the border, in case you're asked to step out of the vehicle.