New Rules Dog Border-Crossing Pet Owners

short coated brown dog sitting inside a car

Doing some cross-border traveling later this year? Maybe taking your pooch along for the flight or ride? The US Centers for Disease Control is worried about canine rabies so they’ve imposed a bunch of new restrictions on dogs coming into their country. This will widely affect snowbirds who drive south with their furbaby for the winter.

Seventeen years ago, the rabies variant that dogs carry was eliminated in the US. We still get the odd case in our country, as recently as a couple of years ago. Rabies, as you probably know, can kill you. If you don’t know you have it and therefore don’t get the shots, it is most certainly fatal. So, the US doesn’t want to take any chances on having it pop up there again.

It would be stressful to pull up to the border and find out that you didn’t have what you needed. Fido looks forward to some outlet shopping!

Chihuahua in a pink tote bag

But seriously. The rules state that the dog will be sent back to your “last country of departure at your expense”. That doesn’t necessarily mean back to where you live. Yikes.

New rules as of August first:

The dog must appear healthy upon arrival
Be at least six months of age
Have a microchip
Be accompanied by a CDC Dog Import Form online submission receipt.

Your veterinarian must fill out a form within 30 days of travel. Border officers can still say no. Reasons including having been to a few countries within the last six months and if the dog wasn’t vaccinated in the US.

The full documentation from the CDC is available HERE. But the CDC admits that it’s going to be confusing for people for a while. One of the ongoing problems has been people trying to cross (or crossing) with forged or falsified documentation for their dog. Pants-on-fire liars ruin it for everybody.

cute husky dog peeking through porthole
Photo by Keverne Denahan on

You probably also know people who wouldn’t dream of going on a trip without their four-legged family member. Please let them know that they can link to the new rules above. The dog will pay the highest price if anyone gets caught unaware.

Thanks to my pal Lana for suggesting this blog topic. Many years ago (another lifetime!) we used to take our dogs Lee Roy & Chase out for playtime together.

5 thoughts on “New Rules Dog Border-Crossing Pet Owners”

  1. How sad! Especially if the animal is seized and returned to the last country of departure! How traumatic that would be! While I understand not wanting to bring disease into the country, this seems a bit excessive. I can’t imagine how hard this will be for senior snowbirds travelling with their “babies “.
    I wonder if Canada will be doing the same to discourage Americans from bringing their pets here? What a fiasco!

  2. There are many people who have a similar attitude towards vaccines for their pets as they do for themselves, they believe the naysayers and are ignorant. As to cheating on vaccine certificates, they get false certificates of disabilities, use of a service animal, even going so far as getting a harness used for guide dogs and many of these can be ordered online via US web sites.

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