Registering your pet
All dogs, cats and ferrets must have an implanted microchip or registration number tattooed in their ear before they enter Spain. The implant or tattoo will allow your pet to have a clear identification number. You can typically get this done at your local vet.
As of 2016, rabies vaccinations are compulsory, even for animals traveling to Spain from rabies free or rabies-controlled countries. The rabies vaccination must be administered between one month and one year before moving to Spain.
For countries with high rabies rates, pets are also required to have a rabies titer test, which can be done by a vet. If the results come back negative, your pet can enter Spain three months after this blood test.
Bringing pets from within the EU
As of December 2014, dogs, cats and ferrets coming from another EU country no longer need a certificado de origen y sanidad (certificate of origin and health). They do, however, need an EU pet passport signed by the registered vet.
For other animals requiring a certificado de origen y sanidad from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, such as reptiles or birds, this certificate can be found at the spanish consulate abroad or online and is available in English and Spanish. Keep in mind that the certificate differs depending on the animal.
Certain information is required while filling out this form, such as the owner’s details, a description of the pet, the microchip number and location on the pet and the date of the required rabies vaccination.
Bringing pets from outside the EU
If you are coming from a country outside the EU, the licenced vet must fill out and sign a non-commercial EU health certificate within ten days of your departure, depending on your home country. The vet has to be accredited under NVAP to complete the form, which the Spanish consulate abroad can provide you with.
Some animals have special requirements before entering the country, so make sure to get informed about all the regulations applied to your pet before leaving:
- Since the rabies vaccination cannot be given to pets under 15 weeks old, they are not allowed in the country.
- There is also a limit of pets you can bring to Spain. You cannot bring more than five pets, unless it is for an animal show or competition, where you will have to show your registration.
- Certain breeds of dog considered dangerous must be registered at least three months before arriving to the country. If you are bringing Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa Inu and Akita Inu, start your registration process as soon as you can. You will also need to obtain a special licence, available at local councils, stating that you are over 18 years old and have no criminal record or undergo psychological test.The government introduced extensive legislation for these dogs, so they must be muzzled and on a lead no longer than two metres in public areas.
All Spanish municipalities have rules (ordenanzas) about dogs, which often states that they need a health card if they’re older than three months.
If you’re transporting a pet to Spain by boat, you should notify the ferry company. Some companies insist that pets are left in vehicles, while others allow pets to be kept in cabins. A pet can also be shipped to Spain by air. Animals are permitted to travel to most airports in Spain, but make sure to contact them and reserve in advance as some only allow a few pets per flight.
According to most Spanish vets (veterinarios), your dog should be vaccinated against more than just rabies if you plan on living permanently in Spain. Vaccines such as leptospirosis, parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper and kennel cough can help keep your dog healthy, but note that there are other diseases that can danger your pet that aren’t found in most European countries. These include the fatal leishmaniasis (also called Mediterranean or sandfly disease), processionary caterpillars, feline leukaemia virus and feline enteritis.
If you are travelling with a cat, it can be immunised against feline enteritis in your home country. Leeches, heartworm and ticks are also quite frequent in Spain, so get the best home equipment, such as collars, to prevent these.
To keep your pet safe, it is best to find a local vet as soon as you can. Vets are well trained in Spain, where it’s a popular profession, and emergency veterinary care is available in animal clinics (clínica veterinaria). Many provide 24-hour emergency service, with vets often speaking both English and Spanish. There are also a great number of insurance companies that provide health insurance for pets, to limit the veterinary cost.
There may be discrimination against pets when renting accommodation, particularly when renting a furnished apartment, and the statutes of community properties can legally prohibit pets. Be aware of this before signing any contract. Many hotels accept pets such as cats and dogs, although they aren’t usually permitted in restaurants, cafés or food shops, except for guide dogs.
It is recommended that you and your animal are prepared for your departure by contacting the Spanish consulate of your home country. Even though it is quite simple to import your animal, it is mandatory to have the right documents to ensure your pet can stay legally in Spain.
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Spain.
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