How to bring your pet from overseas to Thailand?


Any pet owners who are planning to move to Thailand but can’t bear to leave your pets behind and want to take your lovely furry ball with you to the Kingdom? But yet don’t know how? Don’t worry, we got your back! We know how stressful and nerve-wrecking it can be for you to bring your dogs, cats or other pets you own to another country with so many procedures to follow like all the stacks of paperwork, taxi driver being a pain, custom and immigration clearance, health certificates, vaccinations and what not.

In this article, Ivalene, our Chief Editor from the Bangkok Expat Life Team will share with you on how she brought her pet dogs from America, where she was studying back home to Thailand after she graduated from her university in America.
I just brought my dogs back to Thailand after graduation and I can’t describe how overjoyed I am! After I graduated from the University of Washington, I was planning to move back to my home country, Thailand. My number 1 priority and concern was not even about finding a job but how to move my dogs back home to Thailand. I bought these dogs while I was studying in America. Cuddling with my dogs to sleep, watching movie, the evening stroll and sometimes bringing them to my University, they have become such a huge part of my life for the past three years and I cannot imagine a world without them. I’ve done a lot of researched and looked up many useful information portals on how to successfully relocate your pets from overseas and I’ve compiled this information.

I will explain to you how I brought my dogs from America to Thailand in these 13 steps.

For more details, I’d advise you to refer to these following websites which will be VERY useful for you. These are official government websites so they are as reliable as it gets.


I will summarize briefly

  1. You should prepare approximately 2 months in advance. This is for safety check as there’s a lot of preparation work and the process to bring your pet overseas can be very physically and mentally tiring.
  2. Your dog need to get microchipped and vaccinated for at least 21 days. There are 5 vaccines that you need to get for your dog. Your dog needs 2 Lepto and 2-4 weeks to get a second injection so you should make an appointment with your veterinarian on the earliest possible date.
  3. You need to ask for the import permit from the Department of Livestock Development by email. The documents will expire in 2 months so you have to constantly follow up with your documents because the staff might forget about your documents.
  4. Find an accredited veterinarian who can give you the health certification for the pet for travelling abroad. Not every veterinarian can get you the health certification. Normally if there is a veterinarian who can give you the health certification, the clinic will advertise it on their website.
  5. Contact the airline of your destination beforehand that you bring your dog with you. I used Swiss Airlines. They are very impressive. They charged me 126 USD. I chose this Airline because their limit for the dog and the back are not more than 8 kilograms. My Shih Tzu is 6 kilograms. For other Airline such as Korean Airlines, they set the limit to be not more than 5 km. For small dogs and short face cats, they always have a problem with the hot weather. Some Airlines won’t allow the pet if the weather is more than 27 degrees. If it’s possible you should bring your dog back in summer.
  6. The health certificate will expire in 10 days so you need to bring your dog to the veterinarian within 10 days before traveling. You need to schedule the appointment with USDA for the health certificate confirmation. If you are from other countries, you would need to schedule your appointment with the relevant respective official countries’ Department of Agriculture. I was from the States so mine is the United States Department of Agriculture.
  7. The airline will limit the size of the dog bag which will be allowed to be boarded. You should buy as specified and let the dog get familiar with the bag.
  8. Do not feed any food or water to your dog in these 4 hours. You should take your dog to do some exercises to get it tired and make it poop.
  9. Prepare the important documents. As you check in, the airline will ask for the health certificate, import permit, rabies certificate and the lists of the vaccines. (Do not forget to bring the documents when you ask the Department of Agriculture for the confirmation)
  10. While on broad, I have to put him in the bag all the time. I flew from New York City to Zurich in about 7.5 hours. While I was on transit at Zurich airport, I do not have to meet the security check for transiting which is pretty convenient for us. I’ll let the dog use the disabled toilet. I let her use a pee pad. I also put the pee pad in the bag just in case. After peeing I feed her food and water. We have six hours to rest, then we flew from Zurich to Bangkok in about 10.5 hrs. While we’re on the plane, luckily he only barked 2-3 times.
  11. After we receive the checked luggage, I have to contact the Department of Livestock development at Suvarnabhumi airport. They will check all of the documents and I have to fill 2 more documents. They will charge you 500 baht for the service fee and 10 baht for the document.
  12. Bring the documents to the Good to Declare channel at customs. If you bring the dog in the country for the first time, you’ll be charged 1000 baht for each dog. Keep the receipt so next time you do not have to pay.
  13. Thai Taxi doesn’t welcome the dogs even in the bag. It will be better to have a friend to pick you up at the airport.

I hope this covers all the detail. I read every single letter when I look for the information on the internet for this. I hope this article will be beneficial for anyone who wants to bring your pet back to Thailand.

Good luck!


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