International pet transport to Spain: All you need to know
Though Spain does not have the reputation of being as pet-friendly as other European countries, Spaniards love and pamper their pets. Pets are not allowed in many public places in Spain, like in other European countries, but things are slowly changing, and pets are now more welcome in many parts of the country.
Spain is a great destination to travel to either on holiday or to relocate for work. Bringing your pet with you to Spain is easier when you take the help of an experienced pet travel agency who will help you navigate the maze of pet import regulations effortlessly.
If you are planning to travel to Spain with your pet dog or cat, here’s all you need to know about international pet transport to the country:
All pet dogs and cats travelling to Spain need to be implanted with a microchip. A microchip is a tiny electronic transponder that is implanted usually between the shoulder blades of your pet. When the chip is scanned with a corresponding reader, your pet’s details are retrieved with the unique identification number associated with the microchip.
To travel to Spain and other European Union countries, your pet dog or cat will need an ISO-compliant 15-digit microchip. Make sure all your pet’s documents have microchip number on them for easy identification. Is your pet already chipped with a non-standard microchip? Remember to carry your own microchip reader when your pet enters the country. You can also implant a second microchip, but remember to mention both microchip numbers and implant dates on all your pet’s records.
Check your country category
International pet travel is bound by numerous rules and regulations which differ from country to country. Spain has classified the nations of the world in three categories based on the presence or absence of rabies in that country. If you are planning international pet transport to Spain, check which category the country of origin falls under before making your travel plans.
- EU countries: Pet dogs and cats travelling to Spain from other EU countries need to present their updated pet passport to enter the country. You can get a pet passport from an authorised vet in all EU countries. The pet passport must have details of the rabies vaccination, a description of your pet and your contact information.
- Third countries: Third countries are non-EU European countries and other countries where rabies is absent or controlled. They are Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Croatia, Faroe Islands, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Greenland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, San Marino, Switzerland, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St. Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Vatican City, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Wallis and Futuna.
- Non-listed countries: The rest of the countries not mentioned above are classified as non-listed. These countries have a high incidence of rabies.
Vaccinations help keep your pet safe from life-threatening diseases. It is always a good practice to vaccinate your pets regularly and make sure the vaccinations do not lapse. Vaccinations are crucial for international pet travel, and every country has laws to protect the local fauna from exotic and infectious diseases. Rabies is a dangerous zoonotic disease, and rabies vaccinations are a must before international pet travel.
If your pet dog or cat is travelling from an EU country or a third country, they will need a rabies vaccination not less than 21 days before the date of travel. Make sure the microchip has been implanted before the rabies vaccination. Your pet must be accompanied by a rabies vaccination certificate signed by an authorised vet.
The rabies vaccine must be an inactivated or recombinant vaccine as recommended by WHO. The pet passport or the rabies vaccination certificate must have the details of the vaccine, batch number, date of injection and the date of expiry.
Pet dogs and cats travelling to Spain from non-listed countries need to undergo a rabies titre (RNATT) test before they are eligible to fly. The blood for the test must be drawn at least 30 days after the rabies immunisation and sent to an EU-authorised lab for analysis. Check with your local pet travel agency for a list of authorised labs. Your pet can fly to Spain only if the level of antibodies in the blood satisfies the EU standard of not less than 0.5 IU/ml. Your dog or cat can travel to Spain after three months from the date of the rabies titre test.
A health certificate is an important document that should accompany your pet if your dog or cat is flying to Spain from a non-EU country. Pets flying in from EU countries only need an updated and valid Pet Passport.
The health certificate must be issued by the government agency in charge of pet exports in the country of origin and must contain the following information:
- Name and description of the pet
- Name and contact details of the owner
- Proof of rabies vaccination
- Rabies titre test results, if applicable
Transporting pets to Spain is classified as non-commercial import if you travel with less than five pets. The pet owners have to fly into Spain within five days of the pet’s arrival. Pet owners also have to submit an undertaking stating that they are travelling with their pet and not selling or transferring the ownership of the pet in Spain. If you are travelling with more than five pets, you will have to follow commercial pet import regulations.
Banned breeds in Spain
Spain does not ban any dog breeds from entering the country. However, certain strong and aggressive breeds of dogs such as Staffordshire Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Pitbull Terrier and others are considered potentially dangerous dogs. These dog breeds must be mandatorily registered with the local council and have a licence. Their vaccinations must always be up-to-date and must be muzzled in public. They must also be muzzled when they enter Spain during their post-entry check.
Pet quarantine in Spain
Unlike many other countries, your pet will not be quarantined upon arrival in Spain, if all pet import regulations are met satisfactorily. An official will examine your pet on arrival; if your dog or cat shows signs of illness or infectious diseases, they will be quarantined or sent for further examination. Healthy and vaccinated pets can enter the country immediately after the inspection.
Transporting puppies and kittens to Spain
You cannot bring non-vaccinated puppies and kittens into Spain from any country. Puppies and kittens who are vaccinated for rabies at the age of 12 weeks and who have finished the mandatory 21-day wait after vaccination can travel to Spain. Puppies and kittens from EU countries and third countries must be at least three months old to fly to Spain.
The minimum age for kittens and puppies travelling from non-listed countries is seven months.
Partner with pet travel experts
International pet transport can be perplexing to most people, especially if it’s a long-distance journey. There are so many steps to the process, and every single regulation has to be followed accurately for your pet to be able to enter the country. An experienced pet transport company can handhold you through the process and make sure you and your pet have an incredible pet travel experience.