5 Things To Consider When Traveling To Asia With A Dog

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Want to travel to Asia, but not sure if you should take your dog? With fears of dog kidnappings and high levels of rabies cases, travelling with your pooch can seem daunting. Luckily, not only is it possible to do, but you can do so safely, whilst enjoying your trip.

My husband and I were fortunate enough to travel through Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra with our dog, Ella. Although the travel wasn’t as easy as when we travelled to Europe, it wasn’t impossible either! With plenty of planning and preparation, we had a wonderful trip. To ensure you have the best trip possible, here are 5 top tips for things to watch out for when you travel to Asia with your dog.

1. Check You Have All The Necessary Documentation

The most important thing to consider whenever you travel abroad with your dog, but especially to Asia, is your dog’s documentation. Expect to take 3 to 4 months to organize all the necessary paperwork. It’s essential to ensure that your dog is microchipped and that all his vaccinations are up to date. Microchipping is essential for easy identification, especially if your dog goes missing during your travels. 

Up-to-date vaccinations are a must, especially a rabies certificate. When we travelled to Malaysia, we were also advised to check that our dog had the vaccinations for Distemper, Hepatitis, Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP). In Thailand, we also had to ensure that these vaccines were no less than 21 days old at the time of arrival, but no older than a year. 

The other crucial documents are the import permits and the vet health form. Make sure that your dog’s Health Certificate is filled out by a veterinarian who is USDA accredited. It has to be issued within 7 days of your departure date. You also need to ensure that you have a valid import permit, otherwise your dog won’t be allowed to enter the country.

2. Plan Your Travel Carefully

Take some time to carefully plan how you’ll travel between locations. We found that there were many services that wouldn’t allow us to take Ella. Dogs are not allowed on trains (or other forms of public transport) in most Asian countries. As for taxis, some SUV taxis may agree to transport you and your dog, but you will be charged extra.

The other key consideration is accommodation. Again, many places won’t allow your dog to stay and this can make finding dog-friendly accommodation one of the biggest challenges when you’re travelling through Asia. 

Apart from the most expensive or luxurious hotels, most others won’t accept your dog. You can try contacting guesthouses directly to ask whether they may make an exception for you. But your best bet may actually be to look for accommodation through Airbnb or even on Facebook.

3. Be Vigilant 

Throughout Asia (particularly in China, Vietnam and Indonesia) there is a huge trade in dog meat. Part of this stems from some people’s belief that eating dog meat can provide healing or medicinal qualities, including curing some health problems such as asthma. Although laws have been tightened, there are still many dog kidnappings throughout Asia.

As such, when you are travelling with your dog, you need to ensure that she has her collar on at all times. Make sure that you keep her on a leash if you are travelling through a particularly busy area and that you are vigilant and keep a close eye on your dog’s whereabouts at all times, even in large outdoor spaces.

4. Beware Of Stray Dogs

Another big problem in Asia is rabies. Every year it kills as many as 30,000 people in Asia alone. There is sadly no treatment for rabies once the clinical signs occur. However, if you’ve been vaccinated prior to being bitten or receive a vaccine immediately after you’ve been exposed, then you can prevent the disease. Most of the rabies cases in Asia are transmitted through animal bites and unfortunately, the number of stray dogs is high. 

When you are out with your dog, beware of other dogs. Avoid close contact with any unfamiliar dog, including allowing your own dog to play and interact with other dogs, unless you know they have been vaccinated. 

5. Find Your Nearest Vet

Luckily there are veterinarians throughout the world. However, depending on the area of Asia you are travelling to or how remote it is, you may find that the nearest vet is some way away. Make sure that you know where your nearest vet is whenever you go to a new city, just in case you run into any emergencies.


It is possible to travel to Asia with your dog. However, it requires detailed planning and organization. Above all, make sure that your dog has all the correct documentation and vaccines, especially a rabies certificate. Plan your modes of travel and accommodation in advance to ensure you have somewhere dog-friendly to stay and remain vigilant of your dog throughout your trip.

Katherine Rundell is a successful entrepreneur and regular writer at Academized and Essay Help. She works closely with clients at all stages of their careers, helping them to grow personally and professionally. In particular, she helps clients to develop key skills to be able to adapt effectively to situations in a fast-changing and unstable market. Katherine enjoys writing about different aspects of self-care, healthy life and traveling at Boomessays. She spends her spare time traveling with her husband and their faithful dog, Ella. 

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