Wh…what’s this? A TL;DR on a non-serious topic? We’ve been talking about Korea’s stereotypes against foreigners, Korean sexuality, and Prostitution in Korea, three difficult topics, and now we can talk about puppies and kitties! Yay!

So, this topic was pretty straightforward. We’re talking about some of the things we noticed about pet culture in Korea, and how things have changed over the past five years. All in all, things are getting better for animals. Spudgy’s much more welcomed by people and shops now than he was when we first got him. That’s great! There are a few things we didn’t talk about that we can talk about here:

Non Cats and Dogs in Korea

We haven’t really seen anything for rodents, fish, and lizards in the pet shops here. The only place we actually see stuff for them is in the big supermarkets, like Emart and Home Plus. We’ve seen bunnies and hamsters for sale there as well, and cages for these animals, and wood chips, and such. We couldn’t really check out that much more on it, because Martina had a bunny and two dwarf hamsters growing up, and I know if we spend a few minutes in that section we’ll buy all the animals there and Meemers will torte them since he is a kitty. BAD KITTY! So, from a distance, that’s what we’ve seen, they’re around $5.00 – $30.00. Our friend also once bought a hedgehog from HomePlus! It wasn’t the ideal pet. They’re a lot noisier than you might imagine, what with them running around and collecting all your coins and stuff. Also, Korea has a strange obsession with fish and aquariums so if you’re into that, Korea has got you covered.

Pet Food in Korea

It’s difficult for us to compare the prices of pet food in Korea to pet food in Canada, because we rarely buy food in Canada (except when visiting with Spudgy). So all we can really do is tell you the price and then you can compare it to your own prices. Basically, an average bag of food (not those huge jumbo sacks) costs between 16,000 won to 29,000 won, depending on the make. We try to get Spudgy food whose first ingredient isn’t rice, because that’s just not all too healthy. Something starting with meat is best, it usually starts at 27,000 won or so. Is that expensive comparatively? I’m not sure. We also get Science Diet (Mobility Support) from the local vet, but we can’t get it from most pet stores. We get cans of beef and chicken for Spudgy that costs between 1,500 – 3,500 won depending on the size. For Meemers, the dry cat food is the same price, and we get him wet food that costs between 1,000 won (for a single pouch) to 3,800 won for a big can of fish. The pet stores stock Korean brands, Japanese brands, and American of both cat and dog food and treats.

Info On Dog Care

If you’re looking to adopt an animal in Korea or you want some advice on bringing a dog/cat to and from Korea, we recommend checking out Animal Rescue Korea which have great resources in English/Korean for advice on animal hotels, vets, oversea pet travel, house training, and so on. They have a forum that can help you out as well, and if you’re looking to spend your weekend doing some good, they ALWAYS need extra hands to help walk and play with the animals!

Travel to and From Korea with a Pet, New Quarantine Rules in Korea

As of December 2012 Korea changed their quarantine rules in an attempt to be a rabies free country so the rules are a lot stricter now. At the airport I got a pamphlet from the quarantine office with info on what they need, so feel free to save the picture in this blog post and print it out if you need it! I can’t give you the forum to fill out because, as per Korean tradition, they only have it downloadable as a HWP file, which stands for Hangul Word Press. It really makes me angry because HWP is totally fine for people living in Korea, but when you make an entire website for the government run quarantine office that’s supposed to be for WORLD TRAVEL, why would anyone OUTSIDE of Korea use HWP? They could have put it in a PDF or TXT format, which most people around the world could open no matter what type of computer! Why? WHY?!

