In today’s mobile, global world, pet travel often involves moving from one country to another. Sometimes the move bring s 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 Kingdom or 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-iquette customs in Malaysia.
Know before you go
Certain breeds of dogs are not permitted in Malaysia. If your pooch is any type of pit bull or an American bulldog, Akita, Neapolitan mastiff, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino or Fila Braziliero, he will not be able to move with you to your new home.
If your dog is a German shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman or one of a few other breeds, he can look forward to pet travel with you. But first, you’ll have to get written permission from the Director of State Veterinary Services, or State DVS.
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-iquette 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 he has a different type of microchip, you’ll have to provide your own scanner.
- Proof of rabies vaccination administered not less than 30 days or more than 12 months from your pet’s arrival 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 the vaccinations needed to travel or move with your pet internationally.
However, there was an outbreak of rabies reported in August, 2015, in Perlis, Kedah and Penang provinces. Because of this, your pet may need a titer after all, if you’re headed to one of those provinces. This test confirms their rabies vaccine is still active within their blood system. It takes several weeks to get the lab results, so find out as soon as possible whether your pet needs this test.
- 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 such as your Starwood Animal Transport rep, for instance.
- An officially endorsed health certificate from your current country. This would be the USDA in the United States or the CFIA in Canada. In the UK, this documentation is part of your pet’s EU Pet Passport.
When traveling internationally, it is a possibility that your pet may be quarantined. Read our article here, if you are interested learning more about how you may be able to keep your pet out of quarantine.
If your pet travel originates in the UK, your pet won’t face quarantine in Malaysia. If you’re traveling from elsewhere, your pet will be quarantined for 7 days (10 days if you’re coming from Australia). If all is well, your pet will then be released.
Living in Malaysia with you pet
Malaysians love cats. As long as your family feline travels in a carrier, she 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 pooch 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, he 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.