Pets in Cambodia: How to import a dog or cat (or adopt one here)

Looking for Phnom Penh pets and vets info? Check out our resource guide to pets in Phnom Penh.

One of the questions we hear from expats is whether or not it’s possible to bring their pets in and out of Cambodia. Happily, the answer is a resounding yes! We talked an expert on the matter, Nicola Scales, the president and founder of PPAWS, the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society about moving with pets to Cambodia and adopting pets in Cambodia. Here’s the low-down.

If you are looking for a pet, consider an abandoned Cambodia pagoda dog.

MTC: How can expats bring their dog or cat with them to Cambodia?

NS: It is relatively easy to bring pets in although there is little written documentation of the process. It is simplest to have your pets fly with you, you can just pick them up from the baggage department and walk out of the airport with them. If they come via a pet relocation service, there are often hidden costs added that are difficult to verify or determine ahead of time, due to the lack of documentation on the subject.

Do expat pets need special vaccinations to come to Cambodia?

Nothing special is needed, just the standard vaccinations and rabies shots–the same as most countries.

If expats want to adopt a pet in Cambodia, what is the best way to go about it?

Expats can contact PPAWS, especially if they are interested in kittens or young cats–the advantage being we often give them their first vaccination so it is cheaper in the long run. Alternatively Madame Loan at CAPA often has dogs or puppies (but she has been known not to allow certain people to adopt her rescue animals, possibly based on nationality). The alternative is to just go to a pagoda; there are many kittens and sometimes puppies abandoned there and if they ask the monks they are usually quite happy for them to take them.

What should expats consider before they adopt a pet in Cambodia?

Before you adopt any animal, please consider your future plans. Cats and dogs can live up to 20 years. Only take in a pet if you are certain that you will be able to care for it and bring it with you if you move away. Adopting a dog or cat should be for life, not just for while you are living in Cambodia!

Are there veterinarians in Cambodia? Where can expats go for pet healthcare?

I recommend Agrovet, this is a European veterinary clinic with mainly French vets but also a Spanish vet.

There are many abandoned kitties that need loving homes.

What is PPAWS (Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society) and what do they do?

PPAWS was set up to try and help the abandoned cats and dogs in the pagodas of Phnom Penh. At the current time we focus on two pagodas. The funds come mostly from my wages as a teacher and so we are limited by this fact, and when I am working, that also limits how much I can do. But if people find abandoned animals, they can ring me and I’ll advise or try and help. I cannot take them in as I already take in rescue animals from the pagodas.

Can I take my pet with me when I leave Cambodia?

It is relatively easy to take animals with you to everywhere but Australia and New Zealand. Even the UK no longer has requires animal quarantine, instead the animals do a three month in-country quarantine after a blood test to make sure they have rabies antibodies. My advice is get your pets vaccinated and keep up with the vaccinations. Check out what you will need to take your pet back to your own country and put money aside and plan for this eventuality. There is more information about exporting your pet, including airline recommendations, on the PPAWs site.

PPAWS (Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society) Clinic

Clinic open Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
189 Street 37, Beoung Tumpun, Phnom Penh
T: 017 293 654; 017 517 365
ppaws.com

