You live in the Netherlands, and you have just adopted a furry baby. What do you do next?
This article provides the basics to have pets in the Netherlands, from taxation to do’s & dont’s. For dog parents, there are some additional laws and procedures that you must know about. For other pet parents such as cats, birds, rabbits, etc., no taxation or registration is required.
General Information for Pets in the Netherlands
In the Health & Welfare of Animals Act, the Dutch government establishes a set of rules for the treatment of animals. These rules exist in order to protect their health and wellbeing. For instance, animal cruelty is a crime. This includes physical abuse, maltreatment, neglect, or starvation of an animal. You may report any form of animal cruelty to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) or the police.
Before Getting a Pet
Certainly there are things you want to think about before getting a new furry family member:
- Do you have the time to care for a pet? With easing of Covid restrictions, you may be going back into the office more than you are used to.
- Can you afford a pet? There are many things to budget such as food, toys, boarding vet bills, and more.
- What are your travel plans, both short-term and long-term. If you travel a lot, you certainly will need to consider where you pet will stay while you are away.
- Are you renting your housing? If so, you will need to check if you are allowed pets.
- Especially for dogs, how much space do you have for them to run? Some dogs require much more space than others.
Where to Adopt a Pet
There are many agencies for pet adoption – both from within the Netherlands, and animals rescued from abroad. Some of the major organizations are:
Specific information for dogs
Having a dog in the Netherlands requires a bit more information and knowledge than a cat. Here are some of the most important facts that all dog parents should be mindful of:
- Pet parents must pay the Dog Tax (hondenbelasting) annually. This is true for most cities, but not all of them. For example, Amstelveen abolished the Dog Tax in 2019. The more dogs you own, the higher amount of tax you have to pay. Check with your local municipality for more information.
- Dog parents must register their baby at the local town hall and the Municipal tax office within the first 14 days of arriving in the Netherlands or having a dog.
- Dogs (but not cats) must be microchipped. This provides unique identification to the animal.
- You must keep your dog on a leash unless it is an off-leash area or most roads outside built-up areas. Fines apply.
- You must pick up poop after your dog (dog fouling) in off-leash areas.
- No dogs allowed in:
- children’s playgrounds
- sports fields
- theme parks
- Dogs are allowed on beaches but not during the summer months.
- Guide dogs for the visually impaired travel with no extra charges for all public transport.
You have plenty of options for insurance for pets in the Netherlands. For example, some reimburse treatments, whereas others may also cover in case of a pet getting lost or stolen. Cooper Pet Care provides more extensive information on pet insurance here, and you can view our insurance partners here. Check it out!
Visiting the Vet with my new Pet
Once you adopt a pet, often you will want to bring it to a vet for a check-up, and to make sure all your protective measures are in order.
- Puppies generally receive a course of 3 vaccinations at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. After that, generally annually.
- Kittens generally receive a course of 2 vaccinations at 8 and 12 weeks. After that, generally annually.
- Both puppies and kittens are generally de-wormed every 2 weeks from 0-8 weeks of age, then every 1 month from 2-6 months of age, and finally every 3 months for the rest of life.
- Flea and tick control
Options for Your Pet When You are on Holiday
Of course we all wish we always had the option to keep our pet with close friend of family member when we are away on holiday. This is generally of course the best option, as they are familiar with the pet and our house. However, the reality is that this isn’t always an option.
Here are a few trusted options for services where you can be put in touch with people who can care for your pet. Either they would stay at your house as well, or sometimes you can bring your pet to them.
Additionally, there are of course many pet boarding facilities all across the Netherlands. If you prefer one of these, a simple Google search within your city of residence should bring up many options.
Potentially critically important, finding an emergency (or 24/7) clinic in your specific city is not always easy. We have compiled a list of emergency contacts for all major cities in the Netherlands.
Vet clinics in the Netherlands
When you are in need of a vet in the nearest town over, it’s great to have a couple of options on hand. This is why we’ve created lists for all vet clinics in the Netherlands, divided by major cities. Please be advised that these articles are in Dutch but the phone numbers and addresses can be used in English.
- Vets in Amsterdam
- Vets in Rotterdam
- Vets in The Hague
- Vets in Utrecht
- Vets in Eindhoven
- Vets in Groningen
- Vets in Haarlem
- Vets in Maastricht
- Vets in Tilburg
- Vets in Zwolle
Pet Resources in the Netherlands
Find below a list of important links that you can bookmark for the relevant service you might need for your furry baby in the Netherlands:
- Dieren Ambulance: National animal ambulance service. Note that many cities/regions have their own animal ambulance services as well.
- Nationaal Vergiftigingen Informatie Centrum (NL): Dutch national poisoning hotline.
- Dierenbescherming: National animal protection society
- Nederlandse Databank Gezelschapsdieren: Dutch pet database for animals with a microchip
- Europetnet: EU pet database for animals with a microchip
- Royal Dutch Society for Veterinary Medicine (KNMVD): Professional organization for veterinarians in the country
Have more questions about having a pet in the Netherlands? Schedule an instant video consultation with our qualified veterinarians and get tailored answers and advice from the comfort of your home – today.