Pets in Vietnam: Bringing a Pet in or out, How To Adopt, and more!

Whether you are looking at bringing your pet into Vietnam when you move here, taking your pet out of Vietnam, adopting a pet in Vietnam, or simply need some advice about pet care here, you’ll find all the info below. If you also want to know if there are any animal rescue centres in Vietnam we have listed them here as well.

Moving your pet can be a lot of work – paperwork, legalities, and more. But hopefully it will be a little less stressful with the below Vietnam pet guide.

If it’s your first time moving abroad or you’ve never been to Vietnam before, also see our article on how to move to Vietnam while you’re here.

Things to Know about Having Pets in Vietnam

A puppers in Vietnam (image by Saritravels is licensed under CC by 2.0)

Here are some common questions answered about pets in Vietnam.

How to Bring a Pet into Vietnam

Bringing your pet to Vietnam is pretty easy and straightforward. All you need to do is to gather all the documents you need, make sure your pet has received all the necessary vaccinations, and find an airline that is willing to take your pet.

Since you’re planning to come, also see our packing checklist for moving to Vietnam.

What you’ll need:

  • Health certificate, which you can get from an accredited veterinarian in your departure country. This takes some time to be issued, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Also, the immigration of your leaving country may only accept a health certificate that has been issued within a specific time. For example, it might need to be have been issued in the last 30 days.
  • Pet’s inoculation record or vaccination records and/or health record from the veterinarian
  • Vaccination certificate for rabies. This should be issued at least 30 days and not more than 12 months prior to travel to Vietnam
  • Photocopy of the first page of the passport of the pet owner or the person the pet will be travelling with
  • Import fee – carry US Dollars
  • Check the other documents or requirements that your departure country might require for pet exportation. Some airport/immigration offices require the pet to be in their quarantine office a few days or even up to 30 days before the departure.
  • Travel cage that meets the requirements of the airline

If you are unsure if you need to mail the documents to a certain office prior to your departure from your country or arrival in Vietnam, I highly recommend that you contact one of the most trusted English-speaking veterinarians in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Nghia, at the below pet hospital.

You should also confirm with him whether you can bring your pet(s) into Vietnam if they are not a dog or cat.

  • Website: Saigon Pet Hospital
  • Facebook: Facebook Page
  • Contact #: +84 90 906 32 67
  • Address: Number 33, Street 41- Thao Dien Ward- District 2 (8,489.93 km) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

How to Take a Pet out of Vietnam

Taking your pet out of Vietnam is pretty easy, and not very different than the import requirements. If you are planning to leave Vietnam and you want to bring your pet with you, or perhaps you want to send your pet out to a family or friend abroad, make sure to prepare the below required documents for exporting pets from Vietnam.

What you’ll need:

  • Health certificate, which you can get from an accredited veterinarian in your departure city (the immigration of Vietnam will only accept a health certificate that was issued within 30 days from your departure date. It can take some time to get it – contact your local vet to find out how long.
  • Pet’s inoculation record or vaccination records and/or health record from the veterinarian
  • Vaccination certificate for rabies
  • Photocopy of the first page of the passport of the pet owner or the person that the pet will be travelling with
  • Import paper from your country destination – make sure to contact the animal importation of your country of destination to find out how to get an import paper or approval
  • confirmation from the airline that you will be taking, proving that they can accommodate your pet. Keep in mind that many budget airlines, such as Air Asia, JetStar, Scoot, Cebu Pacific, do not accept pets on their flights
  • Travel cage that meets the requirements of the airline
  • Check the other documents or requirements that your departure country and arrival country might be needed for exportation. Some airport/immigration offices require the pet to be in their office a few days before the departure for checkup

Also join this Facebook group about sending pets out of Vietnam.

How to Adopt a Pet in Vietnam

pets in vietnam
Stray cat in Vietnam (image by plusgood is licensed under CC By 2.0)

The number of stray dogs and cats in Vietnam is crazy high. Unfortunately, these stray animals often have been physically abused, since in Vietnamese culture, these animals are not part of the community. They are often seen as property or a burden on the street.

