Expats are not encouraged to bring pets to Malaysia. If you do decide to bring your pets there are some issues to be considered, such as the hot climate, lack of walking areas and the fact that pets are not as widely accepted as in most other countries. If you do decide to bring you pets, it is wise to do some research and note that all cost incurred will be at your personal expense.
Vaccinations and Quarantine
Before your pet can board the plane:
- All routine vaccinations against common dog or cat diseases must be completed 35 to 42 days prior to entry.
- You must present an original "Certificate of Rabies Vaccination" issued by your veterinarian, showing proof that the vaccine was administered more than 30 days, but no more than 365 days, prior to the flight. This certificate must be signed in blue ink. Note that this may not be necessary of the country of origin has been rabies-free for more than 6 months.
- You must present a "Health Certificate" issued within seven days of travel. This certificate must be issued by your veterinarian and must be signed by the Federal/Chief Veterinarian in your state or area (Any vet in your base country will know the nearest one). It must also state that:
- The animal originates from an area that has been rabies-free for the last 6 months, and
- that the animal was not imported to the country of origin from another country.
- You must obtain an "Import Permit" from the State Veterinary Department in Kuala Lumpur prior to entering this country. This permit is valid for one month only after issuance and costs RM5 per pet. The permit must be submitted to the Department of Veterinary Services together with a copy of the vaccination certificate.
- All animals will need a reservation, whether flown in the cabin or as cargo. A fee will be charged based on the size and weight of your pet's carrier plus the weight of the pet.
- Animals should not be fed for 12 hours prior to departure as a precaution against motion sickness. For long flights a water container for the animal is advisable, but in a spill-proof container if possible. Anything else left in the kennel may disappear before arrival.
- Even if an import/export agent is handling the procedure, it is highly recommended that you meet your pet upon arrival and ensure the agent in Malaysia materializes. It is recommended that you have a hand phone and the agent's number handy and have him meet you. Locating your pet may not be easy but it pays to be persistent, as a runway in 35°C heat is no place for a pet! The wait can range from 1 to 3 hours after the plane lands so be prepared.
- All incoming pets are subject to a quarantine period that varies from 7 to 30 days at one of three government facilities. The facility near MAS Kargo (15 km from KLIA airport) is often referred to as the "Pet Hotel" and appears clean with pet-loving staff. Often you will have to provide your pet's food. You can contact MAS Kargo Animal Hotel +603-8777-1847. After seven days your pet may be allowed to continue quarantine in your home. This agreement can be made if you have a fenced house where your animal can not come into contact with any other animals for the additional three week period. In case you have not moved into your house yet after the quarantine period, it may be necessary to board your pet temporarily, as most hotels and serviced apartments do not allow pets.
- If an animal is arriving from Australia or New Zealand, has been micro-chipped and has the annual vaccinations up-to-date, the quarantine may be waved.
- If you are already in KL and your pet will arrive afterwards make sure you contact a local handling agent to help you with the paperwork at customs. Getting all the documents legalized takes a couple of hours, you shop around from one desk to the other and it is something you don't want to do yourself. Have the agent meet you at the airport as the Cargo area (where your pet will be taken straight after the flight) is a deserted place some 10 miles from the airport.
Keeping Pets in KL
The type and the size of your home will generally determine the number of pets you can comfortably keep. You may be restricted to two per bungalow or one per condominium; however this should be agreed with your landlord. Please note that some residences/landlords do not allow pets. Dogs are allowed to be walked in most residential neighborhoods if they are on leashes, but finding wide open spaces for a romp remains a challenge, as dogs are generally not allowed in public parks. There are some forested areas around KL (for example Bukit Kiara near the equestrian club) where you can find nice paths to walk your dog.
There are no licensing requirements for cats. Dogs are required to have a yearly license tag. The license may be obtained from the City Hall, Finance department.
Pet food (Eukaneba, Royal Canin and other quality brands) is widely available in specialized pet shops and at veterinary clinics.
Veterinarians and Kennels
For a list of veterinarians that have been "tested" by many expat families, please refer to our inside guide, which can be downloaded here. Note that you need to login or register to access this document.