Being a responsible pet owner can seem like a daunting task, even more so when living in Beijing, but it quickly turns into a rewarding experience with the right amount of research and preparation.
Registering Your Dog
Twenty years ago, pet dogs were a relatively rare sight in Beijing, as raising pets was largely seen as a bourgeois pastime. Since then, the canine population has exploded, prompting the municipal government to require all dogs to be registered by law. (Other animals are exempt from the regulation.) As of 2010, there were 950,000 registered dogs in the city, but the true number is estimated to be closer to 2 million dogs. Last November, there was talk of making microchipping mandatory for all registered dogs, but the measure remains limited to a few pilot projects for now.
Here’s what you should know about dog registration:
- Only one dog can be registered per household address. If you own a second dog, it must be registered at a second household address.
- All dogs living within the Fifth Ring Road must measure no more than 35cm from floor to shoulder.
- Your local public security bureau (PSB) is in charge of administering dog registrations. In Chinese, these are known as pàichūsuǒ (派出所). The registration process may vary according to district, so ask your PSB for details.
- The first time you register your dog, you must bring your dog, two passport-sized photos of your dog (front head shot), your ID (including your passport and residence permit), your lease agreement or property title document, and written permission from your neighborhood watch committee or jūwěihuì (居委会), and money for the registration fee. If you live in one of Beijing’s eight major districts (Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen, Xuanwu, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai, and Shijingshan), the registration costs RMB 1,000 the first time and RMB 500 for each annual renewal.
- Newly adopted or imported dogs can be registered any time after January 1. The registration will be valid from the date of registration until April 30, 2013. For dogs that are already registered, pet owners have a one-month registration renewal window from May 1 to 31.
- After successfully registering your dog, you will receive an ID card with your dog’s photo and your contact information. If you’re caught without this ID while walking the dog, you could face a fine of RMB 2,000.
Spaying/Neutering and Vaccinations
Rabies is a serious and potentially fatal viral disease that attacks the nervous system of animals and humans. Every year, over 55,000 people worldwide die of rabies, with most deaths occurring in Asia and Africa. The virus is carried in saliva and usually transmitted through a bite from an infected animal. Kids are at particular risk, since they’re both more likely to be bitten and less likely to report their bites to adults. For more information on the rabies vaccine, see here.
In China, dogs and cats are required by law to receive annual rabies vaccinations; three-year rabies vaccinations from other countries are not recognized here. Dog owners can get a discount on the rabies shot if they bring their dog’s registration receipt and ID card to a legally registered and licensed animal hospital.
Animal health experts also recommend an annual canine distemper (DHPPi) vaccine for dogs and a feline distemper (FVRCP) shot for cats, which is administered every one to three years. Owners must keep track of their pet’s vaccinations with an official Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate (a burgundy-colored booklet).
Though not required by law, spaying and neutering – i.e. surgical sterilization – is highly recommended for cats and dogs. Spayed or neutered animals are less likely to roam, which can help contain the spread of rabies. Other benefits include decreased aggression, urine marking, and inappropriate mounting and protection from cancers, infections, and STDs. If you register your dog after it’s been neutered or spayed at a licensed animal hospital, you can get a 50 percent discount on the registration fee – as long as you have the proper document.
Beijing has more than 120 animal hospitals, but be very careful about your choice. Only animal hospitals registered with the Agricultural Bureau are allowed to provide safe and legal vaccines imported from Europe and North America. Before entering the premises, look for a large gold plaque with red characters and a valid plaque number. The plaque should read: 动物狂犬病免疫注射定点单位 (dòngwù kuángquǎnbìng miǎnyì zhùshè dìngdiǎn dǎnwèi). Only Chinese veterinarians are licensed to practice in Beijing and give shots; foreign veterinarians can consult, but cannot physically administer the shots. All veterinarians and veterinary technicians must be registered and licensed in China by the Agricultural Bureau.
