The ultimate guide to owning a dog in Amsterdam

Believe it or not, the bustling Dutch capital is made for dogs! There are plenty of parks and dog-friendly spots around the city where you can go with your best friend. 

If you are at the beginning of your dog journey or planning to move to Amsterdam with your furry friend, you’re going to need a lot of info about owning a dog in Amsterdam! Give us a paw, and let’s start at the beginning

🐶 How to adopt or buy a dog in Amsterdam

So let’s take it from the top. There are plenty of animal shelters in the Netherlands where you can look around to find the right dog for yourself. 

READ MORE: Dutch organisation ‘Help for Animals from Ukraine’ is saving furry lives

Some of these shelters have open days, but you can visit most of them without an appointment. Don’t be surprised that most shelters will ask you to provide a few things for them to prove that you’ll be a worthy dog mama or papa. They might even ask for an appointment from you to see your apartment

Here is a list of shelters in the Netherlands where you might find the future love of your life (dog): 

You can change a doggie’s life by adopting them, so if you can, we definitely recommend you do it this way. It is also possible to get puppies from shelters, and you can find many purebred dogs if that’s an important factor for you. 

Photo-of-puppy-lying-on-blankets-in-animal-shelter-Amsterdam
Amsterdam offers many animal shelter options. Image: Unsplash

Note: If you would prefer to buy a dog, you can do that by contacting a verified breeder. There are many of them all over the country.

🦴 Dog pet stores in Amsterdam

It is wise to buy essential accessories before the big adoption day. Trust us; this will ensure that you and your apartment survive the terrible twos (first two weeks.)

READ MORE: Getting a pet in the Netherlands

Here are a few well-known pet stores located in Amsterdam where you can buy everything you need (and more 😉):

🥸 Things to know when owning a dog in Amsterdam

Ok, so you’ve picked up your best friend: they’ve vomited on you, peed on your carpet, and torn up your favourite pair of shoes — now, the two of you need to figure out what to do with your new dog.

What paperwork do I need when I get a dog in Amsterdam? 

Any seasoned international in the Netherlands knows that the Dutch love a bit of bureaucracy, and this is also the case when you own a dog. 

golden-retriever-is-working
He is probably more chill about the paperwork than you are! Image: Depositphotos

So, what loops should you expect yourself and your dog to jump through? 

  •  Dog passport: Your dog must have a European pet passport to be registered in the Netherlands officially and turn your doggo into a proper Dutch dog. It is most important while travelling because you must present it at the border. You can pick up your pet passports from your vet. 
  •  Chip: If the dog has no chip yet, you can (and must) organise for one to be implanted when you visit your vet. 
  • Insurance: This is optional, but Dutch people are obsessed with insuring everything. There’s insurance for almost everything Dutch people own that’s more than €50, and dogs are no exception. 

Having insurance can be handy if your dog has any medical concerns later on and you don’t like unpleasant surprises. 

Here are a few companies that offer insurance for pets in the Netherlands: 

Do I have to pay tax when I own a dog in Amsterdam? Good news! While in many cities in the Netherlands, you need to pay tax for having a dog, in Amsterdam, you don’t have to.

🚀 Travelling with your dog

The most important golden rules while travelling to the Netherlands is that your dog has to:

  • be at least 15 weeks old.
  • be vaccinated at 12 weeks old.
  • wait 21 days after vaccination before bringing it to the Netherlands.
  • be microchipped and have a pet passport

Travelling by plane with your dog 

Flying would be a much more pleasant experience if all planes had puppies on board, right?

If you decide to fly with a dog, you must ensure that everything from the list above is ready and up to date before your flight. 

dog-waiting-in-airport
He is flying in first class! Image: Depositphotos

You need to buy a ticket for your dog as well; the price depends on the size of your dog, the airline, and the flight itself. 

Most bigger dogs have to fly next to your check-in luggage, while some airlines allow smaller dogs to travel with their owner in a closed box. It should make for a fun experience! (Unless your dog is a nervous flyer.) 

Travelling by car with your dog

If you are driving to the Netherlands, they might ask for your dog’s passport if you are checked at a border. Make sure you’ve met all the relevant medical requirements

Public transport with your dog in Amsterdam 🚟

While travelling with a dog on public transport in some big cities might paint a pretty picture of your wildest nightmare, this is not the case in Amsterdam. 

In the Dutch capital, you can use the metro and the tram without having to buy a separate ticket for your dog, and they don’t even have to wear any muzzles. 

dog-is-traveling-on-Amsterdam-metro
This is how we go to the park! Image: Mihály Droppa/DutchReview

🚲 Cycling with dogs in Amsterdam

This is the cutest thing about living in Amsterdam with your dog — but no, sorry to disappoint; the dogs of Amsterdam don’t know how to cycle. 

