Swiss perspectives in 10 languages
Daily life in Switzerland

Keeping pets

A man holds up his cat at the veterinary.
Yannick Bailly/Keystone

Cats are the most common household pets in Switzerland, with 1.6 million feline companions ruling the roost in Swiss homes.

There are no special restrictions or regulations on the ownership of cats, which account for some 28% of all household pets in Switzerland. Cat owners are also not obliged to pay tax on their pet.

Dogs are a different story. Not only do you have to register your dog in your commune, but you also must pay an annual ownership tax; the tax in Bern, for example, is CHF115 ($117). In most cantons the tax is reduced, or waived, for guide and rescue dogs. More details can be found hereExternal link.

Swiss public spaces are well supplied with plastic bags and bins for dog dirt.

Woman holding up the roof of a chalet


Living and working in Switzerland


Read more: Living and working in Switzerland

A dog training course for new owners is no longer obligatory but is recommended to first-time owners. Beyond this, most cantons have their own regulations about dogs, particularly in relation to potentially dangerous breeds; you can contact your canton or commune and ask for an information sheet. Switzerland is currently rabies free.

All dogs must be microchipped by a vet by the time they are three months old, while dogs imported from abroad must be presented to a vet within 10 days of entering the country. The vet passes on the dog’s details to the AMICUS databaseExternal link.

Otherwise, expenses for dogs and cats are similar – veterinary care, food, equipment and holiday care. It is also possible to purchase pet health insurance.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, parakeets and other pets defined as “social animals” suffer when they are confined alone. The law stipulates that such animals must have a certain level of contact with other such animals, while there are also minimum cage sizes and standards.

The Federal Veterinary Office has more information on the keeping of pets, broken down by animal type, hereExternal link.

Deeply Read

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here . Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR