7 Things To Know Before Traveling To China With Pets

New job, semester abroad, adventure. Any of those scenarios can be the reason you’re planning a trip to China. A new country means adapting to a new culture and all of its regulations that may differ from your home country. Whether your visit to China is temporary or permanent, you might be considering bringing along your beloved pet.

International travel for pets has certain risks that any responsible pet owner must prepare for and anticipate. What steps must be taken to ready yourself and your pet for long-distance travels?

If your travels to China will be for less than a month, hiring a friend or a pet sitter may be a better option than bringing your pet with you. However, if you are determined to have your furry companion cross oceans to be with you, there are a few things you should know about traveling to China with pets.

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1. China Only Allows One Pet Imported Per Adult

China has very strict laws and regulations regarding the import of pets from other countries. Each foreign adult traveler is allowed to bring only one pet with them. Additionally, many areas in China only allow one dog per household. The dog must be registered to obtain a license. Cities such as Beijing have limits on a dog’s size.

While there isn’t a limit to how many cats one can own per household, cats must be vaccinated. All pets are required to have a booklet of immunization records. Culturally, China’s view of dogs as pets is complicated and may be vastly different from your home country.

2. There is a 30-Day Quarantine

Prior to 2019, all cats and dogs entering through airports into China required a 7-30 day quarantine until they were released into their owners’ custody. However, recent changes to regulation policies exempt pets from a mandatory quarantine if originating from designated countries must be microchipped and up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.

Pets being transported from non-designated countries are still subject to a quarantine. The owners must pay for the quarantine and are not allowed to visit their pets during the quarantine.

3. Some Breeds Are Banned in Certain Areas of China

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As a country, China does not have bans on any dog breeds. However, Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing have restrictions on breeds that are allowed to live within city limits. The restrictions are based on the size of the dog.

Weimaraners, St. Bernards and Great Danes are a few examples of the large dogs that fall under the restrictions. Furthermore, many places in China have one-pet-per-household laws.

4. Not All Airlines are Pet-Friendly

If you’re traveling to China, chances are high that your mode of transportation is an airplane. However, not every airline is pet-friendly, even if you’re flying domestically. When booking your flights, be sure to check the airline’s pet policy.

Many airlines also have restrictions on how many pets can fly per flight. If you know you’re flying with your pet, book as early as possible to secure one of the pet slots. In addition, flights with long layovers can be too much stress on pets.

5. Cargo Travel Can be Dangerous for Pets

Very few airlines allow large dog breeds to fly with their owners in the cabin. Instead, the dogs are placed in cages and transported in the cargo hold of the plane. Unfortunately, the cargo area is suitable for luggage, not animals.

Smaller pets are often allowed to travel in the cabin if they are secured in carriers that fit underneath the seats. Many airlines have strict measurement limits for the carrier. Find the best pet carrier for air travel to keep your pet safe and secure during travels.

6. Microchips, Vaccinations and Other Required Forms

Recent changes in the regulations for importing pets into China requires all pets to have a microchip. In addition, they must have a rabies vaccination that was given within 30 days to one year of the time of travel. Depending on the pet’s country of origin, a rabies titer test might also be required.

A health certification from your pet’s veterinarian is necessary for bringing your pet with you to China. You must also have permission from your country’s government to export your pet to another country.

7. There are Regulations for Bringing Your Pet Home

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The entry requirements for traveling to China with pets are almost exactly the same upon heading home except for the quarantine. Your home country will likely have their own requirements for importing a pet.

Before you can take your pet home, you’ll need an official immunization and health certificate from a local animal hospital. Your pet will also need an exit permit from the Entry-Exit Inspection bureau. The owner has to present their passport, so be sure to leave AFTER your pet has secured passage.

Consider the Financial and Emotional Burden of Pet Travel

Traveling to another country with your pet is financial and emotional undertaking that needs to be seriously considered. If there’s no other option except to bring your pet along with you, such as job relocation, then you can expect to shell out a serious amount of money to travel with your pet companion.

Any pet owner will tell you that having their pet with them is priceless. However, your pet’s ability to handle stressful situations should also strongly factor into your decision. Not every pet has the tolerance for long-distance travel, no matter what the mode of transportation.


Leo Wilson graduated from a university major in animal health and behavior. He had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dogs and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. And when he is not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.

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