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Having Pets in Indonesia

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

Only transport your pets in airline-approved cagesYour 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:

  1. First you bring your dog or cat with you when you travel to Indonesia, as excess baggage. Ask the airline to assure that you and your pet are well prepared for the journey. Not every airline will accept to transport the pet by excess baggage. If you bring your pets on the same inbound flight as your family, you can check on their welfare during each stage of the journey. Review the check-in, in-flight, transit and final destination procedures with the airline to assure that you and your pet are prepared for the journey.
  2. Another way is by cargo, as an unaccompanied pet transfer. By "unaccompanied" it means that you are not on the same plane that your pet is traveling on. You can request a pet removals firm to make all arrangements at both ends of the journey. Usually the cost of cargo is cheaper than excess baggage. This may be more practical as well if you have several stops along the way on your trip to Indonesia.
  3. NOTE: Not all airlines will transport pets, so it may not be possible to have your pet on the same flight as you.

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 export expenses when you  move back to your home country or your next overseas posting.

A Few Tips for Your Pets' Comfort During Air Travel

  • If you have a long journey, schedule a layover so that your pets don't have to fly all the way through in one day. Some hotels will let you bring your pet in if you are traveling overseas, check ahead.
  • Be sure that you transport your pet in a traveling kennel that is the right size to accommodate your pet's height, weight and length. The animal should be able to stand up, lay down, and turn around with ease for long journey. Be sure the traveling kennel is clearly marked with your origin and destination contact information.
  • Choose a cage with a strong metal door, or metal wire-mesh, not a plastic door. Plastic doors will not be allowed according to new airline regulations. A lock or plastic strip to lock the door is sometimes required by the airline to avoid an escape, but if you lock the door, attach one key securely to the cage, in case of an emergency if the door must be opened.
  • Force your pet to get accustomed to his traveling kennel for a few days before he travels in it. Feed your pet in it and let him use it as a bed. If you wait until the day of travel to try to get your pet to enter the traveling kennel, you may have serious difficulties.
  • A favorite blanket or toy left in the traveling kennel for the trip will help ease the pet's unease. Don't put anything else in the cage except a layer of newspapers.
  • Be sure there is an attached water bottle that can be filled from the outside without opening the door. Airline personnel will water your pet in transit but will not do anything else.
  • Don't feed your dog/cat too much before it is transported to the airport. Just give some food at least six hours before departure.
  • Don't give your pet tranquilizers since most of them will cause hypo-tension/suppress the blood flow which could lead to suffocation.
  • Be sure your pet is in healthy condition before you put him into the cage.
  • If you plan a layover in Singapore, even for a few hours, be certain that you have the proper transit papers for your pets. You may have to pay a transit fee.

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 submitting various paperwork, listed below.

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 if you bring them from a non-rabies free country (see list below).

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.

Pet must be microchipped. The microchip used should comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.

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). It can be a complicated task to complete custom clearance upon arrival, paying import duties, without the assistance of someone who is experienced in these procedures. Appointing a pet removals agent to handle this is the best way to avoid complicated procedures and shorten the time that your pet must spend at the airport or in a customs hold.

Documents Required

  • Copy of pet owner's passport
  • Letter of Recommendation from the Department of Veterinary Science in the country of origin
  • Copy of pet's Health Certificate - issued by a licensed veterinarian
  • Vaccination Book
  • Rabies Certificate with information on vaccinations required.
  • Results of a recent Titer Test
  • Pet's name, breed, sex, age and color on paperwork
  • Written description of the pet
  • Local Import License must be obtained from the Indonesian Agricultural Department before pet arrives (needs at least one week to process)

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 import permit is only good for a 30-day period, so plan accordingly.

Pet Importation

Vaccinations / Tests Required

  • All Up-to-Date Vaccinations - all given from 21 days to one year before transport to Indonesia
    Dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus (DHLP)
    Cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP)
  • Rabies Vaccination
  • Titer Test (minimum 21 days after vaccination) with protective antibody titer result

The Rabies Injection must:

  • be administered AT LEAST 1 MONTH prior to the animal’s departure date from the city of origin
  • be valid for LESS THAN 1 YEAR upon the animal’s arrival into Indonesia.
  • Certificate must include the pet's microchip information, dates of rabies shots and validity of the shots (one or two years). Vaccine used has to be an inactivated vaccine.

Please note that there can be NO RABIES SHOT GIVEN DURING THE QUARANTINE PERIOD, so please take this into consideration when planning.

The Titer Test must:

  • be a FAVN blood test showing sufficient antibody levels for rabies, with sample approved by foreign government agency that's authorized to do that.
  • Work with your vet to draw the serum sample and send it to the appropriate lab for analysis
  • The results of the blood test must be 0.5 IU/ml or above in order to be allowed to enter Indonesia.

Customs Regulations:

  • Pets are subject to import duties and taxes
  • Must be for personal/private use and not for resale
  • Customs will require the Import License, the Health Book showing all up-to-date vaccinations, and a copy of the Owner's Passport.

Destination Services provide the following services:

  • Obtain the Import License
  • Customs Clearance your Pet
  • Deliver your Pet to Quarantine
  • Pick up from Quarantine and Deliver to your Residence

Destination Services Costs include:

  • Import Duties
  • Quarantine Fees
  • Application and paperwork fees

Pet Quarantine

Indonesian government regulations on the importation of pets have the goal of the Jakarta area and the island of Java to become RABIES FREE, thus the need for quarantine. The quarantine is officially given as 14 days upon provision of all needed documents and clearance at the airport. There is a fee paid to the Indonesian government 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

The consequences of this are: ONLY Pets (dogs or cats) coming from RABIES-FREE COUNTRIES can be easily imported to Jakarta, Indonesia. Pets from Rabies infected areas can enter Jakarta legally provided they have the right documentation and health records. But because of the law all animals must spend 14 days in Quarantine regardless of health documentation before they can enter the country. For more information, contact the Dept. Agriculture (62-21) 781-5580.

Consult the CDC's list of Rabies Free Countries.

Quarantine of Pets

Preparing these documents in advance will help expedite your pet through quarantine:

  • Report to the quarantine officials at least one week prior to arrival
  • Provide a certificate of rabies vaccination from a public veterinarian or an authorized veterinarian of the originating country.
  • Provide a Health Certificate from an animal quarantine/public veterinarian of the originating country.
  • Get an Import Recommendation from the Provincial Animal Breeding Services of the destination region.
  • Get an Import Approval from the Directorate of Animal Health, Directorate General of Animal Breeding.

Diplomatic Exemption

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, Manado, Makassar 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

NOTE: All regulations are subject to change - so check with your airline or pet transport company to see if your pet meets the current requirements.

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 may be 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 beginning.

Before you get started, consider the amount of energy, time, space, and money which you have to devote to your new family member. Small domesticated mammals such as hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs all make good pets and require less space, little training, and are less expensive to care for than a cat or dog. Small animals of this type can be obtained in Jakarta through friends, from advertisements on school and community bulletin boards, and reputable animal supply shops. If purchasing, be sure the cages are clean and the animals are well cared for before you spend your money.

In your quest for a small pet you may find yourself in one of the many animal markets in Jakarta. You might find hamsters crowded into cages alongside protected jungle cats, monkeys, and birds, all living in deplorable conditions. Many have reached the market after a cruel and dangerous journey at the hands of animal smugglers. For every one animal in the market, statistics say that nine have already died, either during capture or transport. Killing of mothers to take babies, and extraction of the animals’ teeth to make them “lovable” are common techniques practiced by animal traders.

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 Pets are an important part of children's liveswidely 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, pug nosed breeds, 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.

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 are 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 where pet supplies are sold.

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, and 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. Some even offer boarding facilities. 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 Pet Birdanother 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.

Many future problems can be avoided by choosing your puppy or dog carefully. The tropical climate in Jakarta can be difficult for dogs with thick or long hair, dogs with excessive skin folds, pug noses, or very thin coats. It is also a good idea to avoid over bred dogs that might have genetic or personality problems that develop over time.

Time is an important factor. How much time do you have to care for your dog? Dogs that live mainly indoors may require bathing twice a month, outdoor dogs more frequently. Long coated dogs will need to be groomed daily. Will your dog require grooming by a professional? How often? Also, how much time do you have to spend exercising, training, and playing with your dog? Playtime is an excellent way for your dog to bond with you. If this exercise is routinely assigned to your gardener or other staff member you will find that your dog will bond with your staff instead of you or your family.

Once you have narrowed down the kind of dog you are looking for – puppy or adult… short hair or long… large or small - you may want to start your search at Pondok Pengayom Satwa* (Jakarta Animal Shelter). A wide and ever changing variety of dogs and cats is available including “pedigree” animals, puppies/kittens, and older dogs and cats which have many good, loving years in them but for unfortunate reasons have been turned over to the shelter.

If you must have a pedigree animal be prepared to do your homework. As dogs grow in popularity the tendency to breed and sell them purely for profit is also growing. Puppy mills, puppy markets, and unscrupulous breeders are on the increase. When you visit a breeder, ask to meet both parents of your prospective puppy. Ask to see their living conditions. If either of these requests is impossible to meet, and unexplainable, perhaps you should consider another breeder. Temperament, genetic disorders, and diseases that can be passed on from adults to puppies such as Démodé tic mange can often be observed in related animals. Highly contagious and fatal diseases such as Parvo and Distemper are common, especially in animals bred and raised under crowded, unsanitary conditions.

When you purchase any animal, pedigreed or not, be sure you get their record of basic vaccinations.

