Pets in Thailand

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Thailand have four-legged friends. What about you? Do you have one or more pets? Share your experience with us!

What are the formalities to import pets in Thailand? What about pet adoption procedures in the country? Did you bring your pet from your home country to your host country? If so, did everything turn out fine?

What do Thais think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!


We have 2 Jack Russells. Bought from a breeder in Thailand. We looked around and found this breeder who we thougt was Ok. The dogs came complete with free fleas. The all white one was small and alergic to fleas. We fed them separately and he put on weight. They get medicated each month for fleas, worms and a variety of other nasties including heart worm (which doesn't exist in England). Then there's yearly injections for rabies etc. Can be expensive but ask around and you can find good cheap vets and clinics. Tics seem to be the biggest problem here, we know a couple of other dogs owners who have had problems.

Thanks for the info. I would like to bring an America Cocker to Thailand, but I'm reluctant. You just explained one good reason not to bring one. With the thick coat of a Cocker it would pick up all kinds of critters. Looking at the dogs in Thailand, for the most part, it looks like they are short haired. Thanks for the info.


There are also many stray dogs, puppies abandoned at Wats when they get too big.  They are often very unhealthy full of fleas etc and missing up to 100% of their fur and many with untreated broken legs. It may be worth rescuing one of these street dogs that aren't too far gone. But may cost a little in vet fees. However there are some free clinics.

I have 8 mutts. Started with one Siberian-Lab cross (now blind) and collected two Cocker +++ mixed pups. They got together for a five-strong litter. My place is too small for proper exercise, but I do all I can. My neighbours are not upset by the noise, which can be considerable before feeding and when strays are outside.

Biggest issue is not being able to walk them due to simple logistics of one guy and 8 dogs, and the number of diseased strays in my area (any area). There are exercise pens downtown, but none where I am. Getting them all there would be a wild exercise! Access to reasonable quality vets is not an issue, for major problems I use Kasetsart Uni or Chula downtown.

Most Thai people are ambivalent towards dogs, that there are so many strays is an indication of this. I don't agree with feeding them - the population needs controls, not an open book.

I have two cats and a Chihuahua which I bought from a local breeder, the cats were strays.The cats have been spayed and the dog will in due course when she is old enough.
They have had all their injections, medications etc and the Thais stare at me as if I am mad to take the animals to the local vet.
The dogs and cats in  the village all have diseases and a few have mange but nobody does anything about this. The soi dogs are an absolute nuisance when I ride bicycle and at night howl at the moon
Mine are fed the correct diet and again I have been told that I must not waste money on cat and dog food as there is enough rice and fish bones for the animals.
The dog is kept in the yard which I have had fenced for it.
To have brought an animal from my home country would have to much of a schlep.
I also intend obtaining a few bantams if I can find any purebred Pekin ones in Thailand.
In my home country I at one time had four lions but I doubt if the Thais will allow me to keep any here.
They would keep my yard here clean from stray dogs without a fence

We came from Vancouver Canada with 4 Basset hound dogs. We hired an international pet removal service based near the Vancouver airport. They prepared all of the documentation, after we provided the Canada Agriculture Veterinarian certificates. The company shipped them via Amsterdam to Bangkok and finally Phuket. They had a company at Bangkok airport who dealt with all of the entry requirements and certificates and then ensured they were boards on the flight to Phuket. During the entire process I receives SMS or emails updating me, complete with photos. We went to the cargo depot at Phuket airport and they were delivered to the loading platform, all very excited to see us,l and healthy. We met some people there that night, who would become our closest friends on the island, awaiting their dog from South Africa, where they had been delayed and then "lost" for 2 days.

Since then the hounds have settled in well and enjoy their tropical retirement. A big challenge was to find a vet we wanted to use. The level of care here is very good, for us it was a vet we and the dogs were comfortable with. It took a few trial and errors, but through expat word of mouth, we finally have a practice we are very happy with and even the dogs pull on the lead to get inside as they love the vet.