72 Responses to Pets in Cambodia: How to import a dog or cat (or adopt one here)

  1. Phil Butterworth says:

    Wanted to add another report here about bringing two cats from the US to Cambodia, again transiting through Vietnam. The trip was done in May 2017 and we flew Asiana, LAX-ICN-SGN. One cat was in-cabin and the other in-cargo. Asiana is good that they allow in-cabin cats/dogs up to 11lbs. (Ours weighed about 12lbs and was actually weighed at LAX but created no problems). Asiana also restricts animals in-cargo on their A320 series aircraft, meaning travel into PNH or REP is impossible*. Cost per animal was USD$200. Transit in ICN was 90 minutes and we confirmed with the gate agents that our in-cargo pet was transferred and manifested. Upon arrival into SGN local staff brought the crate to the carousel. Unlike the previous time when we encountered a customs official who was talking about a permit, this time we encountered no-one and walked straight out of baggage claim, through customs and into the arrivals area. Our arrival this time was lunchtime and we grabbed our pre-booked car and drove to the Moc Bai border. No problems exiting or entering Cambodia.
    *I have a major complaint with Asiana and my communication with them is ongoing and currently unsatisfactory. As I wrote before, Asiana prohibits pet in-cargo travel on their A320 series aircraft. From LAX-ICN the aircraft is an A380 and from ICN-SGN it was advertised as an A330. However, on this date, and according to flightaware.com they had changed equipment and had being doing so for the previous few days. We ended up flying ICN-SGN in an A321. First, this really annoyed us because we thought we could’ve flown direct to PNH and avoided the taxi/land border chaos. Second, on discussion with Asiana officials since the flight, they advised us that they prohibit pets flying in-cargo on their A320 series aircraft for safety reasons. Third, we received absolutely no notification about the equipment change. While I was initially annoyed about not being able t fly direct to PNH, I’m now really angry that they may have endangered our animal. I’m surprised at their lack of customer service here because in the past I have found them very communicative.

  2. Alison Christ says:

    Hi, I just moved my cat from Hong Kong to Cambodia via air with Cathay. We had no real problems. The cat landed at 6pm. They guy at cargo said customs was closed and we would have to come back the next day. Finally we got him to understand it was a live animal and we had to get her now. He got the cat and charged us $10. And that was it!!

  3. Phil says:

    Just to keep this updated;
    Flew with a 50lb lab in the hold LAX-SGN via TPE w EVA Air in March 2017. EVA charges 3 x excess bag for animal that size so extra cost was US$420. Required rabies vacc and health cert from USA. Required transit permit (free) from BAPHIQ in Taiwan; done via email w no problems. Only problem to note was arrival at SGN, upon collecting dog at carousel a Vietnamese Customs employee walked up and asked if we had a permit. We said we’re transiting to Cambodia and they said technically need permit, however, they could help… The employee kept repeating this as we kept walking towards the exit, no money exchanged hands and it didn’t seem to be the objective but we found ourselves outside with all bags and the dog and no problem… No problems at border crossing to Cambodia either.

        • Lina says:

          And the taxis had no problem with taking a dog? How much did they cost? Seems like this might be a better option than the often 8 hour layover in SGN.

          • Phil says:

            Actually, we arrived late at night. We took a local taxi from the airport to a hotel. We left our dog in the crate and lifted it into the taxi with no problems raised by the driver. I would assume taking a taxi to the border would be the same if the animal was left in the crate. (However, for us, to the border and then on to Phnom Penh we had pre-arranged private cars through a local friend. These drivers had no problem either).

            • Amy says:

              Hi Phil,

              What paperwork did you have to show at the Moc Bai border crossing? Was the process of leaving Vietnam and entering Cambodia simple? Thinking about doing the same in a few weeks rather than fly (as my dog hates to go in cargo and I can’t take him on the plane between SGN and PP).

              • Phil Butterworth says:

                I’m not trying to be an ass in my reply but I have good connections in Cambodia. We were escorted across the border, sat in the car and our friends did all the paperwork for us. We did not show any documentation for our dog either in Vietnam or Cambodia. I honestly have no idea how it would be otherwise. There is this blog post (http://www.expatsandaliens.com/international-pet-travel-take-your-dog-overseas/) from a guy who transited Vietnam for Cambodia and wrote that he didn’t have any hassles.

                • Amy says:

                  Thanks for your reply Phil and for the link you provided. I traveled from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh with my dog earlier this week by car and it was super easy and hassle free. I took an uber from HCMC to the Moc Bai border and walked across the border with my dog. In the Vietnam building, no one asked any questions about my dog, they just stamped my passport and I walked on. In the Cambodian building, I had my passport stamped and then on leaving the building a quarantine officer asked to look at the health certificate and vaccination records for my dog. I had this handy and there were no problems. We then walked out and met a pre-arranged driver to take us to Phnom Penh. All in all, crossing the border probably took me around ten minutes including the walking between the two buildings! Was very happy with how it all went.

  4. Anne Waltham says:

    Hi, I will be coming to phnom penh in April from India. My dog has an EU Passport and all shots. We will come by air… in cabin. Do I need anything from the Cambodia side?

