A 5-Stars (out of 5) Vet in Hanoi! Meet Dr. Bao

25 05 2011
Veterinarian in Hanoi

What's up doc??


Just moved to Hanoi and in need of a recommended veterinarian? According to The New Hanoian Dr. Bao is just a phone call away. From emergencies to basic check-ups, Dr. Bao is on many pet-owner’s speed dial (0903223217). According to one cat owner, “Dr. Bao is a lively, affable guy and provides a service which is definitely needed by foreigners living in Hanoi. One call and the good doctor and his assistant will show up at your home and treat your critter for whatever ails ’em. A strong English language ability, funny tales and a good bedside manner are all included free of charge.”


Not all practicing veterinarians are qualified to treat small companion animals. To date, universities in Vietnam focus on livestock care/treatment. Teaching small animal medicine is an after-thought and still considered a “luxury”. But as the country continues to develop and modernize the need for well-trained “pet vets” will increase. Having just finished one of James Herriot’s books, it is interesting to note the similarities in attitudes. Back in the early 1930’s, England was still a highly agrarian society (much like Vietnam) thus the need for qualified “farm animal doctors” was very important. People back then often ridiculed those veterinarians who did practice companion animal medicine, claiming it to be a blue-blooded hobby and not a real profession unlike the livestock veterinarians.


According to one of Dr. Bao’s patient’s (owner), “Kim and Sophie were both supposed to be girls. Imagine my shock and surprise when we returned from a holiday to find them, er, wrestling all over the house….Dr Bao to the rescue! He came and gave the bunnies a physical and took Kim away for an overnight stay. Eventually peace, calm and cuteness restored to our house! Dr Bao dispenses advice on pet care and overall is keen to provide education on how to respect and provide better care for animals. I always leave his number if we are holidaying so our pet minders can call if him needed.”


“5 stars for Dr Bau! Fantastic service. Attentive, passionate and he knows his stuff! The house calls help my puppy avoid infectious diseases in a ‘clinic’ environment. Now he is vaccinated without fuss and at a reasonable cost. A plan was written up for the next few months and I also received some great tips ad advice. My puppy would have left with him if he could’ve.”

“Dr Bau has treated my kitten many times, he lives on the same street as me and always comes very quickly when I call. He has perfect english and genuinely loves animals. Whenever I call him he answers and he is always very thorough with his consultation. He is extremely kind and caring. When my kitten was really ill he took him to his house and gave him an IV drip and checked him/fed him/played with him many times during the night. He is extremely cheap compared to western prices just a few dollars for a home visit, maybe more for houses further away, his service could not be better!”



Help My Cat’s Been Cat-Napped!!!!

29 04 2011
Help! My Cat Has Been Stolen!

"Meow... I want to go home!"

It seems as if pet-napping has become more rampant in Vietnam. The economic motive behind the theft is great. Usually the reward for returning the pet to the the grief stricken family is high, a few month’s salary high. The incentive is there so pet-napping has become an easy way to “earn” money. If your pet ever gets “napped” in Hanoi, here are some of the things you should know and do.


1. Don’t bother going to the police. They will be unable to assist you.

2. Quickly post up reward posters around your neighborhood. Include a photo of your pet and in big bold letters, the reward amount.

3. No matter if your pet is spayed/neutered or NOT, state that your pet is “de-sexed”. Many times people steal pets in hopes of breeding them.

4. Show NO tears!!! When you visit the following places, pack your tears away and go with a poker face. The more emotion you show, the more expensive it will be to get your pet back.

5. Post the reward posters in both English and Vietnamese.


1. Go in the morning to the pet market at the Buoi Market**

2.  Take a look inside the pet shops along Hoang Hoa Tham

3. Dong Xuan Market and Hang Da Market often sell pets/ animals

4. There is a market that sells stolen pets on Duong Kim Nguu. You go down the street a ways until you get to the market and then go inside.

**One more thing about the Buoi market, it takes place on days in “4” and “9” according to the soli-lunar calendar (this means on the “4”, “9”, “14”, “19”, “24” and “29”).
The next market will then be on tuesday 26th of April (24 in the lunar calendar).

5. There is a street called Phung Hung near Hoan Kiem Lake, there are also some pet shops there selling kittens and cats.

Pet-Friendly Hotel in Vietnam?

17 03 2011
Where to go with pets
“We’re goin’ for a ride!”


