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Taking a Dog from Spain to the UK : A personal experience

By The Equalizer - Sat 5th May 2012

Maybe I am just a hardened cynic and distrust all these ‘helpful guides’ too much, or maybe I have lived in Spain too long , and realise that things rarely pan out as the theory dictates, and as such many are worthless anyway...

So, planning a trip back to the UK and needing to take my dog with me, I read up on all the How to take your dog back to the UK guides, so I was confident with how things “should be done” at least. I just had zero confidence that there wouldn’t be at least one or two cock-up’s along the way.

And as such I have decided to give my personal account and experience of the procedures involved in taking my dog back to the UK.

My Not Very Dangerous Dog Image

Since DEFRA changed their 200 plus year old quarantine regulations on January 1at 2012 things have certainly become much easier than they were, but many expats are still struggling to get their heads around the fact that they can take their dog back to the UK with them and that there has to be ‘a catch’ somewhere.

You can read the ‘theory’ of taking you dog back to the UK by clicking HERE

First of all, I recognise that there are many variables here, as many situations (and dogs) are totally different and as such I can’t account for all possibilities.

Here is my experience nonetheless :

1. Dog needs to be in excess of 6 months old : Check.

2. Dog needs to be micro chipped and have an EU Passport showing the chip number : Check.

3. Dog needs to have yearly Rabies Vaccination at least 21 days ahead of date of entry into the UK. (Due to Weekend and Bank Holidays I was 3 days across with my date, but Sr Vetinario very kindly ‘arranged things’ for me).

4. Tapeworm vaccination – to be given 72 to 24 hours before departure : Check

If you are having your pet shipped across by a professional courier they will usually arrange all of this for you, however if like me, you are going by Brittany Ferries (Spain – UK ), you will also need to do the following :

5. Book your dog a place on Brittany Ferries (Dogs are not permitted to ride in the car during the journey and must stay in a designated kennel area on the crossing) – don’t just turn up and expect them to be able to accommodate your pet as you may be turned away. This place should be booked at the same time as you & your vehicle. You can not take a dog onboard as a foot passenger.

6. Buy the appropriate sized muzzle for your dog. It needs to wear one as soon as you arrive at the Ferry terminal and until you are able to settle it in its kennel on Brittany Ferries. Again, a dog without a muzzle may be denied boarding.

7. Although it is not a requirement of customs & immigration, or of Brittany Ferries company, it is a requirement of the Guardia that your dog is travelling in your car securely. This can either be via a harness, a cage, or a dog-grille.

Approx costs :

Some or all of these costs may apply ...

* Obtaining a Micro Chip and passport - 80 Euros

* Rabies Vaccine - 40 Euros

Tapeworm Vaccine - 40 Euros

Kennel Charge for Brittany Ferries (Spain-UK) – 37 Euros

Muzzle - 8 Euros

Car Harness - 8 Euros

(* These costs did not apply to me as I already had my Dog Chipped, and the yearly rabies vaccine was due later that month regardless of whether I was going to the UK or not)

The whole process was quite easy and stress-free (for me and the dog) and I was able to visit him at a designated time during the crossing to feed him, which helped.

The DEFRA website was accurate and up to date, but I found that it contained so much information about so many variables and possibilities that it was difficult to work out which parts were relevant to me and then digest everything.

It is nowhere near as complicated as it was prior to 01.01.2012, and nowhere near as expensive. Hopefully this will help put an end to the high number of pets being abandoned by expats leaving Spain to return to the UK.

Comment on this Blog

Hi we are returning from Spain 1st May, we have been told by our Spanish vet that Mr Sherman (dog) has to have a tapeworm treatment 5 days before we leave, he says we don't need a rabies jab as our uk one was for 3 years, we came to Spain November 2015, so with all this in mind do we have to do anything else, I have all the right things e.g micro chip etc this was done before we came out. He has had regular Mosquito drops since we have been here. would appreciate any advice. Maggie.
Maggie - Mon, 28th Mar 2016
Sounds like a bloke of my own heart.been here that long you think there's just got to be a shall we say problem!but sounds like it's all common sense to me.thanks
H.sherwood - Wed, 3rd Jun 2015
Wendi : I'm not sure I undertsand what you mean, as Quarantine within the EU has effectively been done away with. If I have misundertsood your question I'm sorry, and you might find the answers you are looking for on the "How to take a Dog From Spain to the UK" > HERE <
The Equalizer - Tue, 11th Jun 2013
Excellent information ty. What are the quarantine durations for cats and dogs in the UK at present please ?
Wendi Levanti - Tue, 11th Jun 2013
Not sure Mike, as it stands I understand the law according to DEFRA is that your Dog must have had the treatment between 24 and 72 hours before entering the UK. So for example, if you are traveling on a Ferry for 24 hours, or taking your time driving through France, this time needs to be factored in.
The Equaliser - Sat, 11th Aug 2012
Is there still that 48 hour window from france 24 hours from vacination then within 24 hours to departure ?
Mike Smith - Sat, 11th Aug 2012
Brilliant! loads of information, easy to read...thank you!
Lyn Browne - Thu, 5th Jul 2012
Blair : You can click HERE to read about the procedure for taking a a Dog UK >> Spain.
Tumbit - Admin - Wed, 9th May 2012
How can I take my dog from UK to spain ?
Blair - Wed, 9th May 2012

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