    • Dog says:

      I brought mine via Korea via Vietnam, the airliner checked the vaccination records and doctor’s notes. My dogwas on the baggage belts when we arrived to pick up our luggage. No question was asked by the airport ppl, we just walked out the door.

  5. david franks says:

    i was told Pitt bulls were not allowed in Cambodia. i am moving to Siem Reap in November and want to bring my dog with me she is a Pitt-bull can I bring her?

  6. Akira Kinoshita says:

    Hello from Tokyo/Japan, I am planing moving to Japan to Cambodia with my two dogs (9yrs,4yrs). And get confusing about that when I called to Cambodia embassy in Tokyo, They said different things.I have to have a round trip air tickets. But I will moving there so..Is it okay for only oneway air tickets? Could you please some one help me about it, already they had a test.

    • Lina says:

      You don’t need to have round-trip tickets but you should get your visa in advance. Otherwise, your airline may ask for proof that you will be leaving the country. One option is to go online and purchase a $15 bus ticket from Phnom Penh to HCMC so you have evidence you aren’t staying in Cambodia. This has nothing to do about dogs, as far I know.

  7. Ivo says:

    Hello all, can anybody recommend me the best way to bring my golden retriever 8 y.o. From Indonesia (Surabaya) to Cambodia? Which air company could give a better deal? Or it would be better to use an agency maybe? I usually fly AirAsia but they do not carry pets. I was told that Singapore Airlines and Malaysian airlines eventually do this but I still couldn’t find the info about the costs. Any help will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance for help.

    • pei says:

      hi, i came to cambodia with my 3yrs old golden with Malaysia airline. you have to go visit the counter or office of malaysia airline at the airport in indonesia. they will give you a full info of the cost per kg and what are the documents they need in order to accept your golden. in malaysia, the documentation was just export permit from the local authority with a full body check up, and some important injections. prepare few copies with you to show at the airport.

      • Ivo says:

        Thank you for the info! I have contacted Malaysian airlines by mail and i’m waiting for their reply. They do not fly to Surabaya (my starting point) so I may have to go to Jakarta. I’ve tried to contact Singapore Airlines too but unfortunately they told me they don’t do this service. I’m trying to find a flight company that could start from Surabaya but I still cannot find it. I’ve just contacted one agency too and i’m waiting for their reply. If anybody has any info please let me know! Any help is much appreciated. Thank you all in advance.

        • Pei says:

          You can go to the Malaysia airline’s counter at klia.. Alex was abit fat plus the cage.. Total was around 1400ringgits .. But I recommend you to check at the klia. The info there is more accurate compared to their customers hotline..

  8. brentan wolf says:

    Hi can anyone help me?
    I am in india with my girlfriend at the moment and have taken in a 8 week old puppy to restore back to health (in which she is now) we are now moving to cambodia for 6 months and are bringing her with us. I am wondering if anyone knows anything about bringing pets from india to cambodia. Airlines, forms, things needed to make our puppy more comfortable through the flight? Anything would be greatly appreciated

    • Pei says:

      Hi… I moved to Phnom Penh 4 months ago with my 3yrs old golden from Malaysia.. In Malaysia there are pet import n export agencies.. The agent helped us to arranged all the export documents plus the medical checkup at the government animal department.. Copy 2 sets of the documents..All the documents must show to the airline before departure.. For the Cambodia side.. It’s very simple.. I picked him up from the baggage claim just like every normal luggage.. Then pushed the cage out with me like Norma tourist.. No one ask for any documents…

  9. Don Pharris says:

    I had to take my chihuahua to the vet last week and have her put to sleep. I was going to wait a little while before getting another one but I miss her so much? I think I need to go ahead and find one but I’m not having much luck finding what I want. I’m looking for a female short hair (smooth coat) preferably white or light colored chihuahua puppy that would be around 8 lbs (3.3 kg) full grown. The weight limit is so air travel would be easier. I see ads for long haired chihuahuas but short hairs don’t seem to be as popular in Cambodia. I brought Twinkie with me from the United States so I don’t know how to go about getting what I want here. If anyone knows how or where I can find one please let me know. Thanks

  10. Misk says:

    I would like to bring my dog (40kgs) from Seoul to Phnom Penh via Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Could you advise what would be the best route, via air or road? I don’t think there is a plane flying from Vietnam to Cambodia, that has pet cargo. If I take road, is there any bus operator that allows pets? What would be the process? I would appreciate any advice.

