Dog Friendly Accomodation in Gwangju, South Korea. Hertz Guesthouse

Dog Friendly Accomodation in Gwangju, South Korea. Hertz Guesthouse

Owning a dog in Korea is so much harder than people realise. Korea is not very pet friendly, and although this is improving, small dogs (or rather teeny, tiny handbag size pooches) are far more accepted and approved of than big dogs.

I own a 'big' dog, although he would be termed medium size in any other country. 

Shadow, my 1.5 year old Korean Jindo, is a rescue dog whom we found on the side of the road in September can read more about him by clicking here

But, after lots of trial and error, I have found some great places that allow 'big' dogs that don't cost an arm and a leg and are near the popular areas of each city. It's no fun having to stay miles and miles away from where you want to be, as having a dog shouldn't be a huge hinderance.

This post is about Hertz Guesthouse, an awesome place to stay right in the heart of downtown Gwangju.


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Microchipping your dog in Korea

Microchipping dog in Korea

A microchip is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) which is implanted in your pets skin. There are no batteries, no tracking technology and no radiation involved. The chip is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades and contains all your information (phone number, address etc). The needle used is a bit bigger than those used for vaccinations, and so some people prefer to have their pet microchipped while their pet is undergoing another anaesthetic operation (such as neutering) to avoid any unnecessary pain. However, most pets tolerate the procedure with little or no reaction (Shadow included).

Once your pet has a micro chip, your vet will then scan the chip and load your personal info onto a data system, thereby registering you as the owner. South Korea is clamping down on dog owners, imposing heavy fines of up to KRW 1million on unregistered dog. So many pets are abandoned in Korea (after they loose their puppy cuteness or when their irresponsible owners realise how expensive it can be to own a pet) registering the pet allows those owners to be traced. 

Microchip pet in Korea

There are three methods of registering your dog in Korea;

  • an embedded RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification)
  • an electronic tag
  • or an ordinary dog tag

Microchipping your dog in Korea is a very simple process. The only thing you need to research is what kind of micro chip is used in your home country, or the country you plan on taking your pet to when you leave Korea.  Different countries have different chips/scanners, and so depending on where you will be taking your dog when you leave Korea, you need to keep this in mind. As Shadow will be returning with us to South Africa, we needed to make sure his micro chip was an ISO (International Standard Organisation) either ISO 11784 and ISO 11785. South Africa, Canada, Europe & South Korea are countries that I know have 15 digit ISO chip and so getting your pet chipped here will mean they will be able to be scanned in those countries. I have been told by my local vet that I will be able to change my information and address easily when I get back to South Africa as currently Shadow has been registered with my address & phone number here in Korea. In most countries, pet microchips adhere to ISO to promote compatibility between chips and scanners (this refers to the 15 digit ISO chip I mentioned before). In the US, however, there are three different types of chips other than the international standard. Click here for more info on the different chips and scanners.

Microchip Dog in Korea

South Africa (our home country) have a very strict import policy with animals and as such, pets have to be microchipped. For travel to the US, I have read that your dog doesn't have to be chipped (do check with your travel agent to be sure). Also, having your dog chipped and registered here (or any country) just gives you peace of mind, knowing that if they get lost for any reason, they have a much higher chance of being returned to you. A lot of dogs are able to get loose of their collars, and so there is a chance that an electronic tag on a collar could get lost.

All vets will be able to chip your dog. I live in a very small 'rural' town and my vet was able to do it for me quickly and effectively, and all with his very limited English and my even more limited Korean. As I live in a small town, the cost of veterinary services is much cheaper than the bigger cities here in Korea. Micro chipping and registering cost me W25 000 (about $25) but W40 000 ($40) seems to be the going rate in bigger cities. The actual procedure was very quick. It just involves a needle and the chip is implanted into the base of the neck, just below the skin. The needle was large though, that was a bit scary, but it was over in a few seconds and Shadow didn't even notice anything afterwards. Afterwards I was given a certificate as well as a few copies of his 15 digit chip number. It was so easy to do and I can't urge pet owners, especially those here in Korea, to get one done for your pet. I have also heard of people who have ordered their own chip from the US and then simply asked their vet to insert it for them. You are then able to configure the chip to your home address in the US. That option might appeal to you if you are leaving the country soon and know where you are going to be living when you get back home. As we will still be in Korea for at least another year I need to have my Korean address and phone number set up on my dogs chip.

