Top 7 European cities for families with pets

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Are you thinking about moving to Europe with your family? We think that’s a great choice! Moving abroad is one of the most exciting parts of life because you get the chance to be part of a whole new community, new culture, and a lot more. Of course, you are not going to leave your pets behind, they are also a part of your family. This means that you’ll want to move somewhere your pet will be safe and where it will have a chance for a new life, just like you. Therefore, Transparent International is going to talk about some amazing European cities for families with pets.

Things to do before the move with your pets

Moving with pets won’t be hard. However, there are still some things you need to know before you book your flight. Being well-informed about these things before your moving day will help you avoid any possible problems regarding the transportation of your pets.

  • Necessary documentation – Different countries have different laws regarding this, but in most cases, your dog should be microchipped, their health certificate should be translated into the language of the country you are moving to, and you need to be by their side at all times
  • Start gathering the documents on time – this is something you need to do well in advance before your move. While you are gathering the documents, you can use that time to also help your dog get used to the pet carrier so they don’t feel anxious and overwhelmed on the day of the move
  • Take care of your pet’s luggage – just like you, your pet will need a few things during your flight. First, you need to make sure that the carrier you chose for your pet is suitable for them. Then, you might want to take some things like medication, blankets, a few toys to keep them entertained.
  • Check your plane’s regulations regarding pets – before you choose an airline, check if the one you plan on traveling with allows pets on their airplanes. If the answer is yes, your pet might not be able to stay with you in the cabin, but in the hold.
a woman sitting on the couch with her dogs
Make sure to be well-prepared before the flight with your pet

What are the best European cities for families with pets?

It’s good to know that countries in Europe are very pet-friendly in general, but we are going to make a selection of 7 cities in Europe that are the best for your pets.

1. Madrid, Spain

Madrid has been ranked as one of the top 10 pet-friendly cities in the whole world

First of all, Madrid has the ideal weather for both you and your pets, it’s mostly sunny with an average temperature of 69°F. According to Benchmark Kennels’ research from last year, Madrid currently has about 800 services that will walk your dogs, about 130 dog groomers, and over 100 pet stores all over the city.

One of the best parts about Madrid is that there are more and more cafes and restaurants that will serve food to your pets as well! This is because the Spanish law regarding pets has recently changed and they are now considered as legitimate family members with animal rights, which might make you consider moving from USA to Spain.

an aerial shot of high rise buildings in madrid, which is one of the best european cities for families with pets
Madrid is full of places that will serve food for both you and your pets

If you are ever in a situation where you have to leave your pet alone at home and are worried about its safety, there are various pet hotels you can leave your dog at. There are also many pet clinics that are open 24 hours a day if anything happens to your friend.

If you like competitions and want to show off your amazing pet, you can do so at many pet fairs that are held every year in Madrid:

  • Perrotón
  • Fiestas de San Antón
  • Guau, ¡qué alucine!

2. Oslo, Norway is one of the best European cities for families with pets

If you’ve ever thought about moving to Norway from USA but weren’t sure your dog will like it, you don’t have to worry! We say this because Norway is full of pet lovers. Therefore, you’re likely to meet many like-minded people who love their pet as much as you do. Something that proves this is the fact that in 2019. about 31% of the households in Norway were cat owners, and 17% were dog owners. So, what can you do in Oslo with your pet?

Take them to the dog park

Why not check out Stensparken if your dog is yearning for a run in the dog park? There are many locals and visitors walking their dogs at the park, which has a lovely trail and lots of trees. You should let your dog play and run around there and meet other dogs and make some friends! With your dog by your side, playing a game of ball or Frisbee in the park is a nice activity for both your family and your pet.

Take your pet to a cafe for a meal

It may come as a surprise to you that Oslo has a large number of cafés and patio restaurants where you can eat with your pet. Pet s are allowed inside many local cafes like Lio’s Café Bar where you can eat tasty food with your little friend in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.

a woman looking at her dog
Most cafes in Oslo are pet-friendly

3. Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the best cities in Europe to move to with your family and pets. There are so many activities you can do and there is so much to explore. Residents of Luxembourg are also very friendly and love to organize different kinds of meetups and group activities. That means both your family and your pet have great chances of making a lot of new friends!

The easiest way to find other pet owners in Luxembourg is through Facebook. There are many groups where you can find like-minded individuals. You don’t have to worry if your German is not perfect yet. Most of these groups are in English because of easier communication. Some of the groups you might be interested include – Luxembourg Dogs, Pet owners of Luxembourg, and Who is your doggie Luxembourg.

