Everything you need to know in order to have a purrrfect trip, and a seamless journey through pawsport control!
‘Until one has loved an animal, part of one’s soul remains unawakened’
- Anatole France
Purrplexing Concept of Bringing Your Pets to Spain #
The do’s and don’ts could have you going barking mad, but I promise it’s not as complex as it may seem!
It can seem like a minefield when it comes to considering moving your pets to Spain, paperwork, certificates, rules and regulations, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin! However, as someone who has experience with this sort of thing, I can assure you that this guide will leave you feeling calm and confident to relocate your beloved pets!
The Rules and Regulations #
Of course, it’s not as simple as booking our pets a flight and asking them whether they would like extra legroom or not! Alas, our furry friends have a far more rigorous process to follow, which varies depending on which country you are travelling from. There are some universal rules, which apply to the USA, Canada and UK (as well as other EU countries).
The Microchip #
This tiny device that ensures your pet can be tracked, wherever they wander off to, should be installed during the initial 12-week vaccination period (for kittens and puppies). However, if you are like me and have rescued your fur baby, it is quite possible that this hasn’t been done. When considering a move to Spain with your pet, requirements state that all animals have a microchip. These chips must be one of the following; ISO Standard 11784/5, or Annex A. Spain also currently accepts the AVID 9 and 10 chips. It is vital that your pet receives their chip before they have their rabies injection, and both things must be done no later than 21 days before travel and no sooner than one year before the planned trip.
The most purrplexing area for me was the amount of vaccinations that are required, what do they need, when do they need it and why?! The types of vaccinations vary depending on the age or breed of your pet, so if you are travelling with a menagerie of animals it is important that you check what each one of them requires!
The most important of them all, the rabies vaccination. This MUST be obtained after the microchip has been inserted, and if it is obtained before, your pet will require a second rabies vaccination to ensure they’re fully protected. All pets must have obtained their original rabies certificate (signed by a vet) which proves they have received the vaccination. The vaccination must also have been administered at least 21 days before travel, to ensure it’s in your pet’s system and working!
Time Frames #
Pets are permitted to enter Spain with a valid 1-year vaccination (sometimes called a Primary Vaccination). They may also travel with a valid 3-year vaccination, but only if it has been administered within the last 12 months, be sure to check your pet’s records with your vet!
Exceptions to the Rule #
There are a few exceptions to this rule, one being that if your pet is under three months old, they are not required to obtain the vaccination (in Canada and the US). This also applies to animals other than dogs and cats (rodents, rabbits, reptiles etc.). However, it should be noted that these animals will be subject to other tests and vaccinations, and certificates will need to be acquired to prove that they have met these requirements.
Other Vaccinations and Boosters #
Most pet owners are aware that before we send our pawsome pals into kennels or catteries they must be up to date with vaccinations such as Kennel Cough and general boosters.
It’s worth noting that beside the Rabies vaccine, there are a few added extras!
To enter Spain from the US, Canada or UK all dogs must have been vaccinated against Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, DHLPP, Bordetella and Distemper.
To enter Spain from the US, Canada or UK all cats must have been vaccinated against Calicivirus, FVRCP and Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis. It is also worth noting that your cat will not be permitted to travel into Spain if it is a carrier of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), or more commonly known as Feline AIDS. Although the disease is not transferable to humans, or any other animals, it poses a risk to the cat community and if your pet is likely to roam freely it could cause widespread infection. Many cats with FIV lead long, happy and healthy lives, however they must be raised as house cats and not permitted to travel from their original country of residence.
Transporting Pets from The US, Canada and the UK #
The preferred mode of transport for many of us is by air, for ease and the shortest duration, it certainly ticks all the boxes! The airport can be quite a daunting place for us humans, let alone our pets! So, it is important that we adhere to all guidelines for safe transportation.
The Carrier #
Most airlines still only permit pets to travel in the hold, which means they require certain containers to allow for a safe flight.
- Regulations stipulate that all pets must be able to comfortably turn around, stand up and lay down within the inside of their container.
- The crate must also hold containers for ample food and water, that can be given to the pet without opening the doors of the container.
- The container must be made from sturdy plastic (although many airlines now request steel) and the locks on the doors must be spring loaded. It cannot have wheels, and if it does these must be removed before travel.
- There must be ventilation on all sides of the container.
- The container must show a ‘LIVE ANIMAL’ sticker, your pet’s name and your personal details, as well as a copy of their health certificate.
A Few More Papers! (We love paperwork here in Spain!) #
I hope you’ll agree that the airport part of this journey is not too complex, however there are a few more papers that you must obtain when taking this mammoth journey across the Atlantic! Pets travelling from Canada and Spain must carry an EU health certificate (available from your vet) and MUST have sent all their documentation to the USDA for approval. Your EU health certificate is valid for 10 days after it has been granted, and until you reach your destination. After this point, it will remain valid for four months, allowing travel between other EU countries.
