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Protecting Your Family & Pets Against Rabies


Rabies is a deadly disease that can affect both humans and animals. Learn about how to best protect your family and pets against rabies.

Rabies is a deadly disease in both humans and animals.

In Ontario, the law requires the vaccination of all cats and dogs that are at least 3 months old. You can be fined for not vaccinating your pet.

Vaccinating your pet

Your local veterinary clinic can vaccinate your pet during a regular visit. Vaccinations are effective for either 1 or 3 years, depending on the vaccine used by your veterinarian. Help is available if you are in financial need. Call 311 for details.

Protecting your family and pets

To best protect your family against rabies:

  • Teach children to avoid unfamiliar cats and dogs.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Take measures to prevent wildlife from taking up residence in your home or on your property.
  • Do not attempt to relocate any wild animals.
  • Remember to collect animal owner contact information if you have been scratched or bitten by someone’s pet.
  • Report all animal bites, scratches and possible exposures to the Health Department as soon as possible.

To best protect your pets against rabies:

  • Keep your dogs and cats up to date with their rabies vaccinations.
  • Don't allow your pets to roam free; keep them indoors at night to prevent contact with wild animals.

Avoid animals that are behaving strangely and report strays to Animal Control Services.

Risk of rabies from squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits

Small rodents (such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and mice) and lagomorphs (such as rabbits) are rarely found to be infected with rabies, and have not been known to cause human rabies in Canada.

However, notify the Health Department following an incident with these animals.