Pets in Vietnam: Bringing Your Pet, How To Adopt, and more

Whether you are looking in bringing your pet in Vietnam for when you move here, exporting your pet from Vietnam, trying to find out information about adopting a pet in Vietnam, or simply need a piece of advice about pet care here, you will find all this information in this article.

Moving your pet can be a lot of work; paperwork, legalities, preparation and more. Don’t worry, this process might be stressful but will also a great way to know how to move your pets abroad in case you’ll have to do it again in the future.

If it’s your first time moving abroad or has never been to Vietnam before, perhaps this article on how to move to Vietnam might be helpful.

You may use the table of contents below to ease your navigation.


Photo Credit: | saritravels

Bringing your pet in Vietnam exporting your pet out of Vietnam, or adopting a pet in Vietnam, you will find all the information here. If you also want to know if there are any animal rescue centres in Vietnam we have listed them here as well.


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 which airline is willing to take your pet.

See other related tips in 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 take some time to be issued, also the immigration of your leaving country will only accept a health certificate that is issued is a specific time; health certificate should have been issued in the last 30 days, for example)
  • 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 with whom the pet will be travelling with
  • Import fee – carry US Dollars
  • Check the other documents or requirements that your departure country might be needing for 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 for checkup

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 you to contact one of expat’s trusted Veterinarians in Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Nghia. You should also confirm from him if you can bring your pet/s that is not a dog/cat. Check the details below:

  • 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


Taking your pet out of Vietnam is pretty easy without very much different from the import requirements. In case you are ready or have to leave Vietnam and you want to bring your pet with you, make sure to prepare these required documents for exporting pets from Vietnam:

  • 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 and it can take some time to get it, make sure to contact your local vet to make sure)
  • 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 with whom 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 since budget airlines such as Air Asia, JetStar, Scoot, Cebu Pacific, and other low-cost airline do not accept any pet in 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


pets in vietnam
Photo Credit: | plusgood

The number of stray dogs and cats in Vietnam is crazy high. Unfortunately, these stray animals are often getting 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, re-home or foster them until they are ready for adoption. We also highly recommend you adopt or foster a pet instead of buying one. There are hundreds if not 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 the rescue centre but worse on the street.

Things you need to remember before adopting a pet

Can you commit to looking after them for life?

Dogs and cats can live up to 15-20 years. These pets can be very attached to their owner and probably 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 its span is not longer than 4 years. This is something you must consider.

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 highly recommend you simply foster them. In this situation, you can help to make space in the animal shelter and give a temporary home for those animals who are in need.

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

Are they ready to be re-homed?

One of the major preparation you need to do is to make sure your future 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, for example, you found them on the street without an owner, or they are injured and would like to adopt it instead. You should contact your local veterinary clinic to do a complete health check-up. In this way, you can make sure if there are problems with your pet. Even you cannot see any injury, doesn’t mean anything is 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.

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/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? Do they have their own bed corner 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 is 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 – let’s do this!


Pet Rescue Centres in Vietnam:


Vietnam Animal Aid & Rescue

Hanoi Pet Lovers

If you know any other animal rescue centres in Vietnam please let us know in the comment section or contact us so we can add them here.


Pet care in Vietnam is highly controversial. It is a fact that Vietnamese eat dog and cat meat, it is also a common situation that dogs and cats are being kidnapped or stolen and send to dog or cat meat market or to a regular animal/pet market. There are also some issues that dogs and cats that are wandering around the streets are being poisoned since some locals see them as a pest in the community.

For this situation, 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, these are the fastest way to bring out the news. Another thing you can do is bring a local with you (for translation) and visit the animal/pet meat market, there is a chance that you can find your fur baby there. 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.

Find your preferred veterinary clinic

Once your pet arrived in Vietnam or you decided to adopt one, find the best veterinary clinic 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 shop sells safe pet products. There are a lot of pet shops/supply shops throughout the city.

Join Facebook Expat Groups

The expat community in Vietnam is massive and there are subgroups in small cities or towns. Check out this list of Facebook expat groups.

18 thoughts on “Pets in Vietnam: Bringing Your Pet, 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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