Taking Dogs To Thailand

Dogs Travelling to Thailand.

When we decided to retire to Thailand we had a major quandary about our two beautiful Field Labrador bitches, Pippa and Tessa. They were 4 and 10 years old respectively, so not skittish puppies. They’d been part of our working life on the farm and in the shooting season. Both worked incredibly hard, Tessa either working alongside my husband when he was shooting, or in the ‘picking up’ team; and Pippa was invariably in the ‘beating’ line with me. Should we take them to a tropical climate when they were temperate climate animals? There were so many unknown factors to consider and we knew of no-one who had done the same. Our one friend in Thailand with Labradors did not take them there; they were bought from a breeder in Phuket, so needed no acclimatization.

Disease, heat and bugs, how would they cope? Were we being fair to them? What if they became ill, what could we do? Did they have ‘proper’ vets in Thailand? Did they have proper facilities for sick animals? What if they got bitten by venomous snakes or scorpions? The soul searching and questions were endless and not at all helped by our concerned parents, all of whom loved both Pippa and Tessa to distraction. Particularly the respective Fathers. Both had taken Tessa shooting and were devoted fans because of her working ability. She never lost a pheasant, partridge or pigeon; she would search them out with that famous Labrador nose, and invariably find the quarry without fail every time. She never seemed to get tired and by her last shooting season she was 10 years old. Hence, both wanted us to leave one or other with them. We knew too, that they would be cared for with love and great affection.

To take or not to take was not a question we pondered for long though (loving parents aside). Internet research; talks with our own vet and talks with the good people at DEFRA, (that much maligned government department who seems unable to do anything right in the eyes of most people that have to have contact with them), soon put our minds at rest. We found DEFRA remarkably helpful and once we’d managed to navigate round their abominable phone system, soon found the right department and the right person to phone or email. Needless to say, there were many forms to fill in and vets to visit. Vaccinations for rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, and canine hepatitis were just a few of the needles they endured stoically.

Some of the most knowledgeable people with regards to knowing how concerned people are about their beloved pets, were the cage manufacturers from a large establishment near Bristol. Just ordinary, but very kind people with a wealth of experience behind them; they had an empathy with our concerns and fears and talked to us at length about the many pets owners they’d talked to over the years. They really should write a book on it, it’s such a personal thing and people such as themselves are a vast reservoir of first-hand knowledge, essential to calm the fears of apprehensive owners such as ourselves.

The decision was made. They were our pets. Pippa was Tessa’s daughter and we had bought Tessa from our local Game Keeper when she was a 2 month old pup. We had consciously purchased her and later, allowed her to produce a litter of 6 gorgeous pups – named collectively, ‘The All Blacks’ after the famous Kiwi rugby team and because they really were ‘all Black’. She had been my husband’s constant companion throughout his working days at the farm and actually believed she was a human I think! We therefore had an obligation to her to keep her with us until the day she would finally die. AND of course, we LOVED the both of them dearly. Life would not be the same without them. They had been our constant companions for so many years that the thought of parting with them was unthinkable in the end.

Preparations

Once our traveling date was set, we commenced the lengthy preparations for Pippa and Tessa’s journey to a new and totally different life. The following is to help any of you out there who may be contemplating the same journey. We’ve been living in Thailand now for three years and have had no regrets ever in bringing our dear old ‘faithfuls’ here. They took a little while to acclimatize, especially to the heat, but so did we.

We’ve had a few ups and downs but that’s another story, and I can honestly say, the vets here in Thailand are as caring as anywhere in the world. We’ve reason to be especially thankful to our little lady vet and her brilliant team. I say ‘little’ not to be patronizing, but because she really is knee high to a grasshopper!


Our Dogs, Tessa and Pippa

Tessa, Pippa and Derek taking an early morning walk along the beach at Bang Sare, Thailand.
Tessa, Pippa and Derek taking an early morning walk along the beach at Bang Sare, Thailand.
So this is our new home!  Tessa and Pippa soon after their safe arrival in Thailand. 2006
So this is our new home! Tessa and Pippa soon after their safe arrival in Thailand. 2006
The old girl is now nearly 14, but still enjoying a good game and chasing the local squirrels and farm cats.
The old girl is now nearly 14, but still enjoying a good game and chasing the local squirrels and farm cats.

