Travel Guide

Adopting and Owning a Pet in South Korea

February 24, 2024

Whether you're living in Korea, or planning to move to Korea, it's important to understand the rules about owning a furry companion. From registration and vaccinations to buying or adopting a pet, this guide provides all the essential information for current and prospective pet owners.

I. Who Can Own a Pet in South Korea?

In South Korea, both locals and foreigners are allowed to own pets, as long as they follow the rules and take good care of them. However, if you're from another country and might return home in the future, remember that moving pets across borders can be tricky. It requires several steps, including health checks and paperwork. It's important to consider this before purchasing or adopting a pet in Korea.

II. Registration, Pet Identification, Vaccinations

Pet ownership in South Korea starts with proper registration and ensuring your pet's health through vaccinations. Compliance with these steps is not just about following the law but also about safeguarding the community and your pet.

Note: The costs mentioned are approximate and can vary based on the veterinary clinic. It's important to keep up with regular health check-ups and follow-up vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian--many require up to 6 vaccinations before your pup is ready to leave the house.

Search '동물병원' (Animal Hospital) on Naver Maps or Kakao Maps to find the closest veterinarian near you.

III. Where Can I Buy a Pet in South Korea?

When buying a pet in South Korea, pet stores often go beyond just selling animals and supplies. They provide various services to support your pet's health right from the start. These include:

  • Vaccination Packages: Essential vaccines like rabies for dogs and cats are offered at the time of purchase.
  • Micro chipping for Identification: Helps keep your pet safe and meets the legal requirements for pet ownership.
  • In-house Veterinary Services: For initial health check-ups, ensuring your pet is in good health before you take them home.

IV. Where Can I Adopt a Pet in South Korea?

Adoption is a heartwarming and responsible way to find a pet. South Korea has numerous shelters and organizations dedicated to re-homing pets in need.

Animal Shelters for Adoption


CARE (Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth)

Nabiya Cat Shelter

CATS (Whiskers Ministop)

South Chungcheong

BFFA (Band For Animal in Asan)


BAPS (Busan Abandoned Pet Sanctuary)


KAPS: Daegu (재단법인 한국동물보호협희)


Daejeon City Animal Shelter (대전광역시 동물보호소)

Daejeon Paws


EFL (Empathy For Life) (생명공감 보호소)

Korean Alliance for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (KAPCA)


Jeju Ugidongmul Shelter (제주유기동물보호)

North Jeolla

Gunsan Animal Shelter (군산유기동물보호센터



Gwangju Metropolitan City Animal Shelter

V. Fines, Laws, and Regulations

Understanding and adhering to South Korea's pet ownership laws is essential for protecting your pet, yourself, and your community from potential legal issues.

Fines and Regulations for Pet Ownership

Click here for a detailed list of laws and regulations.Visit the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website for more information

Always remember that owning a pet in South Korea involves understanding and adhering to specific regulations to ensure their health and safety. From registration and vaccinations to choosing where to buy or adopt, we hope this guide equips you with the necessary information for responsible pet ownership.

Cover photo source: Karsten Winegeart (Unsplash)

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