In case you are moving to Luxembourg from US with a relatively new pet, Luxembourg has a solution for that as well! There are various organized dog training activities, puppy schools, and opportunities for dog therapy all over Luxembourg.

4. Berlin, Germany

Germany’s most dog-friendly city, Berlin, never turns away its animal residents, according to research. The city has more than 100,000 officially registered pets. They are permitted on the streets, in parks, on public transportation, and even in eateries and nightclubs. While you are there, your dog will have a lovely life and will feel like a “Berliner” thanks to the many canine exercise spaces, hotels, and sightseeing tours.

Berlin residents enjoy walking their dogs. You see adorable dogs on the trains every day. They appear to have adapted well to the fast-paced city life. While it’s free to ride public transportation with tiny dogs and service animals, you’ll need a special ticket if your dog is a bit larger. One suggestion is to go on an adventure walk through your neighborhood with your dog. Through this, you can discover the best playground in order to become familiar with the most well-liked dog exercising areas in Berlin. Pay special attention to the parks and other green spaces – they are definitely worth visiting.

a red train on tracks in berlin which is one of the best european cities for families with pets
In Germany, your pets are allowed to take public transport with you for free

But be careful, there is one thing to pay special attention to when it comes to paperwork. Moving companies to Germany suggest that you register your pet with the local government and take care of paying the dog tax right after moving to Germany. All pet owners are required to register their pets with the Finanzamt and pay an annual dog tax. Your dog will get a dog tag that must be worn at all times when you go out. A tax certificate and a dog tax number will also be given to you for your records. 

5. Brussels, Belgium is among the best European cities for families with pets

The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is frequently referred to as dog-friendly. There are numerous parks and open spaces where you can walk your pet. As well as numerous restaurants and cafes with outside seating that allow dogs. Apart from that, a lot of hotels in Brussels let dogs stay with their owners. 

The city of Brussels loves pets because one in ten of its residents owns one. Additionally, there are a number of pet pharmacies in Brussels where you can, if necessary, acquire medication for your little friend at any time of the day. Not only that, but it’s also very simple to purchase veterinary medications online in Brussels. Therefore, in case you are unable to go out or don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for the right medicine, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Therefore, that’s one more reason why you should consider moving from USA to Belgium.

Your four-legged pal is welcome to roam freely off-leash on several of the beaches along Belgium’s coastline. The majority of restaurants in Belgium welcome well-behaved dogs inside with you. But it’s always a good idea to check first.

Small animals in a box, cage, or basket can travel for free on Belgian Rail. Larger dogs need a pet ticket, which is available for a small price per one ride. Although they are not required, muzzles are advised. However, a conductor can request that your dog wear one. Using public transport will be useful in case you have any problems with your international car transportation.

a woman with a face mask working in a pharmacy in brussels which is one of the best european cities for families with pets
Pet pharmacies are available all over Brussels

6. Paris, France

In Paris, there are more than 300,000 registered pets. If you do the math, it means that there are seven Parisians for every dog in the city. Pet owners are able to take their friends to almost every place they go to. Even to some places you usually can’t bring pets to in other countries. This is mostly because the residents of Paris value their pets more than anything. This makes it one of the best European cities for families with pets for your international relocation.

The fact that Parisian eateries seem to be mostly pet-friendly is one of the greatest things about moving there with your pets. The majority of eateries don’t mind if customers bring their pets with them. The only notable exclusions appear to be bakeries and supermarket stores, where dogs are typically not permitted.

It’s polite to check if you are able to bring your pet in before going into the store. Although the majority of restaurant staff members are fluent in English, you can ask in French by saying “Puis-je amener mon chien?”. This phrase is a request to bring your pet in with you. There is a stereotype going around that residents of Paris can be rather cold. However, once you move there, you’ll realize how polite and friendly they are.

a woman stroking a dog
There are more than 300,000 registered pets in Paris

7. Milan, Italy

Milan is well-known for being the world’s fashion capital as well as being one of the pet-friendliest towns in all of Europe. In Milan, dogs are allowed everywhere – in stores, parks, eateries, and other public areas. This means you’ll have no problem having fun with your family and pet anywhere you go!

If you plan on renting a place when moving to Milan, pet-friendly accommodation is more than easy to find. There are some rules, which may vary depending on where you choose to live, you will need to follow after moving in, but they are usually not that complex. These are most common things like cleaning after your dog, making sure they don’t disturb other people who live there and making sure they don’t destroy anything in the apartment you are renting. 

The biggest reason why Milan is among the best European cities for families with pets is its dog parks. In fact, they are among the most beautiful ones in Europe. That means that not only will you and your dog be able to socialize, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the beautiful park around you. Most of them have easy access to water for your pets and a whole lot of toys.

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