Having Pets in Indonesia
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Part of planning for your move is deciding whether or not to bring your family dog or cat from your home country to Indonesia. This is a very personal decision and will undoubtedly be influenced by many factors. If you or your children are extremely attached to your pet/s, if you would worry unduly about leaving them with family or friends during your overseas sojourn or if you feel that having them with the family will ease your transition, by all means seriously consider bringing your pets.
Bringing your pet to Indonesia can be challenging without the correct preparation!
Transporting Your Pet to Indonesia
Your removals firm, pet transport agents or your airline can inform you of what vaccination certificates, medical certificates, export documentation and quarantines are required to import an animal into Indonesia, as well as to export your pet back to your home country once you leave. Only pets coming from certain countries are allowed to be imported directly to Indonesia.
There are two possibilities in transporting your pet by air:
It is not cheap to transport a pet to Indonesia. Your company may, or may not, cover these expenses. Be sure to discuss this matter with your sponsoring company before you make your decision, and don't forget to calculate the return expenses when you bring back your pet back to your home country at the end of your stay.
A Few Tips for Your Pets' Comfort During Air Travel
Requirements for Bringing Pets to Indonesia
An Import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture is a must for every pet entering Indonesia. You may obtain one by having your copy of passport, copy of valid health certificate from the veterinarian, and the copy of pet's vaccination book.
Pets from non-rabies free countries are forbidden entry into Jakarta. We have been told by more than one source that you run the risk of losing your pet on arrival.
The health certificate can be obtained from a certified veterinarian, and should be made within five days of the animal's departure. The certificate must state the animal is in good health and that it has been vaccinated for rabies within the last 30 days and not more than one year before departure.
When your pet travels with you as excess baggage, you must bring with you the Original of the Vaccination book, the Health Certificate from the country of origin and the original Import permit to be shown at your destination.
If you choose to ship your pet separately through cargo services, you will need the same documentation (i.e., import permit). But it is a very complicated task to complete custom clearance upon arrival, paying import duties, etc. Appointing your pet removal agent to handle this is the best way to avoid complicated procedures and shorten the time that your pet must spend at the airport.
Clearing pets through customs in Indonesia is a complicated procedure, but one that your pet removals firm can help you to prepare for.
The Import License MUST be obtained at least 1 (one) week prior to the arrival of the animal. This could mean starting the process approximately 2 weeks prior to the animal’s arrival (4-5 Days to obtain the Import License and the 7 Day period whereby the permit must be issued before the animal’s arrival). Indonesian Customs Regulations also require that imported pets may be subject to duties and taxes and must be for personal ownership (not for sale).
The Rabies Injection must:
Please note that there can be NO RABIES SHOT GIVEN DURING THE QUARANTINE PERIOD, so please take this into consideration when planning.
The Indonesian Government has confirmed that the Jakarta area and the entire area of Java Island will be Rabies Free, thus the need for quarantine. The recommended quarantine is officially given as 14 days upon clearance at the airport and there is a fee for Quarantine services.
Please note that if you are planning to bring your animal by excess baggage or as air cargo to contact your moving company well in advance as a representative would have to meet you regarding clearance and quarantine of your pet.
Importing Pets from Rabies Free Countries
Indonesian government regulations on the importation
of pets have the goal of the Jakarta area and the island of Java to become RABIES FREE.
* List of Rabies Free Countries:
Pets coming form rabies-infected countries, which are not listed above will have to go through quarantine, which is pets coming from:
Quarantine of Pets
Preparing these documents in advance will help expedite your pet through quarantine:
Exceptions to the regulation for pets from Non Rabies Free Country include those pets for "Diplomatic Purpose" (which we interpret to mean pets which belong to diplomatic passport holders) and for Dogs or Cats for Show or Exhibition, as well as pets for security, defense and public / state purposes.
Pets Destined for Cities Outside Java
Pets destined to cities outside Jakarta and Java fall under different regulations: if pets from non-rabies free countries are destined to go to for example Balikpapan, Medan, Palembang, Menado, Makasar or some other place which is not rabies free with transit in Jakarta, this will still be allowed. This means that the pets will NOT STOP in Jakarta but in other cities in Indonesia which are non-rabies free area. There has been some understandable confusion when interpreting this regulation that is encompasses all of Indonesia, when in fact it's just for Jakarta/Java.
Pet owners who hold a diplomatic passport will be allowed to bring pets to Jakarta even from Non Rabies Free countries including China, but they still have to go into quarantine for a maximum of 14 days.
