Information On Traveling With Your Pets In Turkey

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.

turkish coastline

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.

istanbul metro stopCities 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.

pug and catDog 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.

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December 13, 2010 at 03:10

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Jan Pavlik May 15, 2012 at 09:39

I did experience this recently. It is nightmare and I do not suggest to anyone travel with dog to Istanbul. Shortly after the experience I would even say not to travel to Turkey at all but it would not be fair. Turkey is great but really do not travel with dog. Me and two my friends, good Turkish managers were working hard for 10 hours and almost we haven’t got the puppy. We had all document right in order! I have been preparing for two months in advance studying all the rules. Also please do not travel on Sunday. It will result additional day at the airport for your dog. Do not rely on feeding the dog during the procedure by the staff. Be known that your dog will be locked in the travel crates the complete period of traveling and approval. In my case it was about 60 hours! Imagine the dog conditions after this.

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Anil P. May 15, 2012 at 15:23

Could you please be more specific about your experiences? I’d be curious to hear more.

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Jan Pavlik May 16, 2012 at 08:09

Hi Anil,

I have prepared all documents listed at various sources of information including: Private vet health certificate, state vet health certificate, rabies vaccination as desccribed, export license, microchip, international identificatoi passport etc. I have consutled in advace state vet in Ankara, Turkish Airlines, Turkish embassy and chamber of commerce in country of origin.
We have started right at morning after the arrival. You will not manage anything out of standard working hours. In three persons, two of them native Turkish speakers and experinced managers, we were going from one office to another for complete day. It was not as chaotic as you may think. It was very organized far too demanding and endless with several “pat” situations. I would say we have proceeded more than 20 procedures or steps. Your animal is treated as special kind of import. It is not traveling with pet but stamps, approvals, approvals and approvals.
You should also visit State vet institut in the middle of day which is at the Asian side of Istanbul. I would roughly say about 40 km from the airport. Imagine the transport in Istanbul and traveling 40 km when your dog is hungry locked in small box in the middle of huge international cargo center with all its loudly sounds, smels and people. There at state vet institut you have additional list of approvals about 10 steps. Than you go back via Istanbul when returned officers again demand additional steps.
At the end of the day custom officers raised additional demand and wish to send the dog to quarantaine to another city. We end up at the general manager office who gave the final approval.

Still I repeate we had all documents 100% correct!
It costed me about 700 TRL only at Turkish side in direct costs without counting the extra night in hotel, car costs etc.

Whole this procedure which employed at least 30 persons was proceed for one small complete healthy and fully certified puppy.

Should you need more details send me email: [email protected] . If there will be more persons asking I will create some kind of short guidelines as I have all documents available. But I my self will never do import the dog to Turkey again.

With regards
Jan

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Anil P. May 17, 2012 at 06:39

I’m am surprised and sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve not had something similar and not either from these friends who’ve been traveling the world with their dogs (including Turkey where they are now): http://www.theroadunleashed.com/

Hopefully though you and your dog are recovered from the incident. Sorry again to hear what happened.

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) March 31, 2013 at 07:58

We will be in Istanbul for 4 days (5 nights) with our toy dog – a long hair Chihuahua named Montecristo). We already have a pet friendly hotel lined up. The walking tour is also aware that Monte will be joining us. Basically a hand off between my husband and I will occur to enter museums and mosques. We are use to this. Do you have by any chance copies of the papers required to enter Turkey? We are then off to Crimea… and that is another major question mark for paperwork.

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Anil P. March 31, 2013 at 09:00

It depends on what country you’ll be arriving from?

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