Guide on taking dogs to Spain [Pet Passport Requirements 2023]
Taking dogs to Spain is pretty straightforward. You will need to get your dog an EU Pet Passport. Dogs, along with cats and ferrets, are eligible for an EU Pet Passport which allows them to enter the EU and travel freely between EU and certain listed countries. This involved getting your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at minimum. Secondly, you will need to organise travel. You can either enter Spain in a car or by air. Traveling by car is more straight toward than traveling by air. This is because airlines have strict rules and requirements for taking pets on their planes.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the process of taking a dog to Spain. Additionally, we will walk you through the process of obtaining a Spain pet passport and all the documents required.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is a Spain Pet Passport?
- What is the process of taking a dog to Spain?
- What are the requirements for taking a dog to Spain?
- How much does taking a dog to Spain Cost?
- Taking dogs to Spain for commercial reasons
- Guidelines for dog carriers
- Can I take my puppy to Spain?
- What if I lose my Spain Pet Passport?
- Can I travel to Spain without a Spain Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport?
- Can I fly with my pet in the cabin of the plane?
- Bottom Line
What is a Spain Pet Passport?
A Spain Pet Passport is a compilation of documents that your dog needs in order to travel to Spain. With an EU Pet Passport, dogs are able to travel throughout the EU without enduring a quarantine period. Dogs will require a microchip and rabies vaccination at minimum, proof of both is needed in order to obtain an EU Pet Passport. All documents must be issued by an accredited veterinarian. Essentially, a pet passport demonstrates that your dog is fit and healthy to travel.
The documents required to travel with dogs depends on which country you are travelling from, and which country you are travelling to. Each country has individual rules and requirements to export and import dogs. We will discuss the requirements to travel with dogs to Spain in detail below.
What does an Spain Pet Passport contain?
A Spain Pet Passport, or EU Pet Passport contains all the documents required to travel with your dog. Essentially, it will prove that your dog is fit and healthy to travel and doesn’t pose as a health threat to other dogs.
A Spain Pet Passport contains the following information:
- Details of ownership (name, address, passport number, telephone, etc.)
- Description of the animal (name, species, breed, date of birth, etc.)
- Official veterinarian’s details
- Microchip information
- Rabies vaccination certificate
- Rabies antibody titer test results
- Parasite treatment records
- Additional vaccination and treatment records
- Pet photo (optional)
At minimum, your Spain pet passport will contain those listed 1-5. These are compulsory in order to travel within the EU with a dog. Those listed 6-8 are potential requirements that your dog may need, depending on where you are traveling from. For example, if you are traveling from outside the EU, from high-risk rabies countries, your dog may need a Rabies Blood Test (also known as Rabies Titer Test).
All records are signed and stamped by your official EU veterinarian with official stickers from the medication used.
What is the process of taking a dog to Spain?
VISIT THE VET
You will need to visit the vet to obtain your dog’s Spain pet passport.
Before booking your appointment, it is helpful to check that your chosen vet is authorised to issue EU Pet Passports. Not all of them are.
At your appointment, your vet will administer your dog with a microchip and rabies vaccination, if your dog hasn’t already had them. They will also check your dog’s overall health to ensure that he or she is well enough to travel. Once the veterinarian is satisfied that your dog is ready for travel, they will review all the paperwork and complete your dog’s pet passport booklet.
You will need to bring the following to the vet appointment:
- Your passport
- Your local address
- Microchip information (if your dog already has one) – date of implantation, chip number and issuing company information (this info is also on the Annex IV)
- Dog’s rabies certificate or rabies titre test results no less than 21 days old (if your dog has one)
- Annex IV form completed by your home vet and endorsed by your country’s official veterinary regulatory body (if you are from outside the EU)
- Dog photo (optional but recommended) – the size should be 2 x 2 inches (5cm x 5cm). It is better to have one as you do not want to give any customs official a reason to deny your dog entry into a country.
If your dog hasn’t yet been microchipped or vaccinated against rabies, don’t worry, your vet will complete these at the appointment.
For a stress free journey, you will then need to plan out how you are traveling to Spain. The easiest option is to travel by car and ferry, however you also have the option to fly to Spain. Flying to Spain with a dog is far more complicated as airlines have very specific rules and regulations when it comes to traveling with dogs. Additionally, some airlines even prohibit certain dog breeds from boarding their planes.
