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Pets in Malta

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Malta have four-legged friends. What about you? Do you have one or more pets? Share your experience with us!

What are the formalities to import pets in Malta? What about pet adoption procedures in the country? Did you bring your pet from your home country to your host country? If so, did everything turn out fine?

What do Maltese think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!

Priscilla

Hello!

I recently moved to Malta with my border terrier from Ireland and the transition was smooth! My dog traveled with me on the same flight but in the luggage compartment since he was too big to go in the cabin. We used Lufthansa, route Dublin - Frankfurt - Malta. Lufthansa was great with my dog! In Frankfurt they take care of the dogs in transit by leaving them in the pet lounge where they get out of the crate and go for walks. I was only reunited with him in Malta and he was fine! I was expecting a more distressed dog but for my surprised he was very calm! Regarding paper work, it couldn't have been easier! All my dog needed was the rabbis vaccine, a pet passport and a microchip (what he has since he came home anyway). I know Ireland, UK and Finland are free of many diseases so to transfer your dog from this countries to anywhere in Europe is very simple and the process is straight forward.

All of this is sorted out in a vet clinic. Apart from this, you need to contact the Department of Agriculture here in Malta by filling in a form with yours and your pet's details. Without the confirmation from the Department your dog will not leave the airport! This is because they need to know the date and time your dog is arriving so a vet can go to the airport to inspect your dog. The meeting was very quick and the man was very friendly! After that you have 90 days to register your dog in any vet clinic in the country. That's needed because the microchip in your dog needs to be in the system in Malta and so your personal details. If your dog get lost and found and you haven't registered him/her then it will be hard to trace his/her chip to you!

I think Malta is a very dog friendly country! Compared to Ireland for example, this is paradise! No one looks at you with a weird face when they see you have a dog and they are welcome in many places like stores and restaurants! I have been to restaurants where he was welcome to join us inside and I have also been in restaurants where they are more than fine to stay with you outside. Since the weather here is always good and most restaurants/bars have outside tables, you can include your dog in your social life as much as you want! I have also noticed how restaurants/bars always offer a bowl of fresh water for him! You notice Malta is a pet friendly country because you will see many dog litters around. Also important to say that we did not have any problems in find an apartment that allows dogs! In Ireland you need to lie otherwise finding a place to live is quite impossible! Many of my neighbors also have a pets :)

So far my experience has been amazing and I am so glad my dog can be part of my social life!

Suryf :

After that you have 90 days to register your dog in any vet clinic in the country. That's needed because the microchip in your dog needs to be in the system in Malta and so your personal details. If your dog get lost and found and you haven't registered him/her then it will be hard to trace his/her chip to you!

I was no aware this was a requirement, do you have a link about this? The chip database is EU wide and regulated as part of the passport system as I understood it there's a central database.

So I am probably wrong, if you have a link stating this requirement I'd appreciate it!

volcane :
Suryf :

After that you have 90 days to register your dog in any vet clinic in the country. That's needed because the microchip in your dog needs to be in the system in Malta and so your personal details. If your dog get lost and found and you haven't registered him/her then it will be hard to trace his/her chip to you!

I was no aware this was a requirement, do you have a link about this? The chip database is EU wide and regulated as part of the passport system as I understood it there's a central database.

So I am probably wrong, if you have a link stating this requirement I'd appreciate it!

The chip database may be EU wide but if you don't register with your local vet after a move how will they know where you live?

Terry

tearnet :

The chip database may be EU wide but if you don't register with your local vet after a move how will they know where you live?

Terry

That's the point of the database. You update the records and wherever you go it's correct and everyone can find you who have authorised access to it

Volcane:
That's what the vet from the Department of Agriculture told me in the airport. The chip does not bring your details by the way! Specially if you have moved countries, like it was my case. My details (address and phone number) are anywhere in Malta's database. Unfortunately the microchip is not as well advanced as you may think. The owners details are not updated automatically. If you think about it, makes sense that you need to register your dog in the new country you're living in.

