We recently adopted a puppy named Santino (Yell the name like SANTINO from Godfather) from a great rescue up near Coimbra called Pegadas & Bigodes (they are wonderful – highly recommended – Natasha really cares). He was abandoned by locals and thrown over the fence of the farm. We took him in and he’s getting used to life in the big city (Lisboa is not the big city, but it’s huge to him). With that, we have new challenges, especially when getting around the city with him. We love to drive but the parking situation in Lisbon is atrocious and we definitely prefer public transportation. We decided to put together this guide to having a dog in Lisbon to help those who are new to the city and looking to have a furry one join their family. We’ll update this blog as we learn new things. If you have a question that is not answered, leave it in the comments…and, if you have tips for us – do the same!
Background on Portuguese and Their Relationships with Dogs
Portugal as a whole is similar to many southern European countries. They have a history of poverty and access to wealth is small and far in-between. With that, dog ownership was usually for security and animal husbandry.
When you visit the countryside, you will see dogs living outside in the yard, mostly they will be tied to chains. This is true no matter what the season, even when the Summer sun is at its most aggressive. They are not considered to be a part of the family, but cheap “security systems”. You will also see packs of dogs randomly walking. Hunters will use dogs, particularly Portuguese Podengos for a season and get rid of them after. For these dogs, their fate is illness, accidents, or death.
Needless to say, this was shocking to us. It’s a shame and a horror, but it’s the reality. Luckily last year, Portugal passed the law⁰8/2017. It’s a law that protects dogs. No longer are dogs considered “furniture” or poor little objects. Now, if you own a dog you must provide food, water, and medical help. If the dog is in pain, is injured or suffering you can go to jail for up to 1-year. Finally! My only gripe is that 1 year in jail is not enough. I would sentence the offender depending on the circumstances anywhere from to 2-5 years.
The above situation is not true of all Portuguese. There are many people who love their dog and treat them properly. It’s a weird counterbalance to the old school dogs as animals vs dogs as a family idea.
We have seen more people loving dogs than abusing them, but the neglect and abuse is something that Portugal should fix asap. They should enforce 08/2017 to the fullest extent of the law.
Love your dogs people! They love you!
How to Adopt a Dog in Portugal?
If you have earned your residency in Portugal, you are eligible to adopt a dog. In various shelters, they will have internal rules on who they will allow to adopt a dog. For instance, Uniao Zoofila, a rescue in Lisbon will only allow locals who live in the city limits adopt their dogs. This is because they check-up on newly adopted dogs to make sure the dogs are being treated kindly, and to assist in any health or training necessary for the puppy. This is a rule I can agree with!
Where to Adopt a Dog in Lisbon?
First of all, we won’t discuss where to buy dogs. We’re an adopt don’t shop household and we will look down on you with spite if you don’t adhere to this way of living. Other than that, we’re cool.
There are many shelters and adoption places throughout Portugal. Each city or town will have its own pound. These dogs have either been abandoned by their owner. If you ask Portuguese people why they abandoned their dogs they will say “I never wanted one anyway” “he’s too aggressive” “too expensive” Lots of crappy excuses.
Some of the dogs you find in shelters are in bad shape or even worse, have been neglected or abused. I have seen Portuguese people kick their dogs (you a$$hats in Campo do Ourique). This is not the majority of people, but there is a subset of a$$hats who should never have gotten a dog in the first place.
We drove to Pegadas & Bigodes after doing tons of research. It was worth it. You can tell that everyone who volunteers there loves and knows their rescues. Natasha knew each dog’s personalities and explained their stories as we met each one. When we were chosen by Santino (his name was Arlindo at the time..it didn’t match him), she walked us through his medical history, all his shots and had already had him spayed and chipped. We highly recommend them and hope you check them out.