Second mini-rant, Korea, STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER 6 AND ACTIVE X! You have the fastest internet in the world with some of the crappiest, picture-bogged down, un-loadable sites. AND you need to accept that PEOPLE USE MACS! Stop making websites built for Windows only! And on top of that, after we got a brand new PC, we find out we STILL can’t do online banking because our version of Windows is TOO MODERN FOR YOUR SHITTY WEBSITES TO HANDLE!!! *arrrghhhhhhh* AND I can’t register to do anything because my name is too long for your log in spaces which are made for Korean length names only! Yet, it’s the special “foreigner English page” and I must type my exact name into that space as found on my alien card to register. My full name is longer than 6 letters! WHO INVENTED THIS PLATFORM!!?? *ARGHHHHGHHHHHHHH*

Haha mini-rant over, sorry. Foreigners living in Korea, you know what I’m talking about. *Martina breathes calmly*

Also, it is really important to note that if you’re traveling from Korea back home to your country that the quarantine office at the airport is NOT OPEN 24/7!! If you arrive after they close, you can’t get the papers you need to travel with your pet and you will be totally screwed.

1. Call the airport and ask the hours of the office that day
2. Call the airline you’re travelling with two weeks in advance and let them know you’re bringing a pet (some places have limited pet allowances)
3. The quarantine office accepts Korean cash only for the paperwork to be completed (last time I checked, let me know if it’s changed)

Here’s the quarantine picture. Click on it for ULTRA MEGA SIZE!

Pet Quarantine Info

  1. Hi Simon and Martina! You guys rock! Can you guys please make a video about dog meat in Korea? Is it a common thing?

  2. https://www.koreanair.com/local/na/gd/eng/cs/sn/eng_cs_sn_pt.jsp . I found this on the korean air website, they allow pets (dogs,cats or birds) under 5kg to be carried on for w200,000 and pets over to be stowed away. There is a lot of info on the page that might be helpful.

  3. Bridget below sums everything up pretty will but as for the Career first it does depend on the guy and the family your born into. a precentage of Korean familys are okie with you going to school graduating and finding a job. Pretty much by the time you 25, if you don’t have a good job by then you might have 2 years to get away with it if not then your parents (mostly the mom) will persure you into getting married. Plus even if you have a good job by 27 or older they will still pursure you and depending on the family they will focus you to quit your job to start a family.

  4. i want to know about sasaeng fans. i’ve been reading articles about some
    things that have happened with different k-pop groups and i want to
    know what people are doing about them. like is anyone trying to stop
    them at all? AND WHERE ARE THE PARENTS!? i’m really concerned about it
    because of some of the articles i read about them like when an Exo fan
    purchased the same van as them and Luhan almost got in and also the
    rioting at Changsha Airport when Exo arrived. i just recently heard of
    these “fans” and i’m surprised about what these people do and it really
    concerns me. to be honest i’m actually scared to go to k-pop concerts
    now because i know that there will be sasaengs there and i know that
    they will threaten and hurt regular fans as well as the idols. i want to
    know what people are doing about it. PLEASE CAN YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT

  5. It’s so sad people aren’t educated enough to take care of their animals… but then again the same goes for being well educated before taking care of a baby… education is quite a big word… in my country people don’t clean after their dogs either T_T… argh sometimes I wish I was able to promulgate laws TT_TT…

    Thank you for the video! It was nice to see you talk about a more happier topic :)


  6. Some Australian’s eat Kangaroo :

    • Yeah, it’s delicious. You can find it in the big supermarkets now. Mind you, it’s farmed kangaroo not wild. But every now and then we do get times when there are kangaroo population explosions and professional hunters are sent out to cull the herds. I don’t see any problem with it as long as it’s done humanely. Kangaroos aren’t endangered btw.

  7. It’s something we’ve discussed. Yes, you’ll see them in TL;DRs as well :D

  8. LOL i was literally just about to google “iguana colostomy petsmart” before you said you were joking hahaha

  9. Could you talk about what are the popular job occupations/fields among Korean students and is there a certain job that their parents pressure them to be (e.g. doctor)?

  10. Arranged marriages still do occur. But it’s almost always “arranged to introduce formally” than “arranged to force marriage”.

