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People traveling with a dog |  The United States is tightening its rules

People traveling with a dog | The United States is tightening its rules

Microchips, minimum age, possible rabies vaccination: If you're thinking about traveling to the United States this summer with your dog, you'll now have to show a white “paw.” Here are the new rules you will have to follow to cross the border with your pet starting at 1any August 2024.

New rules

The dog must appear healthy, be at least 6 months old, and be microchipped. Other documents will also be needed, depending on whether the dog has traveled within the past six months to a country where it may be at risk of contracting rabies, or if it has been vaccinated against it. In all cases, a certificate signed by a veterinarian and dated less than 30 days must be submitted, as well as a form that can be downloaded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website as of July 15.

For whom is this?

All people traveling with a dog and entering the United States will have to adhere to the new rules starting 1any August 2024.

According to a 2023 survey conducted by the Association of Veterinarians of Quebec (AMVQ), one in four Quebec households owns a dog (and about one in three in the regions). However, while microchips are recommended across the province, they are only mandatory in certain cities, such as Montreal or Laval. We are probably talking about several thousand animals [qui ne sont pas micropucés] », Dr. estimatesDr Yves-Lynn Bouchard, President, AMVQ.

So some owners may face an unpleasant surprise when they arrive at the border with their dog. “People will have to take steps in advance to adjust and do paperwork with their vet; we won't necessarily be able to walk our dog on a weekend hike to Mount Washington,” she explains.

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Anger is at the center of fears

Canada is not a country where dogs are at high risk of contracting rabies – a highly contagious disease that is transmissible to humans and is a deadly type of rabies. But this is the case for some South American countries, such as Cuba, Brazil or Colombia. However, the United States believes that it has eliminated rabies in dogs since 2007, which is why it is working to tighten its rules, in order to prevent this disease from entering its territory again.

A shared desire with its neighbour: Although Canada does not yet implement such strict measures, since 2022 it has banned the import of dogs from high-risk countries.

“We have seen a certain trend of importing stray animals from Morocco or South America, but this exposes us to the risk of transmitting cases of rabies to our territory,” explains Dr.Dr Eve Lynn Bouchard.

Note that rabies in dogs is a different species from that found in wild animals (skunks, foxes, raccoons, bats), which is still largely present in Canada and the United States but against which vaccination is also effective.