Pets are a blessing. Not only are they your best friend but also a member of your family. When you are moving to another country, the first thought that comes to your mind is naturally: How am I going to bring my pet with me? So that’s why we have decided to write about all you need to know about having a pet in the Netherlands. From relocating to the vets, we’ve got a lot of useful things!

 #1 Bringing your pet to the Netherlands

Moving can be stressful for everyone and relocating your pet with you can add up to that. The amount of procedures and regulations you have to think of is huge! Hopefully, this can be a little help and tell things you need to know about bring your pet to the Netherlands.

Image: Fran__/Pixabay

Rabies shot

Your pet (including dogs, cats and ferrets) must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days prior to the departure date and no longer than one year. Afterwards, your pet will probably be required to take a blood test to confirm the vaccination.

Do keep in mind that this blood test would mean that you would have to wait for additional months (three in most situations). So it is safer to start as early as possible in order to prevent yourself from rushing last minute.

To get more information about the rabies vaccination, you can visit the government website, bringing pets into The Netherlands where you can find a list of countries where rabies is controlled, or you could check out our guide to relocating your pet to the Netherlands.

Identification Card

All of the pets in the Netherlands (or coming to in this case) must have proper identification. Therefore, you are required to have an electronic microchip implanted in your pet. Each microchip has an issue number that gives access to all details stored in a European database. This makes it easier for authorities to identify pets and their owners (readable tattoos are no longer accepted since July 2011).

Let’s Talk Travel

If you are thinking about flying, then choosing the right airline company for your pet is very important. Which one allows a pet in cabins or does your pet have to fly in the cargo? What are the regulations about the carrier that my pet is in? What are the company rules for the size and the weight of your pet? How much will it cost?


These questions are a must to know before you make your journey to the Netherlands. With most companies, one passenger means one pet if you would like to keep your pet with you in the cabin. However, you can fly more pets if you want to, by organising for them to fly in the cargo. There are also special carriers designed for air travel that fits the rules and gives your pet the most comfort while flying.

Pet Passport in the Netherlands

If you intend to bring your pet to the Netherlands (or to any EU country for that matter) from your home country to the Netherlands, it is important to follow the required procedures. Therefore, every pet owner must present their pet’s passport.

Your pet’s passport is both a certificate of health and proof that your pet is protected against rabies and other diseases that are required by the Dutch government. As it is a time-consuming process, for absolute beginners, it is safe to start at least 6 to 9 month before your pet’s arrival to the Netherlands.

The passport should have the following info:

  • Name of the owner (photo is not necessary)
  • Your veterinarian’s confirmation about the rabies certificate
. All pets should be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to the departure date and the date of vaccination must be clearly stated.
  • Your pet’s microchip number.
  • Other info about your pet such as weight, colour, breed, sex, name.

Note that the above applies to cats, dogs and ferrets. For other animals (except for rabbits, fish and hares) a health certificate from a recognised vet in the country of departure should be presented.

#2 Veterinary services in the Netherlands

Just like choosing a doctor for yourself, deciding on the right veterinarian is also an important step when having a pet in the Netherlands. If you don’t quite know where to start, you can ask neighbours or friends for a recommendation, or search for ‘dierenarts’(veterinarian) or ‘dierenartspraktijk’ (veterinarian practice) on the internet (such as Google).

Is there an emergency?

In case of an emergency, you can contact Animal Hospitals and Emergency Clinics apart from Animal Ambulance.

When and where to get care for your Dutch pet

Animal hospitals and emergency in Amsterdam
Spoedkliniek (night and weekend emergency clinic) (Not a drop in clinic, call first) Tel: 020 694 4766
De Toevlucht Stichting Vogelhospitaal (Bird Hospital), Bijlmerweide 1, 1103 RR Amsterdam Zuidoost. Tel: 020 600 1144

Animal hospitals and emergency in The Hague
Spoedkliniek (emergency clinic), Het Zicht 61-63, 2543AK ‘s Gravenhage. Tel: 070 366 0701

Animal hospitals and emergency in Rotterdam
Kralingseweg 343, Rotterdam. Tel: 010 450 2916
Dierenziekenhuis (animal hospital), Pascalweg 4, 3076JP Rotterdam. Tel: 010 492 5151.

