Getting a dog is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To help those thinking of getting a dog, we chatted with Sally Anderson of Hong Kong Dog Rescue to note the things to consider BEFORE adopting a dog, and we’ve also added the best dog adoption places in Hong Kong.
Anyone thinking about getting a dog or pet of any kind must consider all aspects carefully, especially if it is likely that Hong Kong will not always be their home. Too many pets are abandoned when their owners move to another country.
Things to Consider Before Adopting a Dog in Hong Kong
1. Why Are You Getting a Dog?
Is it because your children want one (a very common reason)? Remember when your child was desperate for that latest toy and wouldn’t be happy until they had one, then lost interest very quickly? The same applies to a puppy. A child begging for a dog should never be the reason to adopt, as it’s a commitment to that dog’s life.
The whole family must agree that having a dog is what they want, and the adults must have the final say and choice of which puppy or dog will join them.
2. As a Recently Married Couple, is the Idea of Having a “Baby” Sweet?
Many dogs are let go when a real human baby comes along, so a dog should never be a substitute child, unless there will never be human children born, or a commitment to the dog is guaranteed for its entire life.
3. Have You Got the Time For a Dog?
If you work and don’t have a helper or, at the very least, a dog walker, then don’t get a dog. Dogs are social animals by nature and don’t handle being alone well, which can lead to all sorts of problems. It’s also not fair, or kind, to have a dog that you will leave on its own all day.
4. Can you Give a Dog Adequate Exercise?
Many people think one 30-minute walk a day is all that’s required, but it’s not enough no matter the size of the dog. Taking a dog out is great physical exercise but it also gives a dog a chance to meet dog and human friends, play, and socialise. Dogs that aren’t socialised develop the same sort of issues that people do when kept isolated.
5. Do You Want a Trained Dog or a Young Puppy, and if the Latter Do You Have the Time, Patience and Knowledge to Train a Puppy?
If you have children, remember that all puppies bite with sharp teeth, and that children must never be expected to be responsible for the care or exercising of a dog, no matter how much they promise to do so.
6. Does Your Building and/or Landlord Allow Pets?
Many don’t, so be sure to check first!
If you’re thinking of buying a puppy or a dog in Hong Kong, please remember that there is no such thing as a happy breeding dog and puppy farms are incredibly cruel. There are animals of every kind waiting to be adopted, and buying should simply never be an option. Contact all of the dog rescue and rehoming organisations in the city and be prepared to wait. You will almost certainly find the exact puppy you are looking for, fancy and exotic breeds excepted (although, even then you never know)!
Seriously thinking about getting a dog? Then be sure to get your family and yourself tested for allergies to dogs, if you haven’t already.
The Dog Adoption Process in Hong Kong
Visit your chosen centre to interact with the dogs. The SPCA recommends going with all your family members (including helpers) to ensure that everyone in the family gets on with the dog and vice versa. Adopters have to be aged 21 or over and hold a valid Hong Kong ID.
The centre will then undertake an assessment on the applicant, which is based on various factors including whether the housing allow pets, number of family members, number of existing pets, animal care experience, time spent with the animal, breed of the animal, character of animals, the concept of raising a pet and the interaction with animals during the visit etc.
You will have to submit proof of residential address and a representative from the centre may come to your home to inspect it.
In terms of fees, the Hong Kong SPCA charges from $900 to adopt a mongrel puppy/ dog and from $1,500 for a pure bred/ cross breed puppy/ dog. Desexing deposits start from $1,000.
Where to Adopt a Dog in Hong Kong
Consider adopting from one of the following organisations:
- Hong Kong Dog Rescue
- SPCA Hong Kong
- Kirsten’s Zoo
- Catherine’s Puppies
- Whiskers & Paws
- Team for Animals in Lantau South (TAILS)
- Lifetime Animal Protection (LAP) Charity
- HK Paws (Adopt or foster)
This article appeared in Playtimes Magazine February Issue 2018 (updated online August 2021)