    • Don says:

      About 7 months ago I went from the US to Bangkok on Delta and took a taxi to the border and crossed over into Cambodia with my chihuahua. I was no problem at all. The planes coming into Cambodia are smaller and the cargo is not pressurized or climate controlled and they have an eleven lb. weight limit. Delta has a 20 lb limit so I was able to fly her in the cabin all the way to Bangkok.

      • Misk says:

        Hi Don, thank you for your reply. I will bring my dog to Vietnam (HCMC) by air and would like to bring to Cambodia by road, probably by bus. Do you know which bus companies allow pets? Or how much would be to hire a private car to the border and from the border to PP? Thanks again!

        • Don says:

          I don’t know, I have never used the bus, I’ve always used taxis. The bus would be considerably cheaper. I don’t know what kind of paperwork Vietnam requires for your dog but if I remember right they were more strict than Thailand.

        • Kirra says:

          HI Misk,
          I’m also hoping to go this route with my 65lbs labradoodle. HCMC was the only airport we could arrive at that would accommodate her from the US. Have you found out any information on getting across the border to PP?

          • Misk says:

            Hello, I did bring my dog. I flew to HCMC and from there we flew to Cambodia via Qatar Airways , they accept pets but need to get authorization first.

  11. liz says:

    Hi, i need your help. Im leaving cambodia in 6 months. Im going to the States and i would like to bring my 2 full grown pitbulls with me but dont know how to begin. They have complete vaccines. Can you please let me know which airlines accept these dogs. Thanks

  12. Tisha Shelley says:

    I’ve looked high and low for information about the “import permit” i was told by one company out of PP. No relocation company has mentioned it, nor is there info of how i get one or even if i need one for a pet.

    He is flying with Cathay, has all his medical done, and only waiting on the 10 day health certificate, but this one thing has me baffled!

    I’ve also heard if your pet comes in late afternoon that you can’t take them if the import guys aren’t working. I’ not flying with him, but will pick him up – any advice here?

    • Mia says:

      The 10 day health certificate is your permit. That’s all you need. You will pick them up right away there’s no waiting. I picked my 2 dogs up right off the baggage belt! haha

      • Pei says:

        Hi.. I’m planning to move to Cambodia on 15th Jan with my golden retrieve with meach from Malaysia.. but I had look all over the Internet about how to apply the import permit from cambodia.. but in vein.. can anyone already have their pets with them imported please explain or help to understand how to apply the import permit in phnom Penh cambodia..??
        Really appreciated for any help..
        Thank you

  13. Don says:

    I am planning my trip to Cambodia with my Chihuahua in March. I can fly Delta to Bangkok with her in cabin the whole way. I want to spend a day or two in Bangkok and then travel by ground into Cambodia. My concern is the Thai Embassy website states that she will be subjected to a 30 day quarantine in Thailand, however I read otherwise that that is not true. Did they main subject to not subjected to? The embassies website reads as follows.
    8) The animals are subjected to quarantine at approved premises for a period of at least 30 (thirty) days upon arrival during which they shall be submitted to tests and/or treatments as may be deemed necessary. The importer/owner shall be fully charged for the incurred expenses.
    I need to get the flight booked ASAP. Can anyone clarify whether there is a 30 day quarantine or not?

  14. Deborah says:

    Hello, I am considering moving to Cambodia to work and retire. I want to take my dogs, but I’m wondering how hard it will be to get a place to live with them. And I would be uneasy keeping them at home all day — would it be safe? (They are both little and I would hopefully be able to fly with them in the cabin, rather than baggage. I would consider asking a friend to fly with me to be able to keep both in the cabin. Any feedback welcome.)

  15. Tjarda says:

    Hi, anybody has any experience with bringing a pet other than a dog or cat? I’m about to accept a job and would like to bring my rabbit along from the US.

