5 things you need to know about moving your pet to China

1. China has quarantine for incoming pets

Starting from 1st May 2019, China changed its quarantine laws. There is now a list of approved countries that with the correct documentation can skip quarantine, those however not on the list will have between 1 day and 30 days of quarantine depending on the point of entry and supporting documentation or lack there of. Here is the list of approved countries/regions:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Fiji
  • French Polynesia
  • Hawaii
  • Guam
  • Jamaica
  • Iceland
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Cyprus
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong & Macau

You will likely note that many of these are islands, and those parts of the world with essentially non-existent rabies. Those countries that are not on the list – there are many, we know – you will need at a minimum the following to pass quarantine without incident:

  • A microchip in your pet (and always best to bring along your own microchip reader just in case of incompatibility issues with the quarantine officers one). The microchip should be ISO 11784/11785 compliant.
  • Proof of rabies shots (Vet issued book with stickers from the rabies bottle and stamp from the vet)
  • Accredited laboratory rabies antibody titer test results confirming your dog (with that microchip number) has rabies antibodies. The antibody amount must be greater than 0.5IU/ml.

If your pet is a guide dog, search and rescue dog, hearing dog, the owner will also need to present at quarantine its corresponding user certificate, training certificate, microchip, and the dog will still need to pass the quarantine.

Here is the list of entry points with quarantine services – so only book tickets to one of these places:

  • Beijing capital airport
  • Beijing west railway station
  • Shanghai Hongqiao international airport
  • Shanghai Pudong international airport
  • Shanghai railway station
  • Shanghai international passenger transport center
  • Wusongkou international cruise terminal
  • Urumchi Diwopu International Airport
  • Alashankou City

It is also very important to note that pets can only be brought into China one pet per person at a time. Additionally, within 14 days after arrival into China, you will need a local veterinarian to issue a health certificate.

2. Chinese cities have dog size and number restrictions

For example, in order to get a dog license in China’s capital of Beijing, the dog must be less than 35cm at the shoulder. This obviously rules out a huge number of dog breeds. If the dog is greater than 35cm at the shoulder, it is generally speaking not eligible for a dog license (though some are issued in certain districts with low density zoning), which puts the dog at risk of police confiscation. (The law states that all dogs must have a dog license)

Additionally, each family address is only allowed to register one dog in Beijing. Those who have two dogs in their family will need to find an alternate address to register the dog. Other cities in the southern provinces of China recently enacted laws around the times of day that dogs are allowed to be walked. It is important to stay as on top of these rule changes as best you can, “I didnt know” usually doesn’t cut it in China anymore.

3. Chinese veterinary standards are still developing

A critical truth about vets in China is that their skills vary greatly. To become a licensed vet, all they need is a 3 year diploma degree in veterinary medicine and pass a 400 question multiple choice exam with 60% correct rate, then they are “board certified” and can do surgery. Compare this to the North American/European/Australian standard on how to become a vet, the entry barrier here in China is really quite low. Another rather ugly truth of vets in China is that they have sales target to hit. Many pet owners have encountered quite a few cases that the dog was merely having food intolerance and allergy, and yet the vet decided the dog was having parvo virus or pancreatitis, simply because treating parvo or pancreatitis will earn the hospital thousands. Not only your wallet suffers, your pets suffer more for no reason.

There are very good and responsible Chinese vets who are reasonably priced and wouldn’t over medicate your pet. From our years of work in cooperating with vets, we have a sharp eye on who are doing their jobs and who are bluffing.

4. Pet food is more expensive in China than you would likely expect

The domestic pet food market is heavily protected by a range of embargoes and tariffs. Additionally the quality of domestically produced pet food can be extremely hit and miss. Bringing imported pet food into China is extraordinarily complex, so budget in advance for the higher prices of decent-to-high quality pet food. Chateau Canine charges the absolute minimum as prescribed by the national distributor of each brand. See our range here

5. Chinese people display a broad range of reactions to dogs

As with all countries, China has a diverse population with variations in its willingness to accept dogs into everyday society. Though developing hugely in the last 15 years, dog ownership even in China’s heavily developed major cities is still in its infancy, subsequently the range of reactions to a dog walking down the street (particularly a large breed or bull breed) can be staggering. Awareness of this is very important and keeping your dog on a lead at all times while other folks are out and about will mitigate the risk of an unfortunate encounter.

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