Dog shelters by area:
How to Register Your Dog
By law, you must register your new canine family member within a month of the time he or she is adopted. In order to do this you need to go to the office for your Freguesia. You can speed up the process by filling out and printing out the form for registration beforehand. If you go to your Freguesia’s website and search for “CANÍDEOS” it should come up. I got mine on the website for the Avenidas Novas neighborhood. You will need to bring a few things with you:
- Residency card or proof of address in the neighborhood and your NIF number
- Boletim Sanitario de Caes e Gatos (Your dog’s medical records)
- The microchip document from the SIRA (Sistema de Identificacao e Recuperacao Animal)
Once you get there, the person at the counter will take your documents and make photocopies. Once they are done, they will take your form. Once the dog is registered, you will receive a call from the Freguesia to tell you his/her registration is ready. You need to go back in with your dog’s Boletim Sanitario de Caes e Gatos. They will stamp that document and you will need to pay a one time €5 fee to the Freguesia and a €5 fee for the year. The second fee needs to be paid yearly to re-register your dog, basically, you will pay €5 each year to make sure your dog is legal. The whole process took all of 15 minutes.
As of October 25, 2019 there is now a second registration you must do. It can be done by your dog’s vet. The SIAC is a country-wide database so that if your dog (or cat or ferret) gets lost, he or she will be more easily found. How to register your dog? Simply go to your vet. Your dog must be chipped, if he or she is not, you can get that done at your vet on the day of registration. Once your vet is done with the registration, he or she will either print or email proof of the registration (I prefer email, this way I can easily find it and screenshoot it into my phone). They say the document must always be with your pet, but I have a feeling just having a copy on your phone will be fine (don’t quote me on this – it is merely an assumption).
Can I Rent an Apartment with a Dog?
Yes! Most if not all apartments are dog-friendly. My advice, when you sign your lease, you tell your potential landlord that you have a dog. They may ask for an extra security deposit. This as with all things in Portugal, negotiable. The landlord wants a paying tenant, so they will bend a little to secure you for 2-3 year lease since they have to pay realtor’s fees. Sometimes, it depends on the building and the condo/coop rules, so just check ahead so you don’t have a nasty surprise.
Can Dogs go into Stores and Restaurants Like in France?
No. But…but there are places that don’t really give a crap. They like dogs, and like your money. Just ask before you go in. Most people will just nod their head and look the other way. Just watch out for restaurants, the fine is pretty steep at 100 Euros, so only bring them there if there is an outside area. If it’s your local bar/cafe people will not mind. Regardless, there are plenty of miradouros and kiosks in Lisbon you can take your pup to.
UPDATE: As of May 2017, Pets will be allowed in restaurants in Portugal as long as they have a sign saying restaurants are allowed. Dogs will need to be on a short leash and can only stay in the service zone (aka – no kitchen acces). I have started to put together a list of restaurants in Lisbon that are dog-friendly (as in you can take them inside). If you know of others, please leave a note in the comments and let me know so I can check them out 🐾🐾
Getting to the Veterinarian in Portugal
Once you have your dog, there are plenty of pet hospitals throughout Portugal. I live in Lisbon so there are about 2 pet hospitals per square block. Even though there were so many choices, we chose to go to the Vet at the Sociedade Protectora de Animais. They not only work to get animals homed, but they work towards their rights. They have three offices in Lisbon and they are also quite affordable. You pay a one-time fee of €20 per year and your vet visits cost a mere €15. Also, because we’re members, it cost only €2 to get Santino’s microchip registered in the national system. The prices for meds are great too. An ampule of Advantix for a 10-25 kilo dog costs just €8.39.
It’s great to walk-in to our vet (Catarina) who already knows our little guy. “-Hello O Santino, how are you doing”. Our vet takes care of the puppy and costs €15. Not bad. These are their three locations in case you need them:
Cais Do Sodre/Baixa-Chiado – Rua de São Paulo, 106 – 1200-429, Lisboa: 214 063 940; email: [email protected]
Arroios – Rua Barão Sabrosa, 318 – 1900-097, Lisboa: 218482532; email: [email protected]
Avenidas Novas – Rua Carlos Testa, – 1050-046, Lisboa: 213151989; email: [email protected]
Traveling with Your Dog in Portugal
In most cases, you will need a container to hold your furry friend. This container must be able to be carried and stored below your feet or in the luggage. I know your never going to put the dog in the luggage compartment of the bus but this is the “written” rule. Some bus drivers insist but I would just argue with them and they relent 90% of the time. I’ve got an outline of public transport for dogs in Lisbon here.
