As a fervid animal lover my entire life, I have never been without a furry friend in the house, even after moving to Spain. Growing up, there was always a big black lab sniffing around, and as soon as I had some say in the matter, there was at least a feline or two as well. However, once I moved to Spain and realized how much time, space, and money a dog required, so I opted for cats instead. I won’t say that choice was a mistake, but the appeal of having a pet that actually loves me unconditionally, (and doesn’t only come around for treats), is not lost on me, and I would love to have a pup in the future.
But making the decision to bring a dog to Spain with you or adopt or buy one after you’ve arrived, is no easy feat. There is much more that goes into having a dog in Spain than simply taking them for walks every day and keeping their stomachs full. Spain is much stricter than the US and the UK when it comes to requirements for dog owners, and this includes up to date rabies vaccinations, boosted every year. Rabies continues to be a deadly and incurable disease for both humans and animals, and it is our responsibility as pet owners to make sure our animals are immune.
Although rabies is the only mandatory vaccine for dogs in Spain, it isn’t the only vaccine that comes highly recommended by veterinarians. Below you’ll find a list of recommended vaccinations for dogs in Spain.
Recommended Vaccinations for Dogs in Spain
The mandatory and most highly recommended vaccines for dogs in Spain are:
Rabies: Mandatory, administered annually.
Distemper: Highly recommended.
Canine Parvovirus: Highly recommended.
Leptospirosis: Recommended if your dog will come into contact with lots of nature and other dogs and animals
When to vaccinate?
Vaccinating dogs shouldn’t start before six weeks of age, and vaccinating for rabies in dogs should be started no sooner than at three or four months old. In order to be considered fully vaccinated and in alignment with Spanish law, they will need to receive the booster vaccine every year as well.
Rabies Vaccination Cost for Dogs
If you are new to Spain you may be curious about rabies vaccination cost for dogs and other vaccination costs and how they may differ from your home country. On average the cost of an out of pocket vaccine costs somewhere between 30-50 euros. A check up at the veterinarian without any additional blood work or procedures runs between 20-30 euros, and services such as blood work, x-rays, and more complicated procedures start at around 40 euros and continue to rise as the service or procedure gets more complicated. To avoid having these charges add up consistently over the year as well as be prepared for larger and more expensive procedures at the vet, many people opt for health insurance for their pet.
The Best Insurance for Dogs in Spain
The best insurance for a dog in Spain is going to be based on a number of different factors–services offered, price, exclusions, and owner preference to name a few. What is important to note is that in the near future (still to be determined) all dog owners must have third party civil liability insurance for their dogs. This Animal Welfare law, which is explained in more detail below, outlines specific requirements that dog owners in Spain must abide by, civil liability insurance being one of them, which covers you and your pet in the event of any incident that may happen with someone outside of your family.
With Caser pet insurance for dogs, you don’t have to worry about the rabies vaccination cost or civil liability insurance because both are included in our Caser WeCan Check. Not only that, but routine veterinary checkups, emergency room visits, a pet telehealth phone line, and speciality consultations are all included, in addition to up to 40% discount on over 100 procedures your pet may need at some point. Caser Expat Insurance provides a variety of options that best fit any dog owner’s needs and budget–nothing like what you may be used to paying in your home country. The best part? Caser’s pet insurance policies don’t have exclusions based on age, breed, or pre-existing conditions your pup may have. Enjoy all of this by taking out our veterinary insurance: Caser WeCan Check, but be prepared in case of something unexpected and serious happens, your pet will be covered with Caser WeCan Live, that pays for 100% of the treatment over €800. You can start enjoying the benefits of pet insurance from day one. Get your quote here.
Additional Requirements for owning a dog in Spain
Rabies vaccinations, however, aren’t the only requirement for a healthy pup. As responsible pet owners we know that regular trips to the veterinarian are essential, as are (hopefully minimal) surgeries, procedures, and emergency visits. In addition to rabies vaccinations, it is important to note that a recent Animal Welfare Law came into effect in August of 2022 for all dog owners in Spain. This act outlines very clearly the obligations of canine-owning families.
Mandatory microchipping: This lowers the possibility of animal abandonment and allows local authorities to locate your dog and bring them home to you much more quickly
A health booklet: A document that registers all of your dogs vaccines, deworming, and veterinary appointments. This document is also usually necessary any time you plan to bring your dog into a different country, and was surely requested if you brought your dog with you when you arrived in Spain.
Up to date rabies vaccination
Municipal registration: This will allow the local police to locate the owner using the microchip, should your dog get lost
Mandatory course for dog owners: This free online course is obligatory for all dog owners after the approved Animal Protection Law in 2022. This course helps dog owners and potential dog owners understand the full responsibilities of caring for this animal.
Mandatory insurance for dogs: another aspect of the new Animal Protection Law, which requires all dog owners to have civil responsibility insurance for any dog. Previously, it was only required for dog owners with a breed considered potentially dangerous in the near future (still to be determined), all dog owners must have one.
Please note: Potentially dangerous dog breeds have different requirements according to Spanish law.
Most of these requirements may not come as a surprise to you as a responsible dog owner. Dogs are truly additional members to the family and it is our responsibility to care for them and keep them healthy, just as we would with any other family member, and this includes up to date vaccinations and veterinary appointments.
Do I need insurance for my dog in Spain?
The answer to the question, “do I really need insurance for my dog in Spain,” is truly dependent on each person’s wants, needs, and personal circumstances. What is clear, however, is that in order to be in alignment with recent Spanish law, at the very minimum, every dog owner is required to have civil liability insurance for their dog and have an up to date rabies vaccination. Making the decision to have your dog fully covered for vaccination costs, veterinarian visits, and more complicated procedures that may come up is the decision of each pet owner, but many people find the peace of mind and wide coverage to be well worth it. If you do decide that a more full coverage pet insurance plan is something you’re interested in, Caser Expat Insurance is happy to answer any questions you may have about making the best pet insurance choice for you and your furry family member. Now go enjoy some fluffy snuggles!