That being said, the people of Amsterdam sure learned how to cycle with their pet pooches throughout the city. There’s even an Instagram account that collects pictures of all the doggies on bikes!

🏥 Services for your dog in Amsterdam

It takes a village! Sometimes, you might need a helping paw in your dog journey in Amsterdam. Here are some of them:

Vets in Amsterdam

There are many vets in Amsterdam, and most of them also speak perfect English, so you don’t need to practice your Nederlands in their office (unless you want to, in which case, go you!)  

golden-retriever-puppy-playing-with-a-stethoscope-vet
The ideal vet experience. Image: Depositphotos

Here are just a few of the best vets in Amsterdam:

Dog-walking services in Amsterdam

At some point, you will need a hand (and a leg — and perhaps the rest of the body) to walk your dog when you’re busy. 

This help can come from a friend or a neighbour, but if you have no one around you who can walk your dog, that’s when dog walking services come in handy. 

One of the most popular options in the Netherlands is Pawshake. It’s an app where you can find your perfect verified dog walker to help you during those busy times. 

Daycares for dogs in Amsterdam

Taking your dog to daycare might be a good option if you’re away for a few days. There are several options for this one; however, some take the “day” part more seriously than others. 

Many services offer a 24/7 service so you can leave your best friend there for a few days. Sounds cruel, right? It’s not. 

The following are some of the best daycares in Amsterdam: 

🐕‍🦺 Where can I walk my dog in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has many parks all over the city, so finding one close to your place to bring your dog for a W-A-L-K (or a zoom) won’t be a problem.

Photo-of-dogs-in-the-lake-in-amsterdam
Can we swim now? Image: MIhály Droppa/DutchReview

Most of them allow doggies to enter; here are a few that we’d recommend: 

Vondelpark 

It’s the biggest park in Amsterdam, so it’s always packed with tourists. If you are with your dog, it’s wiser to go to the dog area of the park straight away! (Yes, there is one!)

You can find the dog field in the west part of the park.

Beatrix park

Beatrix park is one of the most beautiful parks in Amsterdam, with a vast meadow in the middle. 

In this park, the game rules are more or less written; if the weather is nice, the field will be full of picnicking people. But if not (and let’s be honest, this is most of the time), the doggos can take over the area!

Sarphatipark

If you live in De Pijp, this will be a handy one! While it is not the biggest park in the city, it has a whole dog area next to the climbing park. Yes, you heard it right! 😉

Het Amsterdamse Bos

The Amsterdam forest is great for long walks with your dog. The area is way bigger than any of the parks in Amsterdam, so you can just walk for hours and hours. There is also a big lake in the middle of the forest, where dogs love to swim!

Dog-in-the-park
The forest is fun! Image: Mihály Droppa/DutchReview

Beach in Haarlem

While this one is clearly not in Amsterdam, it is surprisingly close to it! Dogs love to gallop in the North sea, even if it might be too cold for swimming most of the year. 

This is also a place for long walks, but if you go with your dog, make sure that you choose one of the “hond vriendelijk” (dog-friendly) areas, where you are allowed to walk your four-legged friend. 

If none of these parks is close to your neighbourhood, here are some extra dog-friendly parks in Amsterdam: 

  • Oosterpark 
  • Westerpark
  • Erasmuspark
  • Rembrandtpark
  • Martin Luther King park

👨🏽‍🎓 Dog schools in Amsterdam (in English) 

If your dog is destroying all of your books at home, they most likely needs to have some education! 

Unless you’re willing to learn Dutch with your dog, plenty of dog schools in the city offer English training with several methods and group sizes. Here are some of the best ones:


Having a dog is a huge responsibility, but Amsterdam can be an awesome place for it! Most of the cafes and malls are dog friendly, there are plenty of parks, and you don’t even need to pay tax after your furry friend! 🙃

So if you’re looking for a reason not to get a dog in Amsterdam, sorry schat, you came to the wrong place (now go get yourself one!) 

Do you have a dog in Amsterdam? Tell us your experiences in the comments!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Mihály Droppa
Mihály Droppa
Mihály fell in love with (and in) Amsterdam, so he quit his NGO job in Budapest and moved to Amsterdam to become a journalist. His apartment is full of plants and books, two dogs, and a random mouse in the kitchen. You might find him in Vondelpark, where he spends most of his life throwing tennis balls for his vizslas and listening to podcasts. His nickname is Mex — ask him why!

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