How to Bring a Thai Dog to America, the Story of Dino
This is Dino, a Thai dog we adopted from the streets of Bangkok. He spent most of his time roaming around with a pack of stray dogs, and often slept at the shophouse of a larb gai vendor. The vendor fed him and looked after him on the streets each day. Dino still loves to eat leftover jasmine rice topped with fish sauce, and chicken livers. As street dogs have a relatively short life due to excessive fleas and ticks, and the danger of being hit by automobiles, she was pleased to help us with the adoption so that Dino could start a new life in America. All of this occurred in 2004 so this information is very dated, but in procedure, things are not likely much different.
If you are considering the adoption of a Thai dog, the first thing you need to get is a rabies vaccination. There are many good vets in Thailand who can administer it for a low cost, and they will give you a nice booklet in English and Thai which shows the medicine given and date. Our vet gave Dino "Defensor A 473764" for rabies, and "Vanguard HTLP 5/CV-L" as another vaccine, and this was completely satisfactory with the American authorities on arrival in Seattle. As with anything, you should check with your local authorities before planning, so take this information as general advice but not a statement of official policy. In our case, we got great advice from Inspector Lerner at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Animal Quarrantine Station (phone 206-553-4519) before we embarked on the mission to adopt Dino.
After the vaccination is done, you must wait at least 30 days. We were told this is to ensure that the dog does not have a bad reaction to the medication, thus not suitable to fly. The last thing anyone wants is an animal to be put on a long flight without being in good health.
After 30 days has passed, it's time to get the dog a passport. Yes, you read right, your dog will need an official passport which is prepared by the Thai government. We were very impressed with this system overall, as the people were extremely kind and considerate to both the animals and the owners. The official agency we dealt with in 2006 (old airport) was:
Bangkok Airport Animal Quarantine Station
Cargo Building 2, 3rd Floor, Room 308
Donmuang Airport, Bangkok 10210
Phone 02-535-1546 or 02-535-1210
There is a new international airport in Thailand now and we were advised that the new location is here:
Animal Quarantine Office.
Free Zone Area, CE-1 Building, 1st Floor
Phone 02-1340731, Fax 02-1340732
Dino was inspected by Dr Prapas Pinyocheep, DVM, and for the nominal fee of 50 baht (less than $2) we were given a formal document in both English and Thai which granted permission for Dino to go overseas. This document also states that the dog must leave within 10 days, otherwise it is invalid.
After you have the relevant paperwork, you must have a kennel for the dog. The airlines are very strict. They will not allow your dog to fly unless it's in an airline-approved kennel. We had a difficult time (very difficult, and time-consuming) locating an airline-approved kennel in Bangkok. We finally found a beautiful Thai/American lady who speaks perfect English (California girl) who owns a modern pet shop in the Sathorn area. They had the PetMate Vari Kennel which was all we needed. We also got some pet food for Dino, which the airlines require. The pet shop information, for your convenience:
ShamuShamu Pet Supplies
722/31 North-South Road, Sathorn, Bangkok
Phone 02-212-9172, 01-311-2002, 02-992-9531
Make sure you call the airline well in advance to let them know of your intentions. We understand that during certain times of the year, airlines may not allow pets to fly if the outside temperatures are above a certain level. There is also a fee to transport your dog. In our case it was approximately $250.
Finally, make sure you keep all paperwork handy. On arrival in America the dog will be inspected, your paperwork reviewed, and in our case all of this took less than 30 minutes.
Dino is a very loyal dog who is not comfortable being indoors. He loves to roam around, is a very good jumper (strong legs), and sleeps under cover on our back porch every night. As any good dog should, Dino barks very loudly when a strange person comes to visit. We installed a "Freedom Fence" made by Miltronics in New Hampshire. This works very well in terms of keeping him on our property.
Update to This Article: February 18, 2020 Dino passed away at home due to old age, he was 17 years old and his health suddenly dropped such that he could no longer walk and the next day he died. As a family we just feel that he was the greatest dog and filled our lives with memories that will never be forgotten.