Preparing for dog ownership in Hong Kong

Deciding to take a dog into your home and heart is a big decision. Before you can make the right choices, you will want to know how to provide the best dog care, where to get dog supplies in Hong Kong, how to train a dog and be a responsible pet owner. This guide will walk you through the most important factors to consider before you take the plunge and how to ensure you can give a dog what it needs for the rest of its life.

Choosing a dog
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Dogs are one of the most versatile and diverse species on the planet. They come in all shapes, sizes and personality types, with some breeds having known traits that may or may not suit your household. Knowing what kind of dog will fit into your lifestyle is an important step in the decision making process. Some breeds are known to be good guard dogs, some need lots of exercise and others prefer to sit on your lap in the evening while you curl up in front of a movie together. Some will be excellent with children while some might need more training than others.

Do you live in an apartment? Are you an active, outdoors type who wants to hike with your dog? Do you want a guard dog? Research breeds carefully for their personality traits rather than choosing based on looks alone.

Shop or adopt?
adopt dog

Deciding on the breed isn’t the only decision ahead of you. You might also want to consider whether you want an adult dog or a puppy. Puppies are adorable but they require lots of training, attention and forethought. Some people actually prefer adult dogs as you can get to know their personality properly before they come home with you.

If you decide to go ahead and buy a puppy, make sure you know exactly where the dog came from. Check that you are dealing with a reputable breeder and not a puppy mill. A puppy mill is a breeding facility where females are often contained in small pens and forcibly impregnated over and over again in cruel conditions. Puppy mills can also be a health risk for the puppies themselves as unscrupulous breeders do not help vaccinate animals before they go to homes. They typically have too many dogs confined together in unhygienic environments. Disease can spread like wildfire and you could find yourself heartbroken by buying a puppy who is already unwell.

Buying a dog is not the only option. There are many organizations that have animals up for adoption. This is not only often a cheaper alternative to buying a dog, but also considered by many to be a more ethical option. Could you give a rescue dog a second chance at life outside of a shelter? Take a look at these animal welfare organizations to give a forever home.

Dog licensing & legalities
dog licence hk
As with many parts of the world, it is a legal requirement to have a license for your dog in Hong Kong. You are required to have a license for any dog over 5 months old and it only takes fifteen minutes to apply. To find out more about obtaining a license for your dog, take a look at the AFDC information on the government website.

You are also required to organize rabies vaccination and micro chipping. This is important for your dog’s wellbeing as well as the public’s health. Micro chipping can help you get reunited with your dog should he or she ever get lost or stolen too.

How to take care of your dog in Hong Kong?

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Learn all you can about your dog

If you took the adoption route, the shelter from which you found your new friend will give you a full history, make you aware of any medical or behavioral history and be on hand to give ongoing advice on pet care. If you don’t have this inside knowledge, take your dog to a veterinarian to be certain about your dog’s health issues and spend time getting to know one another. Choose  a time when you can settle your dog into your home, perhaps over the weekend or when you will be home for most of the day.

Socialize your dog 
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It’s important for both you and your dog that it knows how to interact with people and other dogs. It’s also important for you to know how your dog reacts with new people and other animals. Do you already have pets at home? Makes sure you understand the best way to introduce a new animal in order to avoid creating a lasting problem or even injury. When done correctly and with patience, you will find you can have multiple pets co-existing peacefully in your home.

Healthcare for dogs
dog health

If you haven’t owned a dog before, or if you haven’t owned a dog in Hog Kong, there will undoubtedly be things you want to learn about when looking after your dog’s health. Of course, if your dog is showing any signs of illness or changes in behavior, you should first speak with your vet. However, many health problems in dogs can be prevented altogether. Ensuring you give your dog a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and up to date vaccinations are all part of being a good dog owner. Check out our list of Hong Kong’s top dog friendly activities, as well as advice articles on diet, healthy pet products, exercise, vaccinations and healthcare.

Going away

Having a pet means that you need to do a little extra planning whenever you are thinking of going on holiday. While there may be some weekend excursions on which you can bring a dog, many trips will require you to find a way to keep your dog happy and healthy while you jet off exploring. For many, the best option is a boarding kennel. This suits sociable dogs that enjoy the company of other dogs. For shy and nervous dogs, you may consider an alternative such as a dog sitter who will live in with your dog while you are away. For more information on caring for your dog while you are on holiday, take a look at this in-depth article.

Training your dog 
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Training your dog enables you to control its behavior so that you can really enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. With good training, your dog will respond to commands and avoid unwanted behavior. Dog training is should be fun for both of you. Use positive reinforcement and never shout at or hit your dog. Reward with praise or a treat when your dog gets it right instead of scolding him when he makes a mistake. If you need some support, find a reputable dog trainer to help you. A good dog trainer will give you the skills to train your dog yourself. For a list of dog trainers in Hong Kong and more, see our training and behavioral advice section.

There is a lot to think about and much to do in the first few months of pet ownership but it will be an exciting and interesting time for both you and your new friend. Choosing to take a dog into your home is a big step but a very rewarding journey. For any more information on the above topics please contact us here.