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.
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,
Dog Blog, and dogs are also welcome in those picturesque cafés, bars, shops
and even some markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.