Dog adoption in Armenia: all you need to know

Dog adoption in Armenia

With thousands of abandoned and stray dogs in my country, the topic of dog adoption in Armenia was something I wanted to write about for some time now. Although the situation has drastically improved since I was a little child spending my summers in Yerevan, we still see many stray dogs around who need to be taken care of. And in this post, I wanted to share some guidance for those who are looking to adopt a god in or from Armenia.

In the 86 square miles that make up Armenia’s capital Yerevan, comparable to the size of Seattle, there are about 7000 stray dogs and three or four times that number of stray cats. In the past, the principal method of population control for strays was simply killing them. This is a horrifying fact. But the situation has improved today. The municipalities catch dogs, neuter them, and release them back into society. Within a few more years, the majority of the stray dogs will have died out in Yerevan considering that almost all of them have been neutered already.

Hopefully, this post will help you in the process of adopting a dog in Armenia and together we can make one more furry fella happy. If it does, and you adopt a dog here, share the pics with on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.

Stray dog in the streets of Yerevan. Source: Aleksei Shabalin on Unsplash

Dog adoption in Armenia

Dog adoption in Armenia is a bit of a mixed bag. Here’s the deal: there are no strict laws regulating the adoption of street dogs, which may appear handy at first. Yes, you can just pick a dog from the street and that’s it – you are considered the owner. However, it is concerning since there are few inspections on how well the dogs are handled after adoption.

Despite a 2011 government resolution requiring the registration of domestic animals in Yerevan, it is not strictly enforced. When I spoke about it with the shelter workers, they simply stated, “Meh, no one’s really paying attention to it.” That’s a little disappointing. To make matters worse, the shelters themselves are suffering. There aren’t many, and the ones that do exist are under-resourced. They are trying their best, but ill dogs are prioritized since they are the most vulnerable on the streets. So, donations are critical for these shelters and rescue groups.

That is why I’m fully in support of going through rescue teams when one is looking to adopt a dog in Armenia. These people go through a rigorous process to ensure that you and the dog are a great match. They aren’t just giving puppies to everybody who asks. They want to see that you are sincerely dedicated to creating a caring and safe environment for the doggo.

Being able to finance all of the obligations that come with owning a dog is critical. That is why rescuers would be seeking someone who can handle all the associated expenses from feeding to vet appointments. By the way, speaking of dog food. It’s not just about giving your dog leftovers from your own table; they emphasize optimal nutrition with customized meals. Furthermore, they highlight the need for exercise, socialization, and training to ensure that your pet lives their best life.

So, the bottom line is that we’re in a bit of a pickle here. Better rules and greater resources are needed to ensure that these gorgeous pets find loving homes and receive the love and care they need. And if you consider yourself a serious future pet owner, please reach out to shelters and rescue groups and seek their assistance in the process of choosing the right dog for you.

Newly adopted puppy. Source: Vazgen Harutyunyan on Unsplash

Dog adoption from Armenia

I’ve heard of many people (usually of Armenian descent) in the USA, Canada, and Western Europe who adopted dogs from Armenia in the past years. And I think it’s wonderful! 

The specific requirements for paperwork associated with importing a dog from Armenia may vary depending on the country where you reside. In Armenia you can get a chip, passport, and vaccination for a dog, which in most cases will cover all basic requirements. Vet clinics can do all of these. Vet clinics in Armenia, like Vetline, Vethome, and others will give all the mandatory shots to your dog.

In addition to a passport, you need to get a vet certificate from the Cargo Terminal. Cargo Terminal is a state institution that confirms that the dog is in good health and you can transport him or her.

Some countries in the West require that you present the results of the dog’s blood tests before you can import the dog into those countries. A local vet can collect the blood sample of the dog and you’d need to figure out if the results from a local lab would be sufficient or the importing country should analyze the sample. The process can take up to a month And this is yet another good reason to cooperate with a shelter or rescuers who are familiar with these processes.

As an adopter, you will encounter costs. This includes all shots, a passport, transportation, etc. A rescue team member who I talked to said they recently sent a small puppy to Canada (6 kg in weight) which cost a total of 1100 USD, including vaccination, passport, chipping, transportation box, and flight.

So, to summarize, follow these steps if you want to adopt a dog from Armenia:

  1. Choose a rescue organization or a shelter you want to cooperate with
  2. Consult the adoption process with them and make a plan
  3. Get your dog to a vet clinic
  4. Get your dog’s passport and vet certificate
  5. Remove ear tags
  6. Finalize paperwork with the rescue organization
  7. Export the dog.

Organizations providing dog adoption support

To save you some time and effort I put together a list of trusted organizations in Armenia that can assist you in the process of adopting a dog in or from Armenia.

  • PAWSitive Rescue Armenia: This non-kill animal rescue group provides medical assistance, rehomes homeless, unwanted, and owner-surrendered animals. They operate as a part of the Armenian Volunteer Corps and can assist in the dog relocation process.
  • Shoon Dog Rescue: This organization provides food, medical assistance, and adoption services to stray dogs in Armenia, offering adoption to the USA, Canada, and Europe.
  • Save the Animals Armenia: SAA provides a permanent home for homeless animals, feeding, spaying/neutering, and other veterinary care for street cats and dogs. SAA has been an Animal Kind international partner organization since 2010.
  • Oknooshoon: This organization helps in the adoption process. They also do follow-ups and pay home visits.
  • Dingo Team: This rescue group provides assistance to both cats and dogs.
Cute puppy in Yerevan. Source: Rafael Ishkhanyan on Unsplash

Frequently asked question

Is it possible to get a passport for your pet in Armenia?

Yes, you can get it in a vet clinic.

What does a dog passport include?

The history of your dog’s health, vaccination, anti-flea treatment, etc.

How much does a dog passport cost in Armenia?

5000 AMD or 12 USD.

What is a vet certificate?

In addition to a dog passport, your dog should have a vet certificate. Cargo Terminal in Armenia issues this certificate. This document is a confirmation that your dog is in good health and you can export him/her.

Can I get my dog chip in Armenia?

Yes, you can. Approach a vet clinic for that.

How much does it cost to export a dog from Armenia?

The total cost will be from USD 1000 to USD 1500.

Are there dog shelters in Armenia?

There are a few dog shelters in Armenia with limited resources. Most cannot afford to take new dogs but they provide first help.

Wrapping up on dog adoption in Armenia

I want to finish this blog on a positive note. Just a few months ago we had the mayor’s election in Yerevan. The currently elected mayor promised to build dog shelters, and dog parks in all districts of Yerevan. Let’s hope that we will see positive changes soon. Otherwise, we have to rely on a group of enthusiasts with limited resources. So, if you can afford and want to adopt a dog in Armenia, please do that.

It may also interest you how to travel with a dog in Armenia. If you want to travel to Armenia for dog adoption, here is another blog that might be interesting – Yerevan card tourist pass. It shows you some useful tips on how to save a lot of money while touring around my country. And if you find my writing useful, please share your thoughts with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.

Featured image credit: Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash (edited)

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