Suryf :

Volcane:
That's what the vet from the Department of Agriculture told me in the airport. The chip does not bring your details by the way! Specially if you have moved countries, like it was my case. My details (address and phone number) are anywhere in Malta's database. Unfortunately the microchip is not as well advanced as you may think. The owners details are not updated automatically. If you think about it, makes sense that you need to register your dog in the new country you're living in.

All the chip has is a long number, that's it.  Obviously your address isn't actually on the device on the pet, it could not be updated without a vet involvement.

You visit the manufacturers website who lets you update the database record associated with it and there are euro wide aggregators for this information.  This is the exact reason these chips exist and why the EU Pet passport require you to have them, because they are a system for EU wide pet tracking.

The system is designed to cater for people who move around a lot and don't stay in the same area as much as those who move once and settle.

And yes, I also asked the same vet if it's required he assured me it was not but its advisable if you stay a long while as medical history and such will be kept at the vet, but 100% the chip system is designed specifically for the purpose that you do not NEED to register with a vet just to track where you are.

volcane :
Suryf :

Volcane:
That's what the vet from the Department of Agriculture told me in the airport. The chip does not bring your details by the way! Specially if you have moved countries, like it was my case. My details (address and phone number) are anywhere in Malta's database. Unfortunately the microchip is not as well advanced as you may think. The owners details are not updated automatically. If you think about it, makes sense that you need to register your dog in the new country you're living in.

All the chip has is a long number, that's it.  Obviously your address isn't actually on the device on the pet, it could not be updated without a vet involvement.

You visit the manufacturers website who lets you update the database record associated with it and there are euro wide aggregators for this information.  This is the exact reason these chips exist and why the EU Pet passport require you to have them, because they are a system for EU wide pet tracking.

The system is designed to cater for people who move around a lot and don't stay in the same area as much as those who move once and settle.

And yes, I also asked the same vet if it's required he assured me it was not but its advisable if you stay a long while as medical history and such will be kept at the vet, but 100% the chip system is designed specifically for the purpose that you do not NEED to register with a vet just to track where you are.

Fair enough! I guess it's always up to you as an owner anyway to do what you feel is necessary for the safety of your dog :) I want a piece of mind so my dog is being registered as I have moved to Malta to stay few years. I am sure you will always have mix information, even coming from the specialists as it seems to be the case that you got a different information that I did. But as I said, better to be safe than sorry. That's my opinion :)

Ah, so the actual hard requirements for dogs and cats are not the same and probably why we had different requirements stated on import. 

Dogs MUST by law be registered in the local pet database and the Malta Vet Association operates a database, your vet does that.

volcane :

Ah, so the actual hard requirements for dogs and cats are not the same and probably why we had different requirements stated on import. 

Dogs MUST by law be registered in the local pet database and the Malta Vet Association operates a database, your vet does that.

Unfortunately a lot of locals do not do this, that's why most strays are not chipped.

We are doing this at the moment, basically within the EU you need a pet passport and to fill out a form.....we are going from Brazil to the UK, then UK to Malta.

I haven't officially launched the channel outside of this site - but this video might help - we will add our experiences as we have them in future videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwIpfQNXp04

Good luck to your dog! I hope he will have a safe and comfortable travel :) A tip for you: when you arrive in Malta, please know that they will deliver your dog through the door in between the luggage claim belts. However, you cannot open the crate and leave the airport just yet. You need to bring the crate and your dog to the custom room which is after all luggage belts. To be honest, no one told me this and I was quite lost when I met my dog! The crate was sealed and I didn't have anything to break them. It was just after seeing my struggle that a security man told me that I had to go to the custom office. I thought my dog had already been inspected 😊 So now you know what to do upon arrival! Boa viagem e bem vindo a Malta!

I have two dogs, both rescues.  One I found as a puppy on the streets, emaciated, filthy, covered in fleas and ticks and terrified.  He'd had his whiskers burnt off (by a cigarette the vet thought) so I took him home, got him to the vet a couple of days later who checked for a chip.  There wasn't one so I registered and chipped him as mine.  He was obviously not street wise so was definitely dumped - he was 8 months old.  To top it off, he tested positive for Sandfly which every Malteser I have met has told me that it's a death sentence.  My vet told me that that is only the case because many people don't bother bringing their pets to the vets and that's why they die - horribly and painfully.

