Authored by Joe Black
Traveling with your dog overseas especially in Asian countries is an adventure of a lifetime. Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and hospitality is the reason why tourism is so high. And in this same vein, their pet importation laws are not as strict as those in westernized countries.
Thailand, the door to southeast Asia, is an amazing place to chill and enjoy the ocean with your dog. As long as you meet the qualifications, you can travel with your four-legged friend anywhere within the country.
However, there are some important details every dog owner needs to consider when planning the logistics of your trip. To get you started, here are nine essential tips for navigating Thailand with your dog.
Nine Essential Tips for Navigating Thailand With Your Dog
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Account For All Health Risks You Both Might Encounter
While traveling through Thailand, both your health and that of your dog is at risk. Remember, you are moving to a foreign land and both your bodies have not yet adopted to this new climate and lifestyle.
It’s important to consider safety when eating, drinking, sun bathing and sleeping to limit chances of contracting communicable diseases such as typhoid and cholera. As a tropical country, there are high cases of dengue fever, malaria and the recent incidents of ZIKA virus in the inland areas of Surat Thani province and sections of the southern border of Malaysia.
However, in the cities of Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Mae Sot, and Phuket the malaria risk is low. In the case of your dog, it is best to always keep him on a leash to avoid chances of contracting rabies from the hundreds of stray dogs roaming Bangkok and its surrounds.
Vaccinations: Prior to visit, your dog requires vaccinations for rabies, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and distemper.
For humans, apart from the standard yellow fever vaccine, you can request your doctor to issue you with Cholera, Japanese Encephalitis, Diphtheria, Rabies, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid vaccinations.
Identification: Ensure Your Dog Has a Leash With a Tagged Collar
When traveling overseas with your pet, you need to have a microchip insertion. This procedure should take place before a rabies vaccination for your vet to record the chip’s unique number on your dog’s passport.
Nevertheless, it’s equally important to carry extra collar tags and a leash for safety and identification purposes. Remember, Thailand is notorious for it’s hundreds of stray dogs and congested cities. You can easily get lost through the narrow paths in the town.
Have Copies of Your Credentials With You
Make sure you travel with your dog’s travel documents everywhere you go. They will come in handy if you find yourself in trouble.
Accommodation: Pet Friendly Hotels & Apartments
Pet-friendly hotels and guesthouses are limited in Thailand, however, with a proper look you might land a decent dog boarding facility within the country. Unfortunately, it is difficult to locate in the cities, especially in Bangkok and Phuket.
Most dog owners opt to travel to Chiang Mai. Here, there are a handful of luxurious hotels and pocket-friendly apartments that allow dog boarding. However, be on the lookout for hotel scams that pose to accept dog accommodation only later to decline the offer.
Also, avoid condos as they don’t allow pets. The best solution would be to rent a privately-owned house where the landlord gets to decide if your dog is allowed to stay. Once you’ve got accommodations sorted, if you can, pack an inflatable stand up paddle board they’re a great way to enjoy Thailand’s islands and coves with your dog.
Transportation: Airline Policies & Available Road Transportation
You can choose to navigate Thailand with your dog either by road or air. Motorcycles are the main mode of transportation for Thai residents. However, they are not the ideal type of transportation for dogs.
Unlike back home where cabs are the order of the day, cars are inconvenient in big cities like Bangkok where traffic is terrible. The only option left is to board a “Tuk-Tuk” if you are navigating the city. But in case of an emergency, or if going for long road trips, it’s best to invest in a car.
If you choose to fly, Bangkok Air and Thai Airways are the main airlines for domestic flights in the country. Both airlines have exceptional services. Thai Airways used to accept small pets on board if you paid extra and booked in advance. However, they have recently removed their pets flying in-cabin service to pets flying as cargo only. The airline also has tightened breed restrictions and hiked ticket prices.
The available train option is the third-class cabins that have terrible air conditions and are usually congested.
Access to Food: Check For Local Pet Stores
Your dog’s food and supplies are available in major stores, such as Makro, Tesco Lotus, and Big C. There are also many pet shops within Thai cities.
These stores generally offer a good variety of dog food, including several familiar brands available in the US. There are also many grooming items, toys, and clothing for smaller dog breeds, unlike large ones.
For pets with allergies or on a diet, we recommend searching the selection offered at some veterinary offices or specialty pet stores.
Health Cover: Nearest Reliable Vets
Thailand’s medical services for people and pets are at par with Western standards. Modern vet centers are readily available in the country’s major cities and large towns.
Even though services vary across facilities, it’s possible to receive 24hour general examinations, emergency assistance, lab work, operations, medical treatment, and vaccinations. It’s important to have a sturdy travel insurance that covers both you and your dog.
Attractions: Look for Dog Parks
Thailand has beautiful parks for you to have a picnic, evening strolls, and exercise. While some parks allow free roaming dogs, majority of them are not fully dog parks and they don’t allow dogs to roam free.
Other parks don’t even allow dogs at all. It will take some searching to find areas where to safely unleash your dog for play. For instance, the Chiang Mai University, just west of the Old City, features a dog-friendly park just for your dog’s enjoyment.
Read this post by American expat living in Thailand, Ryan Biddulph, on tips for walking your dog in Thailand.
Be Aware of Street Dogs
Thailand’s cities are full of street dogs – they roam neighborhoods, lounge outside of temples, and skitter through alleys and across filthy roads.
The majority are scrappy looking with kinky tails complete with matted fur, and terrible skin ailments. Street dogs tend to be curious about foreign leashed dogs, however most mean no harm. In fact, some show no interest at all.
With the many stray roaming around you can never be sure which dogs are aggressive. So, it is best to always be on the lookout.
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