Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Getting Your Dog Vaccinated in China: New Rules for Dogs and Vaccines in China

I recently inherited a dog in China from a friend. Since it’s a “street” or “abandoned” dog, I’m currently investigating and going through all the steps to get her properly registered and legal in China. It is not as easy as I had imagined due to the constantly evolving political and legal landscape that characterizes contemporary China. Before going into the detail of getting a license for your dog, the first and most obvious step to registering any pet whether in China or another foreign country is making sure that pet is properly vaccinated and has gotten all the right dog shots.

Getting Your Dog Vaccinated in China: New Rules for Dogs and Vaccines in China

Like I learned when I registered a business in China, there is the law on paper and the law in practice with the obvious precedence of practice and application over what’s written. Both of these parts regularly change over time and depending on the local circumstances so it is never entirely clear what to do, how to do, when to do and when you might need to do it again or differently. It is best to check with a Chinese-speaking friend on the specifics of your situation as well as check with the local regulatory bodies in your area. But, even then, you will only really know what is to be done when you are finished doing it.

The general rule is: follow people’s recommendations of what you are supposed to do but don’t be surprised if things have changed and adapt accordingly.

In order to a dog license in China, you must first make sure your dog has been properly vaccinated. As most dog owners know, there are several vaccines that are necessary as a puppy ages, but subsequently, most adult dogs only require a yearly booster. As such, most countries in the world require or encourage dog owners to have their dogs receive a yearly vaccine. This has, until recently, been the same procedure in China.

Recently, new rules for dogs and vaccines in China have been introduced, which, like the entire question of dog registration, are all about control and money. Instead of a yearly booster, dogs in China are required to get two boosters a year. Previously, these shots were about 25 to 40 RMB ($3 to $6 usd) a year, but these new and allegedly imported dog vaccines now cost over 60 RMB ($9) and must be taken twice a year.

It is not entirely clear who introduced this change, but the economics have changed since now you must pay more and more often.

Dog vaccines are provided and documented at local animal clinics in China. So, before you can get a dog license or get a dog license renewed, you must go to a nearby clinic for the shot and for the official document with a stamp or seal. In order for a clinic to provide officially sanctioned vaccines and documentation, they must receive their license from the government. Both pet owners and clinics have no choice but to follow these new rules.

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