The World’s Most Dog-Friendly Countries

By Keren Mikva Published: July 15, 2014, 12:14 pm

Man’s best friend is just that -– a best friend. We like to take our best friends just about everywhere with us and not get nasty looks or comments that suggest our best friend isn’t welcome. We may want somebody to bring our best friend a bowl of water. Luckily, plenty of places that welcome dogs exist out there. Here are the world’s most dog-friendly countries.



France is notorious for its pet-friendly laws. Dogs are allowed into supermarkets, shopping centers and nearly all restaurants. “Loo points” even exist in many French areas that offer free bags to pick up your dogs’ poop, along with lots of bins for disposal. Best of all, there are no leash or muzzle laws so long as your dog isn’t an attack or guard breed, meaning the majority of France’s 61-million domestic animals get to run free.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, it is commonplace for people to take their dogs into public places such as restaurants, cafes and shops. You can even buy a dog ticket to take your best friend on the train for a few Euros. But most interestingly, the Netherlands has laws on the books to prevent people from owning dogs if they have any criminal records – meaning the Netherlands looks out for the dogs just as much as they do for the owners.


Though you can’t usually bring your pup into a restaurant to join you for a meal in Canada, the country makes this list for the absurd number of high-end dog services it has, such as dog hotels, bakeries, boutique shops, specialty grooming, and more. Canadian cities also tend to offer large parks that always have areas separated off for dogs to run off-leash.

United States

The U.S. holds title for the world’s biggest dog population, and it is estimated that the country has one dog for every four Americans. It is also a leader for providing service dog-related therapies such as seeing-eye guides, autism, and other psychiatric treatments.


Germany gets a bit of a bad rap for its treatment of certain breeds. A handful of specific breeds must be muzzled in public unless they receive a specific safety evaluation for exemption. Germany is also known for its stellar shelters, most of which operate as no-kill and maintain incredibly high standards. There is a dog tax that German citizens pay out of their paychecks to avoid having to put dogs down.



Austria has become a leader in anti-cruelty laws, giving it a spot on this list. In Austria, it is illegal to sell puppies or kittens in pet stores – normally a common outlet for puppy mill products. Austrians are also not permitted to restrain dogs with chains, choke collars, or invisible fences, and it is illegal to clip ears and tails — presumably to curb dog-fighting rings.


Swedish dogs have it made in the shade. They are encouraged to roam without leashes. Laws limit the amount of time dogs are allowed to be in crates, even during travel, and mandate doggie breaks at least every two hours or more. It is also a law that dogs must be taken for walks outside the house. Dog daycare facilities must have “sunny windows” for their clients, and dogs cannot be left alone for more than six hours a day. If and how this is actually enforced is a whole other issue, but it’s on the books!


If you’re hungry in Hungary (HAH!), it’s no problem to bring your furry friend into the nearest café with you, and you’re more than welcome to bring them into shops. There are also extensive regulations on medical care for dogs including mandatory registration and microchipping, as well as easily accessible spay-and-neutering operations. All pets must get a legal minimum of exercise, as well as frequent medical checkups.


It’s no surprise that Australia makes the list. Any dog would be thrilled to have such easy access to a plethora of beaches and parks. Though dogs are banned from national parks (in order to preserve the wildlife), they are allowed in most other areas, often without a leash. Dogs traveling in crates must have access to water at all times, and are welcome on public transit so along as they are muzzled or in a carrier.


Dogs in Belgium are protected by a long list of laws designed to prosecute owners who fail to properly maintain their pups’ health and safety. All dogs must be registered and microchipped, and many hotels, shops, and restaurants permit dogs at all times. Though some breeds are banned in certain cities, the country still maintains a high standard for dog friendliness.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is full of gorgeous, manicured gardens and parks and guess what? You’re usually allowed to bring your doggies there! Dogs are allowed on most forms of public transit in fact on many, like the popular Dean Forest Railway, they travel for free. Even most museums allow dogs including the Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle, and several Modern History Museums.



Not only is it easy to travel around Switzerland with your dog, it’s even easy to travel to the country with your furry friend. Most Swiss airlines are known to have lax pet rules, often allowing small dogs in the airplane cabin. Most hotels allow pets and if they charge a fee, it’s a very small one–sometimes as small as 5 Swiss Franks. Many restaurants allow in dogs, and even make little doggy plates on the floor for your pet.



Almost all public transit systems in Brazil allow you to bring your dog so long as he is leashed. Even most taxis will allow you to bring your dog so long as he is in a crate or some sort of case. Even though some have complained of fees associated with bringing your pet into the country, as far as paper work goes your dog just needs a recent health certificate and updated vaccines. Once there, several walkways and parks have been built for dogs and most cafes near these put out bowls of water for pets. Brazilians in general are known to love to pet a dog passing by.



Major Argentina cities like Buenos Aires are known for low cost health care services for pets and tons of parks. To give you an idea of how much Argentinians love dogs, in the capital, for the 3 million people there are 500,000 pups! Dogs are allowed in most shops and restaurants with many restaurants keeping dog treats on hand, and if you indicate to a cab company you’re traveling with a pet, they can usually accommodate you. Expect to be stopped on the street often by dog lovers wanting to pet your pooch!




Doggy costume parades might be something you see when visiting the country. In fact each year in Krakow, a parade dedicated to Dachsunds can be seen going down the streets with these little sausage-shaped pooches dressed up. The parade is also meant to promote pet health and safety in the country.



The Japanese love dogs so much they spurred an article titled “Why Japan Prefers Pets to Parenthood.” Japan’s pet industry is estimated to be worth around $10 billion with things like exclusive pet resorts, doggy yoga classes and designer clothes for doggies. One man in the aforementioned article named his pup something that translates to “First born son.”




Italians seem to be as passionate about pups as they are about high fashion! Most buses allow dogs so long as they are muzzled and for a small fee you can bring your dog on a train. Dogs are treated like human customers in restaurants, given treat packages and tons of table scraps. In fact often if you tie up your dog outside the restaurant the employees will demand you bring him in! And Italians love to stop you to pet your dog. Hotels are known to be lax on pet rules.






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