Pets in Finland

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Finland have four-legged friends. What about you? Do you have one or more pets? Share your experience with us!

What are the formalities to import pets in Finland? What about pet adoption procedures in the country? Did you bring your pet from your home country to your host country? If so, did everything turn out fine?

What do Finns think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!


We brought two cats over from California in 2010. It seems almost everybody -- Finnish and American -- we know has two cats,  actually 😆 There was a huge checklist to go through initially (I blogged about it here, and detailed enough that I don't want to repeat it now) but the actual move wasn't so bad. The kitties adjusted very well and enjoy both the cooler environment and their increased space to roam!

I brought my dog over from the United States (NC to be specific), and I blogged about it over here. Like the previous poster said, it's a lot of information, so best to see it in one place.

I had heard that Finns (especially older Finns) were stand-offish. That hasn't been my experience. I think that since most don't speak much English, there isn't a way to communicate. However, have a dog on a leash, and suddenly they want to talk to you! Since I know so little Finnish, they are content to speak to my dog, and I can tell from inflection that they are spoiling her with their words.

There are few strays in Finland--it would be difficult to find a dog to adopt from a shelter. There are two reasons for this, I think. Mainly, Finns don't treat their dogs as disposable. In the city, they are pets, part of the family. Further north and in rural areas, they are valuable members of the working family. The second reason is a more sad one...with the winters here, strays simply do not survive the winter outside. Lots of Finns tend to adopt rescues from other countries.

Lots of dog parks around, and dogs are allowed on the busses, metro, and trams. The metro and trains have specific cars for pets, while there are a very few busses that are 'no dogs allowed'. I have yet to encounter one. They are allowed in shops and the malls, but not restaurants or grocery stores, as a general rule. When I lived in France, dogs were allowed in restaurants and shops, but not allowed on public transportation, which I found odd.

Finland is very dog friendly, and a great place to have a dog. Mine is currently up north, visiting with her Finnish fur-grandparents, who are staying with her at their country cottage, where she can run in the woods, frolic in the snow, and generally be spoiled. :)

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