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All you need to know about living with a dog in Geneva

The Swiss love their pets; there are more than 500,000 pet dogs and close to 1.7 million pet cats in Switzerland. Nestled on the southern tip of Lake Geneva and surrounded by the beautiful Alps and Jura mountains, Geneva is a great place to live or visit with your dog. Geneva is very pet-friendly, and pet dogs are a common sight all over the city.

If you are moving to Geneva or plan to visit the city with your dog, here’s all you need to know about living with a pet dog in the Swiss town.

Pet parent responsibilities

Geneva, and the whole of Switzerland, is known for being incredibly pet-friendly, especially in public spaces. However, all pet parents are obliged to fulfil a list of responsibilities to ensure hygiene and public safety. Pet parents must ensure their dog is well-cared for and that their medical, emotional and physical needs are met, so the dogs live happily and harmoniously with their pet parents.

When you move to Geneva with your dog, these are the pet parent responsibilities to follow:

  • Registration – All pet dogs must visit a vet within ten days of entering Switzerland. The vet will register your pet dog in the AMICUS database with the microchip number and issue a pet passport if your dog does not already have one. Pet dogs must be registered at the local Kreisbüro or Gemeinde.
  • Dog licence – Pet dogs need a control mark obtained from a municipal police station after paying the dog tax. All dogs must wear the control mark visibly on their collar.
  • Vaccinations – As a pet parent in Geneva, it is your responsibility to make sure your dog has been vaccinated against rabies and other canine diseases. All vaccinations must be kept current.
  • Pet insurance – Pet dogs in Switzerland must have incident insurance to protect against accidents. Incident insurance is also required when pet parents rent an apartment in the city. Though medical insurance is not mandatory for dogs in Switzerland, incident insurance is usually the norm.
  • No cropping – Swiss regulations are against cruel and unnecessary surgeries such as ear cropping and tail docking. You cannot bring a dog with cropped ears or docked tail into the country.
  • Always pick up after your dog – Geneva has numerous parks and gardens throughout the city where you can take your dog for exercise and to socialise with other dogs. All dogs must be on a lead in public places, and you must always pick up after your dog. Geneva has many Robidog waste bins all over the city to dispose of dog waste.
  • Dog walking rules – Dogs must always be on a lead unless they are in an authorised off-lead area. Dogs are allowed off-lead in the forest areas from July 16th to March 31st only if the pet parent can control the dog effectively.
  • Prohibited areas – Pet dogs are not allowed in schools, children’s playgrounds, lawns and flower beds in public parks, religious buildings, hospitals, performance halls, and in forest reserves.

Living with a potentially dangerous breed in Geneva

The city of Geneva has specific regulations for pet parents with dog breeds that are considered potentially dangerous. Attack dog breeds and other strong breeds are prohibited for ownership and import into Geneva. If you are a pet parent to a potentially dangerous breed in Geneva, here’s what you need to do:

  • Pass a behavioural test – The pet and the pet parent must undergo a behavioural evaluation that assesses the pet’s behaviour and the ability of the pet parent to control the pet in different situations.
  • Neuter the pet – Potentially dangerous dog breeds must be neutered or spayed before the pet dog is seven months old.
  • Lead and muzzle – These dogs must be on a lead and be muzzled at all times in public spaces.
  • Have a single pet – You can have only one pet in your household if you own a potentially dangerous dog breed unless your pet is allowed an exemption by an authorised vet.

Pet-friendly adventures in Geneva

Geneva has numerous public parks that are accessible to dogs. All parks have zones and the blue zones are where dogs can play off-leash. Here are some of the best dog-friendly parks in Geneva:

  • Parc Bertrand
  • Parc Rigot
  • Sentier des Falaises
  • Plaine de Plainpalais
  • Parc la Grange

International pet transport to Geneva

Travelling with your pet dog to Switzerland can be tricky, especially if you are unsure of the pet import rules and regulations and if your pet is flying in from across the world. An experienced pet travel agency can help with your pet’s documentation and health tests and make sure your pet pooch reaches the destination safely and comfortably.

If you are travelling to Geneva with your pet, reach out to Petraveller for more information on pet import rules in Switzerland and a free pet travel quote.