Immigrating to Canada demands a lot of organization, and when the family includes one or more four-legged members, the complications multiply!
Travel documents, vaccinations, transport, customs formalities, the housing search, adapting to the cold: here is everything you need to know about relocating to Canada with a pet.
Preparing to immigrate with an animal: pre-departure formalities
Canadian authorities do not require dogs or cats to have tattoo identification or a microchip to enter the country. Furthermore, pets are not quarantined and can enter Canada directly, whether for a short trip, a longer stay, or to immigrate indefinitely.
So it is rather easy to immigrate to Canada with an animal, even if certain formalities must be taken care of before the departure to ensure a smooth transition:
- Inform yourself of the regulations of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency several months before departure according to the type of animal and the situation. Customs agents have the authority to refuse entry to an animal that doesn’t meet the sanitary requirements of the CFIA.
- Make sure to get your pet a rabies vaccine within the required timeframe (21 to 365 days before departure) and keep the proof of vaccination on hand. It’s the only official requirement for immigrating to Canada with an animal, but a certificate of good health issued by a veterinarian can also aid the entry of you cat or dog.
- Procure an appropriately sized pet carrier for your animal that meets the requirements of your airline. You can help your dog or cat get used to staying in the crate in the days and weeks before the big departure. Some pet owners also sedate their pets to ease their trip.
Flying with a pet
Immigrating to Canada with an animal, whether it’s a cat, a dog, a hamster, or a horse, requires lots of organization and patience, especially when travelling by air.
It is essential to verify the transport conditions of the airline beforehand: size, form, and material of the carrier, access to water and food, travel in the cabin or the cargo hold, welcome at the airport, baggage, etc. Be aware that the number of animals a traveller can bring is often limited.
For convenience and to better handle the logistics of arrival (temporary housing, moving, etc.), some decide to go back for their pet later, after having settled-in. It’s a solution that, if you have the means, allows you to alleviate some of the stress of importing your pet.
Depending on the length of your flight, the weather conditions, and the health and personality of your animal, sometimes it is also necessary to ask yourself whether it is a good idea to bring your pet with you to Canada, especially if your visa is temporary…
Living in Canada and taking care of your pet
Whether or not you’ve decided to bring your pet with you to Canada, you will be delighted to learn that Canadians are in general animal lovers.
There are many animal welfare organizations that defend their rights and offer adoption programs. It’s very easy to find veterinarians, pet stores, dog parks, dog sitters and walkers, cat cafés, and eduCATors (oh yes!).
Nevertheless, you should inform yourself of the regulations in force in your municipality concerning leashes and muzzles, picking up after your dog, the number of animals allowed per household, microchips, sterilization, etc.
Immigrating to Canada with a pet has a good chance of increasing the quality of life for your whole family! The laidback attitude, the proximity of nature, the large size of the accommodations, these are the factors that will make life with an animal easy.
Focus on the search for housing with a pet
If you move to Canada with an animal, you should know that the search for housing, especially rentals, is a little more difficult.
In Montreal for example, landlords are often reluctant to see cats or dogs in their apartments. Since security deposits are in principle prohibited, they are afraid of any damages that the animal might cause.
As is often the case when relocating, it is ideal to hire a professional such as a real estate broker who can target advertised apartments that accept animals.
C&G Relocation can put you in contact with trusted real estate brokers who are used to working with new arrivals: don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more!