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Animal Care Volunteer Project in Thailand - Chiang Rai

Animal Care Volunteer Project in Thailand - Chiang Rai

Care for & re-home abandoned animals
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Volunteer house
Program fees
From CA$710 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are patient and have a love for animals. No experience is needed; however, volunteers will need to be prepared for there to sometimes be difficult and emotionally challenging cases.

Project details

Want to do your part to care for abandoned dogs and cats in Thailand? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project is a chance for volunteers to care for these neglected, lost and/or injured animals in Chiang Rai. Volunteers gain experience caring for animals, including helping keep animals active and healthy so they have a better chance of finding a new home. Please note that the work can sometimes be difficult and emotionally challenging, so please be prepared for this.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

As an Animal Care volunteer in Thailand, you will assist the local staff to support the welfare and protection of abandoned dogs and cats in a local gated garden. The garden provides a natural environment in which dogs and cats can be free, while also protected, and aims to make sure that the animals are happy and healthy. The goal is for the animals to get adopted into loving homes or be returned to their owners.

The Animal Care program has a broad range of work. Please keep in mind that it can be very difficult and emotionally challenging, so you will need to be prepared to be working with animals that may have been neglected or abused.

At times, local working methods can be different to what you are used to in your home country. As such, flexibility, patience, and a desire to understand is essential.

Daily tasks can include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeding the dogs and cats (including strays)
  • Playing and socializing with the animals
  • Cleaning cages and kennels
  • General maintenance of the garden
  • Assisting with basic medical treatments, such as flea/tick drops and vaccinations
  • Animal bathing and grooming
  • Case research, review, and transfer to vet for assessment/treatment
  • Community working, including grooming and bathing clinics, applying flea and tick drops
  • Supporting vaccination and sterilization events
  • Contributing to communication / marketing, and social media campaigns for events
  • Contributing to fundraising campaigns for specific cases or events

Please note:

  • Volunteers on the Animal Care project will be joining a residential placement, i.e. volunteers will be accommodated at the placement.
  • There is an additional US$50 per week surcharge to cover resources such as: animal food, vaccinations and medical treatment of the animals. This is included in your Program Fee that will be quoted to you in your Acceptance Email.
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Animal Care volunteering in Chiang Rai with IVHQ?

When you volunteer at this animal shelter in Thailand, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping care for and re-home abandoned animals
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining experience caring for animals
  • Immersing yourself in Thai culture
  • Discovering the amazing, natural environment of Chiang Rai

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Harry Jackson
10 Jul 2024

I gained lots of information about a new culture.

Jitka Kujalova
03 Jul 2024

The opportunity to work with children has been incredibly precious to me. Experiencing the local lifestyle was eye-opening and completely new, challenging but extremely enriching. As someone used to a Western lifestyle, volunteering in Thailand offered unique challenges and rewards. It taught me the values of gratitude, love, and simplicity. For anyone hesitant about joining this program, I would say that while it may be challenging, the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. You’ll gain invaluable experiences and a deeper appreciation for different cultures.

Sam Thompson
31 Oct 2023

From this experience, I feel I gained a better understanding of a way of life that I learned was not so different from my own. Going in, I was expecting everything to be different about everyday life. What I came to realize is that everyone is far more similar to each other than they are different. That was a very cool thing for me to discover and I think validates the idea of being nice to anyone and everyone.

The advice I would give to someone hesitant about joining this program would be to try to become comfortable with letting yourself relax. If coming from a Western upbringing and culture like me it can be easy to get swept up in the little things going on in your life. Stress and a sense of urgency become a normalized routine that eventually leads to unhappiness and burnout. Going on this trip taught me a more laid-back lifestyle that I loved. Learning to incorporate time for unwinding and relaxation is an important lesson that you don't want to miss out on learning!

Conner Clark
06 Jul 2023

Amazing conversation information and support whenever needed from the local team. Working directly with locals and working in and around their villages helped to create an immediate sense of satisfaction and appreciation. Accommodation was great and everything I could have needed. Any concerns or questions I had were resolved or answered quickly. The meals were truly a highlight - every meal was deliciously authentic and ridiculously good. There was certainly no shortage of food for myself or other volunteers.

There were too many great examples to give only one favourite moment. The staff and local volunteers I worked alongside were amazing people who made me feel comfortable, safe and had a wealth of knowledge. So the people were my favourite highlight.

Alice Wright
03 Apr 2023

Absolute amazing support from IVHQ while deciding my sabbatical.

When I was first accepted I was offering my time - I had no skills or experience but I honestly wanted something different, and I got it. I wrote a thread on Facebook to my lovely friends and loving family very often commenting on how lucky we are in NZ, this beautiful experience has made me grateful for what I have returned to. I loved every minute and hour of my journey.

Home stays was the absolute moment for me and I was blessed to be able to have 3 wonderful great experience. Will always be in my heart.

I can only say, this has changed my life for the good and forever. We work for a comfortable life yes, but the beautiful Thai people work to live, something I have never thought about.

For those still hesitant about volunteering abroad, I say give it a go! I am 61 and experienced my journey with a 69 and almost 72 year old. Prior to going I suffered from a knee injury, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid issues but knowing this I felt the drive and passion to do something different in my life, never wanted for anything but gave everything I had to give.

Nanette Fairley
22 Feb 2023

My Program Manager did a great job answering my questions. I had quite a few as was taking my two younger nephews with me for this volunteer assignment. Appreciated the detail on the website and in IVHQ's responses.

