The pet culture in China

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 China 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 China by answering the following questions?

What part do pets play in society in China? 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,


china is very pet friendly. Many of my friends have pets, and when I am in a restaurant or walking in the mall with my dog, all the girls want to play with him. There are some differences between the USA and china in this regard.

In china you can bring your dog inside a restaurant and set him at the table with you. You cannot do this in the USA.

In china you can take your dog inside the mall or grocery store with you. This is prohibited in the USA.

In china you can bring your dog (inside a carrier) with you to the movies, or riding on the subway, or taxi or bus. Or train. In the USA all of these options are prohibited.

There are all sorts of places that cater to pets in china. Just know the difference between a pet groomer and a vet. In china they often use the same names. Identify which one is a vet and which one is a pet groomer.

Pet haircuts for my dog is more expensive than haircuts for myself.

Shenzhen has a very fashionable dog culture, and it is the fashion to die their hair all sorts of strange colors and patterns. Also dog clothing is very popular. My dog has socks, shoes, a hat, clothes, underwear, a backpack and sunglasses. I am not kidding.

The Chinese love their pets.

I have been coming to the small town in Anhui (where I now live permanently) for about ten years.

During my early visits it was quite rare to see dog walkers, strays - yes, pets - no. Everyone here goes out for an after dinner stroll (san bu) but back then you would hardly ever see a dog. Since about 2016 onwards it has become more popular and now it is quite common to see dogs usually toy or minature size poodles, bichon frises, pomeranians, pugs etc. I think the preference for small dogs is that they are not intimidating, easy to look after and dont take up much space they are cute too which helps. My inlaws even adopted a poodle cross, who we call yang yang, a couple of years ago and they wouldn't be without him now. I think in the cities people are more adventurous in their choice of dogs golden retreivers and akitas are quite poplar in Hefei.

Some people are still a bit wary of even small dogs though - that is something that is alien to me as I grew up on a farm in England surrounded by dogs of all sizes.

Even though this is a small town there are still good facilities - vets and grooming salons.

I currently have 3 cats; and i can say that the biggest worry is the "apartment" situation specifically in the cities where people have to move often for rent issues.

So first one need to make sure the landlord can accept pets; which narrow down the options when searching for a new place.

The neighbors are also something to be taken into account; as there are often horrific stories about pets being poisoned by a bitter neighbor... So one should be wary about their pet eating anything on the street.

Putting that aside; it is quite convenient in China to get pet toys/accessories/litters directly online, and at a very cheap price. There are a lot of options for food; but of course that will depend on what people are looking for. Very healthy canned food will be imported ones; and should cost more than usual...

For taking the pet abroad; there is a procedure which need to be done, and that can take a long time depending on the country where they will be heading. But that is of course a hassle not just associated to China.

China in general is pretty pet friendy with dogs being most common. You can find pet shops n vets in most cities n pet food is readily available in most big supermarkets.

The only thing is that some landlords may not permit pets to be reared in their premise so will need to look for a pet friendly landlord should one like to rear pets in a rented premise.
Rearing fish should not be a problem for most landlords though .

In my neighborhood, there are a lot of Chinese people that have pets, most of them dogs and a few less have cats.
As I see, they take good care of their pets;  like in any other part of the world, they walk their dogs twice a day, buy clothes for the cold (and for fashion), feed them properly, and generally they treat them with love.
In public places I have seen pets in shopping malls and even in some restaurants (a few times but it happens).

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