Several weeks ago I went over a few things to consider before bringing your pet with you on an international move. This time, I have all the practical advice on what life is like with a dog in Madrid.
Keep reading for the skinny on apartment hunting, taking your pooch to dinner, and what to expect to spend at the vet.
Apartments & Accommodation
Let’s take care of the crummy news right away. It can be hard to find accommodations in Madrid with a dog. Because as soon as you filter for “pet-friendly” on your apartment search, your choices will be cut by two-thirds. The good news is that some owners may be open to making an exception if you have a small dog or can convince them your pooch is well behaved (this goes for Airbnb as well). However, don’t get your hopes up if you find an incredible apartment with a great price—the market moves very quickly and it’ll be gone before you finish typing your email.
When it comes to short-term accommodation, there are lots of easy options. NH and Petit Palace hotels are all over Spain and always allow pets. The Petit Palace brand, in particular, is super pet-friendly—they provide beds and never charge a pet fee. Bring Fido is a good spot to find other dog-friendly hotels in Madrid (and the rest of Spain).
Your dog on the town
So once you have a place to stay, you obviously want to get out and about. In this aspect, I find Madrid super easy going. Dogs are welcomed in almost every outdoor area of Madrid, including restaurant terraces. Parks allow dogs to roam leash-free from 8 pm to 10 am in summer months and from 6 pm the rest of the year. When it comes to shops, if you can’t enter with your dog you’ll see a sign with the universal circle/slash symbol. However, I was surprised at how many places I see people with pets! Every time I’m in Zara I’ll see a gal with her little pooch trailing behind.
As far as transportation goes, your fur friend has options too. Understandably so, most taxi drivers won’t allow loose dogs in their cabs. When cabbing with our Boston Terrier, we were never denied a ride if she was in a carrier. On Madrid’s metro system, dogs ride free. Just note that they must be wearing a muzzle and stick to the rear cars. Dogs under 10kg are allowed to travel on long distance trains as long as they’re in a carrier and have a ticket. Click here for more information on the city’s metro or here for regulations on long distance trains.
I’m not sure of the cost of vet care in other parts of the world but as an American, I was very pleasantly surprised at the low cost and high quality of care. Our dog was older and spent her final months in Madrid. That said, we visited a couple of different clinics and explored a lot of treatments to keep her in her best health as long as possible.
Here’s a little run-down of some common vet-care costs:
- Office visits can be up to 35€, though some clinics don’t charge a fee at all
- Blood and parasite tests: 15-25€ each, depending on the test
- Exploratory tests like an x-ray, ultra sound, or EKG: from 45-90€, becoming more expensive as the exam becomes more specialized
- Tooth extraction (included anesthesia and pre-anesthesia blood work, tooth removal, complete dental cleaning, and aftercare medication): 165€
- Drugs like steroids and antibiotics are picked up at a regular pharmacy and very cheap. I’m talking less than 5€ per box.
If you’re looking for a vet clinic in Madrid, I wholeheartedly recommend AAH Veterinary Services. The AAH vets are experienced, attentive, and are incredibly kind and understanding. Also, there’s always someone in the office who speaks English, which can be so reassuring when talking about a sick pet!
One last thing – Watch out for toxic caterpillars!
I’m really serious! In the spring there are snake-like lines of two-inch fuzzy caterpillars all over Madrid’s parks. They’re called the Pine Processionary Caterpillar and their hairs contain a protein that causes vomiting, foaming at the mouth and severe respiratory issues. If you think your dog has come in contact with one of these critters, get them to a vet asap! Take a look at this reminder from last year and be extra cautious during March and April.
Below are a few other websites you’ll find helpful when settling in with your dog.
- Want to know where you can dine with your pooch? Señor Perro has a list of restaurants, bars and terraces, and other places that are dog-friendly.
- Dog Buddy is like a dating service, but for dog caregivers. Sign up to see lists of dog sitters, walkers, or who offer doggy daycare. You’ll be able to filter for lots of preferences and see reviews from past clients.
- Madrid Pet Lovers is a Facebook group for all pet owners. It’s your spot if you have questions, want recommendations or want to meet other people who love animals.
- Mascoteros is a huge online pet store. It’s a good start to see if your particular brand of food is available or to check prices.
Do you have Spanish stories with your pooch? Or maybe some Madrid-specific info to share? Do it in the comments below!