Should expats bring their pets to China?

By Dr. Tony Beck
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, January 7, 2011
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Dr. Tony Beck is CEO of the Doctors Beck & Stone Pet Health Care Center.

The Chinese are rapidly becoming a population of pet lovers. As with all social changes this change is painful and the speed of change varies with the city or province.

I have read posts that suggest that bringing your beloved pets to China should be avoided at all costs; I disagree with this strongly and if your pet could talk then I think they would too.

China is a country where they have strong laws that they enforce firmly, and whilst I may not agree with their methods of enforcement as long as pet owners satisfy the regulations then they will not fall foul of the authorities.

Each province has their own regulations; in Beijing import quarantine is 4 weeks, in Shanghai its 7 days. In Beijing vets that have government approval can give the Rabies vaccination but in Shanghai only the government vets can give this vaccination.

Hence it is important that the client has a thorough understanding of these local regulations before arrival and this may include where you live! In Beijing to live within the 5th ring road one's dog has to stand less than 35cm at the shoulder.

Throughout China dogs need to be registered yearly with the local police and this process is routine, however owners do often complain that in those areas where the government officials give the vaccinations the procedure can be a little rough and unhygienic.

Some of the vaccinations that we take for granted in the west are not available for our dogs and cats in China but generally the health liability is still low even though this is the case; the multi-vaccinations and Rabies are available.

Veterinary care in China is understandably at a lower level than in the West. However in Beijing and Shanghai this is changing with western veterinary consultants helping drive this improvement, just as Western doctors helped develop the medical profession.

Clients often think that such international standard medical services are especially expensive in China, be it human or veterinary, but I'd suggest that its their cost perspective that may have changed as so many other products and services are actually a lot cheaper than in their home countries.

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