Thankfully, there are more and more rescue centres who is the main goal is to rescue these animals and re-home or foster them until they are ready for adoption.

We highly recommend you adopt or foster a pet instead of buying one from a pet store. There are thousands of homeless pets that are in need of care and love. Every day, there are dogs and cats that are being abandoned or mistreated by their owners who end up either in rescue centres, or worse, on the street.

Things to remember before adopting a pet

Before you make such a big commitment like adopting a pet in Vietnam, please consider the following questions.

Can you commit to looking after them for life?

Dogs and cats can live up to 15 or 20 years. These pets can become very attached to their owner. Often, they had a bad experience with their past owner. They are looking for someone who will truly care for them and that they can trust.

When I moved to Vietnam, I chose a hamster as a pet because, mainly because their span is not longer than 4 years. Consider something like this if you can’t maker a longer commitment.

If you want to adopt a pet but are unsure if you will be able to bring them with you when you leave Vietnam, we recommend you simply foster them. In this situation, you can help to make space in the animal shelter and give a temporary home for animals who are in need.

If you adopt one but at some point decide to leave it behind, it will be a painful process both for you and the animal.

Is the pet ready to be re-homed?

One of the things you need to check is whether the pet is ready to go home with you for the long term.

If you are adopting from a rescue centre, you can always ask for their assistance in getting your pet all the vaccinations he/she needs. They can surely assist you or recommend a veterinary clinic to get these and/or conduct a general health check-up.

If you are taking a stray dog or cat that you found on the street without an owner, or perhaps the pet has been injured and you want to save it, you should contact your local veterinary clinic to do a complete health check-up before anything else.

In this way, you can make sure there are no problems with your pet. Even if you cannot see any injuries, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong.

If you are unsure if this is actually a stray animal without an owner, you can always give your local animal rescue centre a call and ask for help to see if there are any owners looking for their missing pet/s. You can also join animal or pet Facebook groups like this one for Ho Chi Minh and this one for Hanoi.

Is your home suitable for a pet? Are you ready to have a pet?

We understand that you want a pet, but you also need to remember they have needs. Make sure your home is suitable for them.

If your apartment or house is spacious enough for a big dog or a very energetic cat? Can you make sure to take your dog for a walk at least once a day? Can you provide nutritious and appropriate food for them? Will they have their own bed in your house to sleep on and be comfortable? Can you afford to take him/her to the vet clinic if needed?

When everything is in the right place and you are ready, there is not much fuss when adopting a pet in Vietnam. There are no papers you have to prepare. As long you are ready for this commitment and your future pet is healthy and ready to go home with you – just go for it!

List of Animal Rescue Centers in Vietnam


Vietnam Animal Aid & Rescue

If you know any other great English-speaking vets or animal rescue centres in Vietnam please let us know in the comment section below!

Pet Care in Vietnam

pets in vietnam
Taking a fur ball to the vet (Image by Adria Richards is licensed under CC By 2.0)

Pet care in Vietnam is highly controversial. It is a fact that some Vietnamese people eat dog and cat meat.

It is also a common situation that dogs and cats are kidnapped or stolen and send to dog or cat meat markets or to a regular animal/pet market. It is also easy for any visitor to see dogs and cats that are wandering around the streets. Some are even poisoned, since some locals see them as a pest in the community.

Because of this, make sure to always lock your house/apartment when you are leaving your pets at home. If you need to install extra security tools it is a smart thing to do. 

Microchipping your pet may also help. In case your pet gets stolen, reach out to the local animal rescue centre or expat and local social media community.

Another thing you can do is bring a local with you (for translation) and visit the animal/pet meat market. Although, remember that there is a potential that you will be asked to “buy back” your pet. You should also try to contact the police. Of course we hope that no one reading this has to face this awful situation.

Find your preferred veterinary clinic

Once your pet arrives in Vietnam or you decided to adopt one, find the best veterinary clinic that you can, as soon as you can. Gather their contact information, opening hours, and find out if they have an English speaking vet.

