Moving to Spain with your pet

Key information about moving with your pet to Spain, including what's required, the means of transport, how to enter the country, and how much it costs.


7 minute read
Updated on 25 Jul 2023

Moving to Spain with your pet can be challenging as there’re many requirements, documentation, and the mode of transportation to consider depending on your departure country. As a pet parent, we know that you want what’s best for your furry friend. So to ease the whole process for you and your beloved (pet) child, we’ve created this guide.

Animals allowed as pets in Spain

The most common pets transported to Spain are dogs, cats, and ferrets (in this article, we’ll use the term pets interchangeably for these animals). Do you’ve other animals? Check with your local municipality about which animals are considered pets as each Autonomous Community (Comunidades Autónomas) has its own regulations.

Generally speaking, exotic animals, poisonous animals, reptiles, wild animals weighing over 2kgs, and adult mammals weighing over 10kgs are considered dangerous and not allowed as pets. In Andalusia, it’s strictly forbidden to own such animals as pets.

Potentially dangerous dogs

While all dogs are welcome in Spain, some breeds are considered potentially dangerous dogs (perros potencialmente peligrosas or PPP). If you’ve such a dog, you’ll need to get a license and register your dog at the local municipality within 1 month of your arrival in Spain.

Potentially dangerous or PPP dogs have the following characteristics– they’re muscular, have a strong character, short hair, large head, wide jaw, and weigh over 20 kgs. While the most common PPP breeds include Doberman, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler, Akita Inu, etc., it can also differ per Autonomous Community.

Overview of moving to Spain with your pet

Rules of entering Spain vary depending on the origin country. The general rules are:

  • Your pet must be at least 12 weeks and 21 days old.
  • You’re not allowed to enter with more than 5 pets overall. If your pets will attend a competition or a showcase, you can enter by showing registration to the event. In that case, your pets have to be at least 6 months old.
  • Unlike in some other countries, you don’t have to quarantine your dog, ferret or cat once you arrive in Spain.

Moving to Spain with a pet from an EU country

If you’re entering from an EU country (also includes Norway and Northern Ireland), you only need to show some documentation.

The required documents for moving from an EU country with your pet:

  • Microchip or tattoo identification issued before 2011
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • European pet passport

Moving to Spain with a pet from a non-EU country

If you’re coming from a non-EU country with your pet, you can only enter Spain from one of the appointed Points of Entry. Designated entry points are mainly international airports in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Tenerife Sur and Málaga. If you're using sea transport, you can enter from the ports in Algeciras, Almeria, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. You also have to declare that you came with your pet to the Guardia Civil Tax Department.

Keep in mind that because of Brexit, all non-EU requirements also apply to UK pet owners as of 2020.

Required documents for moving from a non-EU country with your pet:

  • Microchip or tattoo identification issued before 2011
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • Europan pet passport
  • A health certificate by a veterinarian officially translated into Spanish
  • Declaration to state that the relocation of the pet is for non-commercial purposes
  • Pets from certain countries need to have a blood test for rabies (serological test) too.

Requirements to move your pet to Spain

1. Microchips for pets

Microchips are rice-sized radio-frequency identification chips inserted into pets at the vets' office. To enter Spain, microchips have to be internationally recognized (15 digits) and implanted on the day of or after rabies vaccination. Microchipping can cost around €20.

Alternatively. your pet can have tattoo identification, given it was issued before 2011.

2. Vaccination for pet

Vaccination against rabies is mandatory to enter Spain. If it's your pet’s first vaccination against rabies, 21 days must pass before the travel. If it was a booster shot, your pet may travel the same day. Depending on your vet, vaccination can cost you €25 to €100.

3. Health Certificate and Declaration form for pet

You have to show a health certificate for your pet if you enter Spain from a non-EU country. You can obtain this certificate by visiting your vet in your country. The costs of these visits depend on which vet you choose and can range from €20 to €100.

You’re required to fill out a declaration form for your pet in 2 situations:

  • If you’re entering from a non-EU country, a declaration form to state you’re not going to sell your pet in Spain.

  • If you’re not accompanying your pet, the personal information of the person responsible for the dog is filled in the declaration form.

Keep in mind that both documents must be officially translated to Spanish and generally expire within 10 days. So make sure that you only obtain this a few days before your travel.

5. Europen pet passport

EU pet passport is an official identification document that allows you to travel with your pet. You can get it from authorized vets. There’s no expiration date for the passports, but you have to make sure rabies vaccinations are up to date.

EU pet passports have the following details:

  • Psychical characterizations of your pet
  • Microchip or tattoo code
  • Rabies vaccination record
  • Authorized vet’s information
  • Your contact information

EU pet passports can cost you anywhere between €20 and €448, depending on how much you paid for the documents above. Your pet’s EU passport can be ready in a day or two if you have everything ready. If not, it can take up to 3 months.

