Getting settled in Switzerland is just as important for you as it is for Fido or Fifi. Our pets are part of our families too and we want them to feel at home as much as we do ourselves. Zuri Girl has put together some information and tips for you to get all that you need right here at “home” and for your pets to become more comfortable with saying “Wuff Wuff” and “Meo” auf Deutsch.
Introduced below is Part 1 of 2 articles that feature Pets in Switzerland designed to help you with the move and settling in. Part 2 of Pets in Switzerland will be released next and will be about caring for your pet once living in Switzerland.
Prepping for the Move
Even before you leave your home country, there are a few things you need to do to prepare Fido and other pets for the trip. The Swiss Federal Veterinary Office (FVO) is the best resource for current requirements for bringing pets from abroad (EU and beyond) into Switzerland. It’s best to also consider the regulations of the specific canton you are moving to. Each has it’s own law regarding the ownership and import of certain “dangerous” dogs. Read more about pet legislation on the FVO website. Part of this pet legislation is registering your pet with the Animal Identity Service. This national database maintains records for all microchipped animals in Switzerland and is tasked by the local cantons to administer their local dog register.
It is also required that those who began owning a dog after September 2008 complete a course proving they have learned to keep and handle their dog. Additionally, a practical course must be completed within a year of owning your dog to prove you can maintain control of your dog in everyday situations. That means Fifi must be on her best behavior, but we know she already is.
Avoid Culture Shock
Although it may seem like a bit of a long paperwork process to get everything in order, your bigger concern may be helping your pet actually deal with the move and living in a new environment. When you first arrive to your new home, unpack your pet’s bed, toys and dishes and place them in a similar setting to where they were in your last home. Cats can be especially jumpy when moving house. It’s best to place Kitty in a closed room with as little distraction as possible, but with several things she is familiar with. Once she is feeling confident in this new space, invite her to come out of the room and explore the rest of the house. To make it easier on you both, don’t move her food bowl and litter box too soon or else she might not be able to find it.
Pets can react in a variety of ways and can actually exhibit behaviors they never had before. This could be that they are trying to establish their “territory” and will act out. Sometimes pets will pick-up on the mood or emotions of their owners and we all know that moving can bring out the more stressful and chaotic emotions in us. If dogs aren’t well adjusted to their new surroundings, they may develop a form of separation anxiety and bark non-stop when they are left alone in the house. To help your dog feel comfortable in his new territory, put him on a leash and walk him around the parts of the house and yard that he is permitted to go. This will give him a clearer sense of where he fits into this great big world and to find his way around.
Perhaps some of the best ways to help pets adjust is to be consistent with how you care for them. Keep your routine schedule for feeding, walks, playtime, cuddling and bedtime. Letting your pet keep their “favorite” things will help your pet feel in control and at home more quickly. And of course, showing your pet a lot of extra love can always help a tough situation.
Pets Rights and Protection
Switzerland probably has some of the most complete set of rights for pets that we have ever heard of. Dogs alone have several protections and other rights for pets, such as cats, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and fish can be found here. But we trust all of our “girlfriends” are properly spoiling their pets with loads of love and attention!
Animals may have a lot of protection in Switzerland, and dogs are certainly welcome in most restaurants, but they are still not welcomed everywhere. Dogs must be kept on a leash in the city and in residential areas, and are not allowed in areas marked with a “no dogs allowed” sign (a circular sign with a white background encircled in red with a picture of a black dog in the center). Dogs are not allowed in grocery stores, post offices or other public buildings either.
When your pet is not feeling their best, it’s important to know where to take him/her to get the medical care s/he needs. Vet-look.ch is a great website to help you find a veterinarian nearby and specialists for your pet’s needs.
If you prefer English-speaking veterinarians, we’ve heard good things about:
- Kleintierpraxis, Dr. med. vet. Lorenz Jöhr, Allmendstrasse 4, 8700 Küsnacht (map); Website. Tel: +41 44 912 04 04
- Kleintierpraxis Freiestrasse, Dr. med. vet. Norbert Frei, Freiestrasse 148, 8032 Zurich (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 42 24 07
- Dr. med. vet. Andreas Hagen, Zürichstrasse 1, 8134 Adliswil (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 709 06 66
- Dr. med. vet. Bruno Litschi, Böhnirainstrasse 10, 8800 Thalwil (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 720 00 11
- Kleinteirpraxis, Dr. med. vet. Ulrich Coradi, Mutschellenstrasse 77, 8038 Zurich (map); Website. Tel: +41 44 481 64 64
- Dr. med. vet. Alfred Huber, Muhlemattstrasse 13, 8903 Birmensdorf (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 737 11 59
- Dr. med. vet. Emil Büchler, Hohenklingenstrasse 45, 8049 Zurich (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 341 0707
- Kleintierpraxis, Dr. med. vet. Angela Beltracchi, Brunnwiesenstrasse 78, 8049 Zurich (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 341 40 75
For specialty services, such as emergency, rehabilitation, physiotherapy and acupuncture:
- Emergency care: Animal Hospital (Kantonales Tierspital), Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich (map); Website. Tel: +41 44 635 81 11
- Rehabilitation and stamina training: Kynofit AG, Rikonerstrasse 22, 8307 Effretikon (map); Website.Tel: +41 52 343 87 67
- Physiotherapy: PhysioPet Tierphysiotherapie, Yvonne Geiger-Jakob, dipl. Tierphysiotherapeutin, Tüfweg 1, 8044 Zurich-Gockhausen (map); Website. Tel: +41 44 932 53 55
- Acupuncture: Kleintierpraxis Leu, Dres. med. vet. Leu Daniela u. Thomas Sprechstd. n. Vereinb. auch Akupunktur, Bahnhofstrasse 64, 8803 Rüschlikon (map); No website. Tel: +41 44 724 12 21
Zuri Girl hopes your pet has a smooth move. Stay tuned for the next article on Four-Legged Girlfriends which will focus on keeping your pet happy once living in Switzerland. This will be released on the 1st of September 2012. Until then, we’d love you to leave a comment below with your favorite pet activity in Switzerland to help others find pet-friendly parks, restaurants, hikes and more.
Contributed by: Zuri Girl Ashley from Set Sails Media