It is common and easy for expats to bring pets with them, especially dogs. However, this should only really be considered if you are planning a long-term stay in Bangkok as many countries such as the UK and the US will require a six month quarantine period before the animal can re-enter their home country.
Before you start the process of shipping your animal over to Thailand, you need to make sure that you are allowed animals in your home. If you live in a condo, either renting or your own, the likelihood is that animals are not permitted. You should also check with the landlord of any house you may be renting.
The Department of Livestock (http://www.dld.go.th – Thai language only) is responsible for the importation of animals. A list of necessary requirements before your pet leaves your home country includes:
Health Certificate in English signed by an official government veterinarian from your country stating:
- Breed, Sex, Color and Age
- Name and Address of Owner
- The animal must come from a country where animal infectious diseases are controlled.
- They must be healthy and free from any signs of disease.
- The exporting country must have been rabies free for at least 12 months or the pets must have been vaccinated against rabies.
- The animal has been vaccinated against Leptospirosis (Leprosy) at least 21 days before departure or the animal has had a negative test result within 30 days of departure.
- The animal has been vaccinated against other infectious diseases: Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus at least 21 days prior to departure.
- The animals must be shipped in nose and paw proof crates to avoid suffering or injury.
For a breakdown of the rules regarding dogs and cats visit http://www.dld.go.th/webenglish/movec1.html.
The animals may only transit at an approved intermediate port, and, if the animals are so landed in transit, they must be conveyed in crates and not allowed to leave the precincts of any airport at which the aircraft landed except to an approved transit quarantine area.
During their trip to Thailand, pets are placed in the hold in a specially designed crate with access to water. They are not given food as they have no toilet facilities. It is very straightforward and they can even be put on the same flight as you.
Your animal will need authorisation to be imported into Thailand. This can be obtained once you arrive in Bangkok from the airport. It is not necessary to contact the DOL before arrival. There are a number of forms to fill out and you will be required to pay a fee and import tax if your animal is staying longer than six months. The fees vary according to the type and value of your dog and to whom you speak upon arrival; it can be as high as 6000 baht; 3000 handling fee and 3000 tax. Much of this fee is unnecessary and not mentioned on official websites, but if you want to take your pet home with you, you will have no choice.
Upon arrival you must go to the cargo offices to apply for an import license. There is an office that deals specifically with live animals. Ask an airport official for directions. Bring all necessary paperwork as outlined above with you. The application form is in Thai language only but there will be a translated copy at the form desk. The form can take up to 24 hours to be processed although it’s usually faster.
Your pet will need a veterinarian check at the airport when it arrives. This is officially free of charge. After that you must pay import duty as outlined above.
There is an official 30 day quarantine in Thailand, but fortunately you are allowed to let your pet be quarantined in your home, which essentially means that there is no quarantine.
It is generally quite rare to have any problems bringing pets into the country if you have the paperwork in order.