By all accounts, Bangkok is not a dog’s ideal place to live. Although pet ownership – and, as a result, pet-friendly living – is on the rise worldwide, Bangkok hasn’t quite caught up to the trend. Nonetheless, if you and your canine BFF are about to relocate to Thailand, take heart. You can make it work and get the most from your new surroundings, if you understand local dos and don’ts.
DO know that you can find high-quality veterinary care in Bangkok, including a number of vets who speak English. You can also find most popular brands of dog food as well as dog-friendly goodies from toys and accessories to grooming services.
DON’T expect to find vast housing options. Reflecting the fact that Bangkok is not especially pet-friendly in any way, it can be difficult to find a place to live that accepts pets. Nonetheless, you will have options. This website offers a list of condo and apartment buildings that allow dogs and cats. You can also find rental resources such as this one online.
DO consider the weather. There’s a good chance that Bangkok is much hotter and more humid than where you live now. Indoor air conditioning is great, but when you and Ranger head outdoors for a walk on those smoking-hot sidewalks you’ll want to be prepared with a bottle of water and a portable dish to help him stay hydrated. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, because they indicate your dog needs a shady respite, right now.
DO register his microchip number and your Bangkok contact information with the Global Pet Registry. Ranger has to have a microchip to obtain the health documents that comprise his “passport” for international travel. However, should he become separated from you once you’ve left the US, it would be impossible for anyone to track you down. GPR is the only pet microchip registry that functions worldwide.
DON’T expect a licensing requirement or fee. But be aware that could change. The Thai cabinet recently proposed amending the country’s Animal Cruelty Act to institute a registration requirement for pet dogs and cats, with a fee of $13 per pet. That amount might sound cheap to you, but it’s more than a day’s pay for minimum wage earners in Thailand. The new law would also create a fine of $760 for failure to register pets.
The proposal drew so much public ire, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is reviewing (and perhaps reconsidering) the draft legislation. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, note that Bangkok does have a significant population of “on their own” dogs and cats. The government hopes that forcing pet licensing will cut down on the number abandoned pets, although critics suggest promoting free spay and neuter services might be more successful.
DON’T plan on taking your pooch to a dog park. Or most public parks, either. But, no whining – there are a number of alternatives for doggie fun and exercise (and even food) you can share together. For example, you might want to check out:
- Unleashed BKK, a Western-style doggie day care owned by an English expat named Gemma Brown. Her facility offers swimming, lots of room to romp, and overnight boarding.
- TLC Wellness Center, a veterinary clinic that also features a private swimming pool for dogs, play areas, grooming, and boarding.
- The Commons, K Village, or Ozono Plaza -- “communal areas” in Bangkok that feature dog-friendly central play space surrounded by mall-like groups of restaurants and shops.
DO be prepared to keep Ranger safe if he will be traveling around Thailand with you. That can get a little tricky, but, again, knowing a few key dos and don’ts will help.
DON’T expect Ranger to take it all in stride without an assist from you. Most dogs are happy to head off on new adventures, but moving to a foreign country is more than an adventure – for him and for you, too. You’re his pack leader, so plan to take proactive steps to help him become accustomed to his new surroundings.
Living in Bangkok will sure be an adventure for you and your dog. Knowing these dos and don’ts ahead of time will help both of you get the most from your experience.