Pets in Turkey

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Turkey 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 Turkey? 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 Turks  think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!


I had 1, then 2, then 4 and now 2 again. Cats!

Hi Priscilla,                                                       I am Rhina from Philippines,I been here in Istanbul for 3 years,I adapted a husky puppy last march,and  shes 8 months old now.Having a pet is like having a child its a big responsibilty,Its tiring its annoyıng sometimes but in the end of the day after a stressful things at work,when I came home and see her,I always feel good..

So many persons have pet last years specially at the developped areas.So many pet shops are opened too.Maybe cats are first and dogs are second.But still its very difficult to find an hotel which accept the pets.They say that other people can be uncomfortable.Hopefully there are pet shops who care the pets during holiday.

Pets/Street animals in Istanbul

Turkey/Istanbul is a haven/heaven for street animals..  I have travelled around some places, but I havent seen any place as yet where I have seen cats & dogs roam the streets as freely and happily as they do in Istanbul.

They are frank visitors on your table as you eat in outdoor restaurants around the city. The government takes care of the dogs, having them neutered/ spayed and then tagged before leaving them out in the city. I am assuming cats are spared the treatment and can hump around carefree.. You see a lot of kittens in spring!

In any case, Istanbul is one of the best places I have seen for street animals. I think it might be the same in other cities in Turkey, though I am not sure.

Pet Experience in Istanbul

Personally, I have had a cat, (which got multiplied into three cats) back home in Pakistan which I left in care of my parents. One of them doubles as a dog as she can jump, flip in the air and plays fetch! I personally miss her the most.

In Turkey, however, I decided against getting a pet. Though I have been trying to take care of two Germans Shepherds at the office that seemed a but neglected, Taking care doesnt seem the right word entirely as I travel frequently and am away from office. Nonetheless, they are less neglected that before.

As far as other people around me having pets, I have seen many houses where cats are literally squatters.. Hence, they automatically become house pets. Well... : )

Importing a Pet in Istanbul

While picking a pet off the street is easy in Turkey, bringing a pet in is a whole different ball game. While the steps and procedure might be outlined clearly, and you may have taken all the necessary steps, it wont be surprising to find yourself in a hanging situation. Majority of which arises from the consistent incompetency of almost all local authorities, combined with the oft-faced inability to speak or comprehend English.

In any case, the following documents should be provided while importing a pet from a different country.

A health certificate
Necessary vaccinations
Pet microchip
Blood Titter test
One pet per two people is allowed to enter Turkey Tax free and ideally should be present with the pet.
Puppies and kittens under 3 m/o are allowed to enter accompanied with mother.
While there are no banned breeds/animals in Turkey, animals other than dogs do require a health certificate to enter Turkey.
If the pet is not a cat or a dog, you need to ensure that the pet is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). You will need additional certificates for that.

Hope this information is helpful.

The above post if for informative purpose only. In order to import a pet, I  would strongly advise contacting the concerned authorities first and get complete information of documents required.

Hi there Priscilla,

I have an adorable 9 year old Golden Retriever that we had adopted in Turkey. We found an add online from the previous owner who could not take care of it anymore. We met once to get to know the dog and the next time his old owner brought it with all its documents and belongings to our place. We registered it and had it checked at the vet in our area afterwards.

Turks love animals, especially cats. Some foreigners say that Turks don't like dogs as much as cats, however I believe they are just not as used of them as they are to cats. Some are afraid of them some love them. I have never experienced any hostility towards my dog but I must say it is interesting to have a dog in Turkey. There is also Shafi Muslim minority here whose religion forbids them to touch dogs however they have always been very nice to us as well.

If you want to know anything more, feel free to ask or send me message.



Oh yes???
Except whem they are straving, freezing, lack of shelter and water!
There is a paddock near Orhanle with about a thousand dogs.  Once in a while a truck comes with mainly bread to feed them but no shelter or water trough . Lots of puppies too.
A "fried" took me there to have a look two years ago, I still have nightmares and crying fitts when think about the horrible condition they live in!
Love to look after them but we have 50 cats and four-five dogs on campus we help to feed and Bayram times we look after them as nobody is around.
We love Turkey never in any other country we lived in, did we find so much kindness and helpfulness so it is very difficult to understand how they can treat dogs and cats such an inhumane  way. They are DOMESTİCATED animals not wild beasts!!!

"There is not one verse in the Quran where God says that dogs are dirty or that they are prohibited to keep.
Is it logical that God would create an animal to be man's best friend and serve him in many ways, and then prohibit such an animal?"