  11. I have a small dog (westie/jack russell cross) and I know EXACTLY what you mean about having problems with aggressive bigger dogs with lax owners. 99% of the time I have to run in and pull the big dog off while the owner stands by laughing / doing nothing. Meanwhile I have just literally pulled the jaws of the bigger dog off my dog’s neck. And when I confront the owners their responses range from silent embarrassment to “If your dog can’t handle PLAYING then you shouldn’t bring him to the dog park.” To me that’s the equivalent of saying “I’m just going to close my eyes and fire this gun randomly into the air, and if you get hit it’s your fault.”

    My solution has been to wear my boots down to the park, and when it happens I smile and say jokingly, “It’s okay mate, don’t worry about it, I’m wearing steel-caps. Ha ha ha!” At which point they usually leave before their dog does attacks mine again.This is ultra passive-agressive, but the only other option is to literally kick their dog – and why punish the dog for having a bad owner?

    I think this happens because people see a breed of dog, think it’s cool and then never do a single thing to train it. When you do that with a small dog, they get yappy and annoying; no big deal. But when you do that with a big dog, they get aggressive and dangerous. I’m in Australia btw. I think this just proves there are jerks everywhere.

    • I completely understand how you feel!! > : (
      I have (had) a friend who bought her dog as an impulse buy during Christmas (which already upset me, considering we go to a private art school where, after getting out of class, we usually have to lock ourselves in the labs and work ’til crazy hours because the workload is super intense). However, after I saw her making a good effort and taking it to puppy classes I gave her a lot of support and went with her to dog training, and helped her take care of it a bit when I had the time. However, I kept noticing she wouldn’t re-inforce any of the training outside of the classes.

      Basically, the biggest fights I had with her came when her lack of continued training really came out as the dog got bigger and we would go to the dog park and she’d let her dog just chomp on other dog’s necks and wrestle them to the ground to be dominant- and I and the other dog owner would literally be alarmed and she’d just laugh and say “They’re just playing” “Oh, she’s a puppy”, I told her, her dog was being too aggressive and that even bigger dogs would yelp very loudly, and told her she could let her dog play but also teach it not to be so rough. Despite being her FRIEND, every time she blew me off, saying “It’s natural dog behavior. She’s just trying to be alpha.”

      UH, excuse me, last time I checked it’s natural dog behavior to nip and herd, pee wherever the hell they want, and hunt small animals!! Last time I checked you don’t let her hunt people’s pet ferrets, or pee everywhere in the house, so just own up to being an OWNER and discipline your dog!!

      No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get her to see how WRONG that view was. Suffice to say, we are no longer on speaking terms.

    • I don’t have a dog (yet!) but lax dog owners piss me off. There was an article in The Daily Mail about a week ago about a Bull Terrier who savagely attacked a Pomeranian. The Pom was off-leash (because he was in his owner’s mother-in-law’s front garden) and the big dog (still on his leash!) somehow got into the garden and attacked it. The big dog’s owner pulled the big dog off the little dog and fled. She allegedly said: “It’s not his fault – he’s only a baby.” Really? ‘He’s only a baby’? What if another dog attacked and beheaded your dog and then said “It’s not their fault – they’re only a baby”? Would it be different because it’s your dog? So why was it okay for you to say that about your dog attacking the Pomeranian? To not discipline your dog correctly is one thing, but then to not properly deal with the fact that your dog did this horrible ting to someone else’s pet? I . . . can’t.

      It could have been a child.

      My heart breaks for that poor Pomeranian and for his family. I also feel bad for the undisciplined dogs, too. At some point, they’re going to do something bad enough that’ll end up with them seized and destroyed. And all that would have been avoided if they just, you know, disciplined their dogs correctly. Dogs aren’t bad. People make them bad.

      (The woman did not get away scott-free. Someone got a picture of her leaving the scene and the Pom’s owner posted it on social media. There’s been an investigation and the Bull Terrier has been seized.)

