If you have recently moved to Vietnam with your pet, or you are considering moving soon, there are a number of things that you need to be aware of involving living with pets and bringing them into the country.
Cats and dogs are the most common of pets to be found in the country and they are often kept to serve specific purposes: dogs for guarding homes and cats for catching rats. Sometimes these pets are not considered a part of the family and are only given enough food to survive and serve their purpose.
However, the pet market is now growing as more and more people are looking at pets for companionship.
This article will mostly concentrate on cats and dogs as pets.
Bringing Your Pet In to Vietnam
As with most countries in the world, Vietnam has specific procedures for bringing animals into the country.
It is a requirement that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to arrival and within the previous 12 months.
Your veterinarian must then complete a health certificate which is to be sent to your local USDA for their stamp of approval.
Both the health certificate and the rabies certificate will need to be present at the time of flying into the country.
Rabies is one of the biggest threats to pets in the country. Despite the fact that it is a requirement for pets to be vaccinated against the disease, not all local pet owners will vaccinate their pets.
Apart from the obvious rabies threat mentioned above, there are a number of other threats to pets in Vietnam.
There are a significant amount of deaths recorded where pets have died due to consuming rat poison which is often mistaken as food by cats and dogs.
There is also wildlife that can be a threat, however this is mostly confined to mountainous and jungle areas. Dangerous wildlife includes the Krait (a highly venomous snake) and various vipers which are endemic in the country. The Scolopendra subspinipes is a centipede that also has a dangerous , venomous bite.
Another common threat is that pets are often stolen.
Pets Being Stolen
Unfortunately, “pet-nappin” is a common occurrence in Vietnam, mostly fuelled by the dog meat trade that is in existence.
It has been estimated that a staggering 5 million dogs are killed each year for food. Cats are also killed for their meat, albeit on a smaller scale.
Because of this demand, gangs of thieves roam the cities and countryside on the lookout for pet dogs that can be sold on for their meat. It is a very lucrative trade fuelled by high unemployment and the large sums that these thieves receive for each dog.
Compounding the problem is the fact that most of these criminals when caught are let off with a small fine.
People often eat dog meat at the end of the lunar month because they believe that it will erase any bad luck from that month. Many men are also convinced that it can help enhance them sexually.
Many have suggested that the government crackdown hard against the thieves by criminalising dog theft, but officials have stated that the country simply doesn’t have enough jail cells to hold them all.
Pets may also be stolen in the hope of breeding them.
Protecting Your Pets While Living In Vietnam
There are steps that you can take to protect your animals while living in the country. If you are a dog owner, try to make sure that you keep the dog indoors with you during the evenings and at night. Cats are obviously harder to keep indoors as they like to explore their surroundings and venture out as often as possible.
People may choose to sterilize their pets at an early age as this prevents them from getting the urge to venture out and seek a partner.
It would also be wise to have your pet micro-chipped which could make it easier to locate if it was to go missing.
If you are leaving the home for a holiday or short trip, there are local pet-hotels that you can happily leave your pet with knowing that it will be looked after in your absence.
There are risks in most countries when relocating pets and Vietnam is no different. This doesn’t mean that you and your pet can’t settle in and lead a happy normal life. Just be extra vigilant and I’m sure you will not encounter any problems.