Pets are family, so moving abroad shouldn’t make you consider giving up on your pets. It will take a lot of time to prepare them for the journey to your new home in Spain, but if you know all the steps to follow it might be easier than you would imagine.
1. Is your pet fit for travel?
Take everything about your pet in to consideration, starting with it’s age, breed or other medical issues. Moving a long-distance away with pets can be stressful for them, especially for older pets or those with medical problems.
Also, there are some breeds which are considered to be ‘at-risk’ breeds when it comes to breathing problems or heat-stroke predisposition. So make sure to consult with a vet if your pet is one of the next breeds: English or French Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Bull Terrier, Pekinese, Boxer, Dutch, Shih Tzu, Japanese Pug, Japanese Chin, Lhasa Apso, English Toy Spaniel or Brussels Griffin for dogs, and Himalayan or Persian for cats.
Even if your pet is not an ‘at-risk’ breed, a check-up at your vet is a must. Some pets can hyperventilate or have anxiety problems which can get them injured during transportation.
Also, you have to crate-train them before departure.
2. Necessary documents and treatments for your furry friend
If you’re coming from within the EU then you should know that the current legislation is only applied to cats, dogs or ferrets. For any other pet, national legislation will apply. This means that all cats, dogs or ferrets must have:
- a microchip implanted which complies to the EU regulations and meet the ISO standards in order to be read by any scanner
- a EU Pet Passport which can be obtained for free from your vet
- all anti-rabies vaccines up to date and recorded in the EU Pet Passport
- a EU Vet Health Certificate signed by an accredited vet which shows that your pet if fit for travel. This needs to be obtained right before departure
- if you’re coming from the UK, you pet should also be treated against tapeworm
If you’re relocating with your pet from a non-EU country, your preparations might take longer. What you need to know:
- You must have an International Vaccination Health Certificate, or else you pet must be kept under quarantine once it arrives to Spain
- If you’re traveling from Norway, all cats, dogs of ferrets must be microchipped, vaccinated anti-rabies and then must wait 21 days before leaving the country
3. How to transport your pet
If you’re flying to Spain, you should know that not all jet companies offer pet transportation services. Look it up and check which is the shortest route (a direct flight would be ideal if available), and then start looking if they are ‘pet-friendly’. You can usually find details about pet transportation at the special baggage section on each airline’s website, where you can also find all the requirements. A regulated SATA pet crate will be necessary for flying. Depending on the pet’s size, you can either carry it with you in the cabin (if it fits as a small baggage under the seat in front of you) or in the cargo.
If you’re coming from the UK, a ferry might be cheaper and more comfortable for both you and your pet.
You should also know that there are a lot of companies which can handle your pet’s moving with everything it implies, including paperwork, so you can also look this method up. They will show you all the possibilities and you can decide which one is best suited for you and your pet.
4. Regulations in Spain for pet owners
Once you arrive, you should know the local rules regarding dog owners in Spain.
All pets should be registered at the Animal Identification Registry of Andalucía (Registro Andaluz de Identificación Animal, RAIA) within 3 months. If you own one of the ‘potentially dangerous breeds’ in Spain, you have to register it within one month from arrival.
There is also a special licence that needs to be obtained in order to own or handle any ‘potentially dangerous’ pet. You can get it from RAIA and you will need:
- identity proof (passport or residence card)
- proof of having no criminal convictions
- a special physical and psychological certificate which you have to obtain within the previous year
- a pet insurance
- proof of updated vaccinations for your pet
- proof of pet’s microchip
- proof that the dog is or has been through training
If all this sounds overwhelming, just think of how happy your pets will be once you’re all settled at your new home! It will all be worth it then! Good luck with your move and one last advice: start preparing as early as you can!