      Article here. Don’t click if you’re sensitive to this kind of thing: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2358224/Bull-terrier-dog-walker-covered-blood-animal-ripped-head-family-pet-horrific-attack.html

    • This is him, by the way. His name’s Baxter :)

  12. Torte? I know that torte is a type of cake. I think you mean “torture”. Hahahahaha just wanted to point that out. By the way awesome TL;DR as always! :)

  13. Guys, the video of you picking out Spudgy at the adoption center always makes me cry. The music does not help one bit!

  14. I’m thinking of bringing my rabbit with me to Korea. I know there are different specifications of actually getting him there but what about rabbits in korea in general? :D

  15. i remember the video of you guys walking Spugdy in the snow and the girl freaked out. I think she had a panic attack or something.

  16. pffft why would you be scared of cats?? they should go to australia or africa and see that house cats are the last thing you should be scared of… We get some nasty strays here and the worse they do is scratch you which doesn’t even hurt that much. Cant believe they asked to put your dog i the boot : regardless of their nationality, people everywhere need to respect animals.
    Also I own three cats who were rejected by our neighbours and they’re the best cats in the world <3 (though it was also because they already decided that we were their new owners… we've had so many random cats and dogs show up at our house..)

  17. Oh man, it’s the Day We Got Spudgy video.

  18. What about religion in Korea? Any Muslims? Christians? Jews?

    • “There is a small percentage of Koreans (..) who are non-religious.”
      This is not true.

      First of all, the number of christians is higher than the number of buddhsit but the difference isn’t that big. Second, most koreans are non-religious/atheists and it’s not frowned upon and there’s no pressure of becoming christian unless you make friends with priests or something like that lol

    • There’s a lot of Christians in Korea, I don’t know about the rest but I’m sure there are some.

  19. Meemers is a he. Haha. Simon and Martina were told that Meemers was a girl when they got him, but they later discovered that he is, in fact, a boy. Surprise!

    • This happened to me when I had my first kitten and it became apparent she was actually a boy. Even as an adult, neighbors did mistaken him as a girl (the white coat and pink nose might have confused them).

  20. I am also curious about this! I Wonder how muvh of the Family Things i see in the k-dramas that is still like that, and what has changed…

  21. On the topic of vet costs:
    I’m in the USA and recently my cat had bladder issues. It wasn’t possible to tell if it was a blockage or something else, we just knew that he was having a really hard time using the litter box! So we took him to the vet and luckily the first visit was free. They removed his urine for about $50 (and $5 extra to test the urine) but if we wanted to test for a blockage there was 2 more tests that were over $100 each. And if it was a blockage, it would cost a couple thousand dollars to have it removed. So we decided, if it came down to that, we would have to put him to sleep because there is no way we can afford such a surgery, especially since I had just been in the hospital literally 1 week before and had a couple thousand dollars worth of medical bills myself. So she put him on a couple different medicines (which we could not get him to take them without spitting it out! eventually we switched him to an injection for the antibiotic, and mixed the other 2 medicines with his food). Luckily the urine test came back positive for crystals, and all he needed was the antibiotics to fix it. He’s all better now :) I wonder what the costs would be like in Korea.

    On the topic of adopting pets:
    All of our pets are either adopted from a shelter/rescue or for free from someone who found kitties outside (my cat in particular was one of those). But the closest situation I had to Spudgy was when I “adopted” my dad’s little dog (under 10 pounds) named Shelby. She was old (13 or so) and almost completely blind. I loved that she was already trained, knew how to potty outside and everything. We skipped right over obnoxious puppy stage, and yet because she’s a small dog, she still looks like a puppy. I think that’s something people forget when they want to adopt a puppy. Of course she had to be put to sleep about 6 months later, but since taking care of her I only want to adopt an “older” tiny dog. It is so much easier than adopting a new puppy and you are helping out an older dog rather than promoting puppy mills.