Additional information on safe pet travel:
Download a copy of the Indonesian government pet import regulations on importation of pets to Indonesia [ 50 KB]
Purchasing or Adopting a Pet
Many expats choose to leave beloved family pets with family or friends during their time overseas and purchase or adopt a new pet during their stay in Indonesia. Animals are available through pet shops and breeders. Before you purchase a pet, be sure that you thoroughly consider what you will do with the pet when you leave Indonesia. England, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, have difficult and expensive quarantine regulations. It maybe very difficult to place that pet with another family, should you choose not to take it home with you.
If you decide to purchase a pet, be sure that you check thoroughly the condition of the puppy or kitten that you choose: no crusty/scaly skin, good fur condition and bright eyes, and its best if the pet has at least had its first inoculation/vaccinations.
Another option would be to adopt a pet from a departing expat family or from Pengayom Satwa, the animal shelter. Upon departure from Indonesia, you should be committed to finding another home for the pet. Pengayom Satwa will assist you in finding a new home for your pet (Tel. 780-4993), however they usually have more pets than they can afford to care for.
If you enjoy fish, consider purchasing or leasing a marine aquarium and enjoy the vivid colors and species of fish and corals native to the Indonesian archipelago.
Choosing and Caring for your Pet
The most import part of having a great pet, and probably the part which
we spend the least amount of time on, is choosing an appropriate one.
Movies, “popular breeds”, or warm memories of a childhood
pet all affect our choice. Dalmatians, Jack Russell Terriers, longhair
cats, or certain “mixes” are lovely to look at but might not
be the right pet for you. Cruelty and neglect of animals stemming from
family disagreements are often the result of making poor choices in the
A common site in Jakarta is the Jakarta street cat. Their unique tails and individual good looks make each one an original! Having a cat as a pet will require a greater time commitment and will be more expensive to care for than a hamster or rabbit, but will offer entertainment and companionship for the whole family. Before taking on a cat, however, families should consider the costs involved over the entire lifetime of their pet.
A few interesting theories on Why Indonesian Cats Don't Have Tails
In Jakarta there are excellent veterinarians to care for your dogs and cats. Other large cities have some veterinarians as well. In rural areas it may be more difficult to locate a good vet. Inoculations, rabies shots and widely used medication are available in urban centers.
Pets brought to Indonesia from a temperate climate will have to adjust to the high humidity and heat. Though adjust they will, you will also face new challenges keeping your pets free of fungus, fleas and ticks and other tropical conditions. Needless to say, long-haired dogs and cats will have more problems adjusting to the heat than shorter haired pets.
Please treat fleas and ticks in the home and surroundings seriously. Ticks are carriers for blood parasite disease, which can be a very dangerous disease for dogs. Consult to your veterinarian or pet shop if you find fleas or ticks on your pet. You may choose to spray your house against fleas and ticks regularly to prevent fleas and ticks. Read our article on Pest Control.
Feeding your cat is a relatively simple procedure and there is a wide variety of commercially prepared cat food now available in Jakarta. Although cats love snacks such as fresh fish, shrimp, etc. choosing a high quality, balanced, prepared cat food is still best for the health of your pet. Taurine, which is normally added to commercially prepared cat food, is lacking in fresh food diets and can cause health problems later.
It is important that all kittens and cats receive a basic checkup from a reputable veterinarian whether the animal is rescued from the street, obtained from the Pondok Pengayom Satwa (Jakarta Animal Shelter*), or through a reputable breeder. The cat should be wormed, and vaccinations should be given. In healthy kittens, vaccinations should begin at 6 to 8 weeks with second and third dosages administered at 12 and 16 weeks. Panleukopenia (FPV), Rhinotrachetiis (FVR) Calicivirus (FCV), Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Rabies should be administered annually thereafter. In addition, your vet can check and treat other ailments common to the tropics such as ear mites and fungus infections.
Pets may not be attuned to what constitutes danger in Indonesia. One web site reader related that her big cat carried a frog into the house to show her and it happened that the frog had toxic skin. It took two years for their cat to die, with numerous health problems throughout that period.
Another danger is dog snatchers, as dog meat is considered a delicacy by some Indonesian ethnic groups. Your dog could be stolen right from your own front yard if you keep it outdoors without supervision.
The tropical climate of Jakarta makes it even more important to keep food and water bowls clean. Removing uneaten food after an allotted feeding time cuts down on insect and rodent contamination, and the possibility of your pet ingesting parasites. Clean water should be available at all times. Never give raw or spoiled food – and if you do feed fish or chicken, be sure it is thoroughly cooked and all small bones are removed.
