Issue 122 – Pet Inclusivity Around the Globe

As pet owners, you might dream of having your dog accompany you to different social events, and Hong Kong has become more pet-inclusive in recent years – from increasing the number of Inclusive Parks for Pets to launching dog-friendly staycations – but how does Asia’s world city compare to the rest of the world? Let’s take a look!


Overseas: In the UK, private landlords cannot unreasonably withhold the request from tenants to keep a pet.

Hong Kong: Public housing tenants under the Hong Kong Housing Authority are prohibited from keeping dogs at their premises. They may be allowed to keep small household pets such as birds and desexed cats – and only under special circumstances may dogs be allowed in public housing, subject to approval by the Housing Authority . We hope there can be new pilot schemes that allow dog owners to reside in public housing in the future so that we can continue to see dog ownership increase in Hong Kong, similar to the significant increase in cat adoption when the new policy was introduced in 2005 .

Commercial Premises

Overseas: Dogs have long been allowed to accompany their owners to restaurants, shopping malls and selected hotels in countries such as the UK, United States and Europe.

Hong Kong: Only recently have dogs been allowed into certain “dog-friendly” shopping malls and hotels. Albeit some may have strict rules such as requiring dogs to be in carriers or strollers when entering the premises, though this is still a step in the right direction.

Presently, Hong Kong’s Cap 132 is a barrier to letting dogs enter a restaurant, regardless of whether outdoor seating is available. However, it was announced on 21 February 2024 that the Environment and Ecology Bureau, along with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, are considering the feasibility of relaxing restrictions on dogs from entering food premises. The review process is estimated to take approximately one year.

Essential Services

Overseas: Some countries permit pets to accompany their owners as they visit banks, hospitals and other essential services.

Hong Kong: Currently our own pets are not able to visit us in hospital, but Animals Asia recognises the benefits of an animal-assisted therapy programme and their registered therapy “Dr Dogs” visit hospitals, elderly homes, centres for people with special needs, orphanages and schools.
In May 2023, a leading domestic bank in Hong Kong opened its first dog-friendly branch in Hysan Avenue, which offers a designated pet-friendly waiting area in both the banking hall and the lobby of its prestige banking centre. Amenities such as pet waste bins, air purifiers and wet wipes are also available to keep customers and pets comfortable while they wait. We hope more banks and essential services will follow suit.

Public Transportation

Overseas: Dogs in South Korea, Japan and the United States are permitted to travel the train system so long as they are kept in a crate or carrier, with dogs in the UK being allowed on both the National Rail and Underground so long as they are kept on a leash or in a carrier, and not a nuisance to other passengers.

Hong Kong: The MTR Corporation welcomed Animals Asia’s Dr Dogs to ride the MTR for the first time ever on International Dog Day (26 August 2023). Although dogs were required to be carried in a carrier, we hope that this shows Hong Kong is on the right track to more pet-friendly transportation options in the near future.

Issue 122 – 2024 MAR – AUG