The pet culture in Cambodia

Hey everyone,

Pets are an integral part of a lot of families. So much so that they would never consider moving abroad without them. Before doing so, it would be important to know the pet culture in Cambodia just to make sure that their little “expets” feel welcomed in their new homes. Would you give our expats-to-be an insight of what it is like to have a pet in Cambodia by answering the following questions?

What part do pets play in society in Cambodia? Are they generally accepted in rentals and public spaces more generally?

Is it common for families to have pets?

What animal is the most often kept as pets? Are there some animals that cannot be kept as pets? Do some animals have specific significations when kept as pets?

How about the infrastructure needed to cater for pets? Can you find everything you need for your pet in terms of pet food, veterinary services, accessories, pet grooming etc...?

Do people generally spend a lot of money on their pets?

Please share your experience,

Priscilla

Hello Priscilla.

Here a few answers to your questions.

What part do pets play in society in Cambodia? Are they generally accepted in rentals and public spaces more generally?
I would not say generally accepted, but many landlords have no problem with a pet.

Is it common for families to have pets?
Many families, more in the provinces than in a big city like Phnom Penh, have a few pets, mostly dogs.

What animal is the most often kept as pets? Are there some animals that cannot be kept as pets? Do some animals have specific significations when kept as pets?
Most kept are dogs, followed by cats. Also aquarium fish are popular. In the provinces the keeping of fighting cocks (roosters) is popular among men, they wash and groom their chicken every day and treat them sometimes better than they treat their kids. Birds (unfortunately caught wild birds, even protected species) are popular too. Then some people have special pets, like snakes, other reptiles, spiders.

How about the infrastructure needed to cater for pets? Can you find everything you need for your pet in terms of pet food, veterinary services, accessories, pet grooming etc...?
As usual this is not a problem in a big city like Phnom Penh, but in the provinces it might be a problem.

Do people generally spend a lot of money on their pets?
Local people don't spend a lot on pets, expats do.

As a remark I would like to warn future expats about the risks of taking your spoiled Western dog with you to tropical Cambodia. With spoiled I mean living in a nice cool house, doing rounds in the neighbourhood, running on grass fields, a great choice of food, vets, vet clinics or even vet hospitals. The danger lies in the totally different climate. Writing now it is here in Phnom Penh 37°C (100°F) and that is bloody hot. Dogs cannot sweat, only through their nose and paw pads, so it is much harder for them to regulate body temperature. Even at night it is here now 26°C which is summer day temperature in the West. Think 200 times if you really want to get your dog into this lower quality of life and let him/her struggle just because you didn't realize what it means for a dog. This goes even more for heavy coated dogs and "polar dogs" like Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds. Then the dogs with a short nose that are prone to breathing difficulty (Chow chow, Bulldog, Pekinese) save them the trouble of being forced to live in a tropical climate.
If you want to have a dog in Cambodia, consider adopting a dog that was born here, they are used to the climate and if you provide him a cool place, they will be your best companion.


Please share your experience,
Done

Joe

I have two dogs.   I live in Tonle Bassac.   That is central in the city.
Many people do well with Khmer Dogs and rescues.    They usually work out fine but in many cases the people fall in love with them and take them home.  That becomes expensive.
I brought mine from Brisbane and fully intend to take them home if they are still alive at that time.
One is a Standard black Schnauzer..very old now.  13.
The other is a Gaint Schnauzer.  Also Black in color.  2.5 years of age.   I walk him a lot and without a lead.   Take him accross the Mekong and to the coast so he can run and his favorite pastime swim.    Many people successfully have pet dogs an they are a great success.
There are also several doggy daycare/boarding organisations in the city.   House of Hounds being one and the most central.
So if you want a pet dog here there is nothing stopping you.    I do agree also with the previous post.   You have to be careful what breed.   Ticks are also a big problem.

Personally I think it’s crazy to bring a dog to Southeast Asia, why would you subject you supposedly loved pet to this place, no real place to keep them, interesting, my neighbor got two dogs killed one by car, another by moto, have you watched the  “ monks dogs “ they are packed up agreesive towards other dogs , and here is something you western dog will not do that I have found to be amazing, the dogs look both ways before crossing the streets, no grass in Phnom Penh, the province might be better, but to leave your dog in the house all day or subject them to a good beat down from the monks dogs ( I lived next to the pagoda for three years) it’s I think selfish, do you need a dog with you to be happy? Leave it at home with a family member , think  beyond yourself, obviously I’m not a dog person, but I know animal abuse, and I feel this is it, rabies is common , if your dog is a must then look at Europe’s climate and culture, khmers mostly think it’s nasty to have a dog inside your home, and to you people who sleep with the dog in the bed well ,,,,,,there is no hope for you, to bring a cat is just straight up cruel, that’s my take yes I know I will not be popular with this post , don’t forget they had a dog processing facility just outside pp for years , I’m not sure it’s still there, but yes although not as common as it once was THEY DO STILL EAT DOGS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA, the animal does not enjoy your travels , no matter what you think, if you cannot be happy without your pet , well you need to check yourself because you have other problems.

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