When settling down in Thailand, you might find yourself lonely at some point. Luckily, there is man's best friend, the dog. But just how do you adopt a dog in Thailand? Learn more about the environment and procedures.
How do I say dog in Thai?
The informal Thai word for dog in Thai is hmaa (หมา), and the informal is Soonak (สุนัข), most of the time, when you have conversation with others, the informal word hmaa (หมา) is enough. The formal word is usually only used in official documentations and settings.
So do Thai people love dogs?
The answer is yes, Thai people love dogs in general. And dog owners absolutely love their pets and even pamper them as if they are their real children.
Usually, in developing countries such as Vietnam, there are people who go around and collect dogs in the streets, and cage them. Usually they also put the dogs into sleep or even eat them. This is far from the case in Thailand as stray dogs usually just live on the streets, or in a Thai Buddhist temple.
This is less cruel than putting them to sleep, they are also constantly fed by people in the area. Stray dogs in Thailand are called “Soi dogs” because you always see them in the sois which is the Thai word for alley/street.
Do I need a license to have a dog In Thailand?
No, you do not need a license to have a dog in Thailand. All you need to do is to make sure that your dog is vaccinated against rabies in order to protect you as well as other people in case you're bitten by a dog bite. There are also plenty of rabid stray dogs in Thailand so make sure that you get your dog vaccinated.
Just go to a vet or animal hospital and they will take care of the necessary shots that your dog needs to take.
Dealing with condos
Thailand is generally pet friendly, however, if you currently live or plan on living in an apartment or condo, it must be cleared with your landlord first. Generally, they will not allow dogs of any kind or size, however, some of them might be more flexible.
Usually, foreigners who plan to have dogs rent detached houses with yard spaces for the dogs to play around, especially if it’s one of the bigger breeds.
How to behave with a dog in public?
In public, if you are in charge of your dog, you WILL be responsible to control your dog’s behavior. Dogs MUST be kept on a leash in pedestrian zones. That means that in parks you are expected to keep your dog leashed.
If you have not exercised proper care and leave a vicious animal that is in your care to wander around, you may also be fined 1,000baht or be imprisoned for one month even if you dog has done no harm to anyone.
A lot of parks in Thailand doesn’t not allow dogs to enter, however, most dog owners simply choose to ignore the signs and take them in anyways without having any hassle but remember to keep your dog leashed to avoid any issues.
What if your dog disturbs or bites someone?
The public health act (BE 2535) also states that those living in neighbourhoods cannot create nuisance for their neighbors, which includes not allowing animals and pets they own to disturb others by making noise.
Furthermore, Section 433 of the civil and commercial code (ccc), states that if you own or keep an animal on others behalf, and if that animal causes damage, you are liable to pay for the damages caused by it unless you can prove that you have exercised proper care.
This means that if your dog bites someone, you will be liable to pay for the damages caused, which can be more than just the medical care. According to Section 433, the word “damage” is very broad and could even cover someone who is having their sleep or peace disturbed as a result of your pet dog making noises.
They can easily sue you if that’s the case and you might even have to go to court. However, most of the time people do not want you to simply pay them money for the inconvenience, they want the inconvenience to stop, so they might make a case to the authorities and if successful, your dog will be taken away from your home.
So the best thing to do to avoid the situation is to take your dog inside at night to avoid disturbing neighbors. Also, if you want a breed that is more aggressive and dangerous, then you may want to consider if it’s worth it at all because of all the criminal and civil charges that might come your way.
Where do I buy a dog in Thailand?
It is very easy to find places that sell dogs in Thailand, however, you should be very careful as there are many places that you should not trust. One of the most popular places to buy dogs is Chatuchak Market, there are so many choices available but you should avoid buying one from there.
First of all, it is not trustable at all because they do not disclose the true health of the dog, and they usually also falsely advertise the breed of the dog to get you to pay a premium.
There have been many cases where dogs bought from Chatuchak end up passing away after a few days because of underlying issues and improper breeding.
If you are looking for thoroughbreds/pedigrees, then you should only look at licensed dealer who can provide you with all the paperwork to ensure that you are not getting scammed, there are lots of scammers in this industry.
You should check out Facebook groups in Thailand depending on the breed you’re looking for, because dog farms usually sell and advertise online. However, make sure to ask for the correct documentation and make sure that the dog is vaccinated against rabies as it is a requirement in Thailand.
Websites such as www.perfectpedigrethailand.com provides you genuine breed dogs with full certification, vaccination and they are also pre registered for you so you do not have to register yourself.
www.wellbredpets.com also helps you find dog breeders so you can find exactly what you are looking for.
Adopting a dog
If you are not insistent on getting purebreds, you are much better off adopting one as there are hundreds of thousands of street dogs in Thailand ready for you to adopt. There are not too many dog shelters in Thailand, but you can still find some that adopt out stray or “soi” dogs which might otherwise be euthanized or killed by road accidents and help reduce the number of stray dogs, which is set to double to 2 million by 2027.
This is also a cheaper way to get a dog because you will only have to pay for the cost of all the vaccinations and the registration fee of 450 baht if required.
To adopt one, you can search through Facebook pages in Thailand, there are many of these so it will be easy to find for example Furget me not. Another way is to go to renowned organizations like Soi Dog Foundation and Rescue Paws Thailand.
Where to take my dog to a vet?
In general, Thailand is still a little bit behind international standards in terms of advanced treatments and diagnostics, however, it is still possible to get excellent treatment for your dogs for most medical conditions such as Vaccines, neutering and most surgeries.
There are pet hospitals or vets all around the country, but Bangkok has some of the best animal hospitals in Thailand.
Prices for treatments differ from each hospital, however, they are still more affordable than western countries.
One of the vets we recommend is Thonglor Pet Hospital, their main location is in Thonglor in Bangkok, but they have many other branches including one in Chiang Mai and Pattaya. The staff at Thonglor Pet also speak English which makes communicating that much easier and you can get a better understanding of your pet’s health.
Another one that is recommended is Bangkok Pet Hospital, and it belongs to the same group that owns Bangkok Hospital, a really popular hospital for foreigners and expats. Their services are similar to that of Thonglor Pet and you will definitely have no problems getting treatments for your pets.
In terms of prices, these two vets cost significantly more, but they provide excellent service. If you are looking for a lower cost option, the Small Animal Teaching Hospital at Chulalongkorn University is also a good option and will definitely have experienced vets. Facilities and service levels might not be as high but your pet will definitely have good medical care.
Giving your dog a Thai name
When in Thailand, do not be confused if you hear someone saying “I gotta take sushi to the vet” random names such as Sushi, Milo, Lucky, Euro and O-Liang (Thai coffee drink). Names given to pets in Thailand are quite random and might initially sound weird or fascinating, but you will get used to it.
English words and names such as Euro, Max and Boss are very popular to be used as names for people themselves, not only their pets so when in Thailand, the more random your pet’s name sounds, the more you will fit in (LAUGHS). If you really insist on a Thai name, make sure you know the meaning of the Thai word.
DO NOT name your dog with any names related to the Royal Family, both in terms of the names of royals or even titles etc. For example, do not name your dog Chakrii “King/Royal” as it will be seen as extremely disrespectful. Try to use random names such as Khao Niew “Sticky rice” or Foo Foo “fluffy”. Do not be too serious when naming your dog in Thailand, as there is no chance of you messing it up. Keep it fun and personal.