Preparation

Where to start:

If you’re planning to take your pets to Thailand here are some of the steps to start you off on the road: You won’t regret it.


COST. First and foremost, contact your chosen airline to estimate the cost of the journey for your animals. This is an expensive journey and is based on the weight of the animal. Our two Labradors tickets cost over £4,000! But worth every penny! (We did ask if they got the same first class treatment as the human passengers but the query was met with a blank stare. And I was not joking when we’d had to pay that much!)


BOOKING. You must book a place prior to the journey but the payment cannot be made until you actually arrive at the airport, because the weight has to be established.


SEPARATE TRAVEL. To date, animals cannot travel on the same airline as you, they go by freight, which means………


You will have to collect them when they arrive at the Bangkok airport.


DEFRA. Get all of the forms. Some of them take several weeks to process.


VET. Talk to your vet and see what vaccinations your dog will require. Tell him that you’ve been in touch with DEFRA and that he will need to complete one or more of the forms for you.


CRATE(S). To transport your animals you will need a crate with the dimensions and requirements as specified by DEFRA.


CRATING REQUIREMENTS. Contact any reputable animal crating company near your home. Pay them a visit and talk to the staff; they will be able to answer most of your queries concerning the journey of your pets. They will take the size of your animal and construct a crate to DEFRA specifications. The crates were around £100 when we travelled in 2006. It can take several weeks, so again, ensure you do NOT leave it until the last minute.


SEDATION: Under no circumstances use tranquillizers on your animals. This is very dangerous and can kill! Instead, use an excellent spray and plug in application named DAPS (Dog Appeasing Pheromone). This is a synthetic pheromone which mimics the pheromones given off by a nursing bitch to its pups. It calms them naturally. This must be started several weeks prior to your journey so that it can work effectively.


USE THE CRATE. 2 weeks prior to departure, start to accustom your pets to the crate. Start off with 10 minutes in the crate. Increase the time daily. Always do it at the same time. Sensibly, the time they will be leaving home to go to the airport. They’ll get used to it then. The time they are encrated should be increased daily until you have approximately half of their travel time. ie: for Thailand, about 12 hours travelling time, plus the time from your home to the airport, so encrate them for at least 6 hours + travel time.


TREATS. Entice them into the crate with their favourite treats.


WATER. Ensure they have water.


SCENT. Place one of your own items of clothing in the crate so that they have your scent with them. BUT you cannot do this on the actual journey or they may become entangled in it.


BEDDING. Buy shredded paper bedding for their crate. It soaks up any urine and makes a comfortable bed for the journey. This can be bought at any pet shop.


HARNESS. Most dogs are used to a collar and lead. Your dog will want to be walked at the airport so it pays to buy a harness for the journey. They cannot slip out of this (with the ensuing chaos and dangers that can cause). A harness really is useful for walking your dogs in your chosen country of residence because of the aforementioned problem.


NAME TAG. Ensure your dogs name tag is on his harness.


MUZZLE. Your will also need a muzzle. Your dog may be a gentle creature, but confronted with crowds at an airport it may well become agitated and bite someone!


TRANSPORT. Book your transport before the day of departure. A crated dog takes up a lot of room and you may find Dad’s Honda Civic is not big enough for the job in hand.


THE DAY of departure. All of your preparations have been leading to this day, not only are you going to take up a new life in a different country, so is your pet or pets. Make it as comfortable as possible for him/her. Remember he’s as nervous of this strange environment as you are. Give him lots of cuddles and reassurance!


FOOD. Do NOT under any circumstances give your pet food prior to the journey! 24 hours without a meal will not kill it. But ensure it has water at all times, it can dehydrate very rapidly.


WAITING. There will be a lots of waiting around in the airport, so go prepared, not only for your pet but for yourself. Take some food and plenty to drink. You will find the airport staff extremely helpful, but remember; they have a job to do and can’t take time out to dog sit whilst you go off for dinner! It’s really a great idea if you do this with someone else. Don’t undertake the work on your own!


INSURANCE  is another costly but essential part of the process.  Check out all the websites for the best deal.

Pet and sitters if you want or need to go away.

