Comprehensive Guide to Bringing Your Pet from the UK

Thinking of moving to Spain but don’t want to leave your beloved family pet behind? Don’t worry, you don’t have to!
Pets are an integral part of family life, so it makes sense that you would want to include them in your move: doing so doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to bringing your pet to Spain from the UK

Getting A Pet Passport

The rules for travelling in the EU with your pets are much more relaxed than they were two decades ago, thanks to the introduction of the pet passport scheme. This enables your dog to exit and enter the UK without having to spend a lengthy period of time in quarantine. You can collect a pet passport from your vet, so you don’t have to worry about long delays at the passport office! 

To obtain a pet passport, your cat or dog must fulfil the following criteria:

  1. Microchipped.

    All pets leaving and entering the UK must be microchipped with an ISO 11784 compliant, 15-digit pet microchip. These are the industry standard and the most widely used microchip on the market right now. If your pet has an older microchip then they will still be permitted to travel, but you would need to carry your own compatible microchip scanner with you to enable the chip to be scanned at both exit and entry points

  2. Up to Date Vaccinations.

    One of the main concerns for authorities when allowing dogs to exit and enter the country is controlling the spread of rabies. The UK is a rabies-free country, whilst Spain is a rabies-controlled country; this means that there are rare cases of rabies in Spain, but that the disease is largely kept under control. In order to obtain a pet passport, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. This means they must have received their vaccination and that the vaccine name, manufacturer and expiry date should all have been recorded by a registered vet within their pet passport. If this vaccination is expired then a booster should be obtained and recorded in the same way.

Note: When you plan to travel back to the UK (whether permanently or just for a holiday to visit family and friends) you must also take your dog to the vet to receive treatment for tapeworm between 1-5 days before you travel. This treatment must be recorded in their pet passport by a registered vet, or they will not be allowed to re-enter the UK.

Entering Spain

You can enter Spain with your pet either by flying, by ferry or you can drive via Eurotunnel. The only requirement is that you travelling on an authorised route with an approved transport company who are aware that you are travelling with pets.

If you decide to fly to Spain to start your new life with your pets then it’s important to note that only the countries international airports are permitted to deal with the entry and exit transit of animals from overseas. That means that you can only arrive in the country via the following airports: Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife Sur or Valencia.

If you decide to drive to Spain then you can enter via any recognised border crossing from another EU member state. We recommend taking your pet to the vet for a health check before they get in the car to begin such a long journey, both for the good of their health and to save you further expense at a later date. All pets must be in good health and free of evidence of disease when examined at the port of entry to Spain. If your dog or cat doesn’t look to be in good health then a further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense, and their entrance may be denied. It would be much easier and less hassle for you to check this before you leave the UK rather than when you arrive in Spain!

Banned Breeds

There are no banned breeds of dog in Spain, but some breeds are subject to tighter regulations than others. This will apply if you are entering the country with one of the following breeds: Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasiliero, Tosa Inu and Akita Inu. If this applies to you then you must register your dog with the spanish authorities within three months of arriving in the country. Your dog must also wear a muzzle to pass through security pass points as it arrives.

Looking for the perfect house for your whole family, including your pets, to call home? We’re ready to help turn your dream home into a reality. We have extensive experience helping UK movers to find their perfect pet-friendly home, and we want to help you too.