Bus Travel with Dogs
When traveling on Portuguese buses, trams, or long distance bus lines you can take your dog with you as long as:
- They do not bother other passengers
- They are in a carrying container that can be carried with hand luggage
- Have a valid ticket (You have to pay full fare)
- It can travel free if muzzled
- Is on a lead of less than 1 meter long (3-feet)
Plane Travel with Dogs
In order to fly you need to have a crate. You will have to check the dog in cargo (sorry) unless he/she can fit under the seat. Get the crate referred to above. In Lisbon Portela airport, there is one place to check in and the cargo is in another place. Be prepared to do doing a little walking between terminals.
PRO TIP: Make sure to check directly with each airline on their rules to avoid nasty surprises.
We always have anxiety when flying with our dog. In order to reduce these worries, we always make sure we have a direct flight, keep the flights under 3 hours, buy a good crate, and have him relaxed before the flight. Natasha from Pegadas e Bigodes goes to the Netherlands for holidays and to adopt out dogs on a relatively consistent basis and has never lost a dog. She is smart. Apparently, it’s cheaper with cargo when going throughout Europe.
Can Dogs Go In The Metro in Lisbon?
Yup! How cool is that? Pets are allowed to ride the Metro train in Lisbon with their owners as long as:
- They don’t disturb passengers
- They are on a leash (no longer than 1 meter long) and are wearing a muzzle or…
- They are in a crate
Taxi Travel with Dogs
Let’s start this off by saying, skip the taxis. Ubers are so much better in Portugal. Now that that is out of the way, if you need to travel by taxi, a good suggestion is to muzzle your dog. Many taxi owners are fine with dogs, but a few are pretty anti-dog (they tend to be more of the old-school Portuguese). They will say that the dog will shed and get other owners allergies up. Sure, these are valid concerns, but honestly, most just don’t like dogs.
There is a trick though.
Go to a taxi queue with your dog. These queues are usually outside most major businesses on every 5-10th corner. There will be 5-10 taxi drivers waiting for a fare. Just walk up to them with your dog and see which will take you. Some will say no but a few will be fine with it.
Uber Travel with Dogs
I have never had a problem with an Uber driver. First, book your Uber. Then, immediately call the driver. Tell him or her where you are, and that you have a little dog with you. If they are “anti-dog” they will just cancel the trip. I have yet to have this happen to me.
Traveling with your dog throughout Portugal is pretty easy. Just follow the rules in this guide and you should have few issues. Just remember that the there is a subsect of Portuguese people who don’t think of dogs as family. To them, dogs are tools, guard animals, or even worse…a danger to people. This old mentality is slowly leaving the culture, but be prepared to meet a few people who will just give you dirty looks. Conversely, you will meet many people who love dogs, want to give your dog kisses, and will defend you if you are being mistreated by a driver or local.
Dog Runs & Outside Spaces for Dogs in Lisbon
While there aren’t so many great dog runs in Lisbon, there are plenty of outdoor spaces. I like to bring Santino to Monsanto. It’s massive in size. Think Central Park, but no tourists. I let him loose, and he loves it. Some of the park is in disrepair, but it is stunning. It’s easy to get to via a car or Uber.
If you are in the city, there are a few parks I’ve been to with Santino that have facilities for dogs. Here, I’ve listed both parks & dog runs. Those without emojis are just parks (which means dogs are technically not allowed off leash, but everyone ignores the laws). Here’s the key I created for your reference:
🐕 Enclosed dog runs.
🐾 Decent dog run.
🐾🐾 Santino Approved.
💩 I think this is self-explanatory
The ones I have not been to will be on the bottom and I will update the post as I explore:
🐕🐾🐾 Jardim Campo Grande in Alvalade: This dog run is awesome. It is large, has agility games and very nice dog owners frequent it. It’s part of a large park, so I usually do a long walk there, stop at the run for 30 minutes, and then continue on my way.
Located at: Avenida do Brasil
How to Get there: Yellow or Green line to Campo Grande, then walk to the middle of the park.
🐕🐾🐾 Parque Bemsaude in Sao Domingos de Benfica: You can take the blue line to the Laranjeiras exit to get here. The park is less groomed than Campo Grande, but the park is large and there are plenty of dogs there.