LASTLY. Remember though, the same as at home, if you want to go off for any length of time on holiday or back to your home country, you will need someone very reliable and an ardent dog lover to care for your home and pets. Of course, many people will want to do just that for you, but the idea of having a home in the sun, is that you want to be with those very people, so that won’t work.

Our daughter came up with the solution:

HOUSE-SITTERS! What an easy solution! And there are some really good and reliable internet sites out there where you will find caring people, all with verifiable credentials. The wonder of this incredibly simple idea is that it costs nothing! The sitters get a free holiday (apart from their fares) and you, the house and pet owners, get good people to look after your home and pets! It’s a huge relief and takes all the stress out of leaving the pooches behind. And they don’t have the stress of being put into kennels, not knowing when you’ll be back for them.

Apparently this idea has really taken off amongst the retirees of the world. It means that with a limited budget they can enjoy a holiday in a lovely home in any part of the world, with all the home facilities and comforts.

Sites do require ‘sitters’ to pay a fee for registration, but the advertising home owner pays nothing. The sites we’ve used are easy to navigate and with plenty of helpful hints and tips.

But that’s another Hub subject I’ll be writing about soon……………

Look at some of the websites for information on the subject though: www.mindmyhouse.com (NZ based), and www.houseCarers.com a UK based site, are just 2. We’ve had some excellent sitters, honest and trustworthy people. The first time we used the facility within 36 hours we’d had 83 replies from people as far distant as Australia, Canada, Holland and Britain. It was difficult to shortlist believe me, they all had such good credentials. We finally settled on a retired couple from Humpty Doo (Humpty who? I hear you say)! Look it up, it does exist and is about 30 miles south of Darwin in Australia. They were a fabulous family and loved Tessa and Pip to bits. We’ve kept in touch too and have an invitation to visit any time we want!

There are doubtless many more good sites out there, but I leave it with you to try.


Once again, good luck and happy days!!!


Comments 33 comments

Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

Very useful information.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 7 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hope it will be of use to others too. Many thanks.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Another wonderful hub, MB. I can't believe those crooks charged you 4,000 pounds to stuff your dogs into a cargo hold! I don't want to use bad words, so I'll stop. Thanks for your story!


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 7 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Dohn121, Thank you very much for your comments. I think it may be even more expensive now. The dogs went by weight which included their crates. It is a bit much but we made the choice to have dogs long ago and couldn't leave them, even with doting parents, though they would have been loved very much. Aircraft actually have specific cargo bays for animals that are air conned and warm, so they weren't really in any discomfort. I often wonder what they thought of all the noise etc.


Benjamin  7 years ago

Thank you so much for your wisdom. I have a yellow lab and I'm moving to Thailand. Very good advice here.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 7 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Benjamin, thank you for your comment. Please check with the flying as the regulations have change somewhat since we came out in 2006. I'm in the UK at the moment so will do a bit of research to check out facts.


moving to Spain w/ lab 6 years ago

Thank you for the tips! We are moving to Spain this summer with our 9 year old labrador. Like yours, she is a member of our family and we can't imagine leaving her behind! She is a horrible traveler though and I am quite worried about her. I know that tranquilization is not an option.

I recently tested the dog appeasing pheromone spray and she fell asleep in her crate (which we bought several months ago so she could get acclimated), something that has never happened before. Until now, she has not seriously relaxed for any long stretch of time in her crate. I am encouraged by this but I also know that the pheromone spray only lasts a few hours and our day of travel will be at least 15 hours. I will plan on getting the pheromone collar as well, but when I tested that out on her a few months ago the effect was not as noticeable.

You recommended that the DAP be used up to 2 weeks in advance in order to take effect. Does it have a lasting effect? The box states that it only last for a few hours. Could you please explain?

Thank you very much in advance. Your dogs are beautiful! So glad they made the trip safely and are enjoying Thailand.

Your description of the pheremone spray


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 6 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hello and many apologies for not getting back to you. I've been confined to a wheelchair with severe back problems on and off for a few months but am back in the driving seat again now.

The question of DAP spray lasting just a few hours....... I think it appears to have a cumulative effect over a period of time and certainly worked well with our 'girls' on the 12 hour journey, plus the several hours prior to take off. They arrived fit and happy. Think of puppies with their Mum - they always seem content don't they? The pheromone is the same as she produces, so should work on the same basis.

