By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – When making travel plans or moving to a new city it is natural that dog owners will want to bring their four-legged friends along for the adventure. In general Brazil is very accepting of dogs, allowing them to travel domestically on almost all public transport providing the dog is properly secured or, in the case of certain airlines and taxi services, confined within a suitable crate.

The banks of the Lagoa offer the perfect setting for owners to relax with their dogs, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The banks of the Lagoa offer the perfect setting for owners to relax with their dogs, photo by Fiona Hurrell.

Unfortunately bringing a dog into Brazil for a vacation is not as simple, and many owners have reported stressful bureaucracy and hefty import charges that can somewhat dampen the experience.

Nevertheless, the basic requirements are a health certificate issued within four days of travel endorsed by the Brazilian consulate in the owner’s country of residence. Plus, dogs must have had all of their vaccinations plus a rabies jab which will be tested thirty days before travel.

As a city, Rio has endeavored to create a dog-friendly environment, providing suitable walkways, parks and pet centers. For the majority living in Zona Sul (South Zone), one of the most popular and overall enjoyable places to walk ones dogs is the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

Stretching 7.5 kilometers (4.66 miles), its paths are designed to accommodate pedestrians, dog walkers and cyclists whilst venders’ selling drinks and snacks offer seating areas and a welcome bowl of water for your canine companion.

Even better, however, is that the Lagoa also contains two fenced dog parks where owners can exercise their dogs off the leash. The more visited of the two is Parcão da Lagoa which is ideally situated in between Ipanema and Copacabana’s Cantagalo metro station.

The Parcão da Lagoa dog Park, also on the Lagoa is the ideal place for dogs and owners to socialize, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
The Parcão da Lagoa dog Park, also on the Lagoa is the ideal place for dogs and owners to socialize, photo by Fiona Hurrell.

The park has three areas, each dedicated to dogs of particular size, and on weekends, a dog athletics course takes place providing fun activities for both dogs and owners alike. Dog owner and expatriate living in Rio, Christa Pickering, is a firm advocate of the dog park since it allows the freedom of which dogs are otherwise limited in the city.

“The dog park in Lagoa is fantastic! Our dogs love to run & mingle so it’s the perfect environment for them. Plus the other dog owners there are more friendly and not so over protective of their dogs, allowing dogs to co-mingle freely,” Pickering explains.

When a trip to the dog park is not possible, the only other option available to owners is walking the streets. Dog owner Patricia Prinsen lives in Ipanema and was happy to report that the residents there are most accepting of dogs.

She reveals “Having traveled a lot around Europe and Asia, arriving in Brazil we found people in the Ipanema area extremely friendly. Lots of people would stop and talk to us and were not afraid to caress [our dog]. This was very much the opposite in Shanghai, where a lot of people were still scared of dogs.”

With most public parks offering some type of dog play-pen, Rio is, overall, a good example proving that dogs can live happily in a busy city provided that they get the exercise they need and that their owners are considerate to both fellow civilians and the environment.


  1. As someone with dogs living most of the time in Rio, I’d like to add a recommendation. I spent several years trying to find a veterinarian that would consistently provide a high level of care with fair prices.
    Then, a couple of years ago, Forte Anamais opened in Copacabana on Rua Tonelero. The owners, Carin and Pablo are both vets (and – bonus – Pablo speaks perfect english). They have an incredible staff of attentive, professional and friendly pet lovers with excellent grooming facilities as well as 24 hour clinic service with blood lab, etc. on the premises. A great find!

  2. I read your article before deciding to bring our small service dog, a shih tzu, to Rio. We have com here to join my husband for several months while he finished out a work contract. After being here now for 3 months, I honestly have no idea what you are talking about regarding dogs being allowed on almost all public transport. They are not allowed on the metro, not allowed on the city bus, and I am not aware of any taxis you can hire without the dog being in a carrier. As far as airlines are concerned, dogs are only allowed to fly under the plane, in cargo, a cruel practice which has for the most part been eliminated in Europe and the U.S. Dogs are only allowed in a few restaurants that have outdoor seating, not all, not even half. It is really unfortunate that I believed what was written here when making our decision to bring our dog to Rio. Had I known the truth about the situation here, I probably would have made other arrangements and not brought her here as it has been incredibly difficult. If the writer has other information I do not have, I would love to see this. Perhaps I could write an updated article for the Rio Times regarding dog-friendliness in Rio de Janeiro?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

sixteen − 3 =