Hours: April 1- Sept 30 7 am – 9 pm, Oct 1 – March 31 7 am – 8 am
located at: Estrada da Luz & Rua Francisco Baia
How to get there: Blue line to Laranjeiras.
🐕 🐾 Jardim Fernando Pessa in Areeiro: This dog run is decent. It has obstacle courses and is enclosed, but not my fave. Better than Arco do Cego, but not better than Campo Grande. Sizing is good at 180 sq meters. The people are pretty nice there too.
Hours: 24 hours
Located at: Avenida de Roma & Rua Cervantes
How to get there: Green line to the Roma stop.
🐕 Jardim do Arco do Cego in Saldanha: This one just opened in January 2018, it’s not the best. The issue is that the park is a rectangle of dirt surrounded by a fence. Most people let their dogs just run loose in the park, but because the university is nearby, the park can be quite dirty. Students often leave half eaten food, bottles, and trash all over…and while the freguesia has people to clean it…it’s quite a job. Not my fave, but does the trick when you’re in a rush.
Hours: 7:30 am – midnight
Located at: R. Dona Filipa de Vilhena & Avenida Joao Crisostomo
How to get there: Red or Yellow line to Saldanha.
🐕 Sao Joao Bosco: This is a tiny dog run near Prazeres cemetery. It’s not amazing, but it will do. Besides, the kiosk nearby offers some amazing roast beef sandwiches, so that makes it all ok. You can also watch all the tourists getting off the 28 tram.
Hours: 7:30 am – midnight
Located at: Praça São João Bosco 558
How to get there: There’s no metro since it’s sandwiched near Estrela & Campo de Ourique. So take an Uber or walk.
🐕 Jardim de Telheiras: Another I have not visited. This one is open from 8-10 and runs 300 sq meters.
Hours: 8 am – 10 pm
Located at: Estrada de Telheiras & Rua Professor Francisco Gentil
How to get there: Green line to Telheiras
🐕 Alto do Faia in Lumiar: Haven’t been to this one yet, but I am told that it measures 800 sq meters, so should be at least a decent size.
Hours: 24 hours
Located at: Rua Armindo Rodrigues & Rua Alexandre Cabral
How to get there: Drive or walk
🐕 Campo de Santana: Another I haven’t been to…which is shocking since I go to Campo de Martires de Patria often. Will have to make this one a priority.
Hours: 24 hours
Located at: Campo de Martires de Patria
How to get there: It’s kinda oddly placed not really near a metro, so I would walk there.
🐕 Praça Alto de São João Bosco: This dog run has dog exercise and agility equipment, a relief area, and a drinking fountain.
Hours: 24 hours
Located at: Rua Morais Soares & Avenida Afonso III.
How to get there: Another with no metro, so you can take a long walk there.
Things to Watch Out For with Dogs in Lisbon
A few notes on going outside to parks with your dog. You need to keep an eye for a caterpillar called “lagarta do pinheiro”. They are poisonous caterpillars that reside in Portugal that can kill dogs. The city is really good about putting up bags to catch them during the season, but it is always good to keep your eyes open. They are also dangerous to humans, particularly kids and the elderly. Contact with a pine caterpillar produces swelling, irritation and sometimes difficulty breathing.
Rabies in Portugal
You don’t have to worry about this too much. Rabies is rare in Portugal and there is no indigenous rabies in terrestrial animals in Portugal. If anything you would have to worry about bats. Get your pup vaccinated, and you will be good to go.
Tax Benefits of Having a Dog in Portugal
Portugal has been making strides when it comes to animal cruelty and abandonment. To deter abandonment, they have even put in new tax laws that allow dog owners to claim up to €250 of the money spent on vet bills per year. Don’t forget to ask your accountant about this.
Dog Food In Portugal
There’s plenty of commercial dog food in Portugal. Our dog gets fed homemade chicken with rice and vegetables that we cook in our pressure cooker. If you are looking for commercial dog food they sell both wet, dry and raw. You can get them at plenty of stores like:
So that’s it. Get a dog is Portugal is easy and will make your life (and health) better. Costs for dog food, vets, adoption, and registration is quite minimal. Do the world a mitzvah and get yourself a little guy/gal.
If you have other questions about living with dogs in Lisbon or Portugal, ask in the comments!