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The pandemic has changed a lot for all of us, especially when it comes to travel. The Canada-US border has reopened but is different from 2019.
In May 2022, I took my dogs on an epic road trip from Montana to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. We crossed the US-Canada border on May 19 and it went extremely smoothly thanks to a bit of preparation.
What You Need to Bring to Cross into Canada with Your Dog
Bringing a dog into Canada from the US is super easy! All you need to have is proof of rabies vaccination. We printed out copies of Barley and Niffler’s vaccine records and saved PDFs on our phone.
When we actually crossed the border (at Peace Arch), the border agent saw Barley in the front seat but did not ask for his papers.
The same happened when we crossed from the Yukon into Alaska, Alaska back to the Yukon, and Alberta into Montana. None of our four US-Canada border crossings actually asked for proof of vaccination. It’s important to have just in case, though!
You’ll also want to ensure you’ve got up-to-date collar tags and microchips for your dogs. If you need to swap out your phone’s SIM card in a different country, ensure that your dog’s tags and microchip go to that number.
What Do People Need to Cross the Border into Canada?
Canada has COVID restrictions to enter the country. This information was accurate when we crossed the border in May 2022 and is still accurate as of writing in August 2022, but it’s important to double-check Canada’s COVID restrictions. Things change fast with the pandemic!
Canada is using a simple app called ArriveCAN to keep track of traveler vaccination status. Here’s how you use it:
- Download the app and follow the instructions. You’ll need to upload proof of vaccination – a picture of your vaccine record will do. See below for which vaccines Canada accepts as “fully vaccinated.”
- If you aren’t fully vaccinated (even if you’ve had 1 dose of anything but J&J or are recovered), you will not be allowed to enter Canada for tourism or family visits. Learn more here.
- Children under 5 do not need to be vaccinated. The requirements for children between 6 and 17 vary a bit and may require isolation or masking if they’re unvaccinated. Learn more here.
- Fill out the ArriveCAN symptom checker less than 72 hours before you cross the border. It’s super fast and easy; we actually did it while in line at the Peace Arch crossing.
- On my way back into the Yukon from Alaska, I was unable to fill out the symptom checker because I had no cell service for several days prior to my border crossing. I verbally completed an assessment with the agent, offered to fill out the form using their Wifi, and was told I was ok to reenter.
- You MAY be selected for random testing at the border. If you’re recently recovered from COVID, you may be exempt. Otherwise, odds are you’ll have to comply with mandatory testing. There are a few other exemptions, but generally tourists have got to comply.
For us, crossing the border was as simple as showing the agent our passports, giving them our ArriveCAN number, and answering a few questions. It took a few minutes and was quite painless!
What vaccines count as “fully vaccinated” to enter Canada?
- One dose of: Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
- Two does of one or a combination of:
- AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
- Bharat Biotech (Covaxin, BBV152 A, B, C)
- Medicago Covifenz
- Moderna (Spikevax, mRNA-1273) including for children aged 6 months to 11 years
- Novavax (NVX-COV2373, Nuvaxovid, Covovax)
- Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2) including for children aged 5 to 11 years
- Sinopharm BIBP (BBIBP-CorV)
- Sinovac (CoronaVac, PiCoVacc)
Overall, crossing the land border between the US and Canada remains quite simple and fast. We did notice that compared to many parts of the US, Canadians mask up more often and are more COVID-cautious. This discrepancy may be larger or smaller depending on where you’re coming from and what part of Canada you visit.
My dogs loved visiting British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Alberta. It’s absolutely worth a visit as some post-COVID travel.
Kayla grew up in northern Wisconsin and studied ecology and animal behavior at Colorado College. She founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She’s an avid adventurer and has driven much of the Pan-American Highway with her border collie Barley. She now travels the US in a 2006 Sprinter with her two border collies, Barley and Niffler. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams.