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Animal Care Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

Animal Care Volunteer Project in Portugal - Lisbon

Want to support local animal shelters as an Animal Care volunteer in Portugal? International Volunteer HQ’s Animal Care project is a great way for volunteers to help look after and re-home dogs and cats that have been abandoned or lost in Lisbon. Volunteers gain experience caring for animals in a garden sanctuary, while helping keep animals active and healthy so they have a better chance of finding a new home.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from £586 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Care for rescued dogs and cats and help them find new homes

  • Discover Lisbon’s stunning natural environment

  • Stay in a sustainable hostel only a short walk from the beach

Key information

Care for & rehome abandoned animals
Based in animal shelters in Lisbon
Dormitory-style hostel
Volunteers aged 16+
Fully hosted experience from £586 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Portugese language lessons available
Up to 5 hours volunteering per day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who love working with dogs and cats and are interested in animal welfare. You’ll be working closely with local placement staff so no animal care experience is necessary.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Volunteers on the Animal Care project assist shelters to support the welfare and protection of abandoned dogs and cats in a local protected garden. The garden provides a natural environment in which dogs and cats can be free, while also protected, and aims to make sure that the they are happy, healthy, with the ultimate goal of being adopted into loving homes.

The main goals of these animal shelters is to protect the animals and provide them with medical treatment and companionship. They also aim to raise awareness around animal abandonment and reduce future abandonment rates by organizing adoption events in which you may have the opportunity to partake in.

Daily tasks can include, but are not limited to:

  • Feeding the dogs and cats
  • Playing and socializing with them
  • Cleaning cages and kennels
  • General maintenance of the garden
  • Assisting with basic medical treatments
  • Supporting adoption events and contributing to communications campaigns in support of the shelters

You do not require any experience to join this project, but patience and a love for animals is essential. All of the dogs and cats housed in the shelters are fully vaccinated.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Animal Care volunteering in Lisbon with IVHQ?

As an Animal Care volunteer in Portugal you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving the chances of dogs and cats to get rehomed
  • Caring for animals that have been abandoned, lost, or neglected
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining animal care experience
  • Immersing yourself in Portugese culture
  • Exploring Portugal’s natural environment

Volunteer requirements

Volunteers need to be 16 years or over to participate in this program. All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

SW
Sophie Williams
15 Jan 2024

I learned something about the culture in Lisbon/Portugal but I also learned about the cultures of the other volunteers I met while staying in Portugal. To anyone who is hesitant about joining the program, I would tell them to not be afraid to work hard, the work would be easy if they didn’t NEED volunteers but the projects desperately do need help, its not just a holiday, its work.

...
HN
Hong Uyen Nguyen
02 Nov 2023

I definitely gained some new friends from various countries and new experiences that I will always remember. I'd say this is a great way to introduce yourself into a country you're not familiar with. Through the program, I learned how to navigate the trains and buses around Lisbon. As a solo traveller, I felt safe because I was with other volunteers. I opted for the language lessons, which helped me to better communicate and understand the culture. I'm already researching my next volunteer program.

...
EW
Emma Walker
19 Sep 2023

If you’re hesitant about doing this program, I’d say just go for it! This was my first time travelling alone and taking part in a volunteering program but I absolutely loved it. The first couple of days are scary while you’re trying to get to know everyone, but after that you settle right in and get to meet new people and help improve the lives of some beautiful dogs! Seeing a new part of the world, paired with the fact that you get to work with animals, is the best combination, I loved them so much I wanted to take them all home with me! I’d have no hesitation booking another volunteer program with IVHQ.

...
KP
Kristina Pesheva
24 Aug 2023

I learned a lot about myself. I also learned a lot about the career path I want to follow. I discovered that I have a great love for volunteering. The program didn’t only offer me an insight into all these things but also offered me a chance to explore a new area/city/country. Overall I would say that it might be one of the best summers I've ever had and I can't wait to volunteer again. In the process I've also made a lot of friends that I plan on staying in touch with!

...
HW
Hope Williams
24 Mar 2023

IVHQ did an incredible in preparing me for this experience and the local team were great and always available to answer my questions. I loved the project and really felt like in my own small way I was making a contribution. One of my favourite moments was when I had a beautiful cat jump on my lap and fall asleep. This program has inspired me to do another trip! I want to continue to give back and do another volunteer trip soon. It is a great way to contribute while at the same time push yourself out of your comfort zone. Dong the trip by myself was hard but once I did it, I knew I wanted to do it again. It feels wonderful to travel independently and meet new people while giving back to a cause I care about.

...
RT
Riley Thompson
09 Dec 2022

The ability to ask questions with someone from IVHQ when preparing for the trip was great and super beneficial for making the planning of the trip as easy as possible. The support of the local team was amazing and always there if you needed any questions asked. Being able to get up close and interact with the animals in the wildlife park was my favourite moment on the program. Meeting and forming connections with so many great people from all over the world had a massive impact on me. There's definitely something there for everyone so if you are thinking about volunteering, I'd recommend giving it a good consideration!

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To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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Volunteer Abroad in Portugal with IVHQ

Location

The IVHQ Portugal Program is located in and around Lisbon - the capital and largest city in Portugal. It’s a veritable treasure trove of history, culture, breathtaking scenery, exciting nightlife, gorgeous beaches and great places to eat and drink.

