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Living In Korea With Your Pet: Things To Know

Recently, one of my friends left Korea after 5 years. The whole time he was in Korea he stayed with his dog. He brought his dog with him to South Korea. Their stay in Korea, had it’s ups and downs. Mostly due to the fact that my friends dog is a big dog.

Koreans in general love small, petite dogs. They are not accustomed to “larger” dogs. This poses problems at times. Big dogs are usually considered ‘scary’ and ‘dangerous’ and pretty much have a bad rep.

This is not to say that ‘ALL’ Koreans are against big dogs. Regardless of the size of your pet, here are somethings to know before you bring your pet over.

Apartment Policies Regarding Pets

bringing your pet to koreaHousing is very important to consider. Many apartments in Korea do not allow pets. Some places allow pet but only small and medium sized. Big pets are prohibited in many apartment complexes.

So before moving, make sure that the apartment management allows pets of ANY size. This is crucial because many landlords put a limit on the size and weight of the pet. In Korea, landlords generally have more legal rights then tenants and can kick you out on a whim. Therefore, make sure that you get it in writing. Preferably, have it included in the lease especially, if you are going to live in school-provided housing.

Additionally, try to establish a good relationship with your neighbors, or find a building where the neighborhood is pet friendly. Friendly neighbors usually are more forgiving and you won’t receive many complaints about the pet.

Rules, Regulations And Penalties

South Korea has specific rules and regulations regarding pets, especially in public places. Failure to comply with these rules can result in hefty penalties.

Dog owners in Korea are required to have Identification Tags for dog. The name tags must include the owner’s name, address and phone number. There are expensive penalties if the pet dogs are found outside, even on a leash without name tags. The owners are could earn a fine of up to 200,000 KRW.

leash regulationsKorea also enforces Leash regulations. Pets must be on a leash when in public places. Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to W100,000.

Korean government also requires RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags/chips. The RFID chips are 8mm long and 2mm in diameter. They contain general information about the animal, as well as its owners name and contact details, and should be injected into your pet’s skin by a veterinarian.

The Korean regulations also require all dogs 3 month old and over to be registered with the local government. This can be done at a local vet or animal hospital. Failure to do so can result in penalties. First offenders get a warning. However, the second offense can result in a fine between 200,000 KRW to a maximum of 400,000 KRW.

poop and scoop regulationKorea also has Poop & Scoop rules. Owners are supposed to pick up after their pets. Owners who do not clean up after their pets are liable to a fine of up to 100,000 KRW.

Pets In Eating Establishments And Other Public Places

Most regular restaurants and cafes do not allow pets. However, Korea has Pet ‘Restaurants’.

pet cafe in koreaThese popular cafes are “dog” or “cat” specific. You are allowed to bring your own pets. Your pets should be healthy, properly groomed and non-aggressive.

off-leash dog park in SeoulAn enclosed, off-leash dog park also opened last year in Seoul Children’s Grand Park – it’s small but well-kept and a rare treat for city dogs to stretch their legs.

Many National parks and beaches prohibit pets. However, there are a few dog-friendly beaches and camping areas on the east and west coast. In fact, the local government in the eastern city of Gangneung opened up a section of the local beach for pets to use.

dog beach in GangneungIt’s South Korea’s first dog-friendly beach. The section of the beach is available for pets only certain days.

Pet Food

pet food is readily availablePet food for dogs and cats can be easily found all over the country. However, it is still harder to find cat food in many places. In areas, where there is a large expat population, one can find both cat and dog food pretty much everywhere. Although it is readily available and increasingly affordable, most pet products can still be more expensive than in Europe or North America. Since smaller species are more common, finding good qualify food and accessories for medium to large-sized breeds can be difficult and expensive. You can also order pet food from GMarket or Costco.

Pet Products

pet products in koreaShops selling pet care products are pretty much everywhere. Clothing, Toys, beds, cushions and almost every pet accessory you can think of can be found in Korea. Foreign-made toys and treats can be found in specialized stores or can be ordered on Amazon.


grooming serviceGrooming shops are everywhere. The grooming store offer services like bath, haircut and extra attention to the coats to help reduce shedding etc. The cost depends often on the size of the animal. You can also find pet daycare, pet-sitters and boarding facilities. Korea also has affordable veterinary offices and animal hospitals.

Bringing your pet to South Korea can present cultural hindrances and issues. The costs of owning a pet are definitely higher here. is a great website for foreigners who want to bring their pets to Korea. You can find information about English-speaking vet clinics, the cost of raising a pet in Korea, vacation spots and places to take your pets, along with the process of bringing your pet home when you leave South Korea.

Living in Korea with your pet can definitely be complicated. However, if you’re ready to handle all the possible challenges that comes with living in a foreign country with a pet, then you’re in for a ride of a lifetime!