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What's good pet etiquette in Malaysia?

Published on: November 10, 2016  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Kuala Lumpur-MalaysiaIn today’s mobile, global world, pet travel often involves moving from one country to another. Sometimes the move brings significant change because our new country is very much different from the home we’re used to. This can certainly be true if you’re moving to Malaysia from someplace such as the United States.

As a new family in town, you will want your dog or cat to be on their best behavior. That requires learning a bit about local requirements and pet-etiquette customs in Malaysia. 

Know before you go

Certain breeds of dogs are not permitted in Malaysia. If your dog is any type of Akita, American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pit Bull Terrier / Pit Bull (including American Pit Bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier), they will not be able to move with you to your new home.

Other breeds, including Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Doberman, German Shepard/Alsatian, Belgian Shepard, East European Shepard, Perro de Presa Canario, or Rottweiler can travel with restrictions. But first, you’ll have to get written permission from the Director of State Veterinary Services, or State DVS, and an import permit.

The other important fact to know in advance is that dogs are not welcome in all residential areas. And some areas limit the number of dogs you may have. You can learn about restrictions from a local veterinarian or the local council office.  If you will be renting an apartment or condo – or even a house - be sure to ask right away if your pet will be accepted. In some cases, you can negotiate.

Proper pet etiquette starts with good health

Like every other country in the world, Malaysia has rules that govern the importation of pets. It is critical that you follow these rules exactly.

In brief, your pet will need:

  • An ISO 11784 microchip. If they have a different type of microchip, you’ll have to provide your own scanner.
  • Proof of rabies vaccination administered more than 30 days and less than 12 months prior to your pet’s travel date. Malaysia has long been considered rabies-free. Under normal circumstances, your pet would not be required to undergo a rabies titer test. Here is more information on the vaccinations needed to travel or move with your pet internationally. 
  • Proof of other vaccinations. Cats must be immunized against distemper, viral rhinotracheitis, leukemia, and calicivirus. Dogs must be immunized against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, and parainfluenza.
  • An import license from the State DVS. This license is good for 30 days and must be obtained in person by a licensed agent.
  • An officially endorsed health certificate from your current country. This would be the USDA in the United States.

When traveling internationally, it is a possibility that your pet may be quarantined. Read our article here, if you are interested in learning more about how you may be able to keep your pet out of quarantine.

If your pet originates in the US, they will be quarantined for 7 days. If all is well, your pet will then be released.

Living in Malaysia with your pet

Malaysians love cats. As long as your furry feline travels in a carrier, they can ride with you on public transportation such as buses, trains, and ferries. However, the rules for dogs are different.

Dogs must be licensed, through the local council. There is a small fee for this. They are canine-non-grata when it comes to shops, restaurants, and public transportation. Dog travel via taxi is OK, as long as you have permission from the cab company or the driver. Or you could rent a minibus if you don’t own a car.

Your dog should remain inside your home or in an enclosed yard. That said, there are a few dog-friendly parks in Kuala Lumpur. Whenever you go out with your dog, they should be on a leash. Be aware that street dogs are a serious problem in some places, although the government is working on this problem. Be alert, because your dog could be at risk of an attack.

Snake bites are another potential problem for your dog.

Not everyone wants to pet your dog

Putting your best paw forward means respecting cultural differences. Malaysia is a largely Muslim country, and Islamic stricture says dogs are unclean. You will certainly see Muslims with pet dogs, but when you are out in public, keep your dog to yourself.

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