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Thinking about moving to Canada? If you’re a pet parent, this is going to be an important consideration for you: how to plan your move to Canada with pets. While the idea of moving your beloved pets abroad can be daunting, it’s not impossible. Especially because (bless their welcoming, pet-loving socks) Canada is one of those immigration destination countries that doesn’t require your pet to remain in quarantine upon arrival. All it takes is for you to do your homework, take it one step at a time, follow the rules and you’ll soon be united with your beloved pets in your new home country, Canada!

The basics: moving to Canada with pets

  • Pets travelling to Canada are not subject to any quarantine time upon arrival.
  • All pets need to be microchipped before they can leave South Africa.
  • Pet inoculations (5 in 1 for dogs; 3 in 1 for cats; as well as Rabies for both) must have been done no less than 30 days and no more than 1 year before departure.
  • Puppies can travel on proof of mother’s valid inoculations if they are between the ages of 8 weeks to 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, they’ll need inoculations to wait 30 days before attempting entry into Canada.
  • Puppies under the age of 8 months must have an import permit to enter, which must be applied for by the new owner before the puppy arrives.

Long story short? Cats and dogs are welcome to accompany you when moving to Canada as long as you have all the necessary paperwork in order.

How much does it cost to move my pet to Canada?

The fee for importing a domestic dog, cat or ferret is $30 Canadian. If you have more than one of these pets the fee is an additional $5 Canadian, which covers the immigration inspection fees. Only animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) that arrive in Canada from the United States of America will be exempt from the inspection fees.

What do I need to know about moving to Canada with my dog (or cat)?

The specific guidelines for dogs (and cats by default) are as follows:

  • You’ll need a valid rabies vaccination certificate OR a veterinary certificate.
  • Animals younger than 12 weeks do not require rabies certification but you will need to be able to prove their age.

The European Union pet passport is an acceptable alternative to the rabies vaccination certificate as long as all the required elements detailed below are satisfied.

The rabies vaccination certificate must contain all of the necessary information that pertains to the animal and it must be:

  • Written in English or French.
  • Issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian, in order to:
    • Identify the animal (breed, sex, colour, and weight)
    • Confirm that the animal is vaccinated against rabies
    • Attest to the date of vaccination
    • Indicate the trade name and the serial number of the licensed vaccine, and
    • Specify the duration of immunity (otherwise, it will be considered valid for one year from the date of vaccination).

The veterinary certificate must contain all of the required information as it relates to the animal, and it must be:

  • Written in English or French
  • Issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian, in order to:
    • Identify the animal (breed, sex, colour, and weight)
    • Affirm that the animal has been in the exporting country since birth or at least six months immediately before shipment to Canada, and
    • Be accompanied by documentation from a competent government authority, stating that rabies has not occurred in the country of origin for at least six months immediately prior to the animal’s shipment to Canada.

This documentation from a competent government authority must be in the form of:

  • A letter issued on the competent government authority’s letterhead, which must be dated, stamped and signed by an official of that authority in the dog’s country of origin, or
  • A letter by the licensed veterinarian who issued the certificate, that is endorsed by the competent government authority.

What happens if my dog does not meet Canadian rabies import requirements?

As the owner, you will be required, at your own expense of course, to have the animal vaccinated against rabies within a specified period of time; and provide the vaccination record as proof to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office.

What will I feed my pet while we’re travelling?

When moving to Canada with pets, you’re going to want to pack food for your beloved pets so you can feed them on arrival. However, you’re going to have to be careful in this regard. Certain pet foods may be restricted, which means they’ll be confiscated on arrival. You’ll need to do your research into whether your preferred brand can be imported into Canada, or simply be able buy on arrival.

Moving to Canada with pets, the easy way.

If you’ve got enough to worry about with packing boxes, organising shipping containers, dealing with visa paperwork and saying goodbye to friends and family, it’s worthwhile entrusting the care of your beloved pets to pet transportation specialists. The right pet transport company can make all the difference to their the animals experience in relocating abroad, and yours! Plus, they’ll be able to advise you of any additional requirements based on your airline of choice, as certain airlines refuse to transport specific dog or cat breeds.

FinGlobal: Uniting South Africans with their finances

We can help you with world-class financial emigration services. At FinGlobal, we’re always ready to assist you to access, consolidate, and transfer your South African funds abroad.

Whether it’s to withdraw your retirement annuity, or if you need assistance with foreign exchange and international transfers, choosing to partner with FinGlobal to sort out your financial future means access to expertise that’s convenient, delivering results and value, every time.

  • Your financial emigration team will consist of certified international financial planners, lawyers, chartered accountants, tax specialists and bankers to give you big-picture advice in all areas of cross-border finance.
  • Our services are rendered remotely, which means you can let us take care of the whole process and wait for us to give you signature-ready, completed documentation for your approval.
  • We provide highly competitive exchange rates and expert advice, along with an impressive 100% success rate.

Get in touch with FinGlobal today to start a conversation about how we help you streamline your financial future in Canada.