Good luck with your move.


kim 5 years ago

this is very helpful information.

we are moving to Thailand and are taking 2 dogs and 3 cats.

i am very scared. they are going on the same flight with us, but i cant help but worry. i just want to know that they made it on the plane.

thanks kim


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 5 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Kim, Thank you for your comments. I think most animals travel quite well on planes and are very well looked after by the staff from the time they get to the airport to the time they arrive at their destination.

I hope you all have a safe journey and a happy time living in Thailand.

If I can help with more information please let me know. It really is a bit scarey the first time, but I'm sure all will be fine. :) Mai


aaron s 4 years ago

Great info we have 3 dogs and are thinking of going thailand for a year or more to see how we get on and have been very worried about taking our babys they are very much apart of our family we have mum dad and son 5 years old mum and dad 3 and a half years son this info has really helped and i thank you for taking the time to do Aaron.


a-snowman 4 years ago

Just joined Aaron.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 4 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Aaron, Really pleased that the information was of help to you. I hope that you'll enjoy your year in Thailand with your 'family'. Do check with the legal information - I wrote this a couple of years ago and things may have changed. Good luck with everything.


Natalie 4 years ago

This is so helpful! Thank you so much for posting this information. We are planning an extended trip from the States to Phuket for about 9 months in September and are taking our 2 year old yellow lab kobe. This is his first time on a plane and I am very nervous.

How was the food transition for the dogs, where you able to find the same food in Thailand or can you order food online? What about flea and tick medicine?

What country did you depart from, how long did it take to get the paper work ready for the dogs?

Thank you!


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 4 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Natalie,

Really pleased that you found the article helpful.

I think you'll find the dog food okay here. We use Alpro biscuits and Pedigree dog food which they soon got used to, and in 6 years we've had no problems. We tried Hills, but its very expensive.

Fleas and ticks are dealt with by a monthly administration of Frontline. In the UK we used it just once every 3 months but parasites are a problem here. There are various worms too so you'll have to worm Kobe regularly.

There are lots of good vets in Thailand and many of them trained in the USA. They'll advise you about most things.

We came from the UK and I think the paperwork took around 3 months to complete.

Get Kobe used to the travelling crate several weeks before you go. That way it causes far less stress.

We use DAPs - a pheromone treatment for stress and that started several weeks prior to departure.

Make sure that his injections are all up to date too - not sure what your quarantine regulations are in the US, but probably as stringent as the UK. That way you can take him home with you when you go back.


ram_m profile image

ram_m 4 years ago from India

Valuable information. Thank you Mountain Blossom


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 4 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Many thanks Ram_m.


bbbn 3 years ago

Does thailand have a quartine ?


Astrid 2 years ago

Does Thailand have a quartine?


Isobel 2 years ago

This is a great post. We want to take our Lhasa apso to Thailand with us. Did you consider a pet transport service at all? I too have a concern about what we do with Mylo when we return to the UK for a visit. Home stay sounds good but Lhasa apso are notoriously not great with strangers.


James 2 years ago

I flew my female Rottweiler to to Bangkok, Thailand. We flew Air Berlin from Berlin. She went on the same flight as us and all we needed to do was buy a flight approved cage which was 120 Euros and her plane ticket that was 80 Euros. We stayed for 2.5 years and updated her rabies vaccination in Chiang Mai which made the passport void as Thailand is not part of the Pet Passport scheme. This was no problem to fly back to Germany but had to obtain a new passport before bringing her back to the UK. £4000 is a lot of money for 2 dogs, especially if you want to bring them back at some point. If you book the dog on the flight yourself, it is considerable cheaper


Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago

Hi James, thank you so much for your really helpful information. We've been in Thailand for 7 years now and sadly, Tessa, our old girl died three years ago at the good age of 14. Pippa is now nearly 12, so I think the chances of her returning to the UK are limited as we plan to stay a bit longer.

Your point about the Pet Passport is really useful, I wasn't aware of this and have kept the vaccinations up to date the whole way through.

Thanks once again for your interest and for the information.

Mai K.


Tashalosan profile image

Tashalosan 2 years ago from Gold Coast, Queensland

Hi. Thanks so much for writing this article. Just wanted to ask you. Did you ever feel like your pets were unsafe in Thailand? My partner and I are thinking of moving to Phuket this year and want to take our dog with us. I've been trying to find as much information as possible about how it would be to take her there and how safe she would be. I have found scary stories about the dog trade on the way....any advice? :)


Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago

Hello Tashalosan,

Thank you for your comments on the article.