Pet supply shops near you

Make sure that you also know which pet supply shops sell safe pet products. There are a lot of pet shops/supply shops throughout all major cities in Vietnam. You can find them by doing a simple search on GoogleMaps or asking for recommendations in the Facebook groups I linked to above.

19 thoughts on “Pets in Vietnam: Bringing a Pet in or out, How To Adopt, and more!”

  1. Hey mate I appreciate your article. Great information! When you say that dogs get stolen/kidnapped … how common is this? I’ll be moving to HCMC with a cute little pomeranian. If i live in a nice apartment building, would I have to worry about my apartment getting broken into just so they can steal her?
    Thank you for reading!

    • Hi Jeremiah,

      We’ve heard stories from expats and even locals experiencing this. We highly suggest you do the best you can to secure your apartment when you are not home and your pet will be alone. Some people suggest installing a camera facing your main door/gate, upgrading your locks into a high-quality multi-lock.

      It is not something that happens every day, the common one is when the owner leaves their pets outside the store/shops.

      If you haven’t arrived in HCMC yet, there are many expat apartments who accept pets with security personnel on the main reception/lobby which should keep your pet a lot safer than living in an apartment/house by yourself.

  2. I will be moving to Da Nang in April with 3 cats. They are strictkly indoor cats. Do I need to worry about them being kidnapped? I don’t have money to instal security devices on my own. What kind of apartment should I move into to make sure my cats are safe?

    • Hi Tracy,

      I don’t think you should worry but I’d be careful about choosing an apartment. Of course, apart from the building or your landlord allows them, you should look for ones that are escape-proof. Cats don’t often get kidnapped vs the dogs, however, it would also be helpful if they are chipped and have a collar with your contact details in it. There are many stray cats in Vietnam, and most people don’t think it’s unusual to see cats wandering around, so, they might not think it’s missing and won’t look for its owner.

      If you’re worried about people breaking into your apartment to kidnap them, the chances are low but finding an apartment building with security personnel or have cameras installed around can keep your mind at ease. The bigger challenge would be finding them if they escape.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Hello. First of all, thank you for the details. I’m living with two dogs in Nah trang. Korona19 has eliminated the flight to korea from nha trang…that’s why I have to go with two dogs to Ho Chi Minh City…I will have to stay at a hotel with my two puppies for more than 4 days for health certification….T.T
    Can I bring a health certification from nha trang ?? Is it available without hochimin stay…

    • Hi Phoebe, I think it should be okay but you are unsure, you can call the immigration office hotline: 0243.9387320

  4. hello, we are considering to move from macau to vietnam. we have 2 whippets, i like to run outdoors with them. my question is: is vietnem (HCM) dogs friendly? can we wlak them outdoors freely? need leash all the time? is there any green areas where we can run with them without leash?…
    thank you in advance, for any help you can give.

    • Hi Mafalda,

      I recommend you keep your dogs on a leash when you go on a walk or run in public places with them since many people might be worried about running in trouble with your dogs regardless if you know they won’t harm anyone, strangers don’t know that. If you prefer to run or walk without them on a leash, I recommend you look for apartment complex which is pet friendly and doesn’t have “on a leash” policy every time you go out with your dogs. There are plenty of places like that in HCMC but often, they are on the higher end though in a matter of rent cost.

      If you live a bit further from the city centre, you may be able to find bigger parks with fewer people and be able to run or walk your dogs without a leash.

      Hope this helps.

  5. Hello i maybe want to move to Vietnam and i have a chihuahua is it dangerous to have a chihuahua in Vietnam and can i walk with him outside without getting it stolen.

    • Hi Eduard,

      I wouldn’t worry about that, in most cases, pets that are stolen in Vietnam often those that are unleashed and where the owner let them run outside their house. As long as you keep your pet close to you, on a leash, and keep your eye on them while on a walk, no one will snatch your dog out of nowhere. I recommend you always be vigilant just like wherever you go.


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