Healthplan Spain


Man walking dog Guide To Pets In Spain And The Laws Expat Tips

When moving to Spain, many of us bring our furry friends with us as well.

If you do decide to bring a pet with you or acquire one once here, it’s important to understand the legalities and the rules you need to abide by when you own a pet in Spain.

Below we present some of the most important guidelines you will need to consider when owning a pet here and once you have transported them into the country.

Travelling to Spain from the UK

Dogs, cats, and ferrets are the most common animals to be brought over from the UK to Spain and certain requirements must be met, they include:

  • Ensuring that your pet is microchipped with a device compliant with ISO 11784/11785. If not, you can either bring your own scanner to Spain or check with border officials to verify if their equipment can read your pet's chip.
  • Your pet must have received a rabies vaccination within the last year, administered no less than 21 days before entering Spain.
  • Obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from a qualified veterinarian for your pet's entry into Spain from the UK. However, if you already possess a valid EU pet passport, acquiring an AHC is not necessary.
  • Present a Declaration of non-commercial transport, affirming that you are not transporting the animal for sale or ownership transfer.

By adhering to these essential steps, the process of bringing a pet to Spain becomes significantly smoother.

It's important to note that a single animal health certificate can cover up to 5 animals. However, if you are making multiple trips to Spain from the UK with one or five pets, a new animal health certificate is required for each journey.

Travelling to Spain from an EU country

To bring a dog, cat, or ferret into Spain from an EU country, the following requirements must be met:

  • Ensure the pet is identified with a microchip or tattoo (if done before July 3, 2011, and remains legible).
  • Administer a rabies vaccination with a valid vaccine before travel, and the details must be recorded in the pet's passport.
  • Possess a European pet passport, with completed sections such as "Owner," "Description of the animal," "Marking," "Issue of the passport," and "Rabies vaccination" (refer to Annex I to the Instruction).

Note that sections like "Serological test," "Treatment against ticks," "Treatment against Echinococcus," "Other vaccinations," "Clinical examination," "Legalisation," and "Others" are not obligatory for movements from other Member States to Spain.

For dogs, cats, and ferrets under 15 weeks old, lacking a valid rabies vaccine, entry into Spain is not permitted:

  • The minimum age for vaccination is 12 weeks.
  • To validate the vaccine, a minimum of 21 days must pass since the day of vaccination.

Registering Your Pet

Under Spanish law, every dog, cat or ferret needs to be microchipped and registered in the Animal Identification Registry or Registro de Animales de Compañía. This is a municipal database, which contains all the characteristics of your pet including name, address of the owner, contact details and information on whether your pet's vaccinations are up to date.

Once registered, you will be sent an animal health card with your pet's identification number.

Your pet will need to be microchipped, which will need to comply with EU regulations and ISO standards so that it can be read by any microchip scanner here in Spain.

Living in Communal Buildings

If you intend to live in an urbanisation or apartment block you will need to be aware of the Ley de Propiedad Horizontal (Ley 49/1960) or Horizontal Law. 

This particular law is there to protect the rights of anyone who lives within a communal area.

Although the law does not explicitly mention pets, it does mention that owners must not contravene the legislation by subjecting neighbours to "annoying, unhealthy, harmful, dangerous or illicit” activities. This will also mean any disturbance brought about by a neighbour’s animals.

Before you buy a property in an apartment block or urbanisation, it is highly advisable to request to see a copy of the Estatutos de la Comunidad de Propietarios or Community Rules in English.

This basically sets out the rules that regulate the neighbourhood relations and use of the buildings and communal facilities. It will also let you know if there are any clauses prohibiting owners or tenants from keeping pets.

If you are permitted to keep pets, you must make sure that it does not disturb your neighbour’s in any way. This may include making noise such as constant barking, having fleas and ticks, being ‘smelly’ or being in some way dangerous to other people. (See potentially dangerous dogs section below)

If you are renting a property, you will also need to check your rental contract with the landlord as this may also highlight any restrictions there may be on pet ownership during your tenancy.

Registering Potentially Dangerous Dogs

Certain breeds of dogs are considered to be ‘potentially dangerous’ in Spain.

If you have a dog that is categorised as potentially dangerous, you will need to register it with your local town hall as soon as you arrive in Spain or within 3 months of it being born.

Under the current Spanish dangerous dogs law, Ley 287/2002 the following are listed as ‘perros potencialmente peligrosas’ or potentially dangerous dogs:-

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • English Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Tosa Inu
  • Akita Inu
  • Mastiff
  • Doberman (Andalucia)
  • Canary Mastiff (Canario Presa)
  • Mallorcan Presa (Ca de Bou)
  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Dogo de Burdeos
  • Dogo del Tibet
  • American Akita
  • Bullmastiff
  • Presa Mallorquín
  • Bull Terrier
  • American Bully
  • Bandogg
  • All dogs over 20 kilos in weight

The process for registering a potentially dangerous dog and obtaining a licence to keep one will vary slightly for each region of Spain. In most cases, you will need to register at your local town hall, provide identification and also provide proof of public liability insurance of around €120,000 or more.

You will also need to be a person of good standing with no criminal records and will need to have passed a physical and psychological aptitude test to confirm that you are capable of owning a potentially dangerous dog.

If you need to register a potentially dangerous dog, the first port of call is in person at your local town hall, or by visiting the town hall’s website.

Dogs and Spanish Beaches

On most of Spain’s beaches, dogs are prohibited during the Summer season. However, many autonomous communities will have their own rules and regulations and as such may permit dogs to go onto the beach at certain times of the year. Some beaches may also allow for specific areas to be used by dogs.

If you do want to take your dog onto the beach, it is advisable to check with your local town hall first to make sure you do not break the law and get hit with a large fine in the process.

Looking After Your Pet

As well as the above, there are other legal obligations that as an owner you will need to abide by. This includes providing your pet with suitable accommodation and protection. This means that pets must not be kept on a patio, terrace or balcony overnight and on a permanent basis.

Most of the rules on pet ownership in Spain are self-explanatory. Make sure your pets are registered, vaccinated, are treated with the love and respect they deserve, making sure they do not infringe on other people's rights.