Adopting a Pet in Beijing - Things to Consider PDF Print E-mail

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ICVS is happy to provide information about how
to adopt pets and an overview of the local animal
markets so you may find the ideal pet for your
Adopting a pet in Beijing is very easy and we
highly recommend doing so. If you are
considering adopting a pet in Beijing, please adopt
from the ICVS “Adoptable Pets” web site that
features animals from many volunteer shelters,
animal rescue groups, foster care providers and
pet owners needing to rehome animals. There are
many wonderful pets available and the animals
from these organizations, rescue volunteers and
owners are usually quite healthy with good
Breeding is a very new industry in China and is
largely unregulated. In the local market, pets for sale
are bred for profit meaning the animals are mated to
produce many litters quickly. This results in poor
health of the puppies and kittens as their mothers
were bred too frequently and cannot produce
sufficientor nutritious mother's milk for the babies.
The puppies and kittens are usually weaned too early
from their mothers and sold well before six-weeks
of age. The faster the animals are sold, the higher
the turnover and more profit for the sellers. In addition,
most animal-sellers (including those calling themselves
“breeders”) may have brought only a few breed-specific
animals into the market when entering into the animal
sales business. Therefore, the “pure-bred” animals 
especially, are likely to be inbred which may result in
life-long health or behavioral issues that may not
become apparent until the animal is older. Each
purchase of an animal supports the pets-for-profit
industry and displaces the chances for an existing
animal to find an adoption home.
ICVS recently worked with several families that
had purchased “pure-bred” puppies from ostensible
"breeders." Four out of five of these purchased puppies
were diagnosed with canine distemper, parvovirus
or both. These highly infectious viral diseases were
fatal in all cases with the puppies dying within one-
to two-weeks of purchase. The puppy that survived
has battled chronic illnesses since the day of purchase
requiring on-going medical care, significant financial
expenses and causing much worry and frustration
for the pet owner.
Some pet owners have had positive experiences
with their purchased pets and the animals have
turned out to be healthy. However, these cases
are the minority.  Purchasing pets in the current
market involves a great deal of risk for the pet owner,
as it is truly a “buyer beware” market.
Please be very cautious of the animal sellers,
pet markets, pet shops and so-called breeders.
The state of the breeding industry in China today
is extremely premature and differs greatly from that
of more mature markets where professional breeders
are registered, monitored, subject to legal regulations
and held accountable for the animals they breed and
sell. In the local market, anyone with a male and female
animal may mate them to produce litters and then claim
that they are “breeders” through web sites, classified
advertisements or pet shops and animal markets.
Buyers have little recourse in the event the animal
develops congenital or other health issues after
ICVS strongly encourages adoption. If you are
looking for a puppy, kitten, dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig,
hamster or turtle, there are usually MANY available
for adoption. Please check the ICVS “Adoptable
Pets” section of the web site or send ICVS an email
directly. ICVS will help put you in contact with the
many reputable animal rescue organizations,
foster homes and owners that have beautiful pets
available for adoption. Please adopt, don’t buy!
“Adoptable Pets” on ICVS web site:
Video Report on “Pet Shop Precautions”:
(Produced by China Radio International on experiences of pet
owners that have purchased pets in Beijing)
Video on “Paws for Thought” – considerations
before adopting a pet:

To take pets overseas, please see the ICVS web
site on “Exiting from China with Pets” at this link:
Please note that animals must be rabies vaccinated
at least 30-days before but not more than 12-months
before the departure date. By law, puppies and kittens
must be at least 3-months of age before they may
be vaccinated for rabies. Rabies vaccinations must
be administered at an officially registered and legally
designated animal vaccination hospital in the PRC.
ICVS is a legally designated animal vaccination
hospital and can help provide the official rabies
and distemper vaccinations and issue the official
Beijing Animal Health and Immunity Certificate
(vaccination red book) required to take animals
out of China or to relocate to other cities in China.
Please see this link for more information about
the legally registered and officially designated
animal vaccination hospitals and the official
vaccination red book:
Please contact ICVS with any questions. We hope
this helps with your search for the perfect pet for
your family!

Adopting a Pet in Beijing ? Things

to Consider


·      Long-Term Commitment

·      Lifestyle

·      Living Space (indoor and outdoor)

  • Cats and small dogs? 

    • Better suited for apartment living

  • Medium and Larger dogs? 

    • Regulations, space to run



·      Research first -    

temperament, size, exercise needs, 

also potential breed specific health concerns


Puppies/Kittens vs. Adults

·      Time commitment for housebreaking, 

training, exercise, vaccination series, deworming, 

neutering/spaying, etc.

·      Many adults waiting for adoption, usually 

housebroken and neutered/spayed, more 



Pet Markets

·      Common breeds: Pekinese, Chihuahuas, 

Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniels, Beagles,

Poodles, Golden Retrievers, Labrador 

Retrievers, Samoyeds, Border Collies, 

Chow Chows


Buyer Beware

·      Infectious diseases common, especially 

kennel cough, parvovirus, distemper virus

·      Often prematurely weaned, weakened 

immune systems

·      Inadequate vaccination or improper 


·      Parasites (fleas, mange, gastrointestinal 

worms, giardia, etc.)

·      Warning signs: overtly thin and/or 

potbellied, discharge from eyes or nose, 

sneezing, coughing, thin and/or dull hair 

coat, hair loss

·      Apparently healthy puppies/kittens 

should still be quarantined for 3-weeks away 

from other pets in home prior to introductions

·      Post purchase: veterinary exam, start 

vaccination series, stool check 

·      New kittens/cats should also be FeLV/FIV 


·      Neuter/Spay after vaccination series 

completed (4-6 months of age)


Taking your Pet Overseas:

·      Adopting a pet is a commitment for life. 

It is not difficult to take pets out of China 

and to most overseas countries. Proper 

research and preparation is required to 

ensure a  smooth relocation with pets

·      Please contact the International Center 

for Veterinary Services for more information 

about pet import and export regulations



International Center for Veterinary Services

Tel: (010) 8456-1939, 8456-1940

E-mail:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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