Pets in Spain

Hello everyone,

Many of us in Spain 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 Spain? 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 Spanish think about pets? Are they comfortable with dogs, cats or unusual pets?

Share your advice!


About 8 months ago we took on a dog from a local pet rescue centre.  Its owner was now in his 90's an no longer able to look after him.  Unfortunately he recently became unwell and required x-rays, medication and many visits to the vet at some considerable ongoing cost.  I don't suggest vets are any more or less expensive here in Spain than in the UK but none the less, as pensioners hit hard by Brexit, the costs are wearing us down.  We had made enquiries about pet insurance here in Spain but the vet said that the exclusions in the policies are so stringent that it's hardly worthwhile.  So, the moral of the story is that before you take on a pet, make sure you can afford any possible medical expenses before you take it home.

Hola,  When I moved here from the US 2+ years ago, I brought my beloved cat.  We had previously lived in Italy too.  Anyway, we had absolutely no problems.  She traveled in her Sherpa carrier with me.  It looks like a sports bag, not a hard-sided kennel.  So I kept the bag on my lap for most of the flight so I could keep my hand on her shoulder.  That's immensely comforting for her.  We've traveled to a few places in Spain with no problems either.  She is a wonderful traveler.  Also in the EU they sensibly allow you to carry your cat through the screeners.  One TSA agent in SEA (years ago) wanted to put her on the conveyer belt.  I refused and they finally let me carry her. 

We travel by train too.

The only aggravation was at my vet in Seattle.  They charged a ridiculous price for her check-up and final shots before leaving.  More than $400!!  I've been to vets here and the prices are much more reasonable.  My landlords have a cat and our 2 felines play together. 

I hope this is encouraging ….

Earlier this year we decided to get a companion animal from Noah's Arc (a local animal rescue organisation}. We decided on an 8 month old male kitten that had been left in a waste dump until being rescued by a kind-hearted person and taken to the centre and put up for adoption,
For a donation the cat came with passport, chip, history of castration/innoculations etc. The rescue staff were very efficient and we were carefully vetted as are all adoptors are.
Bizcocho is a house cat because roads, local manic dogs pose dangers we didn't want to subject him to. We live in a largish house with a garden room and he has plenty of toys to play with when we are not available.
We haven't considered insurance for third party or health risks because of concerns about the small print.
My advice would be to think very carefully before taking any animal on as your life should and will change as a result of the new family member.
Do your research well before you bring it home.
Bizcocho has brought a lot of additional fun into our home.

Thank you, from a fellow cat fan, for adopting Bizcocho.  I had pet insurance in the US and it is useless except for the most catastrophic events.  My kitty lives safely indoors, except for the occasional train/plane ride. ;-)

We have two four legged friends, both rescue dogs from the same kennel.  They were nine weeks old when we had them, and they are now nine years old.  One is a jackrussel/king charles called Punta as she has a spot on her back, and the other is a mixture of a yorkie and something else, big bigger than a yorkie, brown so we call her Marron. They both have gorgeous faces and have passports, and have all the jabs which we keep up to date.  We have often taken them to England, both on the ferry and through the tunnel.  They are marvellous travellers so it is no problem.  When we go on the ferry we go from Bilbao, Brittany Ferries as they have fifteen pet friendly cabins available, but you have to book them early.  We booked as early as September for next June, but even if they are full, keep ringing them as they do get cancellations.  Whatever you do Do NOT put them into the kennels on the ferry.  They are on the 10th deck and the small dogs are put in cages on top of the big dogs!  We didn't know how awful they were and we had booked them in a couple of years ago.  They were terrified as the big dogs bark all night long.  They didn't eat, sleep or poo the whole time,  and were shaking with fright.  It was an overnight ferry and we spent most of the night staying with them and cuddling them as they were so frightened.    If you can't get a pet friendly  cabin it is better to drive through France and use the chunnel.  You still have to pay even though the dogs are in your car the whole time.  You go to the pet place before you go through and they are checked for chips and passport.  You have to arrange with your vet that they have the jabs a certain number of days before you leave.   
We always manage to find pet friendly hotels, especially good are the Ibis, and the Kyriad, and they don't always charge.  Our dogs are now used to the lifts in hotels, and run in, and Marron is usually found under the bed, she loves it there   In France dogs are allowed in the restaurant, ours just sit under the table.
With regard to dogs in Spain, you can sit outside in the awnings with the dogs, but not in the restaurants or coffee bars.   In England, they are allowed into some pubs. 
Hope this helps.

