Bringing your pets into Turkey from abroad is a fairly routine affair when arriving from many countries around the world. The process is not all-too-different than entering a western European nation with your cat or dog. You might be wondering what it’s like to actually travel in Turkey with your pets, whether you’re planning a summer vacation or relocating for a longer period of time.
Here’s what to expect logistically, culturally, and practically when contemplating bringing your pets to Turkey.
3 Months Is A General Rule
Since Turkey is a popular vacation spot for many tourists, it’s worth pointing out that most European countries and the United States have blood test and vaccination requirements that generally need to be done 3 months prior to return. Bringing your pets to Turkey on a vacation less than 3 months is usually out of the question so unless you can confirm otherwise, it’s best to leave your cat or dog at home. For longer trips though, assuming you’ve got the proper vaccinations (which are relatively standard), entry into Turkey with pets is almost always a straightforward process.
Cities vs. Vacation Spots
Both the major Turkish cities and various tourist hot spots along country’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts will be well prepared for your pets. Veterinarians, pet stores, and pet supplies are easily found while most vets are aware of the requirements for transporting your pets outside of Turkey if needed. Pet food varieties tend to be very limited, however most pet shops can and are willing to order any specific brands you may be looking for.
- Outside of the larger cities and tourist hot spots it will be much more difficult to find a good pet store; and to a lesser extent veterinarian.
It’s a good idea if you’ll be heading to a more rural part of the country to try and get pet-supply information from someone in the area beforehand. Otherwise, you should bring at least 2 days of food just in case there isn’t anything close by or easily accessible. Again, finding pet stores and veterinarians in most mid-to-large Turkish cities isn’t an obstacle.
Dog And Cats In A Turkish Cultural Context
Most people in Turkey don’t keep dogs as pets and they don’t quite hold the same place in the home as in many Western societies. Although things are changing and this view shifting (along with an increase of toy dogs!) most people won’t keep them inside their houses. This means that when looking for a place to rent, many renters may be put off if you have a dog. Most apartments also don’t allow dogs and it is something you should mention to any potential landlords.
- Dogs, by many Turks, are considered ‘unclean’ animals; an impression that makes people and landlords weary of them in general.
- That said, many restaurants will allow you to bring small dogs if sitting outside. This is especially true in many of the large western Turkish cities.
- Finding pet-friendly hostels or hotels is still difficult for the most part.
Cats on the other hand are typically seen as clean animals and have a unique place in both Turkish and Islamic culture. Landlords might be slightly more on edge even with a cat, but for the most part you’ll have much less explaining to do. (As opposed to assuring that your dog is a canine angel.)
A Quickly Changing Landscape
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to traveling with pets in Turkey is finding accommodation, but that is changing quickly. More foreign travelers are bringing their pets to Turkey for longer stays and many more Turks are embracing life with pets. This combination is proving to rapidly open up the pet-friendly (travel) market throughout Turkey – a lovely place for both you and your pets.