If you’re moving to China with your family, you will have plenty to think about, to organize your move and to settle in once you arrive. Top-of-mind for pet owners is always where to find a good veterinarian. You certainly want to take your furry family member with you, but you also want to be sure she’ll get good care in China.
But how do you locate a great vet so far away? Chances are good that you’re relocating for business reasons, so it’s likely you’ll be living in a big city such as Beijing or Shanghai.
You Can Find Good Veterinary Care in Beijing and Shanghai
Just a decade or so ago, pets in China were rare, except for caged songbirds. But pet popularity has grown exponentially in recent years, thanks in large part to a growing middle class and more humane cultural attitudes toward dogs. In fact, pet dogs now number about 25% of the human population in Beijing. If your Dear One is a feline, rest assured she will be welcome in China.
Due to the rise in pet ownership, many western investors and vets have moved into the Chinese marketplace, opening chains of clinics and bringing the latest techniques and medical technologies with them. There are also many veterinary clinics owned by the Chinese government.
Resources for Finding a Clinic That’s Right for You
Expat forums are always a good source of all types of information and insight about your soon-to-be home. In Beijing, Expat Essentials is well worth checking, for pet-specific tips and a wealth of other assistance. A few of the top vet clinics they suggest include:
- K. Animal Hospital, which offers an exercise and boarding facility for dogs as well as medical services.
- International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS), considered by many to be the city’s premier vet practice.
- Doctors Beck and Stone Pet Health Care Center
If you’ll be living in Shanghai, check out the Spare Leash directory of veterinarians. You’ll find Doctors Beck and Stone here as well – in fact, they operate numerous vet clinics throughout China. However, you’ll probably want to investigate Naughty Family Hospital, too. Who could resist a name like that? Naughty Family also offers many clinic locations in Shanghai and other cities.
Exercise Is Important for Good Health
If you’ll be living in in Beijing, dogs are not allowed to reside inside the Fourth Ring unless they are no more than 13cm (about 14”) tall at the shoulder. This could affect your housing search, as could the fact that apartments are small. Try to find a place that has a courtyard where your pup can go outdoors (with you, of course), or something within walking distance of a dog park. Yes, there are several, such as CoolBaby Pet Leisure Center, which is in Chaoyang Park. You can also hire a professional ayi, or dog walker. China also offers some dog-friendly beaches for summertime fun.
It’s the law – you must register your dog if you live in Shanghai or Beijing. So make that a priority after your pup emerges from her required quarantine stay. The police department handles dog registrations, which might sound daunting, but expats and locals say the process is fast and inexpensive. You’ll need to provide a picture of your dog, along with proof she has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies (both of which are part of her pet important documentation), and your own passport.
Don’t put this simple task off, though. If your dog is picked up and found to be unlicensed, she can be seized and sent to the pound. You will not get her back. When out and about with your pup, you must keep her on a leash. And remember that, although there are dog parks, dogs are not welcome in public parks. Barking is also considered an intolerable nuisance.
Start your Search Now
You don’t have to identify a vet before you leave home, but doing so – at least researching the options and compiling a short list – will give you a head start. You can follow up with personal meetings after you arrive. Busy as you are getting ready to relocate, beginning your bet search now will give you greater peace of mind. If your dog or cat gets injured or becomes ill, you’ll already know where to take her for help. That’s also important if your furry beloved takes prescription medications.