Can I Bring My Pet to China?
The short answer is yes, you can bring your pet with you to Mainland China. Especially in the cities, the pet culture in China is growing. While there are not many places where dogs can run around without leashes - parks and playgrounds for people are not very big or plentiful, let alone for-dogs-only spaces. But more and more people are keeping pets and you see many folks walking their dogs at night.
(I'll keep my opinion about how well they pick up after their beloved animals to myself.)
However, unless you are staying for a long period of time, meaning an extended business trip or you are moving to China, there are things you should understand about the process of bringing your pet with you when you come.
Arriving in China with Your Pet
Assuming you are arriving to China by air, you will have to proceed to the Arrivals area of the airport and collect your pet at the special counter for over-sized and special luggage. After you have collected all your bags, you will follow the signs to the Customs Counter where you'll need to fill out paperwork to declare your animal to the customs officials. You should already have documentation ready for your animal's arrival to the People's Republic of China.
In addition to the normal PRC entry visa in the pet owner's passport, the owner is required to have two documents arranged for the pet:
- Animal Health Certificate
- Vaccination Certificate
You should have your veterinarian fill out the proper paperwork within thirty days of your departure to China. There are agencies that can help you obtain the forms you need. Try Pettravelstore.com to read more about getting this paperwork for your pet.
Quarantine Period for Pets Arriving in China
The mandatory quarantine period in the People's Republic of China is seven or thirty days. The length of time depends on the country from which the pet is arriving. Right now, if the pet is arriving from the United States, the quarantine time is thirty days.
The pet will be kept in a Quarantine Station for this period of time. If the pet passes the inspection and is eligible for the 7-day quarantine, the pet can be taken home but must spend the rest of the thirty-day period under home quarantine.
Owners should be aware that during the pet's time in the Quarantine Station, the owner will not be allowed to visit or see the pet. The owners will also be required to pay fees for the quarantine time in the neighborhood of several hundred dollars to cover food and expenses.
Changes in Policy
If you are moving to China and are considering bringing your pet, then you should check with your relocation company to be sure to understand all the latest regulations regarding bringing a pet to China. Rules can change without notice.
Reality: Do People Bring their Pets to China?
Yes. I know a number of expatriate families who have moved to China with their pets.
And while I'm sure they exist, I haven't heard a single nightmare story about the pet's quarantine period. In my experience, the families who've come with their dogs or cats haven't had any problems getting their pets through customs and then getting them out of quarantine.
That said, if you're considering getting a pet and you know you're moving to China, I would suggest waiting until you get here. Like I stated earlier, the pet culture here is growing and you'll be able to source quite a lot of breeds if you're interested in something specific. And there are many opportunities to rescue and adopt animals. Keep that in mind before deciding to put an animal through the stress of intercontinental travel.