I’ll give you a quick answer, NO! As of now, there are no official pet-friendly hotels in Vietnam. But off the record, there are a number that will allow pets to stay if you can get someone to negotiate for you in Vietnamese. But before you start imagining yourself poolside at the Nam Hai or the Sofitels with Fifi, I have to let you know, all the 5-star hotels have a seriously strict NO DOGS, NO PETS allowed policy. Instead, look for the 2-star motels or any kind of backpacker establishment as a possible option. However, there IS one resort I know of in Vietnam who has a discreet pet-sort-of-friendly policy. It is a well-kept secret by many pet-owners in Hanoi. It is called the Van Chai Resort and it is about 170km (2.5-3 hours) outside of Hanoi. Pet Friendly Van Chai Click Here. The Resort is located on Sam Son beach, a private beachside sanctuary complete with indoor and outdoor pools, spa, and acres of well-maintained tropical gardens. Our three dogs got their first taste of freedom after a year of being on a leash in Hanoi. Van Chai is the PERFECT place to stay with your pets and a great escape from the pollution and mayhem of Hanoi.

Chillin poolside

We'd like 3 Liver-Daiquiris please!


Our dogs were over the moon at being able to run around the premise freely. At first they didn’t know what to do or where to go, they were so used to being leashed during their walks. I must stress that we went during the off-season, mid January, so it seemed like we were the only guests at the resort. Consequently, we were able to let our dogs run amok and explore to their heart’s content. Not sure, the management would be too thrilled to see dogs poolside during the peak season, with other guests lying around.

Van Chai Pet Friendly

"How's this pose? Did you get the boat in the background?"


With so much private beachfront, there was so much space for the dogs to explore and sniff around.  The hotel staff was also very friendly. However, it’s not the nicest beach, I’ve ever seen. Don’t expect a stunning seascape! The ocean is quite wild and the water is a chocolate brown color. The beach was dotted with broken shells and washed up “junk” yet it was a peaceful retreat after living in Hanoi. I am sure as the country continues to develop and pets become more popular, more hotels will consider changing their no pet policy to a pet-friendly one. As of now, the best place to go is Van Chai Resort, but please remember to pick up after your dogs so everyone can enjoy a clean, poop-free environment!

Van Chai beach and Nhopa

"I thought you said we're going to Miami Beach!"

"I'm going to pretend I don't notice you trying to do the peace sign behind my head!"

"I really dig this place because.... SQUIRREL!!!!!"

Van Chai and the Dogs

"Tam Biet Van Chai Resort! It was fun, although you should stock the mini-bar with bones instead of chocolate!!"


2 03 2011
District 10- Pet Market

DO NOT BUY pet from District 10



Looking to buy a pure-breed dog or cat? Avoid District 10 in Ho Chi Minh City at ALL costs! 90% of pets bought at this market end up dead. Why? Uneducated and greedy breeders simply looking for a quick profit. Puppies and kittens are NOT vaccinated, not given water and left in the sun all day. Animals that appear to be sick are given shots of steroid to boost their activity level (steroid suppresses immune systems, making it much easier for animals to contract an illness). Those puppies and kittens that are too ill to be sold are thrown into a plastic bag and dumped in the trash. When veterinarian, Dr. Nghia of Saigon Pet approached breeders in D10 with an affordable vaccine program they cursed and chased him away. The stench of ignorance and greed at this pet market is greater than the waste product of the animals.


As I walked among the wire cages, set out under Saigon’s blazing sun, I couldn’t help but notice how weak and sick the puppies appeared. When I bent down for closer inspection, the breeder jabbed the puppy with a stick to make it seem more alert. When a potential buyer inquired after a small Dalmatian in the cage, the breeder grabbed the dog by one leg and lifted the yelping puppy from its wire prison. There seems to be little one can do to stop the suffering and pain these animals endure. Aside from not buying and fueling the demand for these pets, there is little recourse. ARC Vietnam is currently looking into the matter to see what they can do to help. Initial thinking is to offer vaccines for a lower cost. Currently, basic combo vaccines start at 300,000 ($15USD). A puppy at 400,000 ($20USD). Clearly, vaccinations cut into the breeder’s bottom-line.


