Moving to someplace new is always exciting because there are so many opportunities to explore and discover. Where to do, what to see and do. When your move takes you to an entirely different country, and your beloved dog (we’ll call her Chelsea) is by your side, there will be even more things to learn and experience. But you want to go about things in the right way.
So if Beijing is your new home, here are some dos and don’ts that apply to living with your dog in this famous Chinese city.
DO learn the rules of petiquette, Chinese style. Pets everywhere are expected to show off their best manners in public, but other expectations – especially of dogs – can vary tremendously from one country to another. You want your dear Chelsea to be not only tolerated but welcomed, and that requires boning up on local regulations and cultural norms.
For example, you should keep her leashed and close to you in public. Despite the fact that there are more than 25 million registered dogs in Beijing, many Chinese are still afraid of dogs, especially larger breeds. They won’t appreciate a rush-up from Chelsea even though she means well (and wants a pet). Also, dogs are not allowed in public parks in Beijing.
- DO make finding a veterinarian for your pooch a top priority. She may be perfectly healthy when she arrives, but you want to keep her that way. And accidents do happen. Choosing a vet right away will give you peace of mind, knowing where to take your girl when she needs medical attention.
- DO investigate pet supply options right away, too. Your pup will need food, of course, and you want her to have a top-quality, reliable product you recognize. You can find familiar brands of dog food in Beijing, at stores and online, but you should definitely research these options carefully. But don’t stop there. Chelsea would be the first to remind you that she will need a steady supply of treats and toys, too. And if she’s a canine fashionista sort she will want at visit the doggie spa on occasion.
- DO register Chelsea at your local police station as soon as possible. It’s the law, and there could be unpleasant consequences if you don’t. There is a small fee. To register her you will need a small head-shot photo of Chelsea, a larger (3”) side view photo that shows her entire body, proof that your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date, a copy of your rental agreement (proof of residence), and a copy of your own passport. In return, Chelsea will receive her very own ID card. Now she’s an official resident of Beijing!
- DO set aside time for outdoor play. Learn where you can go for walks or a run, go online and check out social meetup group for dog owners, and make a plan to explore restaurants and bars that allow dogs for outdoor seating. A dog and her human get hungry and thirsty with all that exercise. Along the way you might make the acquaintance of former New Yorker Mary Peng – animal advocate and founder of ICVS, one of Beijing’s most respected veterinary clinics.
You might also want to organize a trip to the beach for some sandy, surfy fun. You’ll need to know where the dog-friendly beaches are located.
- DO your research, to learn as much as you can about your new “hometown.” Check out this website created especially for expats in Beijing (It’s in English!). It will give you a detailed look at general life with dogs in the city as well as tips on where you and Chelsea can go together – yes, there are some dog parks in Beijing. You’ll also find suggestions for vets you might like, and pet store recommendations so you can fulfill Chelsea’s shopping list.
- DON’T be afraid to include Chelsea in your move to Beijing. Knowing what to do and what to expect will make experiencing China the adventure of a lifetime.