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Updated: May 29, 2020

YES! Bring the whole family over, kids, cats, dogs, birds and potbellied pigs. There is no quarantine (as long as the requirements are met) which is really great. This is what you will need to get the process going:


Broker services are required for all pets traveling to Canada as unaccompanied cargo. We used a company called Global Paws Another good website to look at is Pet Relocation Pick a company that you are happy with and where your interactions with the staff set you at ease. There is nothing worse than worrying about your little guys amongst all the other things you have on your mind.

Once you have given all your details to one of these companies, they will ensure all regulations are complied with, in terms of country and province you are moving to. Pet travel companies do the flight bookings, organise the right size crate for your pet and ensure your pets have all the vaccinations required.


-Excerpt from the Pet Travel website:

"The American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and their crosses are banned from entering or transiting the province of Ontario. The City of Toronto also bans the breeds, however, air transit is permitted. When transiting Toronto, advance notice must be provided and an agent must transit your dog.

The following dogs or their mixes are banned in Winnipeg: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier."

You will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of rabies vaccinations by licensed veterinarian

  • Microchip (not compulsory, but recommended)

  • A copy of the pet owner’s passport, visa/work permit, and signed customs clearance form to successfully clear customs.


KENNELS.....We put our dogs in the kennels at Global Paws, Somerset West, Cape Town for at least 2 weeks before we packed up house and left the country. The reason for this was to minimise anxiety for the dogs. When your house is being packed up and there are lots of strangers in your home, it truly is a good idea to have them safe in a kennel.

CALMING COLLARS.....Your pets will get calming collars if you order them for their jet setting! It will give you a great sense of comfort knowing that they have this collar.

COSTS.....When you get your quote to relocate your pet, don't fall over - it is much more expensive to move a pet than for humans to fly. It is dependant on so many other costs that you would not have thought about!

FLY WITH YOUR PET....It is possible to fly with your pet on the same plane (not on your lap, but in the cargo section) - I remember KLM offered this, so if you plan to land and have your dog immediately - this is totally possible. Check with your pet relocator on what your options are.

RECEIVING YOUR PET IN CANADA....Because we were in an apartment for 1 month before moving into our rental property, we decided to only receive our dogs at our final home (a month later). One of our dogs is a rescue dog and his anxiety levels would have been heightened if we moved him around too much. This also allowed us to integrate into our new country and not worry too much about walking around in arctic temperatures with our dogs until we found our bearing. It is really up to you though.


We found it difficult to get a property because of the "no pets" clause. Two properties we were ready to sign contracts for wanted a pet deposit (something between $1000 and $2000), which is ridiculous. Read this so you know where you stand:

"First, you should know that Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act does not permit landlords to include “no pet” clauses in rental agreements. The only exception is if the property is a condominium and the condominium corporation’s declaration prohibits pets. You should always be aware of whether the “no pets” stipulation is being set by the landlord (which is illegal) or by the condominium corporation (which might be permissible – more on this in a future blog post).

Second, a landlord can refuse to rent to a person who has a pet. It’s unfortunate, but true. The protections provided to pet guardians apply only to tenants. Until a person actually enters into a rental agreement, there is no tenancy; the person and their pets are not protected.

Third, a landlord cannot evict a tenant simply because they were unaware of a pet, or because the pet was adopted after the tenant moved in. A tenant can only be evicted if a pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction to others, or is considered to be inherently dangerous. Even then, the landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order terminating the tenancy before kicking people and pets out.

Finally, a landlord is not allowed to charge a pet deposit. A landlord is allowed to ask for a last month’s rent deposit, as well as a key or pass card deposit. Notably, the rent deposit must be applied to a tenant’s last month’s rent, and the key deposit must be given back to the tenant upon the return of keys. It is illegal for the landlord to use these deposits for anything else, such as to pay for damage caused to the unit by people or pets."


LOCAL VET.... you will need to visit your local veterinarian! Dogs are a very, very big part of peoples lives in Canada. Your vet will guide you as to what vaccinations are needed and when. Seasons will impact these decisions and there are different critters and lurgies in Canada in comparison to South Africa, which they will need vaccines for). Our local vet at the time would send out monthly newsletters and would introduce new pets with their photographs in it! We would get postcard reminders to visit the vet with their photograph on the front of the postcard (a selfie probably!!). Just love Canada. out for coyotes and raccoons. Your dogs, especially the smaller ones, are prey to these animals. Raccoons carry rabies. There are skunks out there too - if your dog has the unfortunate experience of being sprayed by one - basically you need to get a new dog (kidding)! You can find remedies online to help with how to clean your pet (wear a mask), so, so bad!!!!!

DOG PARKS....dogs love the communal dog parks. Some parks are quite large and they will enjoy a good stretch and run around. These parks are leash free. Your dogs will love socialising with other dogs, especially since our dogs are English and speak a little Afrikaans, their accent is very popular amongst the Canadian dogs.

SNOW & COLD PET PAWS....your animals will get used to the snow and love it. I remember taking the dogs for their first couple of walks in the snow and their paws froze up and they stopped walking and tried to lick their paws. I remember carrying Sammy home (so funny, my big baby - see pic below which I am so glad I kept of that day). Ideally you will want to get some snow socks/boots for your dogs (we tried a few types and ended up with the more expensive ones with velcro that stayed on). Keep the walks shorter than what you would usually do in the summer. They get cold quickly and a 30 minute walk is not a great idea when its very cold and can even lead to frostbite.

SALT & PAWS....A great tip someone gave me was to keep the dogs nails clipped. If the nails are long, the paw pads splay outwards and the salt and snow get in between the paw pads which is not great. The salt is a huge threat to their paw pads. Salt is used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. It can lead to chemical burns on their paws after some time. For dogs with hairy paws, keep the hair trimmed, also in between the paw pads, which will lower the risk of snow and salt attaching to the paw.

GET ORGANISED FOR YOUR WALKS AT HOME... get a basket or two and put all your doggie stuff in there - poop bags, leashes, dog coats, dog boots etc. Also have a basket for old towels to wipe your dogs down when you get home. It gets the excess snow off their paws so they can warm up quickly and you will keep your floors clean!!!


I think God was clever when he made our pets, He knew that the real reason dogs are to be walked is because it's the humans who need walking. Yes - real reason!!! When winter hits and it is cold, it is far easier to stay inside and become a recluse. Your animals will force you to put on your beanie (called a toque (say: "took") in Canada), gloves and snow boots and hit the trails! You are forced to discover the incredible beauty of Canada because of your pets! Its win-win.

See you at the dog park!


Websites and links for more information:

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We started about 2 months with the process for permanent residency, and I think the biggest concern was our parrot. It seems globalpaws is one of the few places that are happy to deal with the process. Thank you for this article, I feel so much better, because skippy is like our child! We also have two little sausage dogs, one rescue and one pedigree.

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