Have you had any experience microchipping your pet? Please leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Rescuing a puppy in Korea

RescuePuppyInSouthKorea what you need to know

While out on an early morning walk on Monday this week, my Korean rescue pup Shadow (the black & tan one above), found a tiny crying ball of fluff, discarded in a drain alongside a forest road. I took a closer look and saw a terrified little puppy, huddled under a pile of leaves and branches. I also saw that there was another white ball of fluff further up the drain that wasn't moving and was covered in flies. I had no idea what to do. We already have our own rescue dog, who is going to cost us a lot of money to take back to South Africa (we are talking $1000's, so please think carefully before deciding to adopt a dog here in Korea!) but at the same time I couldn't just leave here her. In Korea, if you find an animal and take it to the vet, legally the vet has to keep it for 10 days to allow time for their owner to claim them. As it was clear this little one had been abandoned, my very kind vet didn't ask too many questions.  You can imagine what happens to them if they aren't claimed after 10 days. 

After much deliberation, Farmboy and I both decided we couldn't just leave her there to die and went back to get her. Knowing we couldn't keep her I jumped on Facebook in search of a foster/forever home for the shaking puppy. We took her straight to the vet and apart from a flea and mange infestation and a bacterial infection she is fighting fit and ready to live. 

Regardless of your view of social media, it does one thing better than anything else, and that is network and connect people. Within a few hours I had so many people offer to foster her and a number of people willing to take her permanently. Thanks to each and every person who shared my Facebook posts this little puppy has a loving home to go to next week. 

Here are a few photographs of where we found her, and what she looks like now, a couple of days after finding her. Shadow just adores her and he won't be the only one misses her when she's goes next week. 

As we have been through this whole process before, I have written a couple of blog posts on owning a dog here in Korea. If you have been thinking of it you might find these posts useful:



From all my Facebook & Instagram posts it may seem like owning a dog in Korea is the easiest thing in the world. Please remember that I, just like most other people on social media, showcase the highlights. Owning a dog here in Korea is hard work, and you need to be prepared for not just the expenses of owning a dog (the vaccinations, neutering, dog food which is sooo much more expensive than back home & of the course the final cost of taking the dog back to your home country) but also what daily life with a dog is like here. We have a 'large' dog for Korean standards and deal with terrified neighbours and kids running away screaming on a daily basis. Koreans just aren't used to keeping dogs as pets, especially big dogs and are always horrified when they hear that Shadow lives in our apartment with us. Also, Korea isn't built for pets, so finding a place to exercise him is always an issue, finding a place for him to go to the bathroom without Koreans chasing us away from their beloved veggie patches is always a nightmare, finding places to stay that will accept dogs here in near impossible (we camp A LOT) and of course taking your dog around if you don't have a car is a huge challenge if they aren't small and able to fit in a little carrier. We wouldn't change our experience with Shadow for anything in the world, but I do wish we had known from the beginning exactly what we were in for when we found him. If you have any questions about owning a dog here, please feel free to email me or leave me a comment below. Also, there are sooooo many dogs and puppies needing homes here in Korea, if you have been wanting to get a dog please consider adopting rather than buying from the pet stores.

Below is a website that lists all the dogs (and cats & other animals!) available for adoption, as well as Facebook groups where animals that have been rescued are also posted. There is also a group called Everything Paws which is a fantastic resource for pet owners here in Korea. I've also included the links for buying and selling second hand pet items and information on traveling abroad ie. back to your home country with your pet. 

-Everything Paws: Tips & DIY Ideas for pet owners in South Korea  

-Rescue Korea adoption website

-Buy & Sell Pet Related Items in Korea

-Airborne Animals

Do you have a pet here in Korea? What has been your biggest challenge so far? I'd love to hear from you!