Portugal and Lisbon have risen from poverty only this century, so while it is a fantastic and affordable destination to visit, local communities are still facing the lingering effects of previously being one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. Volunteers can have an impact on these communities by supporting local initiatives which aim to improve the lives of Lisbon’s residents and make sure they have access to all of life’s basic necessities.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday, and volunteers need to arrive in Lisbon the day before their orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Lisbon Airport (LIS). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee, however, if you arrive outside of Sunday between 9:00AM - 10:00PM, your pick-up will incur an extra cost of US$65. Volunteers under the age of 18 are required to travel with written consent from both parents or guardians in order to enter Portugal. Volunteers under the age of 18 who require a pre-arranged visa will also need their visa application to be signed by a parent or guardian.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in either Lisbon. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Portugal prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a prearranged location in Lisbon on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our Portugal team at the accommodation. It begins the morning of your chosen start date and lasts for a full day. The orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Portugal – an introduction to Portugal, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, an introduction to project and placement as well as a tour of the local area. The orientation will also give you a chance to sign up for Portuguese language lessons if you’re on a Lisbon based project, and to meet other volunteers with whom you can swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays

You will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift at your placement and will work for approximately 3 to 6 hours per day. Please note that start times and daily workloads depend on the project that you are participating on.

8:00 - 10:00 AM Breakfast is available at the volunteer accommodation
8:30 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.
1:00 - 3:00 PM Lunch is served at the accommodation or at your placement. After lunch, you will continue your volunteer work.
2:30 PM Volunteers with afternoon or evening shifts travel to placement and begin work on their project.
7:00 - 9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.

Weekends

Volunteers have the weekends free and Portugal and Lisbon are full of interesting things to do, see, visit, eat and learn.

Explore the old city of Lisbon and get yourself lost in the small alleys that are seeped with music and delicious food. Be sure to try the local pastry - pastel de nata and listen to traditional folklore music - fado. Lisbon is a vibrant city with many cultural and music events, you can’t possibly be bored here. If it’s nature you’re looking for - it has that too! Sintra Natural Park is only a short drive away and boasts wonderful castles and palaces. Come for a day trip to Arrabida beach and try the well-known local wines.

Volunteers can make travel arrangements further afield once in Lisbon, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Lisbon based projects will be accommodated in a dormitory-style hostel with other volunteers in Estoril which is a 5 minute walk from the beach. You can expect to share a room with between 3 - 13 other volunteers of the same gender however, male volunteers may share mixed-gender rooms with other guests if the male dormitory room reaches capacity.

Bedding and towels are provided, and there are shared western bathrooms however, they are not separated by gender. Staff will clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy. Please note that there is a 10:00 PM curfew in place at the hostel for volunteers under the age of 18.

WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as many cafes and restaurants in the area. To keep connected, the local team will provide you with a free local SIM card that you can activate to purchase mobile data for an unlocked mobile phone.

Private double rooms in the hostel, with the use of the communal bathrooms, are available at an additional cost of US$384 (approximately £319). These can be purchased as an add-on via your MyIVHQ account once you have registered for the Portugal program. All accommodation upgrades are subject to availability.

Volunteers travel to their placements from the volunteer accommodation via public transport or by foot.

Meals

Portuguese food is delicious and during your time in Portugal, you will be sure to receive some incredible treats.

Most volunteers are provided with three meals a day. Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, bread, cheese, ham, spreads, cereal, yoghurt and fruit. Lunch and dinner usually include local staples such as fish and chicken, as well as rice, pasta, vegetables, and salad. If your placement requires you to be away from the accommodation during lunch or dinner, these will be provided at your placement or you will take a packed meal.

Tap water is fine to drink in Portugal, however bottled water is readily available if you prefer and you should budget US$10 (approximately £8) a week for this.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week £586 Equivalent to £84/day
2 weeks £885 Equivalent to £63/day
3 weeks £1184 Equivalent to £56/day
4 weeks £1484 Equivalent to £53/day
5 weeks £1792 Equivalent to £51/day
6 weeks £2099 Equivalent to £50/day
8 weeks £2715 Equivalent to £48/day
10 weeks £3330 Equivalent to £48/day
12 weeks £3945 Equivalent to £47/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £273) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers on Lisbon based projects and on the Wildlife Conservation project generally find US$65 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses. For those on the Wolf Conservation project, we recommend a weekly budget of US$150.
  • Any changes or cancellations within 14 days of your start date are subject to a US$200 late change/cancellation fee.

Free-time experiences & tours in Portugal

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Portugal! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Portugal program.

Language Lessons
Language Lessons

Enhance your Portuguese language proficiency at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Portugal.

From £261
Language Lessons
Language Lessons

Enhance your Portuguese language proficiency at the most affordable rate while volunteering in Portugal.

From £261

Portuguese language lessons

Portuguese language lessons are available to all Lisbon-based volunteers, regardless of your Portuguese language ability. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these lessons to allow you to work and communicate more effectively during your program.

If you would like to sign up for the language lessons, simply let your Program Manager know and they will be happy to help you arrange them. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Portuguese and are taught by a professional Portuguese language teacher. Classes run Monday through Friday, the cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. They are paid for prior to your arrival and the local team will help you arrange a suitable time to complete your lessons during your program orientation.

10 Hours: US$315 (approximately £261)
20 Hours: US$630 (approximately £523)
30 Hours: US$943 (approximately £784)
40 Hours: US$1258 (approximately £1046)
50 Hours: US$1571 (approximately £1306)

Please note, Portuguese lessons are held at the Lisbon accommodation and are not available to volunteers on the Wolf Conservation project.

Check what's required to visit Portugal

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Lisbon
Population 10.46 million
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC+00:00

Weather and climate: Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate with dry hot summers and mild winters. During winter, from December to February, temperatures are mild and vary from 8°C to 14°C (46°F to 57°F). Summer, from June to September, is dry and hot with temperatures ranging between 18°C and 29°C (64°F and 84°F). Rainfall is heaviest in December/January and driest in July/August.

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How to get started

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