  16. Nicole Read says:

    Hi, we are wanting to bring our 2 dogs to Cambodia in March when we relocate from Australia. I have read alot of info but am still a little confused about a few things. 1. Do we need to go through a Pet relocation service?
    2. Which airline to use if we organise this ourselves
    3. Do we need to complete an Import Permit and if so were do we get one??
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks

    • Mia says:

      Hi Nicole,

      I’ve taken my 2 dogs from America to Cambodia and out of Cambodia back to America and the process was relatively easy.
      1. You do NOT need a pet relocation service.

      2. There are only a couple airlines you can use, but I highly recommend going through Thailand if at all possible because they make everything a smooth process. We used Delta to get to Thailand, then used Bangkok Airways to get to Phnom Penh. They are one of the very few planes that can actually take pets over to Cambodia. But you need to call ahead to find out which planes allow pets with both carriers. Only larger planes can accommodate pets. It only cost us $200 each flight to bring our pets.

      3. I don’t know what it’s like for Australia but in America we needed our State’s Department of Agriculture to make the permit for our pets to fly. First they got an exam by your normal vet, then our vet sent off our paperwork to be stamped. You need to make sure your pet has all its vaccines up to date 30 days prior to flying. The pet permits only last 10 days so you need to plan ahead. If you ever decide to leave Cambodia and go back to Australia with your pets the processes is very simple. AGROVet can do everything.

      Good luck! It’s stressful, but luckily you don’t have to fly nearly as far as we did with our pets.

    • Mia says:

      Oh I forgot to mention that when I landed in Phnom Penh I got super lucky with the whole process of exiting the airport with my dogs. The baggage people put my dogs on the baggage belt! I took them off the belt and walked to the exit. The guard was so confused to see me rolling out with my dogs. I just flashed my paperwork at him and he had no idea what he was reading since it was all in English and Thai, so as fast as I flashed my paperwork at him I walked out of the airport before he could do anything about it. The process was just as easy when I left Cambodia. Some people say they had to pay a bride to get in, but you really don’t have to.

  17. Sim says:

    Help, We are moving to Phnom penm the second week of October and we are trying to bring our cat,but the airlines are not taking animals on the planes to Phnom Penm since the planes are smaller and do not have the ventilation to handle animals ,we can get the cat to Thailand or Taiwan ,can anybody give me some advice urgently.THANKS

  18. sovattey says:

    Hi
    I have some thing to ask you about pet .I live in Phnom Penh and i want to make pet’s shop. So how can i bring baby dogs from Thailand ? And now i try to search Cambodia’s animals import permit and require ment…

  19. Don says:

    I am going to move to Cambodia in a year or two and I am bringing my Chihuahua. Are dogs well received in hotels, shops and restaurants?

    • Lina says:

      You’ll be able to take your dog almost anywhere, everyone will think it is adorable and ask how much he cost you. Dognapping is not unheard of though for rare breeds (and all breeds are rare), so keep your eye on him!

  20. Hello, I am bringing my dog from Indonesia to Cambodia. I would like to know if you know anything about in “import permit”? I have all the other documents, but I read that an import permit is required. Please advise :)

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Alan, did you get your dog to Cambodia? I’m hoping to bring my cat in August. Which airline did you fly with? Did you find out about the import permit? Thanks, Sarah

    • Lina says:

      Hi Amy, have a look at pettravel.com or ask on the forums at flyertalk.com. They might have some better ideas. There are a lot of alternate routings you could try. What about flying Asiana via Seoul?

  21. Heather Smith says:

    Hi Amy,

    I recently brought my 10 yr old shih tzu from the US to Vietnam. We flew United because I wanted him in-cabin with me (he’s not cut out for cargo). As far as I know, United is one of the only carriers that will let a small dog (12 lbs and under) fly in cabin. I had him registered as a support animal and United was very accommodating. The flight was still very hard on him, however, as it’s incredibly dehydrating for small animals. Make sure your dog is equipped with plenty of water (and if he/she is crated make sure he/she is familiar with drinking from the water device installed in the crate). I also brought along some calming, natural, valerian dog treats and these worked very well to sooth his anxiety.