Our challenge is around end of life. Our hounds are seniors now and in the west, you would go to the vet to have them put to sleep, if it was appropriate. Most vest here will not euthanize and claim Buddhist beliefs as preventing this. Also no info on after death options (ie: burial, cremation) The other challenge I find is to communicate effectively with the vet staff. Closed questions will serve you no good, as you will likely get a yes or a no. This could mean yes or no, or they did not understand your question, so they simply say yes, or no. They also tend, in my estimation over prescribe medications, and side effects. I always now look up the medication so I know. Medicine seems to be prescribed for specific issues, So a dog with a sore swollen leg, may get something for pain and swelling as well as other medicines to prevent side affect from the medicine prescribed to address the symptom. In some cases there is an injectable alternative, but if you don't ask you will not know. It is usually more expensive, but more direct and o struggling with shoving down pills. The best solution I found for pill administering is the small bags of mini sausages you can get in any corner shop, the smoked variety seems to pass the sniff test in disguising the sometimes cat pee like odour  of some of the pills have.

Ticks, ticks, ticks, learn  early how to remove them safely, they are everywhere, but most problematic in the monsoon season. The rains followed by sunny days seems to have them popping up everywhere. If you get an exterminator in, they will kill everything, not just ticks, you'll have dead spiders and geckos falling everywhere. You can do applicator, shampoo, pills and injections. The rule of thumb is that no one treatment program will always work. We switch between how we treat and that is most effective, it is almost like they develop an immunity to the pill, so injections will kill them for a few months then the injection does not work, so you go to pills, and then applicators.. back to injections...

Above all, pick up your dogs poo. Nothing gets a bad reaction or shuts access to a walking area, than people not picking up their dog poo. There are virtually no disposal facilities, so you will end up, mostly likely having to take it back home and disposing of it.

A word of caution. While rabies is not a huge issue, it is around. My partner on a run one day was chased by a soi dog, being and exuberant puppy, he scratched and broke the skin. Because rabies is present in saliva, and the dog licks his nails and paws, it is possible to be infected without being actually bite.

There are now a  few Facebook pages dedicated to dogs in Phuket, where other expats share news or discoveries about dog related issues.

Since our arrival we have also acquired 2 soi cats, and another Basset hound through the Soi Dog foundation, who had been dumped at a temple by an expat and been shot with slingshots by kids. She lost one eye but the other is okay. Soi cats are mostly always infested with parasites and worms. There is also a high prevalence for feline leukemia and feline AIDS, a quick snap test can determine that.

I'm very happy with the vet services, we even get house calls because we have 5 dogs all to be vaccinated ta the same time. I was back to Canada and when I returned to appreciate how incredibly inexpensive vet care here is compared to there.

I have four dogs living with me in my yard.  They know I am the pack leader and my wife feeds them daily.  They are happy and gladly guard our house.  I will never live without dogs around me.

In Thailand, dogs require either the bug pill or some anti-flea and tick treatment,  they need a large enclosed place to run in, and must rapidly be sure who is pack leader.  Meeting those needs is all they want.

Household folks found all the dogs as puppies.  They are mongrels, rugged, eat anything good, and as a pack can kill most anything their size.  I would never bring a dog to Thailand;  there so many already here.  Love your dog but never forget you are boss.

Thanks Pricilla for the questions.

Up until April I have had three Buff female cockers over a period of 24 years. During my divorce my ex decided to be spiteful and claim my dog. She then said - what are you going to do now? To which I said that I would get another cocker, which I did when I moved out. Twelve years later I lost that cocker. It didn't take too long before I got another cocker. At first I named her Topper. Some of you might be old enough to understand the significance of that name. Then she had a streak in her where I renamed her. I called her Shadow. She just always had to know where I was. I think most cockers are that way once they attach themselves to a person. They can be such loving dogs. She always knew I was there to take care of her, even if I was busy or working very hard. For the right kind of person cockers can get under your skin, so to speak. And there were times that she was there for me. I might be sick or upset and yet she was by my side to give me comfort. To me, not having a dog is like not having a piece of your heart.

