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Hong Kong - Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Many people chose to have pets in Hong Kong, although pets tend to be on the small side since it is an urban area and there aren’t many places to take them outside. There are a few parks, but they can be few and far between. As a result, pet owners often allow their pets to use the bathroom on the sidewalk and sometimes they do not clean up their waste, something that might be a problem for those who are used to living in areas where this is more regulated. Outside of the downtown areas there are more green spaces which could be preferable for those who choose to have medium or large sized dogs.

Residents of Hong Kong appear to have a relaxed attitude about pets. However, if you do often take your dog for walks on the street it is advised to watch him closely to ensure that he does not ingest any food that might be on the sidewalk or in waste compartments. Spoiled food and poisons can harm your pet. As a result, many people choose to muzzle their dogs when they take them outside. This is also a precaution when it comes to dogs that are subject to excitability.

For the most part, dogs must remain on leashes. There are some off-leash areas, but not every neighborhood has them. Most of the restaurants that have outside seating areas will permit your dogs to stay with you while you eat. Most cabs will allow well-behaved dogs in them, although some desire that cats be in traveling cases. Pets are not allowed on public transportation, except on ferries.

Finding pet supplies is fairly easy in Hong Kong. There are several pet supply stores and basic supplies such as cat and dog food can be found at most stores that sell general groceries. Boarding kennels are available should you need one when you travel.

The Woof Guide is a website dedicated to those who own dogs in Hong Kong. It contains a wealth of information, including information regarding pet stores, vets, and even where to take your dog for a walk.

The Woof Guide

Hong Kong does have animal welfare laws. More information can be found regarding animal welfare rights on the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department’s website.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Tel: (852) 2708 8885

Dogs and cats are the most common pets found in Hong Kong. Fish are also popular, however, due to the small living spaces that most residents have. The Chinese word for “fish” also means “success” which makes them desirable to have around. Popular places to purchase fish are Mong Kok, the Goldfish Market, Tung Choi Street, and Kowloon. Birds are popular pets as well.

If you need to report a lost or found pet, you should contact the Animal Management Centre. There are many of these located throughout Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Lost and Found Pet Search Centre helps owners reunite with their pets by providing a search service with photos, too.

Hong Kong Lost and Found Pet Search Centre

The only restrictions on buying and selling pets extend to fighting or dangerous dogs. The government does recommend that they are bought from licensed traders or preferably adopted from one of the many animal rescue organizations, however.

Snakes can be a threat to some pets in Hong Kong, especially cats. It is advisable to keep cats indoors if possible. There have also been cases of snakes killing small dogs. The Burmese python can measure up to 6m long and the highly dangerous bamboo snake are both dangerous to pets.

Ticks and fleas can be a problem as well, due to the tropical climate. It is important to treat and prevent any flea or tick infestations on your pet.

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