Owning a Dog in Korea {Part 2} Health Check Ups & Vaccinations

Owning A Dog In Korea Health Check Ups Vaccinations

This is a follow on post from Part 1 in this series Owning A Dog in Korea.

In Part 1 I talked about all the things you need to have to make sure you and your pup are happy. Nothing in the guide is compulsory by any means, but rather is is written from my experience. Keeping a dog in an apartment here in South Korea is hard, and so that blog post is filled with ideas of items you may want to buy, as well as links to places you can get hold of them. Things like where to buy collars, harnesses, crates & toys for larger dogs. I hope you find it helpful!

ShadowTheJindoHuskyPuppy (6 of 7).jpg

We have had our rescue pup, Shadow, for just over 6 months (click here to read more about how he came into our lives) and had no idea what needed to be done in terms of health check ups. This post will hopefully provide you with enough information about what your pup needs to be healthy and happy.

The first thing you need to do with your new pup/dog is to take him to the vet to have a thorough health check. This basic check up will determine whether your dog has any diseases. Depending on whether your pup had a previous owner, you may or may not need to have vaccinations. We rescued Shadow from the side of the road when he was tiny, and so he needed to have every test done as well as all his vaccinations.  You also need to ask your vet to check for Heartworm which is a very nasty disease very prevalent here in Korea.

If you have rescued a puppy you need to be very mindful of Parvo virus which is incredibly contagious and deadly to young dogs. Parvo is spread through the feces and vomit of infected dogs and puppies. This virus can live in feces for about two weeks and can survive in the environment (areas on floors and cages) for many months. This survival rate allows it to be passed along by hands, clothing or shoes of anyone who comes in contact with it. We were warned by many dog owners not to let our puppy go outside until he had had all his shots, but this just wasn't practical for us. When we go home to South Africa, Shadow will be an outside dog and so we needed to toilet train him outdoors. I know many people here in Korea who use pee pads, and it works for them but is a personal and situational preference (if you live on the 20th floor of a sky rise building, it might not be practical to take out a young puppy every 3 hours). Getting up at all hours in the freezing cold to go outside was hard, but it was something we decided and have just put up with. 


What to Do if your dog Tests Positive for Heartworm

I don't have any experience with treating heart worm and so I asked the local dog owning community here in Korea for some advice. I just want to say thank you to each of these ladies for taking the time to respond to me and offer help and advice to dog owners who may have to go through heartworm treatment.

"Finding out your new foster or adopted pup has heartworm is awful. This happened to me in January 2013. All dogs in Korea need to be given monthly heartworm preventatives as heartworm is rampant in Korea.
At first the vet will just do a quick blood test to determine if your dog is heartworm positive or negative. If it is positive, the most important thing is that you ACT QUICKLY!
You do not have time to save up for a month or so! Find a vet that will do a payment plan if money is an issue. Heartworm is more difficult to treat the longer it progresses. There are 4 stages of heartworm - you will find out which stage your dog is by having scans done. If it's stage 1 or 2 - it's treatable. Stage 3 and 4 treatment options are not as successful and will depend on your dogs health.
I have experience with treating stage 2 heart worm. My dog was given two rounds of injections 24 hours apart. After the first injection, she cried for a solid 8 hours. It was agonising to watch. The second one was a little better but still awful.
The dog must be kept calm during the few weeks following treatment - their heart rate needs to stay steady.
About 4 months later we retested my dog and she tested negative! We were really lucky! I have heard it can take up to 9 months for a negative test result. Or worse, the treatment may need to be repeated" Julie

"Our dog, Sue, had to have 2 rounds of Immiticide before she tested negative for HW. For Close to 4 weeks each time, she had to be quite still and not have too many walks.  She was a bit lethargic and tired after the injections. Each round of treatment was 400,000won.  I did not check around as I wanted her to have the treatment right away.  My vet also kept her over night on an IV to give her fluids and monitor her.

