Not without my pets! Vienna offers pet lovers everything a furry, scaled or feathered companion needs
The one-eyed Persian cat Guinevere is a former international traveler now living out her golden years in one of the most pet-friendly cities on earth. Sprawled out in an endless white fluff across my keyboard, she passively protests the writing of this article as if to protect the secret – life is sweet for pets in Vienna. With progressive animal rights politics, 1 million square meters of designated dog zones, and animal friendly businesses, pets have it good in our fine city.
Our superb companions, pets teach us about the important things in life, while doing wonders for our health. All mammals (including us) produce the cuddle hormone oxytocin, which lowers stress and blood pressure, helps alleviate depression and loneliness, and reduces anxiety. We get a dose of this powerful stuff whenever we spend time with our pet.
Opt for a shelter pet, and you’ll make a friend for life. At the Wiener Tierschutzverein (Vienna Animal Protection Association) your buddy will come to you prepped for city life, de-wormed, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, registered, and microchipped. Whether you adopt a cat, dog, bird, or rodent, make sure you’ve got a good vet lined up for your pet’s first checkup, and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the gentle experts at Tierarzt am Spittelberg. Although this 7th district vet gets busy at peak hour, the exceptional care and welcoming staff are worth the wait. They offer alternative medicine and an impressive aquarium to gaze at while you wait.
If you yearn for an aquatic, reptilian, arachnid, insect or amphibian housemate, the following resources can help you find your cold-blooded companion of choice. At the online pet marketplace tieranzeigen.de, you can browse through the many listings for anything from albino pythons to leopard geckos, to be sighted along with the appropriate equipment for their care.
At Reptilienzentrum Wien, experts can answer all of your questions on the minutiae of critter life. For a pristine aquarium filled with sparkling sea creatures, visit Zoo Austria for salt and fresh water aquariums and fish.
At Home in the City
Vienna’s cosseted Lipizzaner horses delight crowds of tourists basking in the grandeur of these magnificent creatures and the brush with Habsburg history, a national treasure in animal form. Viennese dogs are often no less spectacular, their coiffed curls peeking out from underneath restaurant tables as the spruced up pups frequent the city’s poshest cafes and hotels. To prepare, treat your pet to an occasional salon visit at a certified groomer such as Hundesalon Laika, where you can accompany them to calm their nerves.
Although we’ve drastically changed the natural habitat, our pets can find true happiness in the urban jungle if we meet and anticipate their needs. Depending on the breed, you may need a Hundeführerschein or dog licence, issued after an exam at MA 60. All dog owners are required to pay a €72 tax on their dog each year with a discount for those taking the voluntary licensing exam. Viennese dogs are famously well-mannered and their owners are proud of it. So if you want to give your pup a gentle-pet’s advantage, think about enrolling them in a reward-based training system at Pfotenzentrum. They also offer puppy play dates, or the cutest party you’ll ever attend in your life.
There are a few cat-friendly neighborhoods that allow collared and microchipped cats to run free. For indoor cats, try leaving rainforest sounds playing when you go to work, and a few toys about. Natural soundscapes keep all animals relaxed, and like dogs, cats also need exercise, so be sure to give your little tiger ample playtime between naps.
Keeping Them Busy
The happy pooch is a tired pooch, preferably after romping around the picturesque vistas of Vienna’s dog zones. From canine swimming spots on the Donauinsel to the sprawling dog zones in the Prater, Vienna is a dog’s best friend. If a neighborhood walk is all that you have time for, never fear – Vienna boasts 58,000 dogs and 150 dog zones. Remember to clean up after your dog with the readily available doggy bags, to avoid missteps and public shaming.
When you are traveling, you can leave your pet in the lap of luxury with expert care. Sitz!platz offers an all-inclusive vacation for your dog with all the bells and whistles. For a cat-only resort visit Claudias Katzenurlaub, an entire house renovated to board cats in groups or alone in indoor and outdoor spaces.
Guinevere’s lived many lives, but none can quite compare to this one that she spends snoozing away on the old windowsill overlooking her courtyard kingdom. One day, she will have chased her last laser pointer and we will mourn her passing with dignity at the Tierfriedhof Wien (Vienna Pet Cemetery) where options include burial markers and cremation.
With responsible pet owners leading the charge, humans and domestic animals can thrive side by side, civilizing each other in this most civilized of cities.
How to Keep Your Pets Happy
Tips & Tricks
1. Don’t forget the puppy pads! Information on traveling to Vienna with pets: help.gv.at
2. If you’ve lost or found a pet, here are some resources to help: wien.gv.at/ gesellschaft/tiere/fundservice
3. A great organization with loads of resources for new pet owners as well as a shelter open for adoption daily: tierquartier.at
4. The City of Vienna offers a dog owners’ handbook & a video from the experts at Tierquartier Vienna on cat care: wien.gv.at
Pampering your pet
FRESSNAPF is Austria’s largest chain of pet supply stores offering a wide range of products for all kinds of pets.
BUNTER HUND has a selection of top-quality pet supplies. This trendy store in Vienna’s 7th district offers a truly dogaholic shopping experience.
BRINGFIDO is a great resource for traveling with pets. You will find a list of pet-friendly hotels cater to your travel needs.
The law of the jungle