Transporting Pets from the UK - How does Brexit affect this? #
The current uncertainty surrounding Brexit has undoubtedly put a few question marks around the area of animal transportation. We are lucky that the proximity of the UK and Spain means that you can travel via car, boat or plane, and still be here relatively quickly - happy days!
However, since the UK is no longer in the Schengen area, UK nationals are subject to the length of stays without a residency visa. That means that you and your furry friends are only allowed in Spain for 90 days of 180 day cycle. For longer stays, you will need to apply for a long stay visa issued by the national authorities.
The entry process is relatively straightforward between the UK and Spain. Simply ensure your animal has received the correct vaccinations, has a microchip and a valid pet passport so that no quarantine is imposed. If all the paperwork for your pet is in order, you are good to go.
For the specifics about the NEW legislation for traveling with pets to and from the UK, please check out this direct link to the European Commissions Regulations on Travel.
Traveling via Plane #
A few airlines are beginning to offer travel for pets (weighing under 5kg) in the cabin. These pets MUST be in a ventilated container that fits under the seat in front of you, and they are not permitted to be let out from the crate at any time during the flight. These crates must also be made of sturdy plastic, and without wheels, to ensure security during the trip. Your pet must have a food and water bowl attached to the spring-loaded doors, and you must be able to fill these from the outside (the same as the US and Canada guidelines). Currently the only airline offering this service from the UK to Mallorca is Thomas Cook.
Transport into Mallorca #
As previously mentioned, most of us would choose a flight for ease, and when it comes to transporting your pets it certainly is the easiest way! All flight regulations should be checked with your tour operator, and providing your pet holds all the correct paperwork they will have no problem relocating to Mallorca!
For those of you who aren’t so fond of flying, or perhaps prefer to take in the scenery whilst on the open water, Balearia ferries offer fantastic, pet friendly, transportation from Barcelona, Valencia and Denia, straight into the ports of Palma and Alcudia in Mallorca! With pet friendly kennels, and some routes permitting pets to stay in the car, you will be able to travel with ease across the Mediterranean Sea!
Ian's Pet Taxi
Travelling by car is not really an option for those travelling from outside the EU, and of course you must hop on the ferry (from one of the ports mentioned above) to ensure you arrive in Mallorca! However, if your pet must travel separately from you then Mallorca has its very own Superman, Pet Transporter Extraordinaire! Mr. Ian Pickles, famous for running ballroom and Latin classes here on the island, also makes a regular habit of travelling from the UK to Mallorca and collecting and delivering furry friends up and down the country, ensuring their safe delivery at their final destination- he’s pawsitively perfect in my book!
Ian is contactable on this number: 606 672 419
Finding Furever Friends Here in Mallorca! #
Mallorca is full of purrfect companions needing their furever homes! Whether you’re a dog lover, crazy cat lady or avid bird enthusiast, we’ve got you covered! Across the island there is an array of fantastic charities, working hard to improve the lives of neglected or unwanted animals.
My Story #
I rescued my fur baby Ella, just one week after arriving on the island. Ella was found by Cats Protection Pollensa, after being one of ten cats who were shot as part of a vicious attack. A miscarriage, blood transfusions, emergency operations to remove the bullets, and several fabulous foster carers later, she found her way into my apartment and permanently into my heart. When moving to a new island, faced with the challenge of learning a new language, making new friends and embarking on a new career, the entire prospect can be daunting. However, coming home every night to a familiar furry face, constant cuddles and kisses and endless love certainly makes it a little easier!
Cat Colonies #
Cats Protection Pollensa do a fantastic job of monitoring colonies across the island, rescuing, adopting and rehoming cats who have found themselves at rock bottom, due to no fault of their own. It is important that I explain what a ‘Cat Colony’ is, as there are many established colonies here on the island, and sadly they are not always supported or understood by those that live here. A colony is a protected group of cats, who are fed, neutered and monitored daily. They pose no threat of disease, over-populating or contaminating Mallorca- so please, if you ever see one, leave some food, some water and leave them in peace!
Although I’ve seen firsthand what Cats Protection Pollensa do, it must be said that there are numerous charities across the island, all doing a fantastic job and sadly not receiving the recognition that they deserve. Here are just a small handful of charities and societies that you can contact to visit, volunteer or even adopt your next fur baby!
Telephone: 971 245 048
SOS Natura Parc
Telephone: 871 719 772
Dogs For U
Telephone: 637 242 228
Victoria Pro Animales
Telephone: 680 950 619
Cats Protection Pollensa
Email: [email protected]
A non-profit organization Affordable Mallorca supports:
BALDEA, a federation of animal protection charities across Mallorca, with a main focus on spaying stray cats and rehoming animals in pounds and, through their political work and educational campaigns, establishing kinder and more responsible ways of dealing with all living beings.
For further information, click here>>
Now, if you’ve read this entire article it's probably clear to you, that this isn’t the most affordable of procedures (we all know what veterinary bills are like)! However, (you must admit) these furry friends of ours are worth every penny!
All information is based on personal experience and opinion, and may change due to law changes or based on your location in Spain.
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By Zoé Holmes
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