How to take your dog for a walk in Portugal without breaking the law

Matt Nelson / Unsplash
Matt Nelson / Unsplash
11 November 2019, Redaction

If you share your apartment with a pet, there are certain rules you must respect. When taking your dog for a walk, you should also be aware of the news rules established by the Portuguese law. In this article, prepared by the Deco (Associação Portuguesa para a Defesa do Consumidor) we explain what you should bear in mind so you can take your four-legged friend for a walk without getting into trouble and enjoy their company on the beach, in parks, restaurants, shops, on public roads or on public transport.

I have read your article about the rules for keeping pets at home. We have two dogs and we would to know about the rules regarding outdoor space. Can we take the dogs out without a lead? And can I take them to the vet on the bus? When we go to a café, can the dogs come with us?

First of all, you should know that there is a new legal status for animals. Amongst other things, these new rules reinforce the obligations of pet owners. They are legally obliged to ensure respect for each species, its health and welfare. These obligations include access to water, food, vaccines, veterinary care and proper identification

On public roads, dogs and cats are required to wear a collar (with the name and contact details of the owner) or breastplate, requirements that especially apply to dogs of potentially dangerous breeds. Unless they are on a lead, dogs are required to wear a muzzle and be accompanied by the owner. Municipal councils can create their own areas for the animals, where they can circulate without those means of restraint.

If you want to take your animals on public transport, they must travel in such a way that must not be allowed to bite or cause any harm to people, other animals or property. 

Since 2018, pets can accompany their owners to duly marked commercial establishments, which can set a maximum capacity, according to a recent law passed by the Portuguese parliament. Therefore, you can take your animals with you when you go shopping and even to a café. 

You should be aware that the law authorises restaurant owners to admit pets in their establishments, but they are not obliged to accept the presence of animals. If the café you frequent accepts animals, do not forget that the animals will not be able to move around freely. They must be held on a short lead or in an appropriate transport box and are prohibited from approaching service areas (e.g. the kitchen) and displayed food for sale (e.g. display windows with food for sale).

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