The local team was fabulous ensuring we both settled, saw something of the area and also were fed and practical needs taken care of. I was very grateful to the local team for checking in and briefing us ongoing. Made the placement easy to settle in. Couldn't have asked for better support. Our shift boss, cultural guide, homestay host and just an overall good guy, was a pleasure to work with. Encouraging and positive - we could not have done better.

Overall, I felt we did add some value in the community we worked in.

IVHQ have partnered with some awesome NGO's around the world and their screening process can be trusted. I will be doing another IVHQ volunteer assignment in another part of the the world soon!


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Thailand, Chiang Rai with IVHQ


Chiang Rai is a city in the northernmost province of Thailand renowned for its beautiful mountain scenery, historic sites and authentic Thai atmosphere. It’s a great spot for those wanting to get off the beaten path and experience Thailand in a more relaxed manner than you might do in the bustling capital city of Bangkok or the popular islands of the south.

While Thailand is considered a reasonably well-developed country with low rates of extreme poverty and unemployment, there is an enormous socio-economic disparity between the wealthy and the rest of the population. Volunteers provide valuable assistance with improving conditions for low-income communities and contribute to local initiatives that help Thailand continue to develop and reduce inequalities. Volunteer placements are located near the volunteer headquarters in Chiang Rai and in the hills with local hill tribes.

Arrival and orientation

The Thailand volunteer program begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and you need to arrive in Chiang Rai before 5pm on Monday.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation a short drive from Chiang Rai. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night of your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Thailand prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in Chiang Rai at 11am on the Monday morning.

On Monday, you’ll spend the day resting, meeting other volunteers and the local team. Orientation is hosted by our local team at the office in Chiang Rai. Orientation begins on the Tuesday morning after your chosen start date and runs for the entire day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Thailand – an introduction to Thailand, Thai customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Thailand, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays: ​A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your particular project and placement and the time of year that you are volunteering. ​A typical daily schedule​ might be as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation
8:30 AM Morning meeting for all volunteers
9:00 - 11:30 AM Volunteer work begins. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at. Lunch breaks vary in time depending on the working schedule, but all volunteers get an hour to eat and relax
1:00 PM Volunteer work continues
5:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation
6:00 PM Volunteers have free time to spend as they wish; however, many volunteers use this time to plan lessons or do extra work for their projects

Weekends: During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to​ ​explore other parts of Chiang Rai and Thailand.

In Chiang Rai alone you can visit Wat Rong Khun, the breathtakingly ornate White Temple; see Wat Phra Kaew, the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha which now resides in Bangkok; or do some shopping and sample the fabulous food at the daily Night Bazaar or at the Walking Street Market during the weekend where a whole street closes to traffic to accommodate stalls and stands. It’s also a great place to go cycling, take a hike or learn about the region’s long and rich history and diverse culture.

Other parts of Thailand offer spectacular scenery and wildlife, phenomenal beaches and an amazing selection of adventure and relaxation activities

Accommodation and WiFi

You will be staying in a volunteer house that is located at the Animal Care placement. The accommodation has a living room area with Wi-Fi, an electric shower, and a kitchen with a microwave, fridge, and cooker for volunteers to use. The bedrooms have a combination of traditional Thai mattresses which are usually placed on the floor, and standard Western-style beds (subject to availability). Volunteers will have to use a laundry service, either close to the volunteer house or in the main city center.

There is the option of a overnight at a homestay with a local family, which is a great cultural experience. If you’re staying 2 weeks or less, you may choose to do this on your first week. For those staying longer, the homestay is arranged on the Friday of your 2nd week - there is no additional cost for this.


Traditional Thai cuisine is designed to appeal to the four fundamental taste senses with a balance of sour, sweet, salty, and bitter flavors. Common ingredients in Thai cooking include fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili paste, coconut milk, and lime juice. Staple foods include rice, rice noodles, vegetables, and herbs. Food served at the volunteer accommodation during the weekdays are typically hill tribe and Thai style meals; however, Western style food is also served occasionally.

During the weekends, food is not provided and volunteers purchase food at local shops and cook for themselves, or eat in town. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$472) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $495 Equivalent to $71/day
2 weeks $625 Equivalent to $45/day
3 weeks $775 Equivalent to $37/day
4 weeks $955 Equivalent to $34/day
5 weeks $1,125 Equivalent to $32/day
6 weeks $1,285 Equivalent to $31/day
8 weeks $1,615 Equivalent to $29/day
10 weeks $1,975 Equivalent to $28/day
12 weeks $2,335 Equivalent to $28/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$472) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Thailand generally find US$30-50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Some meals - please see the 'Meals' section of the project page to understand what meals are included
  • Airport pick-up
  • Return to the airport or bus terminal when your program finishes, if you are departing between 1PM and 4PM
  • Return to the bus terminal when your program finishes, if you are departing after 4PM
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Some meals - please see the 'Meals' section of the project page to understand what meals are excluded
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes, if you are departing prior to 1PM
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit Thailand

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Bangkok
Population 69 million
Languages Thai
Currency Thai Baht (THB)
Time zone UTC+07:00

Weather and climate: The climate in Thailand varies between the north and south regions, however, the temperature is relatively hot year-round throughout the country. The southern coastal region is characterized by a monsoon climate, which brings heavy rainfall from April to October in the South West and from September to December in the South East. In central and northern inland parts of Thailand, the climate is tropical with the rainy season lasting from May to November, bringing hot and humid weather. During the dry season, temperatures are cool from November to February and are hot from March to May. In Chiang Rai, the hottest average temperature is 36°C (96.8°F) in April and the coolest average temperature is 15°C (59°F) in December. Please see Weather Spark for more details on the climate and weather forecast.

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