My boy had 3 months of treatment (total cost €300 which is astoundingly cheap compared to the UK! Especially for what he had; 4 blood tests at different stages throughout the treatment, 2 injections per week for 6 weeks and a 3 month course of tablets).  He tested barely trace amounts of the Leishmaniosis after the treatment and eight years on, he is still here and still healthy!

Then, in August I adopted a puppy from a rescue centre in Sicily.  The process I went through was; I had a lady interview me, meet Foxy, inspect my property so see if it was appropriate with an outside area for the new puppy.  I had to pay €170 which was for her microchip (then I registered her as legally mine when I got her), vet check up in Sicily, shots (rabies, parvo, etc), passport and ferry to Malta.  It was an easy process and she's a beautiful (and crazy) little girl.

As for my experiences with Maltese people towards my dogs.  In the almost 9 years I have lived here I have never had a problem until I moved house last June.  I have previously lived in Marsascala, Gzira, Sta Venera and Zabbar and always found people friendly towards my dog(s).  Then in June I moved to the other side of Zabbar - near Xghajra and I have never been randomly screamed at and shown so much aggression in the whole time I have lived here or my life actually!  I am a very responsible dog owner, I never let Foxy wee against people's property or cars and always pick up after them but it hasn't stopped people screaming and I mean SCREAMING 'DON'T LET YOUR DOG PISS THERE!!' when I am just walking along with them.  I even had one woman threaten me never to come down her street again.

It is unbelievable.  I have never experienced this level of nasty aggression from any Maltese person (or anyone, anywhere!) before but obviously the Xghajra end of Zabbar are clearly not dog lovers.  It's quite upsetting actually and I have take to taking them out at 5am to avoid it.

Hi Suryf!

I am moving with my little Susy in a couple of weeks... you mentioned , that dogs are even allowed in stores? What kind of... clothing stores etc.. ? I am coming from Austria and we are a friendly pet friendly country and I can take Susy literally everywhere which is great so I am curious how it will be in Malta :-)

Regards, Christine

Delfinita78 :

Hi Suryf!

I am moving with my little Susy in a couple of weeks... you mentioned , that dogs are even allowed in stores? What kind of... clothing stores etc.. ? I am coming from Austria and we are a friendly pet friendly country and I can take Susy literally everywhere which is great so I am curious how it will be in Malta :-)

Regards, Christine

Hi Christine,

I haven't been to clothe stores with my dog yet but have been to some house wear stores :) My approach is usually to either ask if he can come in with me or just bring him anyway until someone tells me otherwise :) I wouldn't expect that he's allowed in supermarkets for example or any busy store. You may be able to have a better reference if Malta is pet friendly or not since you're coming from a pet friendly country. In my case, since I come from one that's not, Malta has been great so far!

Glad to hear that! Thanks Suryf!

Another question, how are you protecting your dog against Sandflies? I've heard about the collar 'scalibor' which should be quite effective and the usual drops.. ? I will definitely need to go to the Vet once I have arrived as I am totally paranoid about these little bastards!

Delfinita78 :

Glad to hear that! Thanks Suryf!

Another question, how are you protecting your dog against Sandflies? I've heard about the collar 'scalibor' which should be quite effective and the usual drops.. ? I will definitely need to go to the Vet once I have arrived as I am totally paranoid about these little bastards!

I was actually not aware of that!!! I know there is a vaccine to prevent Leishmaniasis but other things need to be done too. I'm actually bringing my dog to the vet this week to register him here a and I'll be discussing ways to prevent infection by sandflies. I can follow up with you about it later ;)

great, would appreciate a heads-up  :D

Yes, sandflies seem to be a problem on the island..they say, don't go out between sunset and sunrise, keep on moving, put a fan in your flat, etc...  :sosad:  :huh:

Hello everyone,
All dog owners should really be clued up on sandfly. It really can be terrible. My little Staffordshire bull terrier caught sandfly when she was 1years old. We had only had her 6 months when she started to struggle on her back legs, and was passing blood in her stools. We took her to the vet where she tested positive for sandfly. She was given some medication and was on a course of life guard to take for a month every 3 months. She did get better until six months later all the symptoms started again. We were told the sandfly was attacking her kidneys. She was given a chemotherapy drug every day for a month along with lots of other pills. The vet told us she had a 20/30% of survival. She got a lot worse at first as the drug was so intense she couldn't walk at all ,it was heart breaking to see. Luckily in the third week of using the chemo drug she started to get better. We are very lucky it's now 2 years later and she's fitter than ever (touch wood) but it's not to say it could have gone the opposite way. I have been told that some dogs can get sandfly and it never progresses', where as others can be fatal. I would recommend the white collar,it works out €40 per year, as you will need one every 6 months, we ended up paying over 700€ on vet bills,  just be careful. I hope this makes people aware of how bad it can be. I met a couple whilst walking my dog the other week, they had just moved to Malta with 2 bull terriers and had no idea what sandfly was. They couldn't believe know one had ever mentioned it to them. Millie is now on medication for the rest of her life, I'm so lucky she is still with us, she really is a little fighter. Also the vet we had was absolutely wonderful he was very clear with us from the beginning what treatment was available. Hope this helps people realise how deadly sandfly is. You can go and get your dog tested at any time for sandfly at your vets, they just take a blood sample.

You can get a vaccine for Leishmaniosis  and yeah some collars work for that too, - the  Brazilian site for Scalibor says it protects against it, but there are other collars - and that pill that is supposed to be amazing too against flees and ticks but I'm not sure if it works for that.

Definitely get your dog vaccinated when you get there, or before, though.

Hi
Drove over from the uk with our 4yr old collie now in Malta over 3yrs no problems at all.

Chloe2390 :

Hello everyone,
All dog owners should really be clued up on sandfly. It really can be terrible. My little Staffordshire bull terrier caught sandfly when she was 1years old. We had only had her 6 months when she started to struggle on her back legs, and was passing blood in her stools. We took her to the vet where she tested positive for sandfly. She was given some medication and was on a course of life guard to take for a month every 3 months. She did get better until six months later all the symptoms started again. We were told the sandfly was attacking her kidneys. She was given a chemotherapy drug every day for a month along with lots of other pills. The vet told us she had a 20/30% of survival. She got a lot worse at first as the drug was so intense she couldn't walk at all ,it was heart breaking to see. Luckily in the third week of using the chemo drug she started to get better. We are very lucky it's now 2 years later and she's fitter than ever (touch wood) but it's not to say it could have gone the opposite way. I have been told that some dogs can get sandfly and it never progresses', where as others can be fatal. I would recommend the white collar,it works out €40 per year, as you will need one every 6 months, we ended up paying over 700€ on vet bills,  just be careful. I hope this makes people aware of how bad it can be. I met a couple whilst walking my dog the other week, they had just moved to Malta with 2 bull terriers and had no idea what sandfly was. They couldn't believe know one had ever mentioned it to them. Millie is now on medication for the rest of her life, I'm so lucky she is still with us, she really is a little fighter. Also the vet we had was absolutely wonderful he was very clear with us from the beginning what treatment was available. Hope this helps people realise how deadly sandfly is. You can go and get your dog tested at any time for sandfly at your vets, they just take a blood sample.

Chloe thanks for sharing your story and I'm so happy to know your dog is well now! I didn't really know about sandflies in Malta and I'm now terrified! Do you know if they have vaccines available here? I know in Brazil there's a vaccination and dogs should get a boost every year. I'll look into the white collar immediately! Thanks so much for raising this up!

Suryf..i think the white collar is the one I was talking about earlier 'Scalibor' ... vaccinations 'CaniLeish ' is also available in Malta, I have already looked into it. They also recommend the drops you put onto the fur and citronella rub.