We moved here just over 3 years ago from Switzerland  and brought our cat and dog with us. We later bought a second dog here in Spain.

To move our animals to Spain, they needed: rabies vaccination, all regular vaccinations up-to-date, an electronic chip and a passport.

All 3 animals were given a special rabies tag and we receive an SMS alert every year to renew the vaccination.

We were told we needed to get them Spanish passports because Switzerland is not technically in the EU, after a little investigation on my part, it transpired that they didn't need new passports.

Since moving here we've gotten them (cat and dogs) special flea/mosquito repellant collars which also protects them somewhat from Leishmaniasis, though this is not a guarantee that they won't get it. There are also vaccinations available, but again, they are not 100% sure.

We had to change our usual parasite pills to something a little stronger and adapted to Spain.

We had to learn about processionally caterpillars, what to do when a dog comes in contact with the hairs (stung?), know emergency vet numbers etc...

We live in an urban area so snakes and spiders are not much of an issue.

Animals can travel on public transport only if they are in a closed cage. It is at the taxi driver's discretion. Dogs are not allowed into restaurants, bars, shops etc... though many terraces will accept them, depending on size of the dog and how much space is available. Dogs are not allowed on beaches in our area.

We moved to Spain about 2 months ago and brought our 3 cats with us.  They needed to have up-to-date rabies shots, a very specific ID chip, as well as a "pet passport" (fancy paperwork completed by certain vets and approved by a government office).  We spent well over $500 for all of this.  When we arrived in Spain all the Customs Official said was "awww gatos!".  No one checked any paperwork!!  Obviously, we weren't leaving our pets in the US and wanted to make sure everything was by the book, but it would have been nice for someone to check our papers and show that we did the right thing.  Else, it seems like money not well spent.

Just the same as everyone else. We brought a cat from the UK with a pet passport with no problem at all.

We've had a  series of stray cats that we have taken on as well as a couple from a local charity. Everything is very straightforward. The vets seem to be good, the prices are not low but they seem to be in line with the cost of living and the paperwork and procedures for moving pets around, at least within the EU, seem simple and well established.

Sorry to hear you've had such expense after your kindness in taking care of this little dog.

I wasn't aware anyone had been hit hard by Brexit YET! How has it effected you? Just wondering as we've been told there'll be no changes for approx 2 years.

Kind regards

Hi Jules66,

We are retired and our State pensions are paid directly from the UK into our Spanish bank account.  We were happy with that arrangement as we have no savings or other forms of income.  The UK Pensions agency always gave us the commercial rate rather than a touris rate and when we arrived here two and a half years ago, we were receiving over 140 euros to the pound.  As soon as the referendum result was in, the pound plunged to nearly one for one.  It has recovered slightly now but we have had to make some adjustments and the vet bills are making our eyes water!

well I've found that the Spanish are 50 50 towards animals since moving here to Spain I've had to rescue 29 dogs all who are very well loved and taken care off you will often see wild or dumped dogs and cats outside cities especially in the country side I've got some amazing Spanish friends who have helped me build kennels in my garden and one who is a vet regularly comes to check up and helps keep the vet bills down. I've added an apartment onto the kennels so they are never alone and thankfully they all get on bar one who is a trained guard dog . always be careful when walking your dogs because of the wild and strays

Awe Simon your set up sounds amazing, you're brilliant!

Re. Strays/wild dogs etc.
I hadn't thought about the possible problems when walking my dogs, glad you mentioned that. 👍🏼

hi jules

your welcome on the wilds and strays you see them more in the country side then In towns or villages

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