When bringing a pet to Spain, it’s important to check the latest regulations and ensure you have paperwork that adheres to Spainish rules and those in any countries you’ll pass through on your way.
Bringing a pet to Spain: immigration rules
Your pet must have an ISO pet microchip inserted, and be vaccinated for rabies and various other diseases at least 21 days prior to travel and not more than one year prior to travel.
If your animal was vaccinated before it was fitted with a microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again after the microchip is inserted. If your pet’s microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you will have to bring your own microchip scanner.
If you’re traveling from the United States or Canada, a USDA (or CFIA) accredited veterinarian must complete the bi-lingual Annex II for Spain for endorsement by the USDA or CFIA. If you’re traveling from another country, the Governing Authority should endorse the form for you.
Pets entering Spain from a country with a high incidence of rabies, must have a Blood Titer Test one month after vaccination and three months prior to departure.
Restrictions on bringing a pet to Spain
Unvaccinated pets (dogs and cats only) less than three months old may enter an EU country, but there are additional regulations that must be met. For example, certain aggressive breeds of dogs are prohibited from entry.
All other pets (birds, invertebrates, tropical fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals such as rodents and rabbits) are not subject to the regulations on the anti-rabies vaccination but may have to meet other requirements as to a limit on the number of animals and a certificate to accompany them with respect to other diseases.
Before traveling, pet owners are strongly advised to seek further information from the relevant authority in their country.
Airline pet container requirements
The airline will normally insist that you acquire a special travelling container for the animal that is ventilated and allows the animal room to move and lie down. Label your pet’s kennel carefully and prominently so that it won’t get lost during the transit. You’ll also need to ensure that your pet has adequate food and water for the journey.
The rules regarding approved types of containers for cats, dogs, ferrets and birds flying in the cabin and as cargo were created by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and for the most part have been accepted by the world’s airlines.
You should read the IATA requirements before you travel with your pet abroad.
Pets in the cabin
On flights of less than ten hours, many airlines will allow small cats or dogs to be taken with the passenger in the cabin (except when travelling to the UK and Hong Kong).
Generally, the airline will only allow one pet per passenger and a maximum of two pets per cabin. The container for the pet must fit under the seat in front of you and must have a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation.
If you are purchasing a container, make sure that it meets these minimum requirements:
- The container must be large enough for the animal to stand, turn around, and lie down.
- The kennel must be made of a sturdy plastic.
- The container must have a secure, spring loaded, all around locking system with the pins extending beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door.
- Many airlines are now requiring steel crate hardware instead of plastic fasteners. We would recommend that you use this hardware on your pet’s crate to be sure there will be no problems.
- Both water and food bowls must be attached to the inside of the front door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door.
- The container must have ventilation on all sides for international travel and three sides minimum for domestic travel.
- The container must have LIVE ANIMAL stickers on the top and sides in letters at least one inch tall.
- If the container has wheels, they should be removed or taped securely so that the kennel cannot roll.
- The container must be identified with your pet’s name and owner’s contact information.
- Make sure to attach an extra copy of your pet’s health certificate to the container.
EU pet passports
European Union pet owners are now required to have pet passports when travelling with their animals. The passports, which are required before allowing an animal entry into an EU member state, are to include the pet’s microchip or tattoo number for identification, as well as other data such as records of all vaccinations and clinical examinations.
When travelling, the pet owner must ensure that the rabies vaccination in the passport is valid or else renew the pet’s vaccination.
The European Pet Travel Scheme, which covers cats, dogs and even ferrets, rabbits and rodents, provides proof that the animal has been vaccinated against rabies, with the passport also setting out details of the pet’s tick and tapeworm treatment. The EU Pet Passport contains the following information:
- Name and address of animal owner
- Description of the animal (breed, sex, age, colour)
- Number of microchip
- Date of the rabies vaccination, period of validity of the vaccination, type of vaccine, name of manufacturer and production number
- Address and signature of the veterinarian
Pet insurance in Spain
Pet insurance can cover much of the expense of unexpected vet bills in case of an injury or illness, so the things you need to consider when choosing pet insurance are of a major importance:
- Does the policy cover all chronic, congenital and hereditary conditions?
- Is there a time limit on treatment per condition?
- Is there a price limit on treatment per condition?
- Are there flexible coverage options to fit your budget and needs exactly?
- How well established is the company? How is it rated?
If you’re looking into taking out a pet insurance policy after moving to Spain, you can either go direct to providers or use a price comparison website.