So you’ve decided to move to Madrid, and of course your furry friends are coming with you! If you’re not sure where to start, this guide will help you with travel, accommodation, and getting to know the city in a pet-friendly way.
Where to live: First of all, Madrid is quite a dog-friendly city. There are plenty of green spaces, dog-parks and even dog-friendly bars, restaurants and shops! If you want to live in the centre, but still want the best for your dog, Pácifico is my favourite location. It’s within walking distance of the centre, but is a much quieter barrio and has lots of green areas for your dog to play. It’s just beside the Retiro park and is a short walk to Parque Enrique Tierno Galván. There are a few other smaller parks in the area too. Both Retiro and Tierno Galván have fenced-in dog areas. There are so many dog owners in the area if you’re looking for a canine companion, and some great vets, groomers and pet-shops too. Many of the bars and restaurants have terraces so you can enjoy a caña sitting outside with your dog. Beside the Ayuntamiento is a huge water fountain where all the kids go to play during the summer, and during the quieter hours it’s the perfect spot to bring your dog to cool down. The area around it is always full of dogs playing too while their owners have a little chit-chat. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbours!
I’ve created a map with all the dog parks that I’ve found in the city. Get in touch if you know of any others! Aside from Pácifico, the Conde de Casal area and Madrid Río are great areas to own dogs, as they have a lot of open green space where your dogs can stretch their legs.
Getting around: Metro Madrid recently changed their policy to allow dogs on the underground. Check out my article on dogs on the metro for more information. Dogs of all sizes are allowed to travel on Cercanía trains as long as they’re leashed and wearing a muzzle (I’ve never seen the muzzle rule enforced, but we always carry one just in case). You aren’t required to buy a ticket for the dog, but you can only carry one per person.
Small dogs and other animals can travel on the bus as long as they’re in a closed carrier.
Dogs can do on media-distancia trains, but they have to be under 10kg and they must be in a carrier too. You also have to buy a ticket for them, which costs about 1/4 of a regular ticket but the carrier isn’t allowed to be on a seat or in the aisles.
A lot of taxi drivers are ok with dogs but it completely depends on the individual.
If you’re planning on travelling a lot with your dog, getting them used to wearing a muzzle is a great idea. Check out our video on conditioning your dog to wear one without stressing them out.
How to find a home: A lot of pet-friendly houses don’t specify in their adverts that they are. Your best bet is to go and view the apartment or house, chat to the landlord, and then ask about pets. Some will ask for an additional pet-deposit, but others will be fine. When you’re signing your contract, take a look to see if there is any clause regarding pets or damage done by them, just in case you get caught out later. If you’ve previously rented with your pet, ask your last landlord to write you a reference. Idealista and Fotocasa are the two best websites for flat-hunting in Madrid.
Pet-proofing your pad: Before you move in to your home, take time to look around and check for any dangerous areas or places that your pets could escape from. Open windows and balconies are an accident waiting to happen, even for the most agile of cats. You can get transparent nets for balconies and terraces, or even wire reinforced ones if your cat’s a real Houdini. Mosquito nets with frames, or “mosquiteras” are great, because you can buy them to fit your windows, pop them in and your cat is safe, and your apartment is free from pesky bugs too. You don’t need any nails or hooks to keep them in place once they’re sized correctly. We bought ours in Leroy Merlin.
Finding a pet-sitter: I’ve used the website DogBuddy several times and can’t recommend it highly enough! All sitters have to provide photo ID and proof of address so it’s really safe and you know who exactly has your dog. Alternatively, feel free to post on the Madrid Pet Lovers Facebook group. Nuevavida Adopciones also has a pet-sitting service.
Finding a furry friend: There are hundreds of rescues all over Madrid and Spain that always need homes for animals of all shapes, sizes and breeds. If you’re considering adopting, please get in touch and we’ll find you your perfect furry friend.
Where to eat and drink: Madrid is full of pet-friendly bars and restaurants. The best resource to find places in your area is Sr. Perro.
The Madrid Pet Lovers group is a great resource for pet-owners all over Spain, it’s full of owners who have already done what you’re planning to do, so they can offer great advice. They’re a friendly bunch of people too!