If your family is moving to Jakarta, you will likely be in for some serious culture shock. Indonesia is diverse, and Westernized in some ways, but not much like the United States. The mere fact that you have a pet sets you apart from most Indonesians, though pet ownership has increased some in recent years in Jakarta, due to a growing middle class.
Curiously, although dogs and cats are now kept as pets, birds have always been most popular. That may be because they can be exquisitely colorful, and some sing beautifully, but they require far less space or care than cats and dogs. In fact, small and easy-care are key for Indonesian pet-owners. Rounding the list of most popular pets are rabbits, marmots, water turtles, sugar gliders, and mini-hedgehogs.
Petiquette in Jakarta is a cultural thing
Perhaps because pets are less common, the “rules” of petiquette are informal to non-existent. Nonetheless, there are definitely cultural considerations you should understand so you can be mindful of them. The most prominent example is the fact that there are many Muslims in Indonesia. Islam teaches that dogs are unclean because they use their tongue to groom their nether parts. Therefore, being touched by a dog’s nose or licked by a dog are to be avoided.
Here’s what that means for you:
- It is extra-important to remember that not everyone is happy to see your dog or wants to pet him.
- Household staff you hire should be forewarned that you have pets – especially if yours is a dog, but this goes for cats, too. Devout Muslims may not want to work for you, or they may want to be assured you will not require them to interact with your pet or clean up after him. That said, not everyone is dog-averse, so the key is to be up-front about it.
Other ethnic or religious populations in Indonesia – Hindus, Christians, Chinese, and Balinese, for example – are typically more dog-friendly than Muslims. In fact, the Balinese believe that a barking dog scares away bad spirits. That’s not unlike Westerners who expect their barking dog to scar away bad people.
But this is Asia, and as in other parts of the region, dogs are still considered by some to be food sources, not pets. That is especially true of Indonesia’s Batak and Manado people. And even in Bali, where most of the population is Hindu, the Bali Animal Welfare Association estimates 70,000 dogs are killed each year for food.
Cultural differences aside, virtually everyone appreciates pets that are quiet and clean. Just because there are no laws governing pet and pet parent behaviors in public doesn’t mean you should cut back on the good manners that are already ingrained in you and your furry friend. A leash for dogs, and a supply of poop bags will help you avoid unwanted encounters and be a good citizen.
Finding the basics should not be a problem
There are pet supply stores in Jakarta that offer everything your pet is used to, though you will likely find the selection smaller. Premium pet food is not cheap, but it is highly recommended because you don’t have to wonder what’s in it. Treats, toys, fun accessories, and grooming salons are all at hand. On the other hand, public park space in Jakarta is very limited, and dogs are not necessarily welcome there. Still, there are places you and your pup can go to exercise.
The most important basic need, housing, may be the hardest thing to find, because most apartments in Jakarta don’t allow pets. You’ll want to secure your residential situation as you’re planning your move. You can start your search for a new vet, too. You’ll be happy to know that Jakarta is home to a number of quality vets and pet clinics.
Our team here at Pacific Pet Transport can’t help you find a vet or a place to live, but while you’re working on that, we can take on all the details required to ensure your pet’s journey to Jakarta is as smooth, safe, and comfortable as possible. What a relief!