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N.B. dog owners prepare to be hounded by new U.S. border requirements | CBC News



N.B. dog owners prepare to be hounded by new U.S. border requirements | CBC News

If you’re heading across the border later this summer, don’t forget your passport — and a microchip and a lot of paperwork if you’re travelling with your dog.

Pet owners in New Brunswick are preparing for changes coming to the U.S. border on Aug. 1 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“I called the border and went on the CDC website, and it’s complicated,” said Don Flatt of Fredericton, who often travels with his terrier, Bobby.

There will now be five requirements for dog owners crossing the border. Dogs must be visibly healthy and show proof of rabies documentation, both of which are unchanged.

But the three new requirements state that a dog must be at least six months old, have an implanted International Organization for Standardization-compatible microchip, and CDC dog import forms must be completed before crossing.

Signs at the border with Maine
Dogs crossing the border into the United States will soon have to be over six months old, have a microchip, and have their owner fill out CDC paperwork. (Sam Farley/CBC)

The details of the new rules are laid out in detail on the CDC’s website.

Flatt said he will likely end up leaving Bobby behind on an upcoming trip in August because Bobby doesn’t have a microchip implant. It would be a challenge, Flatt said, because Bobby dislikes getting vaccines.

But he said on frequent trips across the border in recent years, border officers have shown little to no interest in existing regulations for dogs.

“I’ve taken my dog to the states last several years. I go to the border and pull out all this vaccination stuff. And the guy’s like ‘I don’t want to see any of that, just show me your passport,'” Flatt said.

His veterinarian said one of the forms required by the CDC must be filled out with blue ink. But Flatt said he’s never needed it at the border.

Bobby the dog
Flatt said in the past, border officers have cared little about seeing rabies vaccination documents for Bobby. (Submitted by Don Flatt)

Vet seeing more requests for microchips

The upcoming rule change is already keeping veterinarians in the province busy.

“We’ve already seen an increase, yes, in our microchipping appointments exponentially,” said Dr. Sara Pridham, a veterinarian at Stoneybrook Veterinary Services in St. Martins.

“For pet owners, it is definitely a bit cumbersome, and we have a lot of owners who are competing in things like field trials and dog shows in the U.S. that are having a lot of trouble with this because there’s a lot of extra paperwork,” Pridham said.

WATCH | Vet describes the most difficult part of new border rules:

Bringing your dog to the U.S. just got harder

Vaccines, microchips and age requirements will be in place starting Aug. 1 for dog owners bringing their pets into the United States.

While getting the microchip is a quick and cheap procedure, Pridham said finding a veterinarian taking new patients is a challenge right now in New Brunswick.

Pridham said she’s concerned about what the form will require, especially for dogs with more complex medical histories.

“You can generally have it filled out yourself, but there are certain dogs that may require a veterinarian to endorse the form, depending on the age of the dog and things like that,” she said.

The six-month age requirement will be a challenge to breeders, but could help cut down on the spread of diseases, she said.

“Unfortunately some of these dogs that are coming across [with breeders] are very sick, and so there’s potential disease transfer there.”

Despite the challenges, Pridham said she understands why the new measures are coming.

“A lot of the issues are that we are seeing dogs coming across the border that don’t match the information that is being sent with them,” she said.

“So the microchipping is a way to basically say that this dog is the dog in question, and it’s not some other animal. “

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