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What B.C. travellers need to know about new rules for bringing dogs into the U.S.

Pooches won't need a passport, but will need a microchip.
New rules for dogs entering the U.S. go into effect on Aug. 1, 2024. Here's what Canadians need to know before they cross the border.

Canadians with dogs who travel to the U.S. will need to make a new digital pal: the DogBot.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created new regulations for all dogs arriving in the U.S., including Canadian canines (except wild wolves, who famously ignore borders and all human laws). 

For those learning the new regulations, a DogBot is a digital tool to help guide people to the right forms.

"If you don’t follow CDC’s rules, your dog won’t be allowed to enter the United States," states the CDC's website. "If denied entry, your dog will be sent back to the last country of departure at your expense."

Though the term the CDC uses is "import," the new rules apply to anyone: i.e. going to Bellingham for gas and groceries, flying to Hawaii for a destination wedding with the family pooch in tow, or moving to the U.S. with a dog.

The rules apply to all dogs, "including puppies, service animals, and dogs that left the United States and are returning."

What are the new rules for bringing a dog into the U.S.?

Prior to the rule change, to bring a pet or service dog into the U.S. a simple statement about the dog's travel past was needed to determine eligibility for entrance, to make sure it hadn't been to a country deemed to have a high risk of dog rabies. The rules were not necessarily enforced by border agents, and dog owners may have made many trips without being asked to show paperwork. 

Canada is considered free of canine rabies by the CDC.

The new rules have several requirements. One is the dog's age; it must be six months or older.

The dog also must have an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-compatible microchip implanted in it, and documented.

A free form called a CDC Dog Import Form will need to be filled out; they won't be available until July 15. Once it is available it should be filled out two to 10 days before arriving in the U.S. (though it could be done at the border crossing). The form requires a clear and recent photo of the dog showing its face and body.

Once the form is sent in, a receipt will be sent back. The receipt needs to be printed out and kept with whomever is travelling with the dog.

For dogs arriving from Canada that haven't been to a high-risk country, a few things are needed. Dog owners will also need one of the following forms for each animal, which will likely require a trip to a veterinarian and are only valid for 30 days:

When arriving at the border the dog must be visibly healthy; dogs carrying a disease contagious to humans will be turned back.

On the CDC's website a simple digital tool called "DogBot" is there to help people figure out exactly what is needed for their dog. There's also a checklist Canadian travellers to the U.S. can use to prepare for a border crossing.

Coming to Canada with a dog

Currently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which deals with people travelling with pets, says it's reviewing the new regulations from the CDC.

Right now, people bringing dogs into Canada need a valid rabies certificate (for the dog).