After the basics are taken care of, additional time should be spent grooming and playing with your cat or dog. This not only encourages it to bond with you and your family, it provides several health benefits. Brushing removes dead hair and reduces the amount of loose hair in your home, removes dirt and parasitic insects from the fur, stimulates blood supply, improves muscle tone in the back and limbs, and allows you to detect skin ailments and conditions. Long hair cats often require daily grooming to remove tangles and knots. Most cats should be groomed a minimum of once per week depending on coat type. Bathing is usually not required in a healthy indoor cat, however, cats who have had their coats contaminated with oil or grease, or cats with certain skin conditions may require frequent bathing. If daily grooming is not for you, consider a short hair variety.
Positive Influence on the Readjusting Family
If your pet is an integral part of your family and separation from the pet would cause stress to family members, this may pose the biggest factor in your decision making process.
Also, the value of caring for a pet and the ensuing sense of responsibility it instills in children is a valuable experience for them. Parents may feel that the importance of these values outweigh other concerns about bring their pets to Indonesia.
Cost of Pet Care
The cost of feeding a dog or cat that is accustomed to western pet food is high in Indonesia. The cost of feeding imported food to your pet could very well exceed what your household staff spends for food daily. Imported cat or dog food may even be more nutritious (in terms of protein and vitamins) than what your staff eats on a regular basis. This is one of the examples of disparity between the lifestyle of the average expat and the average Indonesian.
A wide variety of pet supplies are currently available in Jakarta. Common pet food brands like Pedigree, Friskies and Ralston Purina may be available at major supermarket chain stores. Premium quality brands such as Life Science Diet, IAMS, Eagle, Nutro and Royal Canine are available at better pet shops.
In addition to pet food, airline-approved cages & kennels, chains, collars & leads, flea and tick control products, health aids, litter & litter boxes, rawhide, shampoos, pet toys and treats and heart worm medicine are also available. Cat and dog toys are readily available from pet shops.
Full Service Pet Shops
While your search for pet food and supplies may start at the nearest supermarket, be sure to check out the excellent pet shops in Jakarta as well. The level of services they offer, from pet supplies, grooming, vet referrals, transport - makes a good pet shop a truly one-stop shop for all your pets needs. The professionals that run the shop can advise you on your pet's dietary requirements and help solve minor health problems. Consult with long-term expat residents and ask which pet shops they recommend.
If you reside outside Jakarta, it would be advisable to establish a relationship with a good pet shop in Jakarta that you can call, fax or Email when you need things for your pets. They will be able to arrange shipment to you wherever you live in the archipelago ... from Aceh to Jayapura!
During the May 1998 evacuation of many expats, pet shops were called upon to supply, care for, and in some cases, arrange for exportation of family pets. It would also be helpful for your household help to know who to call if the pet should become ill during your annual home leave. With a well-established relationship, it is easy for the pet shop to provide these kinds of invaluable assistance. If you are worried about your pet, you can leave your email address with your pet shop and they can contact you in case of any emergency.
Some Cultural Considerations Regarding Pets in Indonesia
Raising pets is not as common in Indonesia as it is in the west. The majority of the population are struggling just to put food on their own plates and could never even consider allotting a portion of the family budget to the care and feeding of a cat or dog. Animals that are owned by rural families are raised for their meat, eggs, milk or other by-products. The tradition of raising household pets is not really a part of Indonesian culture, with the exception of birds. The concept of a cat or dog being a part of the family with free access to the home, beds, sofas, and table scraps is foreign to most Indonesians.
However, feelings towards pets are changing in middle or upper class Indonesian families in urban areas. Purebred cats, dogs and birds are prized by some wealthy Indonesians, not only as pets, but as status symbols of newly acquired wealth. A Persian cat that must be kept in an air-conditioned room is definitely a luxury item.
If you plan to live in an apartment, please be advised that most apartments won't allow pets.
Muslim Views on Dogs
Another important point to consider when trying to decide whether or not to bring your dog to Indonesia is the attitude of Muslims towards dogs. In Islam, it is taught that the dog is an unclean animal and haram (because they groom their anus). If a believer is touched by a dog's nose or licked by a dog, this is an unclean act.
Many household staff will not work in a house that has a dog. Others can tolerate the dog, as long as they don't have to bathe, feed or care for the dog. Others find it highly insulting to have to clean up the dogs feces from your lawn. On the other hand, some household staff, even though they're Muslim, enjoy the family dog and have no problems caring for him whatsoever. To prevent problems later on, explain to household staff 'before you hire them! that you have a dog or cat and what their duties in the care of the pet will be. If you feel that the prospective staff does not want to care for your pet, perhaps it would be best to hire someone else.
Indonesian ethnic groups that do raise dogs are usually Balinese (who believe that the dog's bark scares away bad spirits), Batak or Manado (who eat them), Indonesian Christians, or ethnic Chinese.
If you do decide to bring your pet, make a strong effort to understand the special cultural considerations and make adjustments for them. Perhaps try feeding your dog/cat rice as a main staple, with some imported food mixed in. Most Indonesians feed their domesticated dogs and cats rice and ikan asin (salted fish).