When I was researching coming to Chiang Mai I looked into bringing my dog. It wouldn't have been the first time in which I said if you can't take my dog then you can't take me. I did read that historically Thailand had a very high incidence of rabies in the country. Again from my reading, was that the incidence was so high that Thailand became a leader in rabies treatment in Asia. Apparently the problem has not completely been eradicated. But, as has been mentioned there is treatment in Thailand. Looking in to bringing a dog to Thailand it seemed that the Thai government was lenient. For example I heard that there was no quarantine period, as long as all of the paper work was in order. Apparently it's not a major hastle and the government hasn't created complications with that issue.

As I travel around Chiang Mai I do notice dogs. Actually the dogs today, farrell, seem much healthier then they did four years ago. Four years ago I saw some pretty "unsightly" dogs and I don't so much now a days. I also notice these little dogs that might be Shitzu's. Some of them are small enough to put in a purse. They are long haired and are extremely well kept. I just thought that it was an interesting observation.

Thank you for allowing my discourse. I would really love to have another dog, especially an American cocker. I am renting a house but the owner does not allow dogs. I'm sort of on a 2 year project. Once I finish that I will go back to having a dog. One wonderful thing about a dog - they give unconditional love. We all need that.

In 2010, my wife and I brought our two cats with us. At the time, Thai Airways had a direct flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok so there was no need to go through Japan or Korea which required a quarantine of the cats or Europe which required a microchip. We were required to present  a document from our veterinarian that they had their shots and were disease free. The document was required by the US and Thailand before we could get an airline reservation. Once we made the reservation, we carried our cats in approved cat carriers inside the cabin and paid a separate charge for each cat. $100 for each on American Airlines, Miami to Los Angeles, $580 Los Angeles to Bangkok. We had to present the documents on the cats on arriving in Bangkok.
When we arrived here, we found out that the preferred pet is a dog. Cat food id by two or three manufacturers and a specialty store is required to be found for litter boxes, and other needs. Also, finding a vet was difficult. Both of our cats are now dead, Luna came down with kidney disease in 2012, was over IVed and drowned because of it. Mango died from a seizure. If we had been living in the US, they both probably would still be alive. Living here killed them.

It took me two years to find a vet in 304 Industrial.this was after I was told that the nearest vet was in BKK. I was informed that it was not necesssary to have the animals medicated and I just ignored the ignorance.
The cost to have the cats spayed was 650 THB for the male and 1000 for the female.
The injections for the immunization of the dog costs 350 THB and this included Rabies and the other 5 in one .
The  Chihuahua  is bathed once a week with anti tick and flea shampoo.
I regularly give them anti worm pills and I do not yet have a flea or tick problem even though I live in a farming area.
Hills and other high end dog and cat foods are available at the vet as he has a well stocked shop

Hello Priscilla,
Personaly I dont have dog; but I am working in a shipping company in Bangkok and we are used to organize the transportation of the dogs / cats, in and out of the country.
Feel free to let me know if you have any needs.
Best regards,

We have cats and dogs, all locally acquired, but we live in the countryside so we have lots of space.  The cats kill mice and our dogs act as an early warning system.  The way we treat our pets is a little different from the typical villager but we all get along.  It is a long drive to our vet but the health of our pets is worth it.

I am lucky... there are vets EVERYWHERE here in Chiang Mai.  I live out in a rural farming area and here are even several vest here too.

I have 2 small mix breed dogs.... they are nearly 8 years old.  I took them for vaccinations when they were puppies... but nothing since then.  Never de wormed them or had to treat for fleas of ticks.  Very healthy dogs.

I also have many chickens, fancy pigeons, turtles, fish, parakeets, song birds and a snake. 

My friends cats have had kittens and I am thinking about getting 2 of them... but my partner is allergic to them.. so they will be outside cats if I get 'permission' for them.

