Keeping pets in the Netherlands

Keeping pets in the Netherlands

For most people, pets are considered a member of the family and nobody wants to leave them behind when moving to a new country. It is important to be aware of the rules when it comes to bringing your pet into the country and what to expect once they are here.

This handy guide provides all of the information you need to make sure you and your pet are following the country’s rules and regulations.

Bringing your pet to the Netherlands

If you are travelling from a country inside the European Union, your pet needs a “Pet Passport” (dierenpaspoort). The passport is both a certificate of health and proof of immunisation against rabies and other diseases that is required by the Dutch customs authority to allow entry to the country. This passport can be obtained from your local vet – the national authorities in every EU country are responsible for issuing the passport to the vets.

If you are travelling from outside of Europe, a veterinarian can provide you with a health certificate after a thorough examination. Allow at least 6-9 months to arrange for your pet’s paperwork prior to travel.

Your pets (dogs, cats and ferrets) have to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days prior to the departure date and no longer than one year before. In some cases, animals are also required to take a blood test to confirm the vaccination. The regulation varies from country to country and their current stance on rabies.


If you have a dog, this is what is required of you:

Registering your dog

In the Netherlands, all dogs must be registered at the local gemeente (municipality). This must be done within the first two weeks of getting your dog or bringing it into the country. Proof of registration is a small metal tag to place on the dog’s collar.

Microchip identification

Microchips are required for dogs, which are implanted underneath the skin. On the microchip, the pet’s name, address, and emergency contact number must be included – it is essential these details are kept up to date. This makes it easier for authorities to identify pets and their owners if the animal is lost and then found.

Walking regulations

Check your local area for information as to where you can walk your dog off the lead. It is important to know that allowing your dog to do this in an undesignated area can result in getting an expensive fine. Like most countries, you must clean up your dog’s poop, putting it inside a tied bag and disposing of it in the marked bins.

Dog tax

In some municipalities, you will be required to pay dog tax, so be sure to check whether your municipality is one of them.

Animal ambulance services

If your pet has an emergency, you can call animal ambulance services, or you can find a 24-hour vet service. Here are the numbers of animal ambulance services in major cities in the Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam: 020 626 2121
  • The Hague: 070 328 2828 / 070 366 0909
  • Hilversum: 035 683 0300
  • Leiden: 071 517 4141
  • Maastricht / Zuid-West Limburg: 090 0443 3224
  • Rotterdam: 010 415 5666 / 010 476 8750
  • Utrecht: 030 273 1600 06 / 065 477 2700
  • Wassenaar: 070 511 7772

Losing and finding a pet

If you have lost your pet, call your local pound or one of the main numbers listed below. You can also contact Amivedi Nederland (animal tracing service) on 090 0264 8334. If the animal has an electronic microchip, you can also report it to the national chip database.

  • Amsterdam: Dierenkwijtlijn, 020 470 5000 (choose 1 in menu to report a missing pet)
  • Den Bosch: Bosch en Duin, Dierenkliniek, 030 228 3810
  • Eindhoven: Dierenkliniek Dikkertedap, 040 243 2455
  • Groningen: Diergeneeskundig Centrum Paterswoldseweg en Hoogkerk, 050 525 2697
  • Haarlem: Dierenkliniek Meerwijk, 023 533 3363
  • The Hague: Haags Dierencentrum, 070 366 1806 (choose 1 in menu)
  • Maastricht: Dierenkliniek Oranjeplein, 043 363 1818
  • Rotterdam: Dierenopvangcentrum, 010 437 4211
  • Utrecht: Amivedi Dieren Opsporingsdienst (animal tracing service), 030 251 3372

Did you bring your pet with you to the Netherlands? Let us know in the comment section below!

Ashley Halsey


Ashley Halsey

Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Lucky Assignments who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. Mother of two children, she enjoys traveling, reading and attending business...

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DrewP83 21:33 | 22 March 2020

Amsterdam doesn't require any pets registration, dog tax has been abolished in 2016. This article isn't accurate. I'd suggest you look at the information in every city hall website.