Moving Pets to China

The rules and regulations relating to importing pets to China, how to register animals once they are in the country, vaccinations, quarantine and taking a pet out of China...

It is possible for foreigners to bring domestic pets into China, provided that they are certified as healthy and are up to date with their vaccinations. They must spend a period in quarantine upon arrival in the country, for which they receive a certificate of health. Regulations vary between provinces and cities, but the general procedure is outlined in this section. Many expatriates opt to use the services of a specialist international pet relocation company for ease and reassurance, but the arrangements can also be carried out by the individual pet owner.

Keeping animals such as cats and dogs as domestic pets has not traditionally been as common in China as keeping other animals, such as caged songbirds and ornamental fish. However, other types of pets are now becoming more popular. Cats and dogs are the only animals permitted to be imported as pets, although there are more restrictions on dogs than on cats. Some breeds of dog are banned in certain cities and provinces. The prohibited list varies, so it should be checked before making plans to move to a particular location in China. In Shanghai, for example, the banned breed list includes various types of mastiff, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, bulldogs, Japanese Tosas and Dobermans, while in Xian a recent law bans any dog with a shoulder height of more than 50 centimetres. A pet import company should be able to provide a current list relating to the relevant area.

Many cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, also have restrictions limiting the number of dogs per household to one. Some people choose to get round this by having other family members register animals for them. There are even restrictions placed on the times at which dogs can be walked.