She was rescued from a shelter, nearly dead, from malnutrition and she had just given birth. The initial injection causes them to be in quite a bit of pain and sometimes they writhe around on the floor and you feel completely helpless as you watch.  they don't understand what is causing the pain and you can't help them at all. It is usually 1 injection and then you wait for the medicine, which is essentially poison to kill the worms near the heart and hope it does not kill the dog in the process.  We had to get Sue to a good weight and moderate healthy before she could even have the injection. One round just did not kill all the worms and we had to go back and do it again" Erin


"From my experience, once my dog tested positive, we did blood test to find out if he had any worm eggs in his blood. My vet also did an ultrasound of the heart and he was able to see the condition of his heart and adult worms in his heart.
Next, he staged his heartworm given his symptoms. This is an indication of how advanced the heartworm is. It goes from Stage 1 through 4 (1 being the mildest and 4 being the most serious).
It is important that dogs are at a normal weight and try to maintain their weight during the treatment. My dog was underweight. So, we had to wait some time for him to gain weight before starting actual heartworm shots. Being arsenic based, these shots take a lot from a dog’s body.
While we were waiting for him to gain weight, he was on antibiotics (2 rounds). My vet also put him on puppy food for a month as puppy food is higher in protein and calories to help with his weight gain. He had poor appetite, which is one of the symptoms of heartworm disease. I bought him My Beau nutritional supplement, salmon oil for dogs and some wet food to mix in his dry food alternatively to encourage him to eat more. I also offered him a hard-boiled egg once or twice a day.

I tried to offer 3 or 4 mini meals when I was around over the weekends to help with his weight gain. I weighed him every other day so that I could see my progress.
We gave him pills with Greenies pill pockets as he didn’t want to swallow them otherwise. I have heard people mix them with a bit of jam/peanut butter/bread as well.
Some of the other symptoms of heartworm disease include: cough, shortness of breath, labored breathing, lethargy, swollen/distended abdomen, and edema of the legs.
Once heartworm shots are initiated, the most important thing is to restrict exercise. Dogs should only be brought out for the toilet and always on a leash. We have to restrict things which increase heart rate such as running, jumping, playing ball, climbing steps/stairs/hills, barking a lot and mating.

Also, it is important that the day dogs get an injection not to rub/massage the area even if they may be in pain. It is very important to do everything possible to keep them calm" Dee Dee


As heartworm is such a problem here in Korea, Vets advise giving dogs heartworm preventatives. These are given once a month and come in tablet form. You can take your dog in once or month to your vet or buy a couple of months supply to give your dog at home. The tablets aren't that expensive and most definitely worth doing. 



Here in South Korea vets give dogs the following vaccinations:

  •  DHLLP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Papainfluenza & Leptospirosis (x5 shots)
  •  Corona Virus (x2 shots) 
  • Kennel Cough (x2 shots)
  • It's also a good idea to get the rabies vaccination done too.

Some people feel very strongly about not over vaccinating their dogs, and lots of websites suggest having a Titer Test (anti body test) after about the 3rd or 4th round of DHLLP. I trusted my vet, and as Shadow is a larger breed than most dogs here in Korea I took my Vet's advice to have all 5 rounds of DHLLP.

Vets usually administer 2 shots together, 2 - 4 weeks apart. In my case Shadow had the following:

  • Round 1: DHLLP & Corona
  • Round 2: DHLLP & Corona
  • Round 3: DHLLP & Kennel Cough
  • Round 4: DHLLP & Kennel Cough
  • Round 5: DHLLP & Rabies

Each visit to the vet cost W22 000 (I do live in a small town so I think the prices are slightly less than in bigger cities). The rabies shot was a little more and was more painful for him than the others.

After the initial vaccinations, you are advised to take your dog in for yearly booster shots.

All of the above is very important to bear in mind before you get a dog. There are so many abandoned pups on the streets here in Korea, but before you just pick them up make sure you know what you're getting into financially.

A few numbers to chew on:

Heart worm treatment: +-W400 000 a shot (often times you may need 2 or even 3 rounds) basic Basic Vaccinations: +-W150 000

Neutering: -+W200 000 (male) can be as much as W400 000 for a female

Spaying: +-W400 000

And thats before the food and toys and bedding and treats. And of course the final cost of transporting your pet home.