It's not easy having animals in Thailand, we also brought our dog from San Francisco to Nonthaburi , we live in a high rise condo that does not take pets, so we have to put him in a grocery cart in his carrier & sneek him down the freight elevator to go to the groomers or vet, he is now a indoor dog, but he is 20 years old. So being a old dog he doesn't mind not being able to walk.  But when we 1st got here we tried to walk him & he got bitten by fleas & ticks which took us a year to get out of the condo. I don't think Thailand is pet friendly at all & the people who have dogs & cats don't take care of them as well as we are use to in the states. We never fed our dog anything but people food, he takes vitamin C, Fish Oil, & probiotic which allows him to poop easily, but without a bad smell.  He is on Comfort Care now, can't see well, hear, but his smell is still good. And he enjoys eating.  However we would never get another pet while we are living in Thailand.

California4me :

It's not easy having animals in Thailand, we also brought our dog from San Francisco to Nonthaburi , we live in a high rise condo that does not take pets, so we have to put him in a grocery cart in his carrier & sneek him down the freight elevator to go to the groomers or vet, he is now a indoor dog, but he is 20 years old. So being a old dog he doesn't mind not being able to walk.  But when we 1st got here we tried to walk him & he got bitten by fleas & ticks which took us a year to get out of the condo. I don't think Thailand is pet friendly at all & the people who have dogs & cats don't take care of them as well as we are use to in the states. We never fed our dog anything but people food, he takes vitamin C, Fish Oil, & probiotic which allows him to poop easily, but without a bad smell.  He is on Comfort Care now, can't see well, hear, but his smell is still good. And he enjoys eating.  However we would never get another pet while we are living in Thailand.

Why would you keep a dog in a small condo that did not allow pets!  Poor dog.  You say you don't take it for a walk... no exercise?  Yet you say Thailand and other pet owners don't take good care of their dogs... then say you only feed your dog HUMAN FOOD?!!! 

1.  Keeping a dog in a condo with no access to the outside or exercise is not taking good care of a dog.
2.  Feeding dogs only human food is not healthy for them.  They need a balanced diet designed for dogs.
3.  If he can't poop easily you may well find its the diet.
4.  Please nobody keep dog in condos which do not allow pets!!!!!!!!

It must be nice to know everything, first of all he is a small dog, he is 20 years old in dog years, can't see or hear.  In case you didn't know most dogs don't live 20 years. We must be doing something right.  Perhaps you should become a Vet, as you seem to know so much about animals. And what part of Comfort Care did you not understand.  Thank You for your education value.

Bacanada, I have the same problem trying to find a vet that will put my 20 year old dog to sleep for us. He is deaf, blind, & now can't stand up on his own.  But we did find out that the temple will cremate the animal & make a ceremony & then you can take the ashes yourself for a small fee. Good Luck to you.

I do not think we are having this discussion re pets in Thailand to criticise each other. If the dog is 20 years old it must be well looked after as I have heard of very few dogs that have become so old.
Having had many pets and dogs human food will do a dog no harm if it is balanced as my naughty dog has dog food ,catfood and human food and is as healthy as you can get. She prefers chicken liver  etc to her dogfood
Lets please just see to it that we look after our animals and not let them walk in the soi,s with mange etc
I have a small dog and she will be able to live in a condo even though I have a large yard and she hates to go out.Have to close the door to keep her out for a few minutes
Lets enjoy our pets and life in Thailand

Barry, that is Great advice. Our poor dog is on his last legs, he has been such a Joy to our lives.  But now he can't stand up on his own, can't see or hear any more, wears diapers, has lost weight, just skin & bones, we know it's time to put him down, but it isn't easy to find a vet in Thailand to do this.  Any idea's for us.  He was a Rescue dog & we have had him for 19 of his 20 years.  He eats rice, egg, vegetable, & ground chicken everyday with his vitamins. And he loves banana.  Patrick

Hi Patrick
I spoke to the vet  in 304 Industrial this morning.He informed me that neither he neither any vet he knows will put a dog to sleep in Thailand as it is against their Buddhist religion
I then spoke to my GF and she informed me that the Tesseban Municipality have people who euthanase   dogs in our area
If you feel you have to have this done somehow try and find out in BKK who at the municipality can possibly have it done or a local dog shelter though these are few and far .
Good luck and love your pet,they never fight with you and are not false as humans are.

and dogs always give unconditional love.