  22. pixieamy says:

    Hello
    I’m planning on moving to Cambodia with my dog buster 6year old Staffordshire terrier, in October time, I’m thinking of using british airlines fly from London to Bangkok then drive from Bangkok to siem reap , anyone got any good advise iv never flown my pooch before an want him to be safe he’s part of the family :)

    Thanks
    Amy

  23. Mia says:

    Has anyone had any experience flying your dog out of Phnom Penh as checked baggage? My dogs are too big to fly in the cabin. Coming to Cambodia was easy…getting out I’m having a hard time finding a flight that has a pressurized cabin. Anyone have experience flying to America from PP? Which airline did you use?

    • Lina says:

      Hi Mia, one of my friends moved from Cambodia with his dog. He said the flights from Phnom Penh had too many connections and it would be too hard on the dog, so he flew from Bangkok (and took a bus there, with the dog in a second seat). He said flights from Vietnam might be a better choice. He flew with Aeroflot because it was “cheap and simple.” I’m not sure if they fly to the US, though. You might contact Nicola at PPAWS because she’s the expert on this.

  24. natasha says:

    Hey Guys… awesome job.
    We adopted a dog in Spain. Initially it was temporary rescue but he won our hearts and it is over a year. We would like to visit Cambodia for a year and so we are thinking about bringing him along. It was such a relief to find your site.
    He has his chip, His passport and his updated Rabbies shot. I am assuming this is all that we need.
    Thanks a lot and we hope to pay you guys a visit.
    love and light
    natasha

  25. Jenn says:

    I have a question about traveling to Cambodia with a pet. When I was in Cambodia before, we adopted a dog. When we tried to leave Cambodia, the customs people were very difficult and said that there was some kind of form that we were supposed to have. We were afraid that we were going to have to pay money. Fortunately, we were strong and firm and didn’t have to pay.

    I have seen different information about what is needed to move to Cambodia….something like a pet permit. Is that really needed? I’m just scared about customs again.

    Anything you could tell me would be wonderful! Thanks!

    • Nicola Scales says:

      Hi Jenn
      It depends where you are flying to for some papers from the airport. But for taking out of Cambodia there is a permit that needs to be filled in by one of the ministries. If you go to Agrovet or Dr Lin Pak they will do it for you (Dr Lin Pak is cheaper). But check to make sure what the requirements are for the country you are going into.

      • Jenn says:

        I was actually wondering about bring my dog back to Cambodia. We are moving from the USA back to Cambodia in January. I keep seeing this thing about a “pet permit” to take my dog to Cambodia, but I can’t find any kind of permit on line that needs to be filled out.

        Also, I have seen a few things about pets needing to have a micro chip in order to go to Cambodia. Is that true? Thanks so much for your help!

        • Hi Jen,
          I have never heard of animals needing anything to be brought into Cambodia. Most of the time it would be the airlines particular rules and the country you are departing from. When I left China they insisted all my pets had micro chips and were fully vaccinated. I guess it prevents any accusations that they allowed sick animals leave their country.
          You can get your pet micro chipped here, I would check with your airlines and then if you are still unsure check with Agrovet. They have quite up to date information.

          • Nick Tynes says:

            Hello, I have a 49 kilo black lab that I am trying to move from Thailand to Kampot. There are no planes with a big enough cabin to hold his kennel. Is it relatively easy to bring him across the land border at Hat Lek/ Koh Kong? Also, does he need to be kept in his kennel, or can he just be on a leash? Any info would help. Also, If you think another border would be easier please let me know. Thank you.

            • Lina says:

              Hi Nick, I have a friend who took his dogs in and out of Cambodia via Thailand a few times. He said that he had no problem on the Cambodia side (although he suggests you have some bribe money ready), however the Thai border guards insisted that he have papers from an approved Thai vet, so best to contact the Thai embassy and get a list of approved vets. He also said he had his dogs in a kennel and the Cambodian border people didn’t even look inside or seem to notice or care that there were dogs inside. But as usual, your mileage may vary.

  26. Lina says:

    True, Mia. However, and I’m sure there are those out there that will disagree with me, I don’t think goldfish form the same emotional attachment to humans that dogs do.

  27. Mia says:

    The oldest gold fish ever recorded lived more than 40 years (43 exactly). Unfortunately, most don’t live so long because of lack of adequate care.

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