Friday, October 18, 2013

Moving overseas with pets...a dog's tale #vietnam

When we found out we were moving from England to Vietnam, my first thought went to our English Springer Spaniel, Tika. At that point in time, she was nine years old and had lived in Australia (where she was born), New Zealand and the UK. She had seen a lot of air miles in nine years but this transition worried me the most. I knew nothing about the environment in Vietnam except for the fact that dogs were seen as more than a family pet and we would have to take great care to protect her. 

Moving Tika to Vietnam was relatively easy. We organized the necessary shots and arranged for a pet transport company to handle her transition from country to country. We were familiar with the process having moved her twice before.

Thinking back at the time, it did not seem that long ago (2010), when a while van pulled up to our home in England on a cold winter's morning to deliver Tika safe and sound. 

We opened the doors to see her peering back at us from her crate. Once the
door opened she was happily on her way with my son Connor to explore her 
new terrain.

When she flew into Ho Chi Minh City three years later, it was 
a different experience for us all. It was close to midnight 
when we were contacted to say she had cleared airport customs 
and was on her way. The trucked backed in....

and there she was, peering back at us once again.

I belive she was dubious of the whole affair...

Although, it did not take long for her to get her groove back.

Connor and Tika...Chateau Mango

Tika recently turned 11 years old and has lived in Vietnam 
for a little over a year. Chateau Mango is her domain.

She has a pretty good life...swiming

and she can shake with the best of them.

She hasn't lost her sense of humor and I want to keep it that way.

Pet stories are often traded amongst expats in Saigon. You have to be extra wary of drinking water, fleas, ticks, worms and a host of other little things that could could make them sick. Dogs and cats go missing, are stolen and often left behind for adoption when a family moves on. Rabies is a fact of life and you have to know who's who in the veterinary world to make sure you have a well qualified one. Fortunately we do. We go to Dr. Nghia of Saigon Pet Clinic. I have complete faith in Dr. Nghia, he has never steered us wrong and genuinely loves animals. His enthusiasm is infectious. I took the photo below this morning, while Tika was having a treatment. One of the many while living in Saigon but I rest easy as I know she is in good hands.

 There will come a day when it is time to move on. I dread the day for our greatest challenge will be before us. Some countries have very strict quarantine laws and if we go to a country that does, Tika would be away from us for several months until she is approved to travel again. It is a difficult concept for me to grasp as we have been fortunate to date with just a schedule of required shots prior to entering a country. We will deal with it when the time comes.

In the meantime, if you have happened upon this post because you live in Saigon or are thinking about moving your pet to Saigon. I highly recommend contacting Dr. Nghia. He made the transition for us all much easier, his assistance has been invaluable.


Nguyễn Văn Nghĩa DVM, PhD
Specialist of companion animal medicine, surgery and diagnostic imaging from the University of Bristol School
of clinical veterinary Medicine – England
Member of British Small Animal Veterinary Medicine Association
Lecturer of faculty of Veterinary Medicine – Nong Lam University - Vietnam
@ Address:  33 - 41 Street,  Thao Dien, 2 Dist, Ho Chi Minh City
@ Tel: 08 35194182

We open Monday to Friday: 7:30 am to 8:00 pm Saturday: 8:00 am to 6 pm Sunday : 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Please call for an appointment.
Please call 0909 063 267 for an appointment in English, French or Chinese.
 The clinic is open 24/7/365. Emergency please call  08 35194182 or 0909063267

This is one of Dr. Nghia's five cats. She sided up to me as I was waiting for Tika. I couldn't resist taking a pic. He discovered her abandoned, starving and without fur and brought her back to life. Look how she has grown..a blue eyed beauty. I also have a feeling she would have loved featuring in this video clip...


  1. We've moved pets all over the U.S. The worst was the move to Japan. We had a huge Great Pyrenees. He was the love of our life with his goofy personality. My sister and brother in law were eager to have him stay with them in Missouri. Flying him them took 3 failed drives to the airport because the temps had to be just right for him to go into the cargo hold. We had him shaved down for the journey so he wouldn't overheat. We felt horrible the entire time. Then, to top it off, within months after being in Japan, he developed a tumor, declined rapidly and had to be put down. We have sworn off big dogs...only small ones. We are chomping at the bit for another move but in the back of my mind is always...the pets!

    1. Sarah..I am so sorry to hear about your lovely dog..what a heartbreak to lose her like that. I know what you mean about larger dogs..getting that crate size just right is so important! xx

  2. Thank you for this Jeanne!! I was actually just mentioning that Tika has lived all over the world to Remi not long ago. And of course, I dearly love the photo with the woobie balanced on her head. :) She knows she is being funny!!!

    1. I wish you could see her smile Heather...cracks me up when she does! :)

  3. Jeanne,

    Your Tika is a cutie. I wondered when you moved what it was like to live in a country where pets are not just pets. It does not seem to have affected your dear pup though. Do you take her off of your compound for walks or does she stay inside the gates?

    I hope that she has the opportunity to see your beautiful family farm one day, I think she might enjoy the wide open spaces.

    Have a safe and wonderful trip to visit Patrick, I am sure that he is as excited you you.

    xo Elizabeth

    1. Hi Elizabeth..we walk her in the compound but most of the time, Chateau Mango is her main space. We still have to be wary of snakes and bugs when we walk her in the compound..she likes to poke around in the bushes. The pool is her first love, she loves doing keeps her young! ;)

  4. Jeanne that was brilliant! Great post:)

  5. Thank you for the peek of the life of Tika...she is wonderful!! Leslie in Portland, Oregon

  6. You are very welcome Leslie...and thank you for following along.. xx

  7. Great blog I liked the way you tried to explain the points.I am a pet owner and I really enjoy traveling with my pet.

    Irene Loving Pet Transport

  8. some good suggestion and thinking i have seen on this blog, i really appreciate your concern towards Travelling pet

  9. Great post! I'm curious, what company did you use to transport her there? I am thinking about going to Vietnam with a small 10lb poodle mix mutt and am authorized to have him fly with me until August of this year. But if I go after that, I'm not sure how I would transport him because he's just a wee bit too big for a carrier in-cabin. :(

  10. Hi Jeanne, great post- thank you! I am moving my labradoodle from the US to Cambodia in Jan and we have to fly into SGN due to airplane logistics.. I had a question about the import documentation that you needed for Tika. My dog's vet health certificate is going to be issued 20 days (not 10 days) ahead of our flight due to holidays here in the USA. How closely do customs handlers look at the dates? Do you anticipate that causing any problems when I try to pick her up? Thank you!!

  11. Hi Kirra,
    Since your dog will stop over at SGN so we think we can help. We are pet relocation provider in Vietnam. Please contact me at if you need advice.
    Thank you.