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Old 05-07-2011, 06:49 PM   #1
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Traveling to Canada with Dogs

So here's a question for some of you full-timers, pseudo-full-timers, or all of those in between: we're getting ready to head out on a 3 to 4 month journey, taking us up to Montana, across to the Pacific Northwest, down through California then over to the four corners area before winter. While up in the Seattle area, we're thinking about heading up to Canada as I have never been. We've updated our passports and such, so I'm not concerned about that, but I've been reading about this "International certificate of health examination for small animals" document that we should get from our vet. The thing about it is that is says the following: "The International Health Certificate should be issued by your veterinarian as near to the date of travel as possible but not more than 21 days before travel."........how do you do this if we're going to be on the road for months at a time? We won't be near our vet less than a month from possibly crossing the border...any thoughts?
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:02 PM   #2
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Shawn when I travelled across the border with my dog I always carried a copy of the rabies vaccination form but have never been asked of it by either US or CND customs. US customs once did have an issue with the dog's food because it wasn't in its original packaging so they couldn't verify the ingredients. It was prescription food and could only be replaced at my vet. Because I was returning within 12 hrs they very nicely held it for me and I was able to pick it up on my return trip.
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Old 05-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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We travelled in Canada on our way to and from Alaska in 2009 and I too had read the web site where I found out about the International Certificate of Health Examination. After phone calls to various authorities I was somewhat convinced that I needed it. No one could answer my question about the "21 day" clause. So, at a bit of expense, I went to my vet and had all the appropriate paperwork done. We had several border crossings and it was not required. When I asked about it at that time I was told that all that was required was a valid rabies vacination certificate. Our experience was that even this was not ever asked for.

Hope this helps.

Debbie
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:23 PM   #4
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We have been back and forth to Canada through borders at Buffalo and Sarnia with our dog in tow. All we have ever had was a valid rabies vaccination certificate and have never had a problem. Hopefully, your crossings will be as uneventful. Good luck!
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wasagachris View Post
Shawn when I travelled across the border with my dog I always carried a copy of the rabies vaccination form but have never been asked of it by either US or CND customs. US customs once did have an issue with the dog's food because it wasn't in its original packaging so they couldn't verify the ingredients. It was prescription food and could only be replaced at my vet. Because I was returning within 12 hrs they very nicely held it for me and I was able to pick it up on my return trip.
Thanks Chris...we'd be in the same boat -- not about the 'script bit, but because our dog food is carried in a plastic container rather than the bag (you know we have a big dog, so storing a little bag of food isn't exactly going to happen with us).
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone -- that's the funny thing about these "rules" and such -- they're printed and likely never enforced! Of course, our luck, we'd be asked for the bloody thing!
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
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Thanks Chris...we'd be in the same boat -- not about the 'script bit, but because our dog food is carried in a plastic container rather than the bag (you know we have a big dog, so storing a little bag of food isn't exactly going to happen with us).
Shawn bring the original packaging for the dog's food and you should be O.K. I might have been an over zealous customs officer because he even questioned a Twinkie I had on the dash but his superior told him not to worry about it.
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:30 PM   #8
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When we cross the border I just hand the Customs Officer the rabbis certificate with our passports. By that time Hagar has his head pushed out the window. After the normal questions we are sent on our way. I think the US is more restrictive about food stuff, especially meat.

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Old 05-07-2011, 09:52 PM   #9
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Several times I've declared dogs aboard on entering Canada -- never got a question about it. Be straight and in compliance about the amount of alcohol you bring. No guns. No bearspray. Canada is very welcoming and they want to see you come across & vacation there. I've never been disappointed!

Food when entering ... Canada
Taking Pets into Canada from the U.S.
Help! Crossing to Canada with Dogs
What is prohibited - going from US to Canada

You'll face a higher responsibility on reentering as a citizen to the US. An hour before us, friends breezed through Sault Ste. Marie into Michigan last September. Us? On a random sampling I'm thinking, we got the 3rd degree about a mix of fresh fruits/vegs -- nothing different from what our friends had. It sounded stern but it was still a well explained advisory about US rules. More specifically, they had us leave our dogs in the truck, unlock the trailer and we had to go into a building and leave everything to them. I'm sure we were under observation. Main advice here - stay cool. Or else they'd have really pulled us apart (still would have found nothing however).
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:14 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone -- that's the funny thing about these "rules" and such -- they're printed and likely never enforced! Of course, our luck, we'd be asked for the bloody thing!

Hi, my story was a few decades ago, but we brought two dogs with us into Canada. I had read that I needed papers on my dogs, especially shot records for Rabies. We got the third degree when we entered back into our country via Montana. Best to be prepared so your dogs aren't impounded for a few weeks, shots given, and paid for by you.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:56 PM   #11
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Our story is pretty much the same.
We travel several times a year to Canada crossing at the I-5 truck crossing or Lynden, WA. We carry a current "proof of rabies" certificate for Bailey and buy our dog food once we are in Canada. We've heard various stories about the dog food issue (not being allowed to bring it across the border in either direction), so we just buy dog food when we buy our meat and fruit (also not allowed to bring across).
Happy traveling!
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:42 AM   #12
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Great information! We've traveled the world with our dog and the toughest countries to get into are Germany and UK. We lived in the middle east for a couple years with our dog - no worries... EXCEPT - NEVER LET THEM OFF THE LEAD!
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:48 PM   #13
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As long as we're off-topic.... Hawaii is rabies free and does not require rabies shots for dogs on the islands. One must plan in advance if they wish to avoid a costly quarantine upon arrival. See -- Animal Quarantine Information &mdash; Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Updating -- we still haven't had to present veterinary certificates on any of our passages to and from Canada. Always have them with though.
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Old 12-10-2012, 02:05 PM   #14
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What everybody else said. Carry the rabies certificate.
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