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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.

Dog

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.

Dog

Stand up Paddleboard 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.

Tuk Tuk RF

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.

Dog RF

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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An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.

Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera, and spends time recharging his batteries.

    33 Comments

  1. Another option for those of us with dogs that only eat specialty brands; have it mailed to your first destination. Call ahead of course. I think people would be confused to recieve a random bag of dog chow.
    Good article. I love Thailand. Everyone should visit once. If you can bring your dog…even better!

    • Haha I’ve actually laughed out loud at the thought of a hotel or apartment block receiving a random bag of dog chow :D!! Yes, great tip .. about sending it ahead and giving them the heads up too!

      Glad you enjoyed the article and are also a fan of Thailand!

  2. That is an extremely useful post. I try to travel with my dog as much as possible but Asia isn’t the same as Europe. There are more risks there and more things to consider. Thanks for the informative post.

    • Glad you found it useful Chrysoula! There are definitely risks and a lot to consider, but it sounds like Joe believes it is well worth the rewards 🙂

  3. Useful post for those who travel with pets. I guess one has to shell out that extra fat amount for the priceless company of pet in a new place!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Indrani – yes, I’ve never personally traveled with a pet, but most owners would probably tell us that you can’t place a value on traveling with your best friend 🙂

  4. There is quite a bit to think about before and while travelling with a pet. As a non-owner, I read this with curiosity. I would imagine you would be travelling for an extended period of time to make it worthwhile to both you and the dog. I was surprised how many vaccines they need and how difficult it is to find accommodation in a country that has such good vet care.

    • Definitely something which has to be planned with more thought and process than traveling alone. But I expect that to a pet owner it’s worth the extra leg 🙂

      Yes, I would imagine you would have to be traveling for an extended period of time too 🙂

  5. Being a dog lover, this post is really helpful as it mentions some really important points.Though I never owned a dog till now, I always do aspire to own one and when I do, am going to keep these points in mind.And yeah travelling is always fun with a travel buddy and there’s nothing more loyal than a pet.

    • Absolutely agree that if you have a loyal pet, you probably can’t imagine traveling without them 🙂 And dogs love adventures just as much as we do!

      Glad you enjoyed the post Arnav!

  6. I do not own a pet but I like reading your article. It makes me wonder how pets cope with flying. I have seen pictures of dogs sitting beside their owners on an airplane. When my sister traveled with her dog from Qatar to the Philippines, her dog was in a cage. When they arrived at the home, the dog was so weak and vomited.
    It is good to know that Thailand gives pet owners a lot of options that will make the pets feel comfortable and happy.

    • So sorry to hear about your sister’s dog 🙁 I expect that each pet would be different in terms of how they would handle a long haul flight, and it would also make a difference if they were caged or allowed to ride in the cabin of the plane.

      Definitely something which needs to be planned and carries out with care 🙂

  7. Hello Joe,
    Really useful tips for those who are Travelling with Pets.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Sujit 🙂

  8. This is so useful for anyone thinking about traveling with their dog! Safety and access to vets are important things to think about if you are planning to move abroad or travel with your pet. Where we live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is not at all pet friendly, but it looks like certain parts of Thailand would be a great places to have a dog.

    • Sorry to hear that Cambodia is not pet friendly Jen 🙁 Definitely the destination needs to be researched properly as opposed to deciding to travel with your pet blindly.

  9. This is such a great article. We will share it with our family and friends who have dogs. Travelling with pets is quite a challenge. Good to know that Thailand is dog friendly.

    • So glad you enjoyed the post!

  10. This is an excellent piece for people who own pets and would like to travel with them. While it may restrict the travel schedules a bit , it would be a different experience altogether.
    Personally speaking I am not a great fan of dogs flying in the cargo hold. It does seem inhuman to me.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Nisha 🙂 I agree that placing pets in the cargo hold doesn’t sit well with me – surely it causes a lot of undue stress 🙁

  11. I admire people who can travel with their pets, especially going outside their own country. It takes time and effort to work with the papers and some extra care since you are with your pet. But it I believe its all worth it to be with your best buddy while on the road 🙂

    • Absolutely – it’s definitely a lot of extra red tape and paperwork, and a lot more to prepare, but definitely worth the while for traveling with your best friend!

  12. Always wanted to bring my dog to different countries because it’s basically one of my primary job role to travel different countries and when I’m able to come home I always miss my 4-month old beagle. Thanks for sharing this with us!!

    • Glad we could help Roberts – definitely a lot more planning and prep involved when you’re traveling with your dog, but many people do it 🙂

      I’m sure he misses you too!

  13. Glad I found this! Can I ask – is it easy to get taxis between airports and hotels in bangkok with the dog, and are the staff generally helpful with the crate etc? I’m traveling alone and can’t lift my dog let alone the crate haha! Thanks!

    • Hi Izzy, I’ve shot Joe an email to let him know there’s a new comment, and hopefully he’ll respond to your question shortly. I haven’t yet visited Bangkok myself, but I’ve heard that not all taxi drivers like to transport pets, so it could be a bit of a hassle. One of my friends advised that it’s probably better book your airport transfer before leaving home. Having your dog in the carrier will definitely help though, because that way they won’t be worried about a mess in the car.

      Thailand is known for it’s hospitality, so once you find a dog friendly hotel, if they have porters who would normally carry your bags, I would expect that they would be happy to help with your crate. But I’ll wait for Joe to respond as he’s the one with experience 🙂

      Hope you have an amazing time!

    • HI Izzy

      Joe here.

      You basically have 3 options when traveling by taxi in Bangkok.
      1. A Regular taxi is a sedan type car, so there isn’t much space for a big crate and a dog. But if the crate is big enough to fit on the back seat of a sedan then I’ve found taxi drivers are very accommodating. They can basically see the dog can’t make a mess.

      2. A Tuk Tuk, but this isn’t a very comfortable way to travel long distances. They’re noisy and smelly, but if your dog is happy to be kept between your legs in the crate then the driver will have no issues to transport you and your pup.

      3. A Private transfer in a mini bus, which is my preferred option. There’s ample space in the back of these busses for a pup in a crate, you and your luggage. Google around to find a suitable transfer, and email them to warn them that you’ll have a dog.

      Thailand is very friendly, and they are used to dogs. I’m sure you’ll be grand! Good luck!

  14. I liked the tips.. I am currently planning to meet Thailand next month. And I want to know everything about the region before I take my first trip to that location. Thank you for sharing your experience with us:)

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Leonardo 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful trip to Thailand next month.

  15. Hi there. I was wondering if you have any information about what paperwork is needed to leave thailand. I have sucessfully entered thailand with my dog from france but have recieved mixed information on the paperwork i need in order to leave bangkok

    • Hi Tom, I’ve shot Joe (the guest author) an email to see if he has any insight for you, and hopefully we’ll get back to you soon 🙂

  16. How difficult is finding a home to rent when you bring a pet to Thailand?

    • Hi Diego, thanks for reaching out. On that one unfortunately I’m sure as I’ve not been in that position before, but I’ve shot Joe (the guest author) an email to see if he has any insight for you, and hopefully we’ll get back to you soon 🙂

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