Love Bites: Raising Pets in Wuhan

Love Bites: Raising Pets in Wuhan

A pet-less house is just a cold shell we occupy, while one with a pet is a warm home. It doesn’t matter if you love dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, snakes, or a chinchilla—pets make a home feel snug and inviting. For someone living overseas in an unknown environment, it can make the experience a little less intimidating and lonely. Think about it this way—which is better, coming home to an empty apartment or returning to an enthusiastic dog, its tail wagging frantically?

Now before you all go sprinting out the door with money at the ready, keep in mind that raising a pet is a huge responsibility. First, you’ve got to spend a lot of time with them, and then there’s the issue of money. Feeding a dog, especially big ones, requires a hefty sum of cash. With dogs having an average life span of 10 to 15 years, with a few stubborn ones living even longer than that, are you ready to make that sort of commitment? What happens when you decide to pack your bags and return to your native country—are you just going to abandon that poor animal in the streets or trust one of your friends will adopt it? Do you have the money to help the animal should it need medical treatment or will give up on it when it needs you most?

The simple fact is this: raising a pet is serious business and if you aren’t serious about it then don’t do it. However, if you have a lot of love to give, as well as the time and energy required to raise a pet, go for it. Here is a guide on where to purchase pets, which animal clinics you can take them to, when they need vaccinations and medical care, and where to pick up food.

1) Where to Buy

First of all it should be noted that Wuhan has a ton of locations waiting and willing to sell pets. In just about every major street, minor alley and various bus stations, pet peddlers can be found. In fact, in front of Chicony in the spring and summer, you can find a guy selling pure breed dogs with proper certification.

However, if you want a healthy pet to take home, avoid most street and bus vendors. Yes the animals are cute and deserve a proper home like any other pet, but in most cases these animals are generally weaned too early and often raised in substandard conditions, which often lead to health complications. A friend of mine bought a street dog and within two weeks it showed signs of a respiratory infection and died soon afterwards. When purchasing pets the best advice I could give is avoid street peddlers at all costs, no matter how sweet the deal or cute the pup.

In Wuhan there are way too many small shops to even try to mention all of them here. Instead, I have decided to mention the largest one in the city and, as it turns out, in central China – Flower and Bird Market. It has garnished a ton of positive feedback from both locals and foreigners living in Wuhan.

The Flower and Bird Market is located in Jiangan District and offers all sorts of goodies for pet seekers. If you are trying to purchase an aquarium (fresh or salt water) you’ll find everything you need to fit your fancy. They have a plethora of dogs, cats, birds and other pets to select from. It is the largest professional pet market in central China at 1.6 km in length and including nearly 1,600 shops. In addition to pet stores they also have canteens, restaurants, and a large parking lot—which is always good considering parking in Wuhan is dreadful. They also put on huge dog shows, bonsai tree exhibitions, and flower shows. It also hosts the largest selection of birds in China, which brings traders and buyers from all over the world. Besides pets, they also sell animal food, cages and various accessories. Prices are reasonable and, like everything else in China, negotiable. The place is often crowded and crazy on the weekends, so go during the week—best times are around the afternoon.

The Flower and Bird Market (花鸟市场)View In Map
Add: 52 Qiuchang Lu, Jiangan District, Wuhan
地址: 武汉市江岸区球场路52号

2) Animal Hospitals Worth a Darn

Another major concern raising a pet in China is dealing with injections, sickness and injuries. Wuhan does offer large pet hospitals and smaller clinic type ones for you to select from. In my experience, the clinics are okay for minor issues like declawing, washing and grooming, and getting vaccinations. Doctors in clinics don’t have the experience, education or equipment to do a thorough job with more serious illnesses or inflections. In addition, they also tend to have lacklustre environments which can be off putting, like dirty floors, crowded and filthy kennels and unprofessional staff. Of course, not all clinics are awful places and some stand out from the crowd in terms of hygiene and facilities. Here are a few with a good reputation:

Wuhan Fulin Pet Clinic (武汉福临宠物医院)View In Map
They have professional medical equipment, a wide assortment of medicine, and highly trained medical staff specialising in dog healthcare. It also features diagnostic and treatment rooms, laboratories, operating and injection rooms, pharmacy, beauty centre, and of course a sterilization room. It’s an excellent place to head if you have any pet problems.

Add: 13-30 Sanyanqiao Beilu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
Consulting hours: 08:30-18:00; Emergency treatment hours: 18:00-21:00
Tel: 027 65697507
Getting there: take bus no. 533, 559, 592, 706, 708 or 711 to Sanyanqiao Beilu stop

Wuhan Banlv Pet Clinic (武汉伴侣宠物医院)View In Map
This clinic has been approved by the Provincial Animal Husbandry and Agricultural Bureau. The staffs have degrees from key universities and are registered veterinarians, in addition to having technological support from China Agricultural University Animal Hospital. Like the previously mentioned clinic, it too offers a wide assortment of treatments and services for pets.

Add: 23 Xinhua Lu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
地址: 武汉市江汉区新华路23号附8
Tel: 027 85751701, 027 65097068
Getting there: take bus no.73 to Jianghan Beilu-Xinhua Lukou stop

In terms of professional pet hospitals, the ones listed below coming highly recommended from Wuhan expats with pets. Keep in mind the major difference between a hospital and a clinic: better trained staff, advanced medical facilities and technology, and of course superior funding.

The Wuhan BeiBei Animal Hospital (武汉贝贝宠物医院)View In Map
The people who work at the hospital are graduates from the college and work in an environment that prides itself on its international veterinarian techniques and equipment. Available departments include medical, surgical and obstetrical. For more details about services, prices and treatment available give them a call.

Add: 187 Xinhua Xialu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
地址: 武汉市江汉区汉口新华下路附187号
Tel: 027 6565 1611
Getting there: take bus no. 47, 291, 527, 535, 560, 563, 575, 598, 601, 604, 628, 705, 711, 741 or 805 to Tangjiadun stop

3) Food

The best place to purchase food is online. I buy all my dog food from Taobao, because it offers more choice and better quality grub. And it’s considerably cheaper than buying things locally at stores. However, if you don’t want to mess with shopping online then you’ve got a ton of alternative options. You can visit any small pet store you come across—and there are a lot of them in Wuhan – or you can go to Carrefour or Wal-mart, both of which offer a small assortment of pet brands.

If you are considering purchasing a pet in Wuhan, you seriously have a lot of choices, no matter which part of the city you live in. Tracking down a lovable pet to take home isn’t at all difficult. Just remember to choose wisely, be well prepared for the responsibility, and then give that pet all the love you can. 

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