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A fun sign warns of dangerous cats
(Keystone)

Cats are the most common household pets in Switzerland with 1.4 million feline companions ruling the roost in Swiss homes. There are no special restrictions or regulations on cat ownership. Cat owners are not obliged to pay tax on their pet.

Dogs are a different story. You have to register your dog in your commune and pay an annual ownership tax. The tax in Bern, for example, is CHF 115 ($117). More details on the dog tax can be found hereexternal link. Swiss public spaces are well supplied with plastic bags and bins for dog dirt.

The dog training course for new owners is no longer obligatory but it is recommended to first-time dog owners. Most cantons have their own regulations about dogs, particularly in relation to potentially dangerous breeds. Find out if your canton or commune has an information sheet for dog owners. Switzerland is currently rabies free.

All dogs have to be microchipped by a vet by the time they are three months old. The vet passes on the dog’s details to the AMICUSexternal link database.  Dogs imported from abroad must be presented to a vet within 10 days of entering the country. Again, the vet will provide the animal’s information to the database.

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

Pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and parakeets are defined as social animals, which means they suffer when they live alone. The law prohibits keeping only one of such social animals and there are minimum cage sizes. The Federal Veterinary Office has more information on the keeping of pets hereexternal link.

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