There are a few options to take dogs to Spain:
- Driving to Spain via the Channel
- Taking a ferry directly to Spain (with a car)
- Flying to Spain with a dog
Driving to Spain via The Channel
You can drive your dog to Spain from the UK, either via the Eurotunnel, or by taking a ferry to France. From there, you can drive through France to Spain.
This is a long route and will end up being quite expensive, however it is a straightforward option for taking dogs to Spain. Additionally, it is convenient to have your own car with you on your trip.
To cross The Channel, you have two options:
- The Eurotunnel; or
- Taking a ferry, such as between Dover and Calais.
If taking the Eurotunnel, it costs an extra £19 per pet. Most ferries will charge a similar price. For more information, check my extended post on How to take a Dog on The Eurotunnel [Guide, FAQ & Prices].
Whichever option you choose, be sure to let the company know that you will be bringing your dog with you. It is best to do this well in advance to ensure for a smooth journey.
Many ferry companies require dogs to stay inside vehicles, which is why foot passengers are not permitted to bring dogs.
Once you arrive in France, you will need to drive through the country to arrive in Spain. The journey typically takes one or two long days of driving. Calais to San Sebastian is just over 1100km (700 miles), while Calais to Barcelona is about 1300km (800 miles).
Taking a ferry directly to Spain (with a car)
If you have a car you can take a ferry directly from the UK to Spain, with Brittany Ferries. This is only an option with a car as foot passengers are not permitted to bring dogs.
In order to skip the long, one or two day drive through France, you can get a direct ferry. The available routes are from both Portsmouth and Plymouth to Santander, plus Portsmouth to Bilbao. The journey is rather long taking between 20 and 32 hours, depending on which ports you are sailing between.
Unfortunately, this is only an option for those taking dogs to Spain with cars. This is because foot passengers are not allowed to take dogs on any Brittany Ferry route.
Brittany Ferries offer pet-friendly cabins and kennels on 4 of their ships – Cap Finistère, Connemara, Etretat and Normandie. Additionally, all pet-friendly ferries have designated areas to exercise your dogs. When in these designated areas, dogs must be muzzled and put on a lead.
Flying to Spain with a dog
If you are not traveling from the UK, or you do not have a car, it is usually an easier option to fly.
Taking dogs to Spain via air can be complicated because airlines have strict rules, regulations and restrictions when it comes to traveling with pets. There are some airlines will not allow dogs to travel on their planes at all, however there are some that will.
Traveling via air can be expensive too, as you will need to pay extra to ship your dog. The price will vary between airlines, and depending on the weight and size of your dog.
1. Before booking your flight, be sure to check out different airline’s policies to ensure that you are able to take your dog with you.
Some airlines may allow your dog to travel in the cabin with you, where others will require dogs to travel in the cargo area of the plane. If you have a small dog, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, if you have a large dog then he will need to fly in the cargo.
- 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies]
- 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With a Cat In-Cabin [2020 Prices & Policies]
- Which Airlines Allow Ferrets In Cabin? [2020 Policies & Prices]
- 13 Airlines That Allow Pet Birds on Planes [2020 Policies & Prices]
- 7 Airlines that Allow Rabbits in the Plane Cabin [2020 Policies & Prices]
2. When booking your flight, inform the airline that you will be bringing your dog with you.
Do this as soon as you book your flight, as airlines often have limitations on how many dogs they can ship at any given time.
3. Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier and get your dog used to spending time in it.
Different airlines have different size and weight restrictions when it comes to dog travel carriers. Be sure to check those of your chosen airline. If traveling in the cabin of the plane, the carrier must be small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you.
To ensure that the journey is as stress-free as possible for your dog, ensure they are comfortable in their travel carrier. You can do this by taking your dog on short journeys in it’s travel carrier. Take your dog out to lunch with you in its carrier, or take it to your friends house for a coffee. This way the longer journey will not be so stressful.
4. If traveling from a non-EU country, you must enter Spain through international airports in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife Sur or Valencia.
Accompanied pets entering Spain by air from non-EU countries must do so at Border Inspection Posts at international airports in Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Tenerife Sur or Valencia. Ports approved for the import of pets are: Algeciras, Almeria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
All domestic dogs must be free of evidence of disease communicable to humans when examined at the port of entry to Spain. If your dog is not in apparent good health, further examination by a licensed veterinarian may be required at your expense.
Pets may arrive in the cabin, as checked baggage or as air cargo.
What are the requirements for taking a dog to Spain?
In order to take your dog to Spain, your dog requires the following:
- Rabies vaccination certificate
REQUIREMENT 1: MICROCHIPPING
All dogs must have a microchip in order to obtain an Spain Pet Passport.
A microchip is a electronic chip that holds a unique number traceable with a chip reader. It is place just under your dog’s skin in between its shoulder blades.
We recommend that this is the first step in the process of obtaining a Spain Pet Passport, or EU Pet Passport. This is because if your dog isn’t microchipped before they get their rabies vaccination, then the vaccination may not be valid. Therefore, this would therefore mean your dog would have to get vaccinated again.
REQUIREMENT 2: RABIES VACCINATION
All dogs must be up to date on their rabies vaccinations in order to obtain a Spain Pet Passport.
In order to get a Spain Pet Passport, you must be able to prove that your dog has had their rabies vaccination.
The timing of your dog’s rabies vaccination is important, depending on where you are traveling from. If you are traveling from a rabies controlled country, your dog must be vaccinated no sooner than 21 days of entering Spain. However, if you are traveling from a high-risk rabies country, you must wait for a minimum of 30 days after the primary or booster vaccination before receiving a rabies titer test (see next requirement 3).
Spain accepts the 3 year rabies vaccination for dogs. However, it should only be applied as a booster and not as their initial vaccination.
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It may be possible that you require the following:
- Rabies titer test / rabies blood test
- Health certificate
REQUIREMENT 3: RABIES TITER TEST
All dogs traveling from a high-risk rabies country, must pass a rabies titer test (rabies blood test).
A rabies titer test is a blood test to see whether your dog’s rabies vaccination was successful. Your veterinarian will need to take a blood sample at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. The sample will then be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory. The blood rest results must show that the vaccination was successful – i.e. your dog’s blood must contain at least 0.5 IU/ml of the rabies antibody.
You must then wait 3 months before your dog can enter Spain. If you do not wait 3 months, then your dog will be quarantined in Spain for the remainder of the time.
REQUIREMENT 4: HEALTH CERTIFICATE
You will need a health certificate if:
- You are taking dogs to Spain from outside the EU, for non-commercial reasons; or
- You are taking dogs to Spain for commercial reasons
Commercial reasons include taking dogs to Spain for resale or adoption, or if you are not traveling with your pet within 5 days.
An official veterinarian must complete an EU Health certificate for Spain, in English, or translated to English.
Your health certificate must be endorsed by your home country government agency responsible for the import and export of pets. For example, in the US you will need to have your health certificate endorsed by the USDA. In Canada, this will be the CFIA.
The form is to cover transport of up to 5 dogs and is valid for 4 months, as long as your dog’s rabies vaccinations are in date.
How much does it cost to take a dog to Spain?
The cost of a Spain Pet Passport is usually around £60-£100. The cost is broken down into the following costs:
- Microchipping – £0-20
- Rabies vaccination – £0-20+
- Pet passport application – £60
Firstly, different countries and veterinary clinics will have different pricing for a pet passport. If you wish to save money, check the prices of a few different veterinary clinics. Some will also offer pet passport packages.
If your dog already has a microchip, and a recent rabies vaccination, you will probably pay less for your Spain pet passport. This is because you will only be paying for the health check and the documents.
For more information on the cost of an EU Pet Passport, check How much does an EU Pet Passport cost in 2020?.
For information on how to get free microchipping in the UK check How to get Dog Microchipping for Free in the UK .
Taking dogs to Spain for commercial reasons
Any dogs being transported for commercial reasons, such as adoption and re-sale, require the following:
- Valid rabies vaccination;
- Undergo a health examination and be accompanied by an Annex I Health Form;
- Be accompanied by original paperwork, signed by a licensed vet; and
- A successful rabies titer test result.
Dogs are only permitted to enter Spain from a high-rabies country if they are accompanied by their owner or a legal representative of the owner.
