Pets are part of the family, so bringing your pet from your home country to the Netherlands may be on top of your priority list. It is important to be considerate of legislation to ensure a smooth move to your new home.
Dogs, cats or ferrets
The Netherlands wants to prevent animals with rabies from entering the Netherlands. If you want to bring a dog, cat or ferret to the Netherlands from another EU country your animal must meet certain conditions.
If you want to bring a different pet to the Netherlands (like a small rodent, rabbit, bird, fish, amphibian or reptile), you must have a pet’s health certificate signed by a veterinarian.
Pets from a non-EU country
If you want to bring an animal to the Netherlands from a country outside the EU, you should check with the European Council, Animal Health and Welfare if you need a specific licence. Keep in mind that importing protected species of flora and fauna, or as well as endangered species, into the Netherlands is almost always prohibited.
In case you have an exotic pet, it is important you contact the Dutch Customs Information at +31 (0)45 574 30 31 before planning to bring an exotic animal, bird or plant into the country.
Travelling by plane
There is a good chance that you will need to travel by plane to bring your pet to the Netherlands. Make sure to research beforehand which airlines provide the best service for travelling with a pet. Continental, Northwest, and KLM have cargo programmes to care for four-legged travellers: during any connecting flights, someone will check on your pet, feed them and give them water. They will also provide you with the necessary information on transporting your pet, so you can prepare for your trip.
Finding a local vet
It is important that you find a vet in The Hague, so you will be able to get proper care for your pet at all times. They will be able to tell you more about the best brand of food for your pet, required check-ups and any adjustments to life in the Netherlands. You can look for a vet (dierenarts) or veterinarian practice (dierenartspraktijk) on Google. If you already have any Dutch friends who also have pets, they may be able to recommend a practice for you.
Cats and dogs in the Netherlands are required to have an electronic microchip implanted so they can be identified at all times. Each microchip has an issued number that gives access to all details stored in a European database so that it is easier for authorities to identify pets and their owners. Your vet will be able to help you with this.
Animal food and treats can be bought at every supermarket and animal stores. Also, most garden centres sell beds, toys, games, baskets and other accessories.
Walking a dog
In the Netherlands, you are allowed to walk your dog outside everywhere, except for playgrounds, playing fields and sunbathing areas. There are, however, 2 important rules: dogs should be on a leash and as a dog owner, you should clean up after your dog.
- Read more about rules on walking your dog and cleaning up dog poop in The Hague at the municipality's website.
There are free-run areas (losloopgebieden) where dogs may roam freely as long as they do not get in the way of traffic or people and they do not disturb the wildlife.
- See free-run areas and the areas prohibited to dogs in The Hague.
- See free-run areas in Delft (in Dutch, see ‘Ligging renvelden en uitlaatstroken’).
- See free-run areas in Rijswijk (in Dutch, see ‘Waar mogen honden lopen?’).
- See free-run areas in Leidschendam-Voorburg (in Dutch).