Bringing Pets Back to your Home Country
If you've acquired a pet in Indonesia, and want to bring the pet back to your own country, you will encounter another set of headaches. To take a pet out of Indonesia, you must have an export permit from the Ministry of Agriculture (for dogs and cats), or the Ministry of Forestry (for birds and other animals), even if you brought the pet with you from overseas.
When taking your pet out of Indonesia, you will find the similar procedures as to when you brought them in apply to your pet, depending on the country of your destination. Ask your Pet removals to help you arrange door to door service, and leave the headaches with them.
Be prepared in advance for the countries such as England, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand and Hawaii, because with that countries, your pet MUST be quarantined for a long period of time before it will be released to your care. Be sure that you have in compliance with the requirements of the regulation there.
To export birds and other animals will need an approval from the Department of Forestry, when the CITES category is permitted. This is to prevent the exportation of Endangered species.
If returning to Australia, for example, you cannot ship your pets back direct from Indonesia. They must go to an approved country, like rabies-free Singapore, for 6 months then have blood tests and lots of paperwork done before getting approval to enter Australian from the Australian government. Once this approval has been obtained, and you have permission to ship the animal, they must go into quarantine for 1 to 6 months upon arrival in Australia.
Be aware that if you should have to leave Indonesia during an emergency evacuation, that you may not be allowed to bring your pet with you. Some expats found this out, the hard way, in May 1998. They had to delay their departure, or opted to leave the pet with a moving company for care until the pet could be evacuated.
In case of emergency evacuation, contact your pet specialist to ask them to arrange boarding, supply food or looking after your pet in your house or arrange export of your pet to your country.
Purebred Dogs and Cats
There are very active organizations in Indonesia which promote pedigree breeding. If you are bring a purebred dog or cat to Indonesia, you can register the birth of any offspring and participate in regularly scheduled dog and cat shows, through Perkumpulan Kinologi Indonesia - the Indonesian Kennel Club.
Choosing and Caring for a Dog in Indonesia
Dogs, long considered “man’s best friend” in many cultures,
are increasingly popular as house pets in wealthier non-Muslim families in Jakarta. Before deciding to
get a dog, be sure that you and your family have the time and patience
needed to train and care for it, and are willing to commit to it for the
rest of its life. Your pet’s first few months in its new home are
extremely important. Avoid introducing a new dog or cat to your home during
hectic holiday periods.
In addition, the possibility of developing certain cancers is eliminated, and there is less chance that he or she will be injured in fights, cutting down on future medical bills and trauma. A relatively simple procedure, pets are often returned home the same day. Regardless of how special your dog or cat, finding good, forever homes for puppies or kittens is not easy – just ask the professionals at the animal shelter or the many unwanted animals wandering the streets today.
Information on quarantines in Indonesia (in Bahasa Indonesia)
Pet Rescue Organizations in Indonesia
A great place to get a pet is through a pet rescue shelter. Dedicated volunteers take in and foster cats and dogs and then work hard to get them adopted into homes where the families will raise them humanely and with loving care.
Although it is illegal to trade and purchase protected and endangered animals there continues to be a huge market for them. It is estimated that 32% of mammal species found in Indonesia are classified as threatened. By removing other species, even those which are currently not considered “protected”, a gap is made in an already fragile ecosystem. Several government agencies and NGOs continue to work to stop this trade, but as long as there are buyers there will be sellers. Purchasing these animals is illegal and cruel. Do your part by refusing to purchase!
Small monkeys, young wildcats, slow lorises, cuscus, beautiful birds, tropical fish, reptiles do not make good pets.
Even though many wild animals are protected by Indonesian law making it illegal to capture, sell or own them, they still show up in shops and on the streets for sale. It may be tempting to buy them for any number of reasons, but first consider these facts:
What about products made from animal parts? Do we really need by-products of protected animals?
Please do not buy wild animals, birds fish or reptiles or products made from them. Purchasing animals or their by-products creates a market for them. As we have seen with the ban on ivory, the only way poaching will stop is if markets for the products dry up.
(The endangered species information was generously provided by Sahabat Satwa, Friends of the Zoo)
Special thanks to Drh. Ooy Komariah of the Rumah Sakit Hewan (Jakarta Animal Hospital) and Michelle Bruce for their significant contributions to this article. Michelle is a true animal lover and volunteers at Pondok Pengayom Satwa. Pondok Pengayom Satwa (Jakarta Animal Shelter) – Jl. Harsono No. 1, Ragunan, Jakarta. 780-5280
Special thanks to Allied Pickfords for their information on Pet Importation.
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