    On the topic of going to Korea with a pet:
    I am planning to apply for graduate school in Korea and one of the saddest things will be leaving my cat behind for 3 years if I get accepted :( I think we are required to stay in a dorm so even if I could afford a pet friendly apartment, I don’t think I can take him. But if I ended up staying in Korea after getting my degree, I’d for sure want to take him. It’s just that he hates everyone but me and I don’t want to leave him alone for 3 years. It’s pretty much the only thing making me kind of afraid to see if I get accepted or not, as much as I really really want to go, I’ll feel bad for leaving him. ;A;

  22. I have hermit crabs. I just CANNOT see that jiving in Korea! XD

  23. I feel like bird care is soooo… sketchy. ;_; My sister had some finches (well, she still has finches, but not those ones…) and one day one of them had a seizure. O_O We hoped he would be okay, but the next day he had another. ;_; So we took him to a vet (in Canada), and she was reeeeally nice. Unfortunately though, while she was handling him, which I’m sure was even more traumatic than anything else for him (our birds are not hand fed AT ALL, we neeever handle them; finches just don’t jive with that), and… He got loose and flew all around the exam room. Which was bad. And he crashed into the walls and fell to the ground. ;__; She was really apologetic and kind and she quickly retrieved him and rushed him out of the room to get him some oxygen, but iunfortunately it was all too much.

    In the end, they sent us the “bill” which actually rescinded any cost because our animal died, technically, in their care, which was really amazing of them. I kind of regret bringing him though; it would have been a lot less traumatic for him to have died quietly at home, but we really didn’t realize how little help can be offered to small birds at the time.

    Personally for birds I find looking online for answers and adjusting diet and such to make things the best for them possible and making sure they have adequate vitamins is the best, since, as you said, ambiguous answers are probably the best you will get unless your vet actually specializes in your kind of bird.

    • Wow that’s a really sad story. Hmm my budgie only had seizures the night before I took him to the vet. But he and my cockatiels have flown into walls before and nothing major happened. Well, they haven’t flown violently into a wall…

      But the hospital I had taken him to was for exotic animals and birds, so I feel like they should’ve known what they were doing. Or maybe was it just the doctor that took us in charge that was especially bitchy…

  24. in Korea we go by the lunar calendar, and it says that if ur born around dec 31-jan 3 or so u are basically 2 years of age when u are born. So thats why Kevin is 21 instead of the usual +1 age difference.

  25. when r u guise gonna tldr on pets as food? aka eating dogs?

    • The dogs that are eaten are a specific breed and are treated like cattle, they aren’t anyone’s pets.
      Also, eating dogs in korea is not even legal. You can find it if you search for them but regular restaurants won’t randomly put some of it in your meal

    • I just wanted to say that “pets as food” isn’t an accurate description. Koreans who eat dog meat usually eat dogs that aren’t bred to be pets but instead are bred to be food. It’s not like they are taking your average chihuahua and eating it, or raising their own dogs as pets and then killing them and eating them.

  26. Marriage, from my Korean foster mother, was kind of a step back from the career. There is generally a reason why single ladies are known as successful business women in Asia than a married woman. My foster mother used to teach until she married, but after her marriage my oster father took over the economical side so she could be at home to raise the family and take care of their home.

  27. Having seen your video today, is really different from what my mom told me about the Lotte store in Seoul selling dogs and cats for food in 1988, when I was born. Sure, it’s been 25 years since my parents picked me up from Korea, but that picture followed my brains until 2005 when I revisited Korea and went to Lotte to find it was just a regular clothing store now.

    And yes, big dogs are not popular. Didn’t see a single animal in 2005 pretty much. I am happy there are more pets now in Korea that aren’t on the menu.

  28. Kicked out? D: What a shame! Rats are wonderful, if only granny could see that :c

    Since Simon and Martina haven’t seen anything for rodents aside from hamsters, there probably isn’t a big rat culture in Korea, but you could certainly start your own if you move there with a rat! :3

  29. I think that in most countries women over 30 get asked about marriage all the time. And it is usually from other older women who are married. My coworkers are always asking me if I have found anyone yet. Luckily my family just doesn’t seem too concerned. Only one of my female cousins is married.