Even with all of the above, we can't imagine our lives without Shadow. He has brought so much joy to our lives and we don't regret picking him up off the streets one bit.


Do you have anything you want to add, or is there something I've left off here? Please drop me a comment below or email me and I will update this post. Thank you!

Owning a Dog in Korea {Part 1} What you need to keep you and your pup happy.


Our lives changed in September 2014 when we rescued Shadow, then a tiny black and brown ball of fluff. We had no plans on having any pets while living here in Korea, but we have very little control over who and what God places in our lives.

We spent 3 weeks deliberating over what to do with him, mainly because it costs thousands of dollars to take a dog back home to South Africa, and also because we had no idea what owning a puppy really meant.

This post will hopefully help you with the basics of what you need to keep both you and your pup happy while living in an apartment here in Korea. I am by no means a dog expert, but I have spent countless hours watching youtube tutorials for training dogs, and have had the past 3 months (not a huge amount of time but a LOT of time when you get a puppy) to learn a few things.

These things will also be useful for anyone getting a dog (not just a puppy) but there will be a few things you won't have to worry about if you live in a house with a garden. Here in Korea we live in relatively small apartments and so choosing to have a dog needs to be well thought out and planned process to ensure minimal stress for everyone. 

*I will be doing another post on getting a health check for your dog here, heart worm medication as well as all the vaccinations they need*



Farmboy and I live in a relatively large apartment, and so have converted one of the rooms we have into the dog den. Not everyone will have this luxury, so I suggest getting a 'play pen' of sorts to contain your puppy/dog while you are out the house or can't keep an eye on him. This has been the most important thing we have done, and has really helped us relax when we are gone to work 8 hours of the day. We bought this dog gate off Gmarket (W45 000 or $45 click here for the link) which means he can see us, but he can't escape. He cried a lot the first few days we locked him up, but now he is happy to be in there and just sleeps when we aren't at home. This keeps him safe, as well as protecting the rest of our house from puppy mayhem. This also helps with housebreaking your puppy, as they tend not to mess where the sleep (the same is said for crate training...see below). 

His crate goes in his room as well as a cheap little bed we found at Daiso. He doesn't like blankets or anything that most dogs like to snuggle in. Even now with it snowing outside, he doesn't like the underfloor heating and chooses to sleep on the cold stone floor by the front door when he isn't in his room....strange pup.

I had never heard of crate training before, but as we will one day leave Korea, Shadow will have to travel in a crate for over 20 hours and so getting him used to it as soon as possible was very important for us. The sooner your pup gets used to the crate (and hopefully to see it as a happy and safe place to be) the easier it will be when they really have to be in it. There are lost of great videos on crate training (just google it and you'll find hundreds of great resources) and it took Shadow a while to be comfortable being inside it. He still doesn't like being locked in it for hours at a time, but he is getting used to it and it's only to help him in the end. We feed him in his crate, and put him inside it with some treats while we watch TV. He will eventually fall asleep in it and then we leave him in it over night. With crate training it's important to start off slowly, and progress gradually. Don't rush it or your poor pup will start to hate it. Also, never 'banish' your pup to his crate when he is naughty. You want the crate to always be a safe and welcoming place for him to be in.

Finding the right size crate can also be difficult. We had no idea how big Shadow would be and so had to make a guess. Crates are also super expensive here (this is one of the largest sizes and cost W165 000 or $165 on Gmarket. Click here for the link). If your pup is going to be traveling by air, the crate needs to be sturdy, IATA approved, and your dog needs to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably. Our crate is still a little too big for Shadow, but he is probably going to grow into it and we would want his journey home to be as comfortable as possible. 


This has been a tough one as there are soooo many different opinions and different kinds of foods. I had done a lot of research and decided that I wanted to feed Shadow grain free food (a lot of the super market brands use grains as fillers, leaving far fewer nutrients in the food and leading to huge poos). We were feeding him Taste of The Wild grain free puppy food until the stockist ran out on Gmarket and have resorted to Kirkland Nature's Domain food for all life stages until we can order more Taste of The Wild.  Click here for a great comparison of dog foods as well as star ratings for quality and nutritional value. 

