As more and more Koreans begin to take pets into their homes, there are more facilities to meet your pet’s needs in Seoul. Korean people are mostly dog lovers, so you’ll find more supplies and services for dogs than you would for cats or exotic pets, but that isn’t to say that services for other kinds of pets don’t exist.
The Chungmuro area in Jung-gu has many pet stores selling specialty treats and services for cats and dogs – if you can’t find what you’re looking for in your local vet’s office or at Homeplus, you can check this area out. To get there, take subway line numbers three or four to Chungmuro Station.
Every Animal Hospital in Seoul is well equipped to deal with any problems your dog may have. They use state of the art equipment and have all the necessary shots and medicines your canine might need. Vet offices also sell international brands of dog food to help with specific problems in dogs (obesity, teeth cleaning, puppy chow, etc,). If your dog doesn’t need anything special as far as food is concerned, you can always find an array of less expensive dog food and supplies/toys at Homeplus, Emart or any other department-type store in Seoul.
As in most countries, you should clean up after your dog when you take him/her for a walk, and keeping them on a leash is best for everyone’s comfort and safety. Traffic in Korea is dangerous, and it is not uncommon for motorbikes (and sometimes cars) to drive on the sidewalk. Keeping your dog on a leash at all times will ensure that you won’t have any unexpected accidents.
Wherever you live in Seoul, there is bound to be a park or green space somewhere close by where you can take your dog for walks. There are some gorgeous areas to walk dogs in the North part of Seoul, around Dobong-gu and Nowon-gu. Generally, if there’s a stream in your area there will be a walking trail surrounded by trees. Also, a great place to take your dog (or family, for that matter!) is Yeouido Park in Yeongdeungpo-gu. It’s the largest park in Seoul, located on an island in the Han River. There are plenty of trails along the river to go for runs or walks – even bike rides – with your dogs. To get there, take subway line nine or five to Yeouido Station.
Kennels are few and far between in Seoul. Your vet will often act as a boarder and can usually take care of your pet for as low as 10,000 won per day. If you use your vet often, it is often better for your pet to stay there since they already have a relationship with your vet. Each vet office has different policies and prices, so be sure to ask and get the right figures. Usually, if you’re only going away for a short time, your vet’s office is the best option. If you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, you can check out “Dogtel” or, a hotel for dogs, located in Jungnang-gu (http://hotel.dogtel.co.kr/).
There is a puppy school and boarding service near Yeoksam Station in Gangnam-gu. They charge 30,000 won per day and feed your dog organic chow, give them massages and train puppies. You can visit Puppy School’s website (http://club.cyworld.com/club/main/club_main.asp?club_id=52416846#) or call them (they speak English and Spanish as well as Korean) at 554-2010.
Dog grooming is popular in Seoul since most Koreans own smaller breeds of dogs like Maltese or Poodles. Your local groomer may not be familiar with larger breeds or have the facilities to properly groom them, so be sure to find this out in advance. While there are no specific dog grooming companies/websites for Seoul, be assured that you will find them in every neighbourhood and will have your pick. Groomers in Seoul speak little to no English, but generally know what they’re doing – just don’t let them dye your dog bright pink as that’s a popular trend for dogs in Seoul!
While you won’t find as many services catering to cats as you would for dogs, every vet office will usually have specialty cat food for any health problem your cat may have (obesity, hair balls, etc.). Most vet offices will have special kitten milk if you have a brand new kitten. Some vets in Seoul specialize in cats and will have more services and supplies for your cat. The vet offices listed in the “Veterinaries” section all have a large supply of cat toys, cat nip and other supplies. While you can find cat food, some toys and litter in most large stores like Homeplus or Emart, you will usually have to buy litter boxes or scratching posts directly at the vet office.
As with dogs, most vets will take in your cat if you have to go away for a short period of time. The charge is usually around 10,000 won per day. If you plan on being away for an extended period of time, there are not many resources available to you. It is recommended to find a friend or fellow expat who can care for your feline while you’re away, or you will simply have to keep your cat with the vet and pay a higher price.
In Seoul (or anywhere in Korea, for that matter) grooming salons will not groom cats. Many Koreans do not like cats and some are quite afraid of them. Out of respect, if you have a Korean friend or handyman, etc. visiting your home, keep your cat out of the way – this way you’re keeping your guest’s and your cat’s best interests at heart.
If you want to help some of the stray cats around your neighbourhood or if you’ve found orphaned kittens in your area, there is a cat shelter in Yongsan-gu called Nabiya where you can bring them to be fostered until a permanent home is found for them. For more information you can email the shelter group at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 2412-3141.
For more exotic pets, sadly there is a lack of adequate care and facilities. A veterinary office can offer health care and order in special foods for your pet, but other than that you will not find many facilities catering to these pets. Hedgehogs, lizards, hamsters, chinchillas and dung beetles can often be purchased in your local Emart or Homeplus, but unless you know where to find food and other supplies for these animals, it is not recommended to buy these animals. Many still consider Korea a bad place to be an animal as they’re sometimes used more for entertainment than a loving member of the family, so exotic animals are often mistreated or thrown out into the street when they get big.