Doctor Loulittle

Everything you need to know about owning a pet in Madrid

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.

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12391805_10207104801312044_6277662034559554414_nGetting 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!

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch on Facebook or Instagram.

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Doctor Loulittle

Welcome to our Zoo ❤

Meet the resident furries:

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Beatrice Summer the Moggie

Bee was our first mistake. We adopted her when she was about 4 weeks old, from an abandoned feral litter of kittens. Little did we know of the havoc that she would wreak upon our lives. With us, she’s the cuddliest, sweetest little kitty, but once someone new arrives to the apartment, or she has to go to the vets, she lets us know that she’s not happy. Generally blood is drawn. Flying from Dublin-Frankfurt-Madrid with her was not fun.

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Mr. Milucho the Himalayan Persian

Mr. Milucho is an esteemed gentleman with a taste for the finer things in life. He abhors seafood and kittens, and enjoys serenading us with classical opera at 4am, and sharing his hairballs with us to find in unexpected places. He was adopted after his previous owners took him and his mum to the vet to have them put to sleep because they were getting divorced and neither of them wanted the cats. Their loss. He’s a model now.

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Mango the Mutt

Mango is a naughty old lady in a 5 kilo body. She likes to think she’s the boss. Mango has some identity issues, having grown up with the cats. She’s yet to “discover” herself. She’s a scruffy little mutt with an irresistible charm and a tendency to talk to herself when she thinks no one else is listening.

Poor little Manguito was abandoned in a cardboard box along with her mum and 5 siblings when they were only 2 days old, but luckily they were found and were given a second chance. She now lives a cushy life at the Doctor Loulittle zoo, helping to look after any foster animals that come our way.

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Cailín the Spanish Water Dog

Cailín (her name means girl in Irish) came to us pretty much by accident… She was one of a litter of 6, born to a mistreated mum on a farm, in horrible surroundings. We were supposed to foster her brother, but when the protectora (shelter) went to collect the pups, there were only two left. The rest had died or had been killed. Cailín came to stay with us instead, at 5 weeks old, and in a terrible state, covered in ticks and with really severe stomach problems which we thought were parvo. When we met her, we realised that she was going to need a lot of work and dedication, and we knew that we’d be able to give it to her, so she stayed with us. We’re proud failed fosterers!

She spent her first few months learning that not everyone is bad, but was terrified of everything. She just cried constantly for about 3 months. We’ve had some issues with her behaviour which have been quite challenging, but we’ve learned as much from her as she has from us, and we wouldn’t change a thing.

1292908_10207141193301821_2940048419979881177_oGarfield the Gingerbread Man

Garfi’s an Exotic Shorthair who came to us as a foster in December in a terrible condition, extremely underweight, with a severely matted coat so bad we thought we’d have to shave him. He had eye infections, chronic asthma and a respiratory infection as well as stomach problems.

Our plan was to keep him until he was well enough to rehome, but after a few months we realised that it was never going to happen. Months later he continues to have stomach and breathing issues and needs a lot of upkeep, including having his face and eyes cleaned twice a day, his ears cleaned, daily grooming to help him shed his problem coat as well as visits to the vet on a fortnightly or monthly basis. He often has problems with his asthma which means that we need to give him an inhaler twice a day.

The reality of Garfi’s situation is that a lot of people were interested in adopting him as he’s a purebred squish-face, but many people didn’t realise the time and money that his health issues would require, so in the end he stayed with us. He slotted right in with the family from day 1 and he’s been the most amazing foster daddy to our bottle-fed kittens and pups and is the most patient cat I’ve ever seen! We’re proud to call ourselves failed fosterers for him.

13062192_10208185438327294_9208353548342905208_n13124450_10208209397446257_2516205126871625355_nRocky & Dusty the Chinchillas

When I was in secondary school I longed for a chinchilla but knew it wasn’t practical. However, I got older and practicality went out the window! A few months ago a member of the Madrid Pet Lovers group donated a cage for any fosters that might need it. I took it and offered to foster from APAEToledo.

I had no idea how to look after chins when they arrived, but I soon learned that almost everything I new about them was wrong! A while after they arrived, we realised that they too were here to stay, and they got upgraded to a bigger cage, which the cheeky beggars figured out how to get out of, so we’ve had to invest in metal cable ties to stop them escaping at night. Luckily, after we got them, I spent a while getting the cats used to having them in the house, so on their nightly romps around the living room, no one was hurt! The only victim was a half-eaten paper lamp.

We’ve learned so much from our furry family, but most of all, “You don’t own a pet, you share your life with a companion.”