Not only is D10 a deplorable pet market, but a market to find stolen pets. On approach, I was asked if I wanted to buy a pet or if I was looking for a kidnapped pet. I played along and said I was looking for Lucy, my white-long haired Turkish Angora. I described the cat in great detail. A woman sitting nearby quickly jumped up from her plastic chair and said, “yes we have. we found your cat in Thao Dien!” The woman disappeared for about twenty minutes and returned with a white-haired cat. “Here your cat!” What she didn’t know is that I do not own cats. Her ruse was pathetic. I wondered who the cat truly belonged to! Sadly, as Vietnam continues to emerge and grow, so will the demand for pets. Irresponsible and abhorrent breeders will continue treating animals in a disgusting and inhumane manner if nothing is done to stop. Government support of ARC’s education and low-cost vaccine initiatives might be the only thing that will change these death row dog and cat breeders.

Dying Puppies in District 10

Dying Puppies in D10 Pet Market

Sick and dying kittens

Dying kittens in D10 Pet Market, HCMC

Meet Dr. Nghia

22 02 2011

Dr. Nghia Bac S Y Cho/ Meo

“When a man has pity on all living creatures then only is he noble.” – Buddha



Americans now spend $41 billion a year on their pets—more than the gross domestic product of all but 64 countries in the world. That’s double the amount shelled out on pets a decade ago, with annual spending expected to hit $52 billion in the next two years, according to Packaged Facts, a consumer research company based in Rockville, Md. Although Vietnam is nowhere near that type of stratospheric spending, Vietnamese have begun to spend more of their disposable income on pets. As incomes climb and the country continues to develop and build a modern cityscape, more and more Vietnamese are welcoming four-legged friends into their family circle. The demand for pets like dogs and cats has increased significantly in the last ten years. No longer just bought as food or means of protection, these domesticated animals are becoming a status of wealth, a symbol of prosperity. Veterinarians like Dr. Nguyen Van Nghia has seen a significant growth in pet ownership since his return from obtaining his PhD and Post Doctorate at the Bristol University School of Veterinary Science. Vietnam Pets spent a dog’s day afternoon with Dr. Nghia, the Dr. Doolittle of Vietnam, to discuss the past, present and future of pet welfare.

Why did you decide to follow a less traditional path and become a veterinarian for “small animals”?

I always loved animals as a child. Anytime I saw an animal hurt or abused I would bring it home and take care of it. But back then I feel I did more harm than good because I didn’t know what I was doing. Loving an animal is not sufficient enough to keep it alive. I can thank my mother who allowed me to bring home so many animals and directing me towards becoming a veterinarian. She suggested I follow my heart and do what I love, which is helping animals and educating others about them.

As a leading veterinarian in Vietnam, how do you plan to be “the change you want to see in the world”?

I would like to see more public education on animal welfare. In Vietnam, the universities only focus on breeding and slaughtering, an agricultural practice commonly called Animal Husbandry. My mission in life is to raise public interest and knowledge on animal welfare. There are widespread implications for the way in which animals are treated, used and included in society. I would like to create programs, which provides people, from children to adults with basic information on pet care. My motto: The cheapest medicine in the world is water. If only more people with pets knew this, we could increase the lifespan on animals throughout the country. Currently, I am working to organize a welfare organization for animals, for both domesticated and wild animals. I’d like to call it “Animal Protection Office” to educate the community on animal care.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I receive little support from Vietnam in general. Most people think I am doing something very luxurious, they don’t see my veterinary practice which predominately deals with only small animals, as a necessity but a rather frivolous endeavor.

How has pet ownership in Vietnam changed in the last few years?

I am seeing more and more Vietnamese bringing their pets to the clinic, especially dogs and cats. Before I would mainly treat the pets of the Expat community but now, as the outside world influences our cultural beliefs and as our society gets wealthier, I see a shift in my clientele, one that is becoming more Vietnamese. In addition, 10 years ago, we didn’t have x-ray machines or we didn’t run blood tests on small animals but Vietnam is changing fast. We are giving out more and more vaccinations and neutering/spaying pets.

Besides being revered as the “cat whisperer” in the community, what do you love about your job?

Rescuing animals that are sick and abused. It is a great feeling to save them and give them a 2nd chance. For more information about Dr. Nghia, Recommended Veterinarian Click Here

Saigon’s Cat Whisperer.

The Best Veterinarians in Vietnam?