We buy in bulk and store the food in large kimchi containers to keep it fresh. I got this 13litre containers from Daiso. 



You can go wild with all the fun things you can buy for your dog here in Korea. Shadow loves his homemade toys the most (the tennis ball alien thingy that Farmboy made using old rope and a drill) and the grey t-shirt. We bought lots of toys that have rough edges on so he can chew away and help relive his itchy gums now that he is teething. 

Here are the links for the toys above:

Blue Ball thrower, Green squeaky ball, rope

Red Fireball Bento Treat Chew Toy

Black Squeaky Food/Treat Dispenser (this makes dinner time fun and keeps them occupied and their brain stimulated as they have to work out how to get the food out).

Ball Thrower

Purple food dispenser: bought at a pet shop in Gwangju

White nylabone


I mainly use treats for training (I follow Clicker Training which is based on positive reinforcement). You can find treats online through Gmarket, or at most marts and all pet stores here in Korea. When we leave the house for the day we also always make sure we give Shadow a Kong (the red toy pictured above) which will save your lives and keep your pup entertained for a good amount of time while you are gone. You fill the kong with treats, peanut butter, cheese, meat, carrots, bananas apples etc and the pop it in the freezer over night and voila! One very happy pooch! Click here for a link to them on gmarket. 


I found all of these things at my local DC mart. The orange brush helps to really scrub and remove the dirt from Shadows thick fur. I also have a bunch of old small towels for drying him off after baths and for putting over his bed when we give him frozen bones. That just stops the yucky bits of blood and tissue from the bones messing everything. 


I have been very strict with Shadow from the moment we got him and it has led to us having a very calm, well behaved dog. He doesn't jump on people, he has good manner, waits to be let in and out of doors and most importantly doesn't snap or grab things from people. It hasn't been easy but it has been worth it, and using a clicker (pictured above) has been life changing. This being said, we have only had him for 3 months and it's important to stick with your training, especially when you feel like your dogs knows all the tricks you have taught them. It's especially important to keep changing up the environment in which you ask your dog to do things for you, thereby helping to cement their learning.   I can highly recommend Kiko Pup on youtube & Training Positive.  Clicker training used food based rewards, but these videos give lots of advice for weaning your pup off the treats and ensuring your dog continues to do what you want him to do even without the treats. 


One of our biggest challenges has been to train Shadow to walk nicely on the lead. Using a harness instead of his just his collar has helped a lot but he still pulls and is a bit of a pain to take on walks. We do have a car, so luckily we can drive off to a field to give him his exercise but lead walking is a very important skill your dog needs to know how to do, and to do well. Click here for the link to where we bought this harness. It's soft and padded and doesn't cut into him like other harnesses have. They also have all sizes and colours and so you should be able to find one to fit your dog.

We only use the extension lead when we take him out to go to the bathroom.


Deciding where or how you want your dog to use the bathroom is another big decision to make. A lot of people use pee pads for their dogs, but we don't want our dog to get used to those and then have to be re-trained to go outside when we move back home. It's not easy having to wake up in the middle of the night in the freezing cold and take your dog out for a walk in the snow but it's a decision we have made. Shadow was pretty much housetrained from the moment we got him (something that is a common trait of Korean Jindos) and only pooed in the house on the first night we got him. Since then he has only had a handful off weeing accidents, mostly due to us not taking him out after he has eaten, slept  or been playing. Puppies should be taken out to the bathroom after each meal, ,nap, or play time until they are about 4 months old. 


Shadow is growing like a weed and has outgrown two collars already. This is one I found on Gmarket (click here) for him that included laser engraving for his name and for my number in case he gets lost. It comes in a variety of colours and sizes (it can be very hard to find a collar for larger dogs and this company were super easy to deal with!).

There is alot more I am still to learn about having a dog, but these are the basics that have helped us over the past 3 months. Do you have any other suggestions of tips for having a dog here in Korea?