    • I would agree. It’s everywhere and in almost every culture. I’m almost up to the 30 age range and I’ve gotten the pressure and the question asked of me more times than I can count about when I’m getting married. I respond with “to whom would you like me to? Prince Harry is currently busy in England and Prince Charming is in a book..” And it’s always from extended family members or nosy people who have no business knowing.
      I think part of the stress comes from the assumption that women have but so much time on their biological clocks and it’s of the essence to marry early and young so as to make sure you are able to have a family. There’s a lack in the realization that everyone has a different “clock”, if you will, and a different purpose in life. While I am hoping and praying for the day that I’ll be a wife and mother, I’m okay working on bettering myself and moving along in my career so that I will always be able to support my family.
      Those who truly love you will support whatever you decide.

  30. You can also get horse meat at your local IGA in Quebec.

  31. I just signed up to the website! :D hoping to help them out whenever I get over there!

    • Welcome to EYK. Hope you have a great time interacting here. Are you planning to move to Korea sometime soon?

      • Ah, I meant I signed up to the Animal Rescue Korea website just now hehe, but thanks so much for the warm welcome :D I plan to move to Korea just as soon as I get my TEFL certificate and finish all my other schooling, which may take some time, but I plan on studying abroad before then :3

        • Ahhh, that makes so much more sense. I was trying to figure out why you were so excited. :-p. Good job anyway! Heh, I considered doing that TEFL thing but seeing as I am already a teacher with over 5 years of experience of teaching language to students I sort of put it aside in favour of working on my Japanese.

        • Hehe thanks! :3

          Ah I see, so what’s your game plan after your studies are complete? Do you plan on teaching English in Japan?

        • It isn’t exactly ‘studies’. I am a full time qualified teacher who happens to have a Japanese minor. I just don’t have real cause to use my Japanese on a daily basis so I need to keep continually studying in order to keep up my comprehension. I have already been accepted to JET. I am just awaiting an assignment now actually.

        • Oh wow! Congratulations :D you’re all set! ^^

  32. In Costa Rica people don’t pick up dog’s poop aether. I was surprise when I visited Colorado, USA, and people did pick up the poop.

  33. Ha Ace Venture of stray cats, good one Simon! My friends call me the Kitty Cat Whisperer. I can get any cat to come to me, even the most mean stubborn ones that have a disdain for human beings. It was really nice that you guys had a much more lighthearted subject this week. Tough topics are great but I’m sure it’s nice to take a break from the once in a while and talk about fluffy puppies and kitties.

  34. Omg Martina your hair was so short back then, It’s been so long since your 200th video

  35. I have a parrot and I’m wondering if it’s more popular to have small birds than a dog/cat in Korea (even though it sounds like fishes are most popular?)? Small pets might be easier to have I guess?
    I have a Korean friend who lives at my brother’s friend’s place, and I remember that she was terrified when we let our bird fly around a little. Another friend I have, from Japan, was also scared at first. Do you think it’s common to be scared of birds in Asia or is it just considered ‘girly’? :3

    One time when one of my brothers followed me home from school, five cats were following us almost all the way to our house! I think we smelled parrot..! ^^’

  36. I can’t speak for every one, but three of my Korean friends who have been married in the last four years got pregnant immediately. Even an American friend of mine who married a Korean man just had their first baby after less than a year of marriage. It’s mind boggling for me.

  37. I was really curious about pets in Korea, especially dogs. And now I decided I want to go to Korea… because of the vet fees! Man, my own pekingese had to have 3 separate surgery (for his back) and the grand total is over 5k. And that was after the fact that 14K of the total was already discounted… If i had to pay for it all out of pocket, he would have cost me over 20k in vet/surgery fees in the span of 6 months! For one night stay at the vet hospital, it was already one grand. T^T

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