Guest Blog: Living with Pets in Thailand
Before you consider bringing a pet to Thailand there are some things that you should understand. Thais view pets and their welfare in a different way to the West. Pets are often bought on whims and then abandoned when the owner gets bored or can't afford to feed the animal anymore. This attitude tends to lead to a lot of stray pets roaming around.
My Thai partner Duen although a devote Buddhist demonstrated the way Thais will buy pets on a whim.
A few weeks ago there was a festival in Prachuap which my neighbour Ge-ep and Duen went to visit whilst I was doing some work at home. On their return Duen proudly presented me with a white fluffy ball which she had purchased, the dwarf white rabbit was dressed in a stupid little jacket and entombed in a small metal cage.
I was not amused! However I could hardly get her to return the rabbit and I did not want her simply to release it in the wild somewhere.
So "Lucky," as Duen named her new pet, took up residence with us. Now we have a big enough garden so I figured he could stay and enjoy life minus the jacket and metal cage.
Although I am not a rabbit keeper looking after Lucky has proved easy, he seems quite happy to roam the garden in the daytime eating my tropical plants and to stay in a cage at night out of reach of any snakes or soi dogs that might get into the garden.
The main menace however is the soi or street dog is to be found all over Thailand. A soi dog is one that doesn't appear to have an owner, lives on the street and survives on its wits. Soi dogs have a strict pecking order and are very territorial. Incursion into another dog's territory usually results in a fight. How the soi dog arrived in the soi is debatable, often construction workers bring along their dogs when working on a site only to abandon them when the job is finished. Others have simply been abandoned by some of the soi's human dwellers.
Soi dogs pose several hazards, they are usually diseased or suffering fight injuries and they will bark at or even attack anyone on foot. The rider of a cycle or motorbike is not safe either.
If you own a pet dog or for that matter a rabbit you will need to take considerable care when introducing it to life in the tropics. Climatic conditions in Thailand are a lot different with hot and often humid conditions for at least ten months of the year and even in the cool season it is much hotter than Europe.
Pets from the West might suffer from breathing difficulties in these conditions and will certainly need protection from animal borne diseases including rabies. Fortunately there are plenty of vets around and animal welfare is not as expensive as in the UK for example.
Life in Thailand is great for humans, it is a beautiful country with friendly people, there is however no reason why it should not be a good place to bring your pets if you take reasonable precautions with their welfare.