Brazil is a great country to travel in with a dog. There’s favorable weather, plenty of nature and colorful cities. We love spending time here, and our dogs love it too! Whether you’re road tripping throughout the country, city hopping or just sticking to one location, these tips will come in handy for both you and your four-legged friend.
Traveling to Brazil with a dog? We wrote a step-by-step guide on how to enter the country with a dog.
Get the low down on dog-friendly Brazil with these helpful tips on traveling in Brazil with a dog.
This helpful website is a pet-friendly guide to popular destinations in Brazil. They share information on pet-friendly accommodations, restaurants and activities throughout the country. They also host lots of pet-friendly events, with everything from a night at the movies to visits to co-working spaces.
You can check them out here. The site is in Portuguese, so if you’re a non-speaker, use Google Translate!
Use Social Media
Social media is big in Brazil. 81% of Brazilians are on social media, which comes out to about 140 million active social media users (source). It’s a great resource for finding local, pet-friendly places and things to do, as well as meeting local dog groups.
Facebook and Instagram both have active dog communities. They’re useful for socializing, asking questions and finding out about dog events.
To find communities in your area, search by location, activity or breed. That would be something like the city or state you are in, a certain activity you enjoy (hiking, beaches, meets ups), or your dog breed or size. Use hashtags to search, or the terms themselves.
For example, if you have a pug and are in Rio de Janeiro, you can join the Pug Lovers RJ Facebook group. They host meet ups and discuss all things pug!
Some other helpful online communities include:
- Curitiba: Pet Friendly Curitiba
- Campo Grande: Guia Pet Friendly
- Belo Horizonte: Guia Pet Friendly
- Campinas: Guia Pet Friendly
- Londrina: Guia Pet Friendly
- Brazil: Pet Friendly
- São Paulo: Guia Pet Friendly
Hashtags are also a great way to find related accounts. Helpful hashtags include:
- #petfriendly(insert your city or state here, abbreviations work too, so São Paulo becomes SP and Rio de Janeiro becomes RJ)
- #(insert dog breed)brasil
- #vaitercachorronapraiasim (to learn about pet-friendly beaches)
Download These Apps
Apps work to make our lives easier, and they can make our dogs’ lives easier too!
I recommend the following apps if you’re traveling in Brazil:
- Moovit: Moovit is an urban mobility app that helps you get from Point A to Point B. It shows you nearby bus stops and metro stations, and shares real-time arrival times. Plus, their maps give directions for every type of transportation, including walking, metro, bus, ferry, bike and even scooter.
- 99pop: 99pop is a ride sharing app that’s similar to Uber. I use both Uber and 99pop, but the latter tends to be a bit cheaper and always gives out discount codes. Get $10 worth of free rides here.
- Guia Pet-Friendly: Mentioned above, Guia Pet-Friendly is a digital directory of pet-friendly places in popular Brazilian cities.
- WhatsApp: This messaging app is wildly popular in Brazil, and the best part is, it’s free! You can use it to text and make calls.
- Bike Itau: Bike Itau is an urban bike share program with stations everywhere. It’s a quick and cheap way to get around, and a great way to sightsee. You can rent by the minute, day or month, depending on your package. You’ll see these bright orange bikes all throughout certain Brazilian cities, you can’t miss them! They have stations in Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Salvador.
Visiting A Vet
Don’t be surprised if your vet refers you to the human pharmacy when prescribing meds your dog. Many use human medications for dogs and adjust the dosage based on weight. It makes medicating your dog easier here in Brazil, and even cheaper (it’s common to find generic versions of popular medications that are otherwise super expensive).
To take advantage of favorable weather, many restaurants offer outdoor seating. The majority will allow your dog to sit with you as you enjoy a meal. In fact, I’ve never seen or heard of a restaurant saying no.
Even those with no outdoor seating will usually allow a well-behaved dog to sit inside, near the entrance. Those that are more likely to say no are fancy restaurants, but high tier establishments with outdoor space will most likely allow you outdoors anyway. If you’re in doubt, a quick ask should do the trick. Make sure your dog is quietly seated at your side when you do, and your chances of getting a bem-vindo (welcome!) will be even higher.
Brazilians value cleanliness, so pet grooming and hygiene is popular. You might see dogs walking on the street with shoes on to keep their paws clean. Many pet stores offer grooming services, and it’s common for beloved pets to visit for a bath, blow out and a trim. Grooming costs tend to be relatively inexpensive, so take advantage.
It’s common to see dogs wearing a little bling while out and about. This doggy jewelry is actually just a harmless adhesive, and is typically added to your pup after a grooming session. They’re shiny and colorful, and resemble bindis or earrings. Recently, small online shops have begun selling them on social media, upping the game by adding in more silly and creative adhesives. They’re fun!
Shopping At The Mall
Many malls are pet-friendly and will allow you to shop with your dog. Some malls will even go so far as to provide pet strollers, so you can push your dog on wheels while you browse. It’s a fun way to window shop and explore Brazilian commerce. Plus, malls tend to have great air conditioning, so they’re a great place to beat the heat. To see if a mall in your area is pet-friendly, ask their information booth or check their website.
Service Entrances and Doors
It’s common for residential buildings with elevators and doormen to have service entrances and elevators. Despite their sketchy origins, service spaces are still used today. The service entrance of the building is for manual labor or things deemed unclean. They’re used for things like deliveries, returning from the beach or gym and moving furniture. They’re also used for dogs. When we lived in a ten story building in Copacabana for six weeks, we had to use the service elevator every time we returned from the beach or walked the dogs. Be aware of this when entering and exiting buildings with your pets.
Here are some of the cultural musings we’ve noticed while living in Rio de Janeiro.
- We’ve heard many pet parents refer to their dogs as filha or filho – this translates to “daughter” and “son,” respectively. It’s a term of endearment that always makes me smile.
- It’s common for people to tie their dog’s leash to a pole or bike rack on the sidewalk while they run an errand. We’ve seen this mostly in front of supermarkets and pharmacies, where dogs are not allowed. It’s not something we would ever do (I’m a paranoid New Yorker!) but it’s common here.
- Mutts are referred to as vira-latas, literally meaning “trashcan-knocker-overs.”
- Brazilians are big on breeds. There are breed meet ups, breed parties, and breed preferences, like in other parts of the world. The most popular breeds in Rio de Janeiro are Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Shih Tzus. Many people also have vira-latas.
Brazil is full of amazing national parks. They showcase everything from the Amazon rainforest to dense forest and waterfalls right in the bustling city of Rio. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in any National Park. If you’re planning a road trip through the country and want to enjoy the parks, know that your pup will have to stay behind.
Many bus companies in Brazil permit pets on board. This is great if you don’t have a car and would like to travel the country. Each company has their own set of rules and guidelines, so be sure to research ahead of time to see which one works for you.
On a recent bus trip from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo, my bus even took a 30-minute break at a pet-friendly rest stop. It was the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs, use the restroom and get some grub.
Some bus companies that allow dogs include:
Don’t want to travel by bus? Try BlaBlaCar, a carpool service that connects people with drivers with empty seats traveling to the same place.
Click here for more information on dog-friendly Brazil.
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