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Pet owners need to be aware of the various restrictions and requirements for importing their animals into Canada. The rules for cats and dogs differ from those for birds, reptiles and amphibians. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA, www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca ) contains the most recent information. From “About the CBSA,” select “Food, Plant and Animal Inspections” within “Importation Regulations and Requirements.”

Many live animals require permits. Often, animals require a health inspection in their country of origin and some require a CITES Export Permit from the exporting country, and possibly a CITES Import Permit from Environment Canada. A domestic dog, cat or ferret travelling with the owner needs only to meet the rabies certification requirements. Pet owners arriving by air, as well as those who are shipping their animals separately as air cargo and not accompanying the animal(s) on the same flight, need to coordinate with the CBSA to ensure inspection services are available at the airport upon the time of arrival. Normally, the airline carrying the animal(s) will advise on the hours that CBSA services are available, but it is best to confirm availability before making specific reservations.

Municipal bylaws and provincial health bylaws regulate the ownership of pets and the places that they are welcome. Pet owners should be aware of required vaccinations. Some cities have established “bark-parks” where dogs may be walked without leashes, but for the most part leashes are required on dogs outside of the home. When signing a lease, it is important to know the pet policies of the building. Ontario currently has a ban on the importation of pit-bulls.