Italy ranks at the top for the most dog friendly countries in the world

Italy is known for its cuisine, its art, its famous landmarks and its beautiful cities such as Florence and Venice. But soon it will be known as the most dog friendly country in the world, due to the sheer number of hotels that allow you to bring your pet with them.

Many places in Italy will allow you to bring your four-legged friend and now a study from The Swiftest, found that Italy has the most pet friendly hotels per million population.

A dog in Italy (image: ArtHouse Studio via Pexels)

For its study, The Swiftest ranked 51 countries using a mixed methods approach to its research design with eight ranking factors to determine scores for each country that are indicative of how well they treat their dogs.

Among these 8 factors include:

  1. Animal Protection Index (0 to 50 points): This data came from the Animal Protection Index (API) website. The API outlines numerous factors that determine their index including recognition of animal sentience, the prohibition of animal suffering, and whether or not legislation is in place for animal welfare.
  2. Companion Animals (0 to 50 points): Data was pulled from the Animal Protection Index. Companion animal scores are based on an A to G ranking determined by legislation aimed at protecting pets and other companion animals within the countries studied.
  3. Laws on animal rights (0 to 50 points): This data was obtained via Wikipedia’s index and fact-checked by our team on animal rights by country. Points were awarded based on whether the government has animal protection laws or not and if those laws are enforced.
  4. Laws on animal sentience (0 to 50 points): This metric was obtained through the API. Points were determined by a country having laws that specifically mention animals’ capacity to experience sentience.
  5. Pet-Friendly Hotels per Capita (0 to 100 points): The metric identified how many hotels within a certain country allowed dogs to stay on their property and calculated the per capita amount.
  6. Prevalence of rabies (0 to 100 points): Points for this metric were awarded based on a country’s status as being “low-risk” for rabies.
  7. Veterinarians per capita (0 to 100 points): We used the website Veterinarian’s Guide to collect the number of vets within a country and calculated that against the population to get a vets per capita score.
  8. The cultural practice of dog consumption (-100 points): We obtained the data for dog meat consumption from Wikipedia and fact-checked that information using a number of reputable sources. Only countries that still have a widely documented high rate of dog meat consumption were included. These were Switzerland, South Korea, Philippines, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.

The top 15 countries for dog ownership ranked by their score on all factors are:

  1. Italy (377.52)
  2. New Zealand (359.96)
  3. France (351.86)
  4. United Kingdom (339.15)
  5. Germany (330.99)
  6. Australia (321.51)
  7. Sweden (304.24)
  8. Spain (300.72)
  9. Austria (296.63)
  10. Poland (296.39)
  11. Denmark (294.70)
  12. Netherlands (289.09)
  13. United States (271.75)
  14. Switzerland (269.27)
  15. Romania (257.44)

Each of the 15 countries demonstrated a commitment to legislation for protecting animals and a wide variety of factors that can prevent the risk of harm to your furry companion. These countries scored well on factors such as low instances of rabies, available veterinary clinics and services, as well as pet-friendly accommodations, and they do not have a high prevalence of dog meat consumption.

A bull terrier in Venice (image: Rocky the Traveller)

Italy, New Zealand, and France rounded out the top three countries for their environment of care for animals. None of these countries have a recorded modern practice of dog consumption. All of them have high rates of veterinary care per capita, and all three countries have exceptional legislation for the protection of animals.

The Worst Countries for Dogs

On the other hand, the top 10 worst countries for dog ownership, based on the study, are:

  1.  Vietnam (-49.98)
  2.  China (-41.23)
  3.  Azerbaijan (0.40)
  4.  Iran (0.45 points)
  5.  Belarus (32.42 points)
  6.  Indonesia (35.54 points)
  7.  Nigeria (44.41 points)
  8.  Algeria (51.26 points)
  9.  Philippines (62.16 points)
  10.  Ethiopia (75.06 points)
  11. Egypt (75.61)
  12. South Korea (76.40)
  13. Morocco (79.28)
  14. Niger (106.64)
  15. Myanmar (112.72)

All fifteen countries have a high risk for rabies infection (except for South Korea), lack comprehensive legislation for animal welfare, and have very few veterinarians per capita. Additionally, six of these countries have a current, documented practice of eating dog meat. While it may still be possible to have a happy, healthy pet dog within these countries, our findings indicate they are not ideal for the dogs themselves or the owners.

The Animal Protection Index

Compiled by World Animal Protection, the Animal Protection Index (API) ranks 50 world countries based on ten animal health and welfare factors. They rank based on an A to G scale. While not directly dog-specific, we believe that the factors are related enough to domestic canine health and wellness that we included it as a metric. Interestingly, no country received an “A”  grade from the World Animal Protection group.

The UK ranked the highest in this category and was followed by Sweden and Austria. The worst country for this category was Azerbaijan.

The UK ranks highest in animal protection and the companion animals category (image: Stephanie Yolanda via Pexels)

The UK also ranked at the top for the companion animals category. This metric dealt explicitly with laws around a citizen’s failure to act ethically regarding animals under their care and laws prohibiting the abandonment of companion animals.

As stated before Italy ranked at the top for pet-friendly hotels. These are often an indicator of how open and accepting of animals the country is likely to be. It also is a good metric for pet owners to know if their country is likely have available accommodation if traveling with their dog.

Meanwhile, New Zealand had the most veterinarians per capita

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