Saturday, November 12, 2011

How are the dogs and cats doing in Laos?

I got aware of a group of people from Ottawa looking for funding to get a Vet to Laos to help dogs and cats.
As a pet lover and dog owner I was wondering what kind of help is needed in Laos?
From my observation there are not many streetdogs, at least in Vientiane. if there are strays, they are often in a good shape, since food is available everywhere. Yes diseases like rabies are there, but I did not hear of a significant outbreak.
In fact, what you see is that more and more people get the idea of a pet instead of a watchdog. I see more and more people walking a dog, and when you see how busy Dr. Kamdeng is these days, you see that there is a significant change in the way dogs are treatet.
For sure there is still more to do. For example, people here still don't spay and neuter there dogs. "Cannot" is what they say if I ask them. However, some give female dogs an injection to prevent them getting pregnant.
It seems that Lao people pretty good learn from each other. Treating a dog well has bacone a fashion, and this akey for success. There are to many organisations trying to educate, instead giving just support and a bit if advice when needed.
When I showed people in my street that my dogs listen to commands, they said uts because they are foreign dogs. When I showed them that it takes me five minutes toteach their dog the command "sit" they started thinking. In particular kids now trying to train their dogs, pet them, hug them and watching them if they want to run on the street.
That is another problem: since people are used to just open the gate and let the dogs out in the morning, they are at great risk getting hit by are car (or stolen by either people who want a dog or dog meat sellers).
So another afford might be to change behavior from open the gate to walk the dog, what is, as i said, already happening, but of course with the Lao pace.
I was thinking about starting dog classes where they learn commands, but where owners also learn about dog behavior, diseases and how to handle dogs well.
Another stereotype is that dogs in laos are afraid if people. they are actually not, they are just careful. If you waita bit, they will come closer, because they want to know who you are. I always show people my patience with dogs and many are surprised that at the end the dogs isn't scared at all.

What's your experience with dogs in Laos?


  1. Nataly Wanhoff Often it is a question of money, too. When the dog of our guard Mr. Soukhan fell sick he was very sad and his daughter cried a lot, because she thought the dog has to die. A visit at the Vet was not possible simply because of financial reasons - they could not afford it, even they wanted to help the dog. We found a good solution and the dog got healthy again. And we see every day how much this family learns to look better after their dog. As I observed in Thailand it is just a question of time until things change.

  2. Coming every 3-4 years in Laos, i definitely noticed a reduction in dog's nuisance.
    In 2009, i barely heard a bark at night while in 2000 they where barking like crazy all night long.
    Same for the dogs crossed on the street : most laos have scars from their encounter with dogs while riding their bike. I used to drive with both my feet kicking in front of me, honking every 100s of meters (driving lao style which incidentally must have had an impact on problem 1) but not so last time.

  3. In March, I will be going to Luang Prabang with a veterinarian who will be assisting a local veterinarian with spaying and neutering dogs and cats. I will be posting on my blog when I have access.