We live in a rural part of Thailand with many stray dogs, but our house has a wall and gate and we tend not to let Pip out unless we're taking her for a walk. I'm not sure about Phuket, its not a part I'm familiar with, but I feel sure if you provide your dog with a safe environment it should be fine.

Really good luck with your move. I'm sure you'll love Thailand.


Tashalosan profile image

Tashalosan 2 years ago from Gold Coast, Queensland

Thanks so much for your reply. Much appreciated! :) Yes exciting move.....a bit scary at the same time but I'm positive all will be great


Michael Leung 2 years ago

Hi Mountain Blossoms,

Your article is helpful to give us some heads up re bringing doggies to Thailand. I plan to take my 2 miniature poodles to Pattaya to retire with me. I live in HK and the flying time is about 2.5 hours, much less from UK.

I want to know how long it take to clear your doggies in Bangkok airport upon arrival? Is the procedure complicated? Your recommendation of using dog appeasing pheromone spray is a good idea cause like all the dog lovers, we are kind of worried of their feeling inside the flight.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hello Michael, Sorry not to have written back before.

In answer to your question re clearing dogs at the airport, when we arrived there were no problems at all. We just checked into the appropriate office, got the paperwork stamped and off we went.

Quarantine? yes, in your own house for 28 days. Very simple. But I so hope it's not changed.

Good luck with your move. MB


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hello, so sorry for not replying before. The quarantine is 28 days in your own house. Hope its still the same. Good luck.


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Astrid, Sorry to take so long to reply. The quarantine for dogs is 28 days in your own home, so no problems. Good luck with everything,


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 2 years ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Tashalosan,

Many apologies for not replying before. We live in quite a rural part of Thailand and our garden is walled in, so the dogs can't get out. I'm not sure of the safety of dogs here, we've never put it to the test. But our neighbour had a beautiful American Pitbull, and he just disappeared one day, we helped search for days. He was a lovely dog and really missed. But I think he must've been taken for dog fighting - isn't that sad. I think the best answer is to be very, very wary and don't let your dog out without you, or off the lead. Find a house with a walled garden.

Good luck with the move. You've probably moved already though.

Regards from MB


Michael 2 years ago

Hi Mountain Blossoms,

Thanks for your reply. It really helps.


Liz 10 months ago

My family may be moving to Thailand, Bangkok specifically, next year. We have two large dogs and three cats. Have you found it difficult to find a place to live that would allow animals? Also, what about the quality of vet care? From some stuff I have read online, it seems that snakes (venomous and dangerous ones at that!) are a major problem. Have you found this to be the case? Also, we would want to be doing a good bit of traveling around Asia so would need to frequently have pet sitters or boarders. Did you hire a maid to watch animals?


Mountain Blossoms profile image

Mountain Blossoms 6 months ago from SE Thailand Author

Hi Liz, so sorry for not getting to you before. Are you still coming to Thailand this year?

We actually bought a house here so had no problems with housing. Not sure what the situation is re pets if you're renting. Have a look at www.thaivisa.com they usually have answers for everything.

We have house sitters to look after Pippa and they've proved excellent. There are 3 good house sitting sites I can give you if you're interested.

The vets here have proved excellent and the ones we've used for the past ten years were trained in the United States. Not too expensive either.

We do have venomous snakes here but fortunately they don't want confrontation and will disappear pronto. We live in the country but have had little problems.

Please contact me if you need more information.

Kind regards from MB

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    More by this Author

    • Gardening In Thailand
      3

      Gardening in the tropics is a different ball-game to gardening in more temperate climes. I had to learn a whole new set of rules, the most important being how fast everything grows and how easily!

    • Birds Observed in Thailand
      9

      The wonderful bird population of Thailand is amazing. It makes walking the dog in the morning such a pleasure and I'm now beginning to recognise different songs. My favourite is the Malkoha.

    • Fruit Eating Dogs
      7

      My dogs are a continual source of inspiration, but sometimes they just amaze me with the foods that they enjoy. Durian? how could they...? and that's not all!


    Click to Rate This Article
    working