Šistockphoto/martin-dm

The World’s Most Dog-Friendly Countries

We treat our dogs like members of the family because, after all, that’s exactly what they are. So sometimes it can be a bitter pill to swallow when others don’t see our sweet, four-legged friends in the same light. Time to look into relocating to a country like Switzerland (where you must pass a test to adopt a dog), Germany (there are no shelters that euthanize animals), or Hungary (dogs are typically welcome in cafes and restaurants). We’ve rounded up a list of the top dog friendly countries in the world- time to get your pooch a passport!

France
You’ll be hard pressed to find a family in France that doesn’t have a dog and for good reason. Welcome in shopping centres, grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars, it’s easy to incorporate your dog into your daily life if you call France home. While many associate Parisian streets with being free-for-all dog toilets, efforts are being made to clean up that reputation by providing pick-up bags free of charge as well as easily accessed garbage cans to make disposal a breeze. Stroll into any shop and you’re likely to find the resident dog napping behind the counter or sunning himself on the front stoop. Honestly, there’s not much more a dog lover could ask for.

Switzerland
Chocolate, skiing, watches… is there anything the Swiss aren’t good at? Turns out, they’re exceptional at turning out responsible dog owners as well. Before bringing home a new furry friend, would-be Swiss dog owners are required to successfully complete a course on animal understanding and pass a series of both practical and written tests to demonstrate their aptitude. There are strict guidelines as to how you may train your dog (absolutely no prong collars, hitting, or equipment that uses electricity, for instance) and all owners must have special pet insurance. Many restaurants are happy to accommodate canine patrons and provided that you pay the appropriate fare, well-behaved pooches are permitted on public transit.

Canada
While Canada may not be quite ready to open its cafe and restaurant doors to canine companions just yet, it’s still a pretty great place to be a dog. Stroll through most cities and towns and you’ll find water and treat bowls sitting outside of shops, even those that have nothing to do with dogs. Luxurious spas designed to pamper pooches seem to be popping up on every street corner, as are full-service day cares that will make your 3 year old jealous. Cities like Toronto allow dogs to ride on public transit within certain hours and in Vancouver, there are entire beaches where your pal can run and explore to his heart’s content (off-leash, of course).

Germany
Despite enforcing strict guidelines pertaining to certain breeds, Germans love their dogs and aren’t afraid to show it. The country is known for its no-kill shelters which not only avoid euthanizing animals but also provide excellent living conditions for their residents. Daily exercise, extensive training, plenty of time to interact with humans and other dogs all make for well-adjusted animals who promise to make excellent companions. The system is so good that the country often takes in dogs from other countries who would have otherwise have been put down. Leaving dogs alone for extended periods of time is strongly discouraged and most public spaces welcome furry friends with open arms. So if you’ve ever wanted to grab a pint with your pooch by your side, it’s time to head to Deutschland.

Hungary
Dogs in Hungary are considered an integral part of the family and it shows. They’re welcome in restaurants and cafes, they are free to roam off leash in the majority of places, and thanks to a series of laws and guidelines, measures are taken to ensure that they are well taken care of at all times. Ear and tail docking are prohibited and micro chipping is mandatory. There are also programs in place to ensure that spaying and neutering is accessible to everyone and rules are enforced in order to guarantee that all dogs get at least the minimum required amount of exercise daily.

Austria
Austria gets major points for being so proactive in the fight to end animal cruelty. Pet stores are strictly prohibited from selling dogs and cats which is amazing, considering the fact that the vast majority of animals sold through stores are the product of puppy mills which is enough to make any warm-blooded human cry. Training measures that use force are also not permitted, nor are devices like shock collars or invisible fences. In addition to cracking down on cruelty, Austrians make an effort to include dogs in daily life. There are plenty of hotels across the country that welcome animals, making it easy to include your pooch in your holiday plans.