Hi Chloe, what a terrifying story and unfortunately not the first one I am reading from dog owners in Malta. I am quite scared about my Susy. I will do my best to protect her.
I am so glad yours is doing well now!

Delfinita78 :

Suryf..i think the white collar is the one I was talking about earlier 'Scalibor' ... vaccinations 'CaniLeish ' is also available in Malta, I have already looked into it. They also recommend the drops you put onto the fur and citronella rub.

Thank you guys! I'm bringing my dog to the vet tomorrow!!! Coming from Ireland, where is diseases free for dogs, I may have forgotten to do a better research! I'm also shocked to know that my vets in Ireland didn't mention sandfly but thank God I'm a participant in here and you guys let me know :) I'll do the vaccine, the collar and everything else!

Here is a good article I found
http://www.hondonvar.com/page_2725740.html

Delfinita78 :

great, would appreciate a heads-up  :D

Yes, sandflies seem to be a problem on the island..they say, don't go out between sunset and sunrise, keep on moving, put a fan in your flat, etc...  :sosad:  :huh:

Christine,

I'm just back from the vet and everything is good!  I registered my dog, as per Maltese law, and also spoke to the vet about sand fly! We did a quick blood test (15min) and as it came negative for sand fly he was eligible to be vaccinated! I decided to protect him as the vet said they are seeing great results with the vaccine, however, you need to do other things to protect your dog on top of that. We we can do apart from the vaccine is what you already know :) the collar, sprays and most importantly not let your dog outside in the night time during hot weather. The vet said from April to end of October.

The first vaccine is separated in 3 shots. Each of them need to be taken between 3 weeks and each shot costs €40 plus the vet visit, of course. After that, the dog needs a boost every year!

Coming from Ireland where everything is expensive, I was quite impressed with how inexpensive our first vet consultation was. The bill came to €96 which was for the vet consultation, tables for flea, antibiotics for my dog's ears, blood test and the sand fly vaccine! I know in ireland this bill wouldn't have been less than €150!

He will get his second shot in 3 weeks and another one in the end of December! Now he's all sorted and I can have a little bit peace of mind. I'm looking into the white collar too.

I hope this helps!

Hey Suryf,

Thanks a lot for the update! I'm a bit hesitant about the vacc because i've also read that some get allergic shocks and its not so long on the market yet... my Susy is small... but anyways, will discuss that with the Vet too!

As from what i read, sandflies cannot see in the dark. Sunsets/rise is not a good time to go out... but in the dark should be ok? I mean she needs to go out to do her business.. ?! lol

PS: Also glad to hear that costs are lower... in Austria it's also quite expensive ;-)

btw, to which Vet did you go? Was he competent and all?  :cool:

Delfinita78 :

Hey Suryf,

Thanks a lot for the update! I'm a bit hesitant about the vacc because i've also read that some get allergic shocks and its not so long on the market yet... my Susy is small... but anyways, will discuss that with the Vet too!

As from what i read, sandflies cannot see in the dark. Sunsets/rise is not a good time to go out... but in the dark should be ok? I mean she needs to go out to do her business.. ?! lol

PS: Also glad to hear that costs are lower... in Austria it's also quite expensive ;-)

The vaccine is actually out for few years now and the vet gives something before the vaccine (forgot the name) to prevent fever. I'm originally from Brazil and sand fly is also bad in there. My parent's dog take te vaccine for maybe 4 years now and he never had any problems and never had sand fly :) I'm always in favor of vaccines since there's a reason why they come up with them :) But that's just me.

The vet said it's completely fine to bring the dog outside to in the night time to do his/her business but you should not let him/her outside. For example: BBQ in the balcony? Leave the dog inside :) Same if you're going to the pub! I'm actually more relaxed with the vaccine now so on top of other things we can do to protect my dog I'm sure we will be fine ;)

Yes I totally agree with you. Susy is also always up to date with her shots because I just want to be sure 'just in case'.  and good to know about your parent's dog too ;-)

So let's hope for a healthy paw-life in Malta :D

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