Dog ownership for lonely expats in the Netherlands

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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If you’ve arrived in the Netherlands and are feeling lonely and isolated, getting a dog is the perfect answer.

It’s normal for expats in the Netherlands to decide to share their new lives with a furry friend, and most landlords don’t have a problem with allowing a dog in their rentals. Points to consider include the cost of keeping a canine companion, especially during the first year should you fall head in heels in love with a puppy. Vets aren’t cheap anywhere, with the Netherlands no exception, and initial check-ups, vaccinations and sterilisation or neutering can blow a hole in the expat budget, especially if you’ve decided on buying a specific breed of dog from a breeder.

The best way to save initial costs and do good at the same time is to adopt a dog from one of the many Dutch animal shelters, all of which are professionally run and provide expert care for their rescued dog populations. Shelter staff take time to match up their dogs to potential owners, taking into account personalities on both sides, any previous issues and the lifestyle of the potential adoptee. Visiting the shelters can be heartbreaking as well as heart warming, and many expats find themselves unexpectedly leaving with two dogs rather than just one!

By the year 2020, all dogs in the Netherlands will require microchips in order to identify them and their owners should they stray or be abandoned. The cost at the vet’s at present is between 68 and 90 euros, and your dog must also be registered with the Dutch Tax Administration and your local town hall. Once the registration is done, you’ll be given a small metal tax containing its info, normally worn on its collar. Believe it or not, you’ll need to pay tax to own your doggy companion, at a rate decided by individual municipalities. Amounts vary, with Utrecht charging 74 euros euros a year and The Hague’s tax fixed at 116 euros.

Veterinary services in the Netherlands are first-class, and many vets speak English, making it less tricky to explain exactly what’s wrong with your best friend. House calls are also provided, and consultations average around 50 euros. The standard vaccinations cost between 44 and 70 euros, castration costs an average of 150 euros and sterilisation is around 250 euros. If you need to travel overseas in business for short periods, doggy motels are provided all across the country and, for long days at work, dog-sitters can be found via social media.
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