Tips on getting a dog in the Netherlands

Tips on getting a dog in the Netherlands

How easy is it to get a dog in the Netherlands? You’re probably thinking, surely it can’t be too expensive or time-consuming, seeing as so many residents of the Netherlands, both local and expat, seem to have dogs and other pets

Getting a dog in the Netherlands

There are many things to consider when getting a canine companion. Of course, you can expect hefty one-time expenses during the first year of getting a dog - veterinary fees, registration costs and pet supplies. After the cost of getting your dog, there’s also the living expenses and maintenance costs. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind if you're thinking of getting one.

Adopting a dog vs buying a dog

First of all, you have to decide if you’re going to buy a newborn puppy or adopt a stray. Buying a dog can cost you anything from around 250 euros to figures into the thousands for pure-breeds. 

Adopting a four-legged friend can save you a serious amount of money, plus you’re saving a homeless dog from living a sad life without a loving owner. Animal shelters in the Netherlands are exceptionally well-run and they try to match the animals to prospective owners. They take into account any previous issues and complaints and the dog’s personality, whether friendly or aggressive, shy or nervous. Check out your local animal shelter a.k.a. dierenasiel to rescue an abandoned creature.

Getting a dog passport

By 2020, all dogs will be required to be in possession of a dog passport. The passport for pets consists of a booklet with information about the animals' origin, its previous owners and its medical information.

Your pet will also need a microchip, which is a tiny digital device that is inserted into the dog’s subcutaneous tissue with a 15-digit identification number on it. You can get the chip inserted at the vet’s clinic, which could cost between 68 and 90 euros.

Registering your dog

After being registered with the municipality, your dog will be given a small metal tag containing the information, usually worn on its collar.

Your dog must also be registered with the Dutch Tax Administration, which you can apply for in person or by filling out and sending off forms.

The dog tax fee varies per municipality. In The Hague, for instance, it costs 116,28 euros per year and in Utrecht, 74,52 euros. In some places, you don’t have to pay any dog tax - 147 municipalities are free from dog taxes.

In some cities, like Rotterdam, the dog tax existed until very recently but has since been abolished. Look up the tariffs and see if you have to pay or if you’re in one of the lucky areas that are spared this expense.

Taking your dog to the vet

Circumstances will often pop up when you’ll need to take your dog to the vet. Vaccinations and tooth care are very common needs. Surgical procedures that dogs need to go through to make sure they don’t create other little puppies are also very important.

Vet consultations start at around 44 to 52 euros and a vet house call during practice hours can start at 96,95 euros. The standard vaccination that each puppy needs to go through at 6 weeks of age costs about 68 euros, whilst other injections cost between 57 and 70 euros.

In the sad event that your dog needs to be put down, this would cost between 120 euros and 200 euros. Castrating a male dog is about 82 euros and neutering a female dog about 250 euros – both costs depend on the dog’s size and weight.

Buying dog food

A dog’s yearly nutrition expenses depend on how you’d like to feed your dog. Some owners prepare the finest steak they can find for their dogs, whilst others want their dog to live the vegan lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to cost too much to keep your dog well fed.

Dry dog food comes in such huge amounts that it’s actually more practical to buy a super-size pack every few months, plus it'll save you a lot. Canned dog food has such a long shelf-life that you can also buy this in bulk and save lots of money. If you buy dog food, or hondenvoer in bulk online it can cost you a lot less too.

Taking your dog to be looked after when you go on holidays

You can arrange to have your dog stay at a kennel or “doggy motel” (dierenhotel or a dierenpension in Dutch). It’s always a good idea to research the quality of the kennel to ensure your dog will be well treated. Nowadays, there are many pet-sitters available and through social media, they are becoming easier and easier to find.

Bringing pets from abroad

Bringing pets into the Netherlands is also a procedure that many expats may need to go through when moving from another country. 

When entering the Netherlands with your dog from another country, you can avoid quarantine if your dog has a pet microchip, a rabies vaccination and a health certificate. Having a dog passport ensures that you have ticked all the above boxes and your pet is ready to go.

Soon, a pet passport will be mandatory for all dogs in the Netherlands, putting an end to doubts and worries when travelling with pets. On the government website, there is an explanation on how to bring your dog into the Netherlands.

Be prepared before getting a dog in the Netherlands

There are many points to take into account before deciding to get a dog. Although it's a considerable undertaking, getting a furry friend in the Netherlands can be made easier by being organised and managing your expectations beforehand. Be prepared and you won't have unpleasant surprises and you'll have a cuddly, affectionate friend for life.

Are you thinking about getting a dog? Or have you become a dog-owner since moving to the Netherlands? We're interested to hear your experiences in the comments below.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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