Moving a pet abroad – What you need to know

Everything you need to know about moving your pet abroad.

Moving a Pet Abroad

For many families planning to relocate to a new country, a pet will be part of the entourage but there are hoops to jump through before your furry friend can also enjoy life in the sun. We moved with our beautiful Weimaraner, Max, and this is the story of our pet relocation.

Pet Passport

Arranging for a pet passport was actually very easy but you do need to plan ahead as the required rabies vaccination needs to be done 30 days before departure. The animal will also need to be microchipped; Max already had a microchip so this was not an additional cost for us.

Basically, one trip to the vets, a rabies jab and about £180 ensured Max was ready to go.


We moved from the UK to Spain with a car so Max came with us while the majority of our furniture and belongings were shipped with a moving company. Our ferry crossing was very straightforward mainly because we took the Dover/Calais route. We simply checked in as usual, handing our passports and Max’s passport to the ferry staff for inspection and drove onboard.

On such a short ferry crossing, the dog stays in the car. I have to admit that we were a little worried about him however we needn’t have. Max was in the familiar surroundings of the family car and was absolutely fine when we rejoined him after 90 minutes.

It is possible to take the overnight ferry which has some cabins dedicated to those travelling with pets so depending on the temperament of your animal, you may want to consider that option.

With plenty of rest stops along the way, it was no problem to stop to feed Max and take him for short walks. 27 hours after leaving our home in the UK, we arrived at our new Spanish house tired but safe and happy.

Legislation in your new country  

Of course, getting your pet safely to your new country is only half the story; you must also make sure that you comply with local legislation on pet ownership.

In Spain, the following rules apply:

  • All domestic animals must be identified by microchip.
  • Vaccination against rabies is compulsory and it is also recommended to have dogs vaccinated against other diseases such as distemper and hardpad.
  • Dogs should be on a lead in public places.
  • Dogs must be properly restrained when travelling in a car. We had already bought a Clix Dog Harness for the journey which turned out to be an excellent choice. The harness either plugs straight into the seat belt holder or you can thread the seat belt through (your choice) and it doubles as a walking harness too. If you want to purchase the Clix Dog Harness, you can buy that here
  • Annual rabies booster is obligatory.

Fortunately, the standard of veterinary care in Spain is extremely high and we had no difficulty in find a local vet.

And how has Max fared in his new home? Well, he is 10 in February 2018 and we think he is enjoying a Spanish retirement very much…check out the photos and tell us what you think.

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Moving a pet abroad – What you need to know