Once you have chosen a dog it should be given a thorough health checkup and be vaccinated. Puppies should begin their vaccination schedule at approximately 5 to 6 weeks of age. Additional vaccinations will be needed again at 8-12 weeks, 16 weeks, and again, after the first year. You should receive a documented shot record from your veterinarian, which should be kept up to date and in a safe place.

The many pet food product lines available in Jakarta make feeding your dog easy. Feeding a complete and balanced dog food will ensure optimum health. While your dog will happily eat table scraps, this can lead to stomach upsets and nutritional problems later in life. Adult dogs should be fed approximately two meals per day, removing uneaten food after a short time. Allowing food to remain out all day encourages insect and rodent infestation which is not healthy for either you or your pet. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times.

Keeping your dog healthy is not difficult; however regular yearly checkups are recommended. Skin disorders such as fungus, allergies, reactions to tick bites, and worms are common medical problems affecting dogs in Jakarta and can be cleared up relatively easily if caught in the early stages. Any changes or irritation in your dog’s coat should be discussed with your vet. Ensuring that the dog’s fur is thoroughly dried and that its coat and bedding remain dry in between baths will help to cut down on many of these problems.

Ticks are another common problem in Jakarta, and may carry disease that can be fatal, especially in young or old dogs. Manually removing ticks and disposing of them in rubbing alcohol – not squashing - ensures that the eggs will not be spread. Many new products, such as Frontline, which actually inhibit ticks from reproducing, are now available in Jakarta. Although relatively expensive, they can eliminate much of the need for more old-fashioned methods such as flea collars, dipping, etc.

The good news is that Heartworm, another fatal parasite that is common in many countries, is actually uncommon in Jakarta. It does exist, however, in cooler areas such as Puncak and Cipanas. Testing is available, however not all forms and brands of medication are. If you are importing your pet and would like to continue with the treatment you currently use, bring a year’s supply with you until availability can be established.

Also noteworthy is the existence of the disease Leptospirosis. Spread by rat urine, it is still fairly common in Indonesia and can be fatal to your dog. In addition to keeping your pet’s vaccination for Leptospirosis up to date, it is recommended that dogs who are “rat catchers” be discouraged from this hobby as it is dangerous to their health even when vaccinated.

Last, but not least, is the issue of sterilizing your pet. This is perhaps the most important single thing you can do, not only for your pet, but for yourself. Internationally, millions of animals die on the streets of infectious disease, complications from fighting, poisoning, or car accidents. Jakarta is no different. By sterilizing your own pets, and any outdoor cats you feed and maintain on a regular basis, you can make a difference in this problem. Sterilization can be done as early as six months and is a relatively simple procedure. In addition to cutting down on the number of homeless animals produced each year, early neutering and spaying will make your pet a more contented family member and will make it less likely to want to mark its territory by spraying.

In addition, sterilization may lead to a reduced 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 - Karantina.Pertanian.go.id (in Bahasa Indonesia)
The Saga of Bolt: Recovery from Canine Distemper in 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.

Jakarta Animal Aid Network
Ayang-Ayang Cat Shelter
Let’s Adopt! (in Bahasa Indonesia)

Endangered Species

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 Orangutan are NOT pets !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:

  1. For live infant animals to be captured, the parents are frequently killed to get to the baby.
  2. When capturing birds, large nets may be used which injure or kill many to capture only a few.
  3. Poisons may be used to stun tropical fish, destroying coral reefs in the process.
  4. Animals are often smuggled in crowded containers with little ventilation and no nourishment, so many die en route.
  5. Most people, including the vendors, do not know the dietary requirements of wild animals.
  6. Wild animals and birds often carry diseases and parasites that can be easily transmitted to humans. Some of these can be fatal, especially to infants and young children.
  7. The cute, cuddly baby animal can quickly grow into a strong, dangerous adult.
  8. Ragunan Zoo already has carefully selected animals and does not have the space or funds to take on unwanted additions, nor does it wish to expose its animals to the risk of introduced diseases.
  9. Regardless of vendor assurance that an animal has not been taken from the wild, it usually has. Even if they are set free, caged animals could die because they cannot feed or protect themselves.

Incredibly beautiful Asian TigersWhether a wild animal is endangered or not, it plays an important role in the ecosystem in which it lives and it belongs in the wild. Therefore, the only appropriate pet is a domesticated animal. The following animals are recommended as pets: dogs, domestic cats, domestic rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, budgies, canaries, domestic ducks, domestic geese and goldfish.

What about products made from animal parts? Do we really need by-products of protected animals?

  1. Wallets, purses, shoes or belts made from crocodile and snake skin are good examples. Even if advertised as 'farm raised', often the eggs come from the wild.
  2. Tortoise-shell jewelry and table ornaments. Tortoise shell is often removed cruelly from living turtles which are endangered and protected by law.
  3. Many sea shells are also endangered. The chambered nautilus is one of the most familiar.

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.

Last updated August 1, 2023