My recent trip to Europe highlighted the difference between attitudes to our pets in public. Here in Australia we assume that pets are going to have negative consequences from appearing in public places and hence do not allow them in town centres, shops, beaches and so on, unless they are in specially designated dog areas. Cats – well we do not even consider them having an existence in public places.

The attitude in Europe is very different. Dogs are everywhere. They may not be actively welcomed in every public place but they are not prohibited. In many places they are welcomed. A sign outside a pub…

Dogs welcome sign

This sign was in the town of Alnwick, whose castle provides the inspiration for Hogwartz in Harry Potter tales. The fact that “Dogs Welcome” comes before the information on food served surely tells us that this is an important factor in attracting customers. Could it be that businesses that allow dogs within their premises do better than those than ban them?

In some cases, dogs being welcome is possibly to their detriment. Dragging a reluctant dog through the busy summer streets of Amsterdam did not look like a pleasant experience, especially for the dog. Perhaps canine art is a more preferable option in the city to the real thing.

Amsterdam dog sculpture

How lovely to see dogs romp with their owners through Scottish castle grounds and that water and poop bins are provided (Culzean Castle). And that it is not only dogs that are allowed on beaches but horses too.

Animals welcome on Scottish beaches

Of course, there are slightly fewer people on a Scottish beach in the height of summer than the Australian equivalent!

On the negative side, it is worrying to see so many dogs off leash as they walk the streets with their owners but how beautiful to see well behaved dogs like these. One dog is sitting patiently waiting on his owner who is having a coffee in the Amsterdam Nespresso store while another waits in line to buy coffee with his owner.

Nespresso Amsterdam – coffee dogs

No fights. No fear of disease spread. I even saw a cat politely weaving its way through the table and human legs of one restaurant. No hysteria about germs or allergies.

Maybe Australia we have a thing or two to learn about pets in public.

More holiday pet photos…

Streets of Amsterdam




  1. Hi Jo,
    We lived in Germany a few years ago and loved how dogs were allowed in bars and restaurants and they were so well behaved. So much more part of a complete lifestyle. Having said that, I can’t imagine my dogs doing the right thing!! Regards, Kylie

  2. I have spent quite a bit of time in Amsterdam and have always been fascinated with the life of Amsterdam dogs. I have never felt it to be ‘worrying’ to see so many dogs off-lead and walking the streets, in the restaurants, hotels, parks etc. I have never once encountered a problem but I cannot say the same for the streets generally in Victoria. My theory is that the dogs are always considered to be part of the community and have the same access as their owners. They are used to this wonderful socialisation from puppies, something that I think does not happen here as much. I still hear puppy owners who are terrified of taking their pups out and about and in fact have been advised not to until their vaccinations are finished. Sadly this can often be a recipe for disaster.

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  4. iam the same i love to travel but miss my pets to much to go for to long 5 or6 days max for me , my daughter was on holidays at a lovely hut all paid for as a present her and her partener came home 3 day early because she could not stop worring about her cats

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