15 02 2011


Dr. Nghia with client


Did you know that anyone can become a licensed veterinarian in Vietnam in only 6 short months! In other countries, it takes anywhere from 5-8 years to become a certified, licensed veterinarian. But in Vietnam anyone can start practicing in a very short time. Sure, the Universities offer 2-5 year programs but many take the easy and shorter route to becoming an “animal doctor”. In addition to the short time it can take to receive a “diploma”, not one course at the Universities focus on teaching health and treatment of small breed animals (i.e., dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, etc.). All courses are geared to teaching large animal care, those animals found on farms. The main focus of the schools is to teach animal husbandry, the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock. Students walk away knowing how to neuter, raise and slaughter livestock.


The frightening reality is that these students turned vets are using the same practice and medicine to treat small animals. The philosophy: Same-same. As a result, many small breed animals have been misdiagnosed and also overdosed. There is a growing number of cases especially in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where small pets are killed due to the lack of knowledge of the vet. Imagine using the same dose of medicine you would use for a cow that you would use on a fox terrier. Or worse, using a medicine designed ONLY for large breed animals. Tragic Example Click Here The motivation for becoming a veterinarian in Vietnam is vastly different then other countries. When asked, why do you want to become a veterinarian, 90% of the students respond, “because of the money” or “because it is an easy science”. Only 10% respond, “because I love animals”. When looking for a veterinarian for your pet in Vietnam, here are some simple guidelines to follow:


Nowadays it is easy to get information on a vet by doing a Google search. Just type in the vet’s name or clinic’s name and see what people are saying about that person or place. Is it good? Is it bad? Check out Facebook. Does the vet have a Fan Page? Or is the vet affiliated with any animal rescue programs? In addition, visit Expat forums like So Saigon or The New Hanoian and read the reviews people have posted on a particular vet or clinic. Beware of Vet Posting Lastly, ask your neighbors who may have pets, word of mouth is usually quite reliable.

2. IS YOUR VET CERTIFIED FOR SMALL BREED ANIMALS?? Many students bypass the rigorous entrance exams in Vietnam by paying a fee to get into the program. Aside from this fact, if these veterinarians only studied in Vietnam you can be quite certain that their knowledge only covers large breed animals. Vets like Dr. Nghia are teaching students at Nong Lam University about small breed animal care but he is an exception to the rule! Ask your veterinarian about his/her qualification. Has he/she only studied in Vietnam? Vets have known to lie about their qualifications stating they studied abroad like in France. Questioned again, they’ll change their answer and say Japan or Germany. Be wary!! It is easy to fake a diploma here or state that you have oversea experience. But the result of this duplicity is catching up to certain vets as the number of pet fatalities is increasing and word is spreading through online forums, blogs and Facebook status updates.

3. CONCERN FOR THE ANIMAL. A friend of mine in Miami told me that she chose her vet because he always greeted her dog first when she went to his office. Simple though that is, it meant a lot to her that he did that. But don’t be taken in simply by a good bedside manner if your instincts tell you that something is not right. Will your vet’s advice always center on the well-being of the animal?

4. WILLINGNESS TO LISTEN TO, ANSWER QUESTIONS AND TO COMMUNICATE EASILY. As someone who is new to taking care of a pet, you want to feel able to ask your vet anything and have her give you just the right amount of information to help you do your job.

5. LOVE OF ANIMALS. Surprisingly, many people choose to become vets not because they love animals, but simply as a way of making a living. Does your vet have animals at home? Is he/she warm and comfortable around your animals when you bring them to the clinic? Does your vet sponsor or promote any animal rescue groups like A.R.C. Vietnam, Animals Asia, Primate Center? Ask. Ask. Ask.

Something to (B)A.R.C. about!

10 02 2011

Troi Oi!!

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”  ~Edmund Burke

Saigon. Sri Lanka. Singapore. Stockholm. Seattle. ARC (Animal Rescue & Care) members come from all across the globe. We are a diverse group of individuals living in Vietnam with one common passion: a love of animals. ARC was founded in 2010 to help promote kindness to animals and birds and to prevent cruelty to these creatures.

Through education and awareness ARC aims to:

.Reduce pet overpopulation through our low cost spay/neuter clinic

.Provide veterinary consultations for low income pet owners

.Educate citizens and organizations about animal welfare

.Promote compassion for animals and responsible pet ownership

.Prevent cruelty and abuse to animals

.Provide quality homes for our rescues through our adoption program

We are a non-profit, non-government organization that receives no government funding; we rely solely on private donations.

For more information visit http://www.arcpets.com; email arcpets@gmail.com and become a Fan of A.R.C. Vietnam on Facebook!