Resources for Expat Pet Owners in Istanbul & Turkey

Street Cats and Dogs

It won’t take you long after your arrival in Istanbul to realize just how many cats there are. They are slinking around every corner and sleeping in every sunny spot. Cats are a revered animal to the Turkish people. The prophet Mohammed had a fondness for cats. Therefore, it is a sin to harm a cat. There is a story that Mohammed cut off the sleeve of his robe where the cat slept, rather than disturb it. Another story tells how his cat saved him from the attack of a deadly serpent. This folklore has contributed to the privileged existence of cats in Istanbul and Turkey in general. Every evening you will see people putting out food and water for the cats. They receive respect for the excellent job they do of keeping the city free of rats. A documentary called ‘Kedi‘ (2016) will give you an idea of how honoured cats are in Turkey.

Unfortunately, the life of a street dog is not as privileged. Dogs do not receive the same love and kindness. Often they are kicked and stoned. Recently, the cruel treatment of dogs has slightly improved. More and more Turks are taking dogs as pets. Hopefully, treating them well.

If you are a dog lover, there are opportunities to volunteer at dog shelters around Istanbul. You can even foster a dog.

Bringing your pet to Turkey

To bring your pet to Turkey does not need to be traumatic. The process is simple if you are travelling from a country that participates in the Pet Passport Scheme. A scheme that has a set of rules for all EU countries and includes Turkey. Considering the rules and conditions are met, there is no quarantine for your pet. The conditions are:

  • Micro-chipped.

  • Rabies vaccine and an official rabies certificate are needed. The vaccine must be administered between 30 days and a year of entry to Turkey.

  • Titer Test. 30 days after your dog received the vaccine he should have a Titer blood test. The results of this test must be shown. Failing to do so will mean your pet has to quarantine for 90 days.

  • Veterinary certification for Turkey from the vet in your country.

  • Disease-free. Your pets must be disease-free and healthy.

  • Tax-free. Two pets per person may enter Turkey tax-free as long as they are not unaccompanied.

  • Puppies and kittens can enter Turkey if travelling with their mother. They must also be disease-free and have the necessary documents.

  • Turkish Airlines allows pets to travel with their owners in the cabin as long as the combined weight of the pet and carrier does not exceed 8 kg. You can get more information about the Turkish Airline pet policy here.

  • More details are available here.

Pet Grooming Services

If your poodle needs a ‘do’ or you want to pamper your pooch with a spa treatment, here are some pet grooming services:

Istanbul Veterinaries

There is no shortage of veterinaries in Istanbul. You can see a list here.

  • Axis vet is also a 24 hour veterinary clinic in Kadikoy.
  • VetMedi is an emergency veterinary clinic also in Kadikoy and is open 24/7.

Other pet services

A useful app for pet owners is PetBacker. It is an easy way to access whatever your pet needs. With this application on your phone, you can contact trusted pet sitters, dog walkers, pet daycare services, pet grooming and pet boarding.

We have more tips and advice on our Expat Info Desk site.