Barry, Thanks for the advice, we are still struggling with this idea & he's not suffering at the moment. So I will let you know what I can find out. So we can share with others that have similar needs. Take Care, Patrick

I wouldn't worry about it. Long-hair, short-hair, big or small, pets fit in well here. Sure, they need flea medication and yearly shots, but what's new? I have a Havanese who is 15 now. I brought him here when he was 5. I also have have a Tze Shui which I got here who is 9 years old. I got him right out of the brood. These breeds are both long-hair but so what? I get their hair clipped short for the heat and they are fine.

Thanks for your info. A great read, I'm bringing my small cocker plus a working type collie over with me to live next year.  Luckily we will be living on a golf course an hour and half outside Bangkok, so they will be quite protected from soi dogs.  Iv managed to find an American man running a boarding kennels and am due to visit this month as it seems it's respected alot.  He has paddocks secured plus a pool for exercise.  I work with dogs and we do have lots of things the same diseases  as ticks etc, lung worm in the uk, and only thing that's works against it is advocate.  Do you have a problem with sand flies????  I know in Europe a dog has to wear a white medicated collar for this.  Is there anything else I need to consider??   I'm unsure whether to stock up on medicated collars?   Do they vaccinate against fleas, worms or do I still need to use a spot on treatment??  Via vets??  My dogs are both under 3 yrs and very active is there anything else I need to consider ??  Have your dogs come against soi dogs ?  Have you experienced problems??   thanks for the information you have given so far, it's always a worry but, I wouldn't come to Thailand without them. Regards dawn

Well said Barry.

Hi bill, 
Thanks for your write up and info?  I'm interested to know did you bring your cocker with you in the end??  I have s young cocker and pure deaf working type collie (short haired) I'm bringing over next year. 
Regards dawn

hwolfskill, I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cats.

I too lost a cat (Shinobi) to kidney disease. I learned too late that he wasn't drinking enough water, and was regularly dehydrated. Turns out it's not the best thing - for a cat - to have the water bowl next to the food bowl. Cats are picky that way; dogs aren't.

I don't know the details of your situation, so I'm not criticizing your care; it just reminded me of the lesson I learned.

A glance at the big box stores is disappointing; mostly Friskies and Fancy Feast, etc. The non-grain varieties seem to be missing, although big box stores just about everywhere don't offer the most nutritious choices for cats.

I was feeding my cat Fritz with a "raw diet". It got expensive (in the states) because I was buying raw chicken (including hearts and livers) and cutting it up. It just hit me that raw chicken might be way cheaper in Thailand; I might want to give that a go. Has anyone tried this?

Hi Dick
I have read that too much chicken liver is not good for a cat or dog as it has iron in it and can damage the red blood cells
My cat which was a Soi cat and which I adopted had neutered and injected gets cat food and a little chicken
Just remember, and I am also guilty, when you give a cat or dog raw meat especially here in Thailand to have the animal dewormed once in a while.I have this done anyhow due to the way a cat wanders around and you never know what they pick up in the dirty streets here.
It is just a pill they have to swallow.
Enjoy your animal.
Many years ago I had four lions and I must say they would have kept the soi dogs to a minimum.They were great fun to have and a joy to play with while remembering they are never really tame

Thanks, Barry!

Oh, absolutely, the liver is a treat, or a portion of the meal, rather than a mainstay. It's the dosage that makes the poison, isn't it?

Cats are pretty much immune to salmonella, which is the main threat with raw chicken. I don't know that chicken in Thailand has a greater chance of carrying worms than in the States, but I will check with my vet. I think dogs are more susceptible to heartworm, but I may be wrong.

By the way, it's interesting that a lot of pet food consumed (in the US anyway) is manufactured in Thailand. Kinda funny.

Yes, I am sure having four lions around would really help with security, etc. :)

Found out recently that of airlines that fly into Chiang Mai, both Delta and Korean Air (as of this writing) accept small pets in the airline cabin.

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