A licensed veterinarian must complete the English version of the commercial EU health certificate for Spain within 48 hours of entry. If your dog is traveling from the US or Canada, the veterinarian must be accredited by the USDA or CFIA respectively and the commercial EU health certificate must be endorsed by the local USDA or CFIA office unless the certificate is completed by a military Veterinary Corps Officer or GS-0701 series civilian government veterinarian employed by the military. If traveling to Spain from another country, then the forms must be endorsed by the government agency responsible for the import and export of animals.
Which dog breeds are banned from entering Spain?
There are no banned dog breeds in Spain, however the following dog breeds must be muzzled and registered within 3 months of entry:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasiliero
- Tosa Inu
- Akita Inu
Owners of these dog breeds are responsible for their dog’s actions, and are liable for injuries or attacks.
Additional info for taking dogs to Spain
- You can legally take a maximum of 5 dogs with you.
- Dogs younger than 15 weeks old cannot enter Spain.
- When you take your dog for a walk, you should carry bags to collect your dog’s excrement. Otherwise, you could face high fines.
- In Spain there is a general obligation to use a dog belt or harness in cars. If you’re driving, find out beforehand how you should take your dog in the car.
- In Spain, ticks and lice that can transmit dangerous diseases are widespread in many regions. It is therefore advisable to provide your pet with adequate protection against ticks, and make sure they’re vaccinated against certain Mediterranean diseases such as leishmaniasis.
- Dogs are banned from many official beaches in Spain during the high season in summer.
- Dogs are allowed in some hotels, but not in many. It often depends on the size and number of dogs. In restaurants, dogs are usually not allowed. If it’s a small, quiet dog, some restaurants will let you through with it.
- Dogs are not allowed on public transport in many cases. On Spanish trains, they are sometimes allowed to travel in a box in the luggage trolley. Dogs are not allowed in public buildings and administrative offices unless they’re guide dogs
Guidelines for Dog Carriers
If you are flying to Spain with a dog, it is important that you use a dog carrier that is approved by your airline. Different airlines have different pet carrier policies, which often vary between aircrafts and routes. Check that your pet carrier is approved for your chosen airline, aircraft and route.
The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).
The rules for pet carriers also vary depending on whether your dog will be flying in the cabin or cargo area of the plane.
If you are travelling in the cabin with your dog, then you will need to ensure that it fits under the seat in front of you. This is why only small dogs weighing under 7-8kg are permitted in the cabin.
Furthermore, airlines often require that your dog must be obedient to your commands and must behave appropriately in public. Thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff. If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together. Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.
For a list of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2021 Prices & Policies].
Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]
Can I take my puppy to Spain?
Yes, as long as your puppy is at least 4 months old. This is because Spain requires dogs to be vaccinated against rabies, which can only be administered to dogs over the age of 3 months. You must then wait 21 days after the vaccination, before entering Spain. Additionally, proof of age should be available.
Can I travel without a Spain Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport
Yes, you may enter Spain without an Spain Pet Passport or EU Pet Passport as long as you have an EU Health Certificate (also known as EU Annex III Health Certificate.
What if I lose my Spain Pet Passport?
If a passport is lost or stolen, it can be replaced as long as you have evidence of the animal’s vaccination record and blood test result (if applicable). Both records must also show your dog's microchip number. Details of the lost or stolen passport, including its serial number, country and date of issue (if known) should be recorded on the Pet Passport Control Sheet. We recommend that you scan photos of your pet passport in case you lose it.
Can I take my dog in the plane cabin with me?
It is a possibility yes. If you are the owner of a small dog, then you may be able to take them in the cabin with you. However, only some airlines will allow this.
Taking dogs to Spain is pretty straightforward. If you are taking a dog, you will need to get them a Spain Pet Passport or an EU Pet Passport. This involves getting your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at the vet. If you are taking a dog to Spain for commercial reasons, you may also need a health certificate, depending on where you are traveling from.
You can take a dog to Spain with a car, or by flying. Flying can often be more complicated because airlines have strict rules and regulations in place for those traveling with dogs. If you are planning on flying with dogs to Spain, ensure you select an airline that will permit the transport of your dog, and plan your trip well in advance.
Hope you have found this helpful. Happy travels!