Animal hospitals and emergency in Utrecht
Dierenartsen Dienstgroep Domstad, Zamenhofdreef 60, 3562JZ Utrecht, Tel: 0900 33377633
Dierenkliniek Hoograven, Detmoldstraat 10, 3523GD Utrecht, Tel: 030 288 6469,

Numbers for Animal Ambulance in the Netherlands

Amsterdam: +31 20 626 2121
The Hague:+31 70 328 2828 / +31 900 4035009
Leiden: +31 71 517 4141
Masstricht/Zuid-West Limburg: +31 900 443 3224
Rotterdam: +31 10 415 5666/Dierenambulance Reo +31 10476 8750
Utrecht: +31 30 273 1600 (or +31 6 5477 2700)
Wassenaar: +31 70 511 7772

#3 What to do if your pet goes missing in the Netherlands

Is Mr.Mittens nowhere to be seen? Should Sir Paws A Lot have been back from his daily walkabout by now?

Whether it is having a pet in the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world, missing a pet is one of the scariest things that an owner can think of. Whether your pet is allowed to roam free outside your home or not, if you feel like your pet might have gone missing, there are some steps you can follow.


If you bring your pet from abroad, your pet must have obtained a microchip from within your home country. At your first visit to the vet, you should make sure to register that number so that your pet is in the database. Because unlike collars, you can’t lose the microchip.

They are smaller than a grain of rice and are implanted underneath the skin by a veterinarian and contain information like the pet’s name, address and emergency contact information. They’re also readable with scanners that most Dutch animal shelters have readily available.

This way, if your pet is taken to a vet or an animal shelter, they will be able to find your information and address to get your pet safely back to you.

Social Media

In this day and age, most of us are blessed with one or more social media accounts. In situations like these, using those tools might be crucial. Put the word out about a missing pet online. Look for local Facebook groups for Missing Pets or spread the word on your Twitter account. Maybe ask your vet to share it on their social media accounts. Who knows? Maybe someone who comes across your beloved pet might recognise it from your share. Every little helps!

Image: Marina Pershina/Pixabay

In the Neighbourhood

Sometimes going old school is the best. Start by asking your neighbours and other local businesses to keep an eye out. Maybe your furry friend is hanging out in your neighbour’s attic or your local shop’s basement.

You might also consider making flyers to hang around your neighbour. Make sure the photo is clear and easy to spot. It is also smart to mention any special features your pet has.

Animal shelters

In case the previous tips won’t help. Then maybe it’s time for you to reach out to a few organisations such as animal shelters. They usually have a good database and might be where your pet was taken after being found.

Professional Help: Amivedi

Stichting Amivedi Nederland is the country’s official website for the registration of lost domestic animals. It’s a good place to turn for information about shelters. Be aware of the fact that if you don’t speak Dutch, you might find it hard to communicate, so asking a Dutchie for help might be a good idea.

Their website is a platform where users can post information about animals they’ve found or create a listing for their lost pets.

#4 Having a dog in the Netherlands

Who doesn’t love a good doggo? We all know dogs are special, but they also, sadly, have some special regulations if you want to adopt one.

Annual dog tax

If you have one or more dogs, be aware that having a pet in the Netherlands means that most cities will charge an annual dog tax (hondenbelasting). The price for this is determined by the number of dogs you have. It usually varies from area to area and it’s always useful to check the list of the places in the Netherlands where the dog tax is highest.

Apart from dogs, no other animals, such as cats, require registration of tax (yay for Oreo the cat)!

Image: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Registering your dog at the municipality

You also have to register your dog with your Gemeente and the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) upon arrival. The declaration with your municipality has to be done within the first 14 days.

Where can you walk your dog?

Dogs are allowed on beaches except during the summer months. There are some beaches where animals are allowed on a leash early in the morning or in the late evening.

Last but not least; wherever you go with your dog, you must always clean up after. There are fines for those who don’t.

Having a pet is awesome (having a pet in the Netherlands is even better) and they are a member of your family, so go and give your pet a hug. Oh, and don’t forget to adopt – don’t shop kids!

*Originally published in 2018 but updated in 2019.


  1. Hello
    Wondering if anyone knows of a pet insurance that covers cats over the age of 6 years old?
    My two cats are moving here from South Africa, and we need t make sure they have a pet insurance when they arrive.
    However the recommended pet insurance companies from Iamexpat only covers cats under the age of 6.

  2. What happens to rabbits? They havent rabies shot or id card. Do you know any thing to move her from Turkey to The Netherland?


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