The following animal hospitals are legally registered and are popular with expat families:
Beijing Guanshang Animal Hospital 北京观赏动物医院
Beijing Guanshang Animal Hospital is affiliated with the Entry/Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau and the only animal hospital allowed to physically examine pets entering and exiting the country. Guanshang has passed ISO international standards and also serves as a teaching base for Beijing Agricultural College. The hospital covers an area of about 1,000 sqm and includes in-patient services, a surgery department, a laboratory, a medical imaging center, an IT division, a pet store, and pet grooming services.
Founding date: 1992
Type: Local veterinary hospital
Size: 70 staff members, 1,000 sqm
Area: Olympic Village
Types of animals treated: Cats, dogs
Health care services: Vaccinations, physical examinations for import and export, microchipping, rabies testing, x-rays.
Other services: Pet grooming, consultation services for relocating pets, boarding, pet store selling accessories, toys, and pet food
English-speaking? Very limited. If you don’t speak Chinese, it’s best to bring a Chinese-speaking friend or interpreter.
Contact: Daily 24hrs (emergency services are provided after 5pm daily, including holidays). 7 Beisanhuan Zhonglu, Xicheng District (6237 1359, 6204 9631/9742 Chinese only, firstname.lastname@example.org) www.chinapet.com.cn/en.asp 西城区北三环中路7号
Doctors Beck and Stone Pet Health Care Center
Founded by Dr. Tony Beck and Dr. Torren Stone, Doctors Beck and Stone Pet Health Care Center provides full-service animal health care with both Western- and Chinese-trained veterinarians. This chain of animal hospitals strives to meet or exceed the standards established by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK. Beck and Stone’s services include consultations, preventative healthcare, nutrition counseling, emergency services, grooming, boarding, pet foods, and more.
Founding date: The franchise’s first branch (CBD) was purchased on May 1, 2009.
Type: Full-service international animal hospital
Size: Ranges from 150-300sqm depending on location, with 10-20 staff members per branch.
Areas: Shunyi, CBD, Chaoyang Park, Chaowai SOHO
Types of animals treated: Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, mice, horses (upon special request)
Health care services: Consultation, preventative healthcare, nutrition counseling, surgery, radiology, ultrasonography, dermatology, cardiology, opthamology, acunpuncture, TCM, dentistry, vaccinations, stem cell therapy, DNA testing, microchipping, spaying and neutering, kitten and puppy wellness packages, adult and senior wellness packages, pet emergency advice
Other services: Adoptions, grooming, dog training, boarding, day care, pet relocation, pet rescue program, pet food and accessories
English-speaking? The hospital offers multilingual services in English, French, Chinese, and Russian.
Contact: Daily 9am-7pm (consultation by appointment). LB05, Euro Plaza, 99 Yuxiang Lu, Tianzhu, Shunyi District (400 8046 2886, 400 103 8686, email@example.com) www.doctorsbeckandstone.com
See Directory for more locations.
International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) 北京新天地国际动物医院
The International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS) is the only full-service, international standard, and fully foreign-owned animal hospital and pet care facility in Beijing. Co-founded by Mary Peng and Frank Fan, ICVS operates a unique exchange program that brings foreign and local veterinarians together to improve professional skills. The staff follows medical regulations that meet or exceed standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and European veterinary medical associations. ICVS operates a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program to control feral and stray cat populations in Beijing.
Founding date: 2006
Type: Full-service international animal hospital
Size: Over 500sqm and more than 30 licensed staff members
Area: Liangma Qiao
Types of animals treated: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, bird, fish, exotics (turtles, lizards, and other reptiles)
Health care services: Examinations, surgery, hospitalization, spaying and neutering, dental care, vaccinations, Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), FIV testing, preventative health care, nutrition counseling, alternative/complementary medicine (acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.)
Other services: Adoptions, behavior counseling, obedience training, boarding and day care, grooming, pet ID tags, microchipping, sale of air crates, carriers, pet food, and accessories.
Consider choosing a pet camera so as to keep track of your pet daily activities and development.
English-speaking? All services are available in English and Chinese.
Contact: Mon-Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 10am-7pm. Kent Center, 29 Liangma Qiao Lu, Anjialou (shares a courtyard with China Culture Center), Chaoyang District (8456 1939/40/41, firstname.lastname@example.org)