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

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.

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Nga Nguyen

Monday 30th of January 2023

I am planning to travel from San Francisco , US to VN with my small dog in March 2023. My dog is 14lbs. Can my dog enter the cabin with me? I will fly with Vietnam Airline - nonstop.

Thank you


Friday 26th of May 2023

It's best to contact the airline directly to ask about this.


Sunday 28th of March 2021

I'm wanting to bring three dogs here from Vietnam. The lady who found the dogs for me lives in the Philippines (she is the one I'm buying them from). She gets the dogs from "Clients" in Vietnam. She sends me videos of the dogs. She's sent me copies of her passport, her husband's breed club card, other documents... Lots of documents with their names and photos on them. Tomorrow she is going to take another video with the dogs next to a contract that has my name on it. I've been speaking with this woman for days. Could this still be a scam? Is there a way I can buy insurance or something to protect myself incase I pay and my dogs never come?

Thank you! Kimberly


Friday 27th of November 2020

Hi! I'm planning to move to Vietnam in early January 2021. I was wondering what's the new procedure for cats in coronavirus times. I will have to spend two weeks in quarantine, does anyone know how they will take care of the pets during this time? I am a little bit concerned because I am not sure I can be with my cat during the quarantine time. Also, does anyone know how much that would cost? Thanks!


Sunday 29th of November 2020

Hi Tamara, I'm not sure about the policies with bringing in pets in Vietnam during this time but I've seen this discussion very recently in Hanoi Pet FB group. I'm sure they can guide you better in this process:

I hope that helps and you will find a solution.


Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Thank you for all of this helpful information! My partner and I will be moving from California to Vietnam with our buchon in January. We may be moving back to the US later in the year 2021 - do you know how hard it is to bring the pets back into the states? Thank you so much :)


Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Hi Elle,

That sounds amazing! Dogs and cats are very easy to bring into Vietnam. Bringing back your pet to the US shouldn't be harder than bringing it to other countries. You should check the process and requirements before you move away from the US though, to make sure it's possible. To know, you should contact both the immigration and agriculture department (animal section) for this.

I hope this helps :)


Monday 1st of June 2020

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.


Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

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.