Planning to travel the Silk Road with your pet dog, cat, bunny or goldfish? Wondering if it is possible at all?
In short: yes, it is. While official websites may list up a whole raft of things you need to do, experience reports point to a painless process where the border guard just has a look at the pet, possibly the passport, and then waves you on.
For dogs, travelers have not reported problems for any country in Central Asia, Caucasus, Iran, Mongolia. Just make sure you have a passport/microchip for them if you are from a country that issues such passports/microchips, and have up-to-date vaccinations.
You can read and add experience reports in our threads for travel with dogs in Central Asia, Russia and Mongolia, and dog travel in Iran and Pakistan.
For cats, we don’t really know anything yet. Your tips are welcome in the cat travel forum thread.
Cultural ideas about dogs
The Quran does not say much about dogs, but there are plenty of anti-dog hadiths: dogs are devils, dogs should be killed (especially black ones), dogs stop angels from coming into the house, dogs annul prayers, …
So historically, there has been an anti-dog bias in the Islamic world. Pet dogs were considered haram. Only useful shepherd dogs were tolerated.
These days, though, among the westernized inhabitants of big cities in Central Asia, you can find many dog lovers. In more conservative circles on the other hand, dogs are still seen as very negative animals. Bringing a dog into these people’s courtyards is considered very bad manners.