I would call this organisation problem. Many things should still get organized around here about street animals, but it is getting (slowly) better. Well at least they don't kill street animals like in U.S. or some other countries. As you say they even bring food (even if that is bread). When there it is so much street animals, merely individuals cannot fix that, but country or another bigger organisation should. Still I see many people who don't have money for a comfortable life here but I see them taking care of animals. In summer when I walk my dog I don't even need to take her drinking bottle because they have water prepared everywhere for street animals (and I live in conservative area). I don't say everywhere is great in Istanbul and some people are not kind to street animals but I think to make overall conclusion that Turks are bad is simply unfair. Especially because I've seen so much kindness towards street pets here as well.

About Quran, you are right there is nothing bad written about dogs in Quran. Shafi (one of the 4 Sunni schools as you probably know) finds its source of prohibitions in hadith. In Turkey Hanefi are the majority of Muslims who find only dogs saliva and feces unclean and are more liberal than Shafi. Anyway while walking my dog I had met plenty of Shafi and they were often very fond of my dog, they really adored it but they said they cannot touch it. Nobody was ever hostile to us. In the end their religion also tells them to treat all animals nice.

I am not religious myself so may be that is why religious differences touches me less. Live and let live I say.

My dear girl I never said Turks are bad!!!!!!!! Read my comments carefully please!!

Come out our way and have a look the "dog-farm" and the miserable lifey they are subjected too than  I wonder if you would think, by putting them to sleep maybe would be better.
Then on the other hand I do believe in euthanasia. Working in the medical profession for fifty years and see unimaginable sufferings  it did opened my eyes of our misguided beliefs. either religious or cultural concerning euthanasia.

I think we better leave this subject now, neither you or I are turkish and we have no right to criticize theır customs or beliefs especially if we LOVE living here!!!!

:heart:  how lovely Clara! Me too I have a Golden: she is 2 and I took it to have a good friend here as Im alone and most of the time my husband is out for work reasons. Now a days Im living in a nightmare: I'm at the end of my pregnancy and unfortunately is a very sensitive time. I got rubella virus in August (its unbelievable that in Italy i didnt had the vaccination!!) , so we are waiting the birth time to check if he got it or not. If he will be positive.....we have to see which side effects ot will bring. If not , my husband is already nervous because they checked that baby has situs inversus (organs are mirrored). Usually the children with s.i.  have very sensible lenght , and he is paranoic because according to his thought , dog will affect the baby health . Now he is trying to find a place for her, but it kills me....sweet baby in a box , in the cold during winter , with thousand of other dogs barking around..... she is so sensible! I hope in a miracle as for your dog ! How did u find ur ones? In internet? Me im living in Bursa and here .....I dont see any options (or at least I asked the veterinary, but she couldnt suggest me anything , because those who are looking for a pet usually wants a puppy) .  How is in Istanbul?
Thanks in advance

Oh Laura dear, I am so sorry to hear about your situation! I really hope your baby will be born okay and strong and may he/she never see any health complications in life.
You can post advertisement of your dog for adoption on,,,... Or on different Facebook pages (Goldengiller, Yuva Arıyoruz,..). We found ours on
Luckily Goldens are quite desired breed here (however I wish people would not be taking dog for looks or age only) so I hope your little girl can find a new and nice home soon. I would take your dog myself but our girl is very hostile towards other dogs. She was never well socialized..
If it will make you feel better, younger dogs are taking it easier to change homes. Especially when they come from one loving place to another. We adopted our girl last year and although she was waiting her previous owner to come especially in the first days, she adjusted pretty fast and now we are like we've been family forever. Just make sure the new owners will be good and responsible.

I wish you, your baby and your furry baby all the luck... Let me know how will it all work out for you.


Thanks a ton Clara!  :heart:
At least you gave me some suggestion. Of course its not easy and I teally hope to find a good new family to my sweet girl.
I really hope to succeed  :)
Thanks for all your sweet words , I hope that my  baby will be good...
Have a good evening

I have two cats and desperately looking for  a new home for them since i need to relocated and not well. I found them a couples days old ob the streets in cery bad condition i could bearly safe them now they are about onecyear old boy and girl they would like to stay together but also one is possible they are very clean friendly if you like i can send pictures please contact me if you're seariously about getting a get they never been outside and probably are to afraid to be im really running out of time and options please contact me if you like to have a cat

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