8 of the World's Most Pet-Friendly Countries

Here in the United States, we take our pets on vacation, treat them to stays at pet resorts and spend lots of money to pamper our little loves. But we’re not alone.

There are many other countries that treat their animals like the important members of the family that they are, too.

Some have strict rules about making sure pet owners are educated before they bring a four-legged friend home. Some allow pets on public transportation. And in many countries, it’s common to bring your pet along with you when you go out for dinner.

Take a tour of some of our favorite animal-friendly nations in the gallery below, and tell us about your own international experiences in the comments.

Passport to Pet-Friendly Places

cat in French village



France is a nation of dog lovers, and if you visit, you have a good chance of spotting a canine just about anywhere you look. Many shops have a resident dog snoozing by the counter, reports Dublin Dog Blog, and dogs are also welcome in those picturesque cafés, bars, shops and even some markets. 

dog on Australia Gold Coast



Aussies have lots of beautiful beaches and parks where dogs are welcome, reports AFK Insider — with the exception of national parks, for the protection of the country’s unique wildlife. Dogs are allowed to ride on public transportation as long as the rules are followed, and the country is serious about protecting its canine population, too. Australia has strict animal-import laws, as Johnny Depp and his then-wife Amber Heard famously discovered last year.

woman on bridge in England  with dog


Great Britain

The U.K. has a reputation as a nation of animal lovers, and you’re allowed to take pets to many places, including gardens, parks and even some museums. Pets are allowed on the London Underground free of charge. Dogs just have to be kept on their leashes, and all pets are required to be carried on the escalators.

Austrian village



This central European country, known for its Alpine terrain and beautiful villages, is also a leader in stopping animal cruelty. Included in this movement is a ban on selling cats and dogs at pet stores in an effort to curb puppy mills. There are also guidelines against training methods that use force in Austria.

animal friendly countries Hungary



This European nation also wants to protect its animals and give them a good life. In fact, there are even rules in place to ensure dogs get a minimum required amount of exercise each day, that they’re microchipped and that they have frequent medical checkups. In addition, these family members are welcome outdoors at restaurants and cafés. 

Bikes in Amsterdam


The Netherlands

The Netherlands is another place where it’s common to take your pet along with you to restaurants, cafés and shops. Your dog can come along when you travel by train, and the country has laws to prevent people with criminal records from owning a dog. Further evidence of the country’s animal-loving status: You can get a break on health insurance if you’re a vegetarian. 

dogs at park in Vancouver Canada



Our neighbor to the north may love its pets as much as we do. Unlike many European countries, Canada doesn’t have its restaurants open to dogs just yet. But many shops in its dog-loving cities and towns leave water bowls and treats outside their doors, and lots of luxury spas for dogs and full-service day cares have opened in recent years. Some cities have large dog parks to offer, and some allow canines to ride on public transportation during certain hours.

Switzerland bernese mountain dog



The Swiss excel at creating good dog owners — starting with requiring a test where new owners have to show their pet-owning aptitude. All owners are required to have pet health insurance, and there are rules in place to prevent cruelty to dogs in their training. On top of all of that, Swiss airlines often allow small dogs in the cabin, and many restaurants not only allow dogs to join their human patrons, but they’ll also make them their own doggie plate.

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