Pet transport to Spain

The requirements for traveling with a pet depend on which transport method you choose– airplane, train, ferry, car or hiring a transport company. Overall, most international trains, buses and ferries will require you to carry your pet in kennels or have them wear a muzzle. We highly recommend checking in with your carrier beforehand. If you’re entering with your car, there’re no additional rules.

If you’re coming from the UK, remember that Eurostar doesn’t allow pets on its trains. Using Eurotunnel will cost an extra €23 per pet. And if you’re traveling by ferry, your pet will be considered a car passenger.

Entering Spain with your pet by airplane

If you’re traveling by air, there’re 3 things you need to do.

  1. Check out the airline’s guidelines for traveling with your pet.

Some airlines require your pet to travel in the cargo department, while others allow your pets in the cabin. Generally, small dogs and cats are allowed in cabins.

  1. Call the airline to inform them about boarding with your pet.

The number of pets airlines can fly to at one time's restricted. So the earliest you can let your carrier know, the better. Only 2 to 3 pets are allowed in a cabin per flight most of the time.

  1. Check kennel requirements for your pet to travel in.

Depending on the airline, the requirements for the kennels might vary. Always double-check it with them. But all of them require kennels to fit under the seat and have a lock.

Traveling by airplane will be approximately €40-€120 per pet, but prices vary depending on the airline.

The top 5 most pet-friendly airline companies in Europe are:

  1. Air France
  2. KLM
  3. Lufthansa
  4. Iberia
  5. Finnair

Low-cost airlines like Ryanair and Wizzair don’t transport dogs except guide/service dogs traveling with passengers.

Transportation companies for pet travel

If you’re not able to travel with your pet, you can also let pet travel companies take care of it. If you choose this, you’ve to reunite with your pet in 5 days.

Pet transportation companies offer travel services for your pets and take care of administrative issues like EU passports, vaccination, and health certificates. Fees for pet transportation services start from €300 and can go upwards of €3,000 in some cases.

Don’t forget, if you don’t accompany your pet, you’ve to issue an authorization with the name of the person responsible for your pet.

Here’re the top 5 pet travel companies:

  1. Starwood Animal Transport
  2. Airpets International
  3. Worldwide Animal Travel
  4. Air Animals Movers
  5. Happy Tails Travel

Make traveling comfortable for your pet

If your pet isn’t used to traveling or being in a kennel, there’re some things you can do to make traveling pleasant for your pet.

Before travel, get your pet familiarised with the kennel by taking your pet for a stroll or to the park in the kennel before travel.

Before traveling, you can talk to your vet about medications to calm your pet’s anxiety.

Make sure the kennel has enough space for your pet to move freely.

Try to create a safe space for your furry friend. Flying in the cargo section can be very stressful for domestic pets. So consider putting a blanket, toys, and treats inside it.

After arrival

Once you’ve arrived in Spain, you need to take care of some things and be aware of some rules.

Check if your apartment allows pets

If you’ve just moved and are planning to rent a pet-friendly apartment in Spain, check if you’re allowed to have pets in your apartment. If yes, you’ll usually need to ensure there’s not a lot of noise or threat to others.

If you live in your own bought house, you don't need to worry about neighbours unless you’ve got a PPP dog. In that case, you need your property inspected to ensure there’s sufficient protection for others.

Get pet insurance in Spain

Most parts of Spain will not require you to get pet insurance for cats or non-dangerous dogs. However, it’s mandatory to obtain liability insurance with a minimum coverage of €120,000 if you’ve got a potentially dangerous dog. If you live in Madrid or the Basque Country, you’re required to take pet insurance regardless of the breed.

Get your license and register your PPP dog

If you’ve got a PPP dog, you need to obtain a license by registering your pet with the local municipality. You’ll need to:

  • Fill out form 790 and pay the application fee.
  • Get a criminal background check from your local police.
  • Have a health check to test your eyes, hearing, coordination, and strength.
  • Show proof that you and the dog have attended training school.
  • Get your dog chipped and vaccinated (if not already done).
  • Register your dog at the municipality using the vet certificate and microchip number.
  • Get PPP liability insurance.

Your license will be valid for 5 years. Your dog’s registration needs to be renewed annually.

Rules to remember when owning a pet

If you’re out and about, you need to follow these general rules:

  • Dogs need to be walked on a leash.
  • Your dog can be without a leash in specified enclosed dog playground areas
  • In some regions, you can’t enter public beaches with your dog.
  • Your dog can’t play in public fountains or drink directly from public water taps.
  • When you walk your dog, you have to spray water over their urine.

Rules to remember if you’ve got a PPP dog:

  • All PPP dogs have to wear muzzle and leash when you walk them.
  • The leash length for PPP dogs can’t be longer than 2 meters.
  • You’re only allowed to walk one PPP dog at a time.
  • Only someone with a license can walk a PPP dog.
  • In some regions, you can’t enter playgrounds and parks with PPPs.
  • Always carry your license and a copy of your insurance.

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