You can’t leave your furry babies behind! Learn how to take your pet to Portugal and prepare for the fun adventures that follow.

Last Updated on December 6, 2023 by Laila Oliveira

Leaving your dog, cat, or ferret behind is not an option! We know they’re part of the family, and once you decide to relocate to Portugal, knowing how to take them with you is the next step. So, to have everyone you love with you at all times, we’re here to share how to take your pet to Portugal.

Some countries, unfortunately, don’t allow any pets from abroad, but that isn’t the case with Portugal. The country is quite pet-friendly, and you’ll often find people walking their pets in a park nearby. The question remains: Is taking your pet with you during your relocation journey easy? 

Follow along with this article till the end and have all your questions answered. From how much it costs to how long the process takes and everything in between, we’ll make sure to leave you prepared for the next step by the end of this article. They’re going to love Portugal just as much as you do; happy reading!

How to take your pet to Portugal

Taking your pet to Portugal

Just as you and your human family will need tickets, international documents, and vaccinations to move to Portugal, so will your pet.

Therefore, it’s worth researching and organizing yourself in advance to make your removal a smooth process with no surprises or unnecessary expenses. Although bureaucracy costs a little, the quality of life in Portugal makes up for everything.

Please notice that in this post, we will specifically refer to the meaning of taking dogs and cats to Portugal, as most questions we receive is about them.

Options of transportation

Depending on your plans, budget, and possibilities, your pet may enter Portugal in three different ways.

  • Air: With you by plane in a specific transport bag or in the hold;
  • Sea: On a sailboat after a voyage or on a cargo ship in a hold;
  • Land: By car or truck entering the Spanish border.

Regardless of your travel option for your pet to enter Portugal, it must comply with the requirements of Portuguese law.

Prerequisites and documents to enter Portugal

In order to enter the country, your pet must fulfill some prerequisites and have a few documents. And let’s not forget to notify the Portuguese authorities that your pet is coming to town.

If you do not comply with any of these rules, your pet will be sent back. The resulting expenses will all be charged to you. Before we begin, you must know that Portugal only allows dogs, cats, and ferrets to be brought to the country. 

Let’s talk about the prerequisites you should remember if you wish to bring your pet along.

Microchip ID

Your pet must have an ISO 11784/11785 microchip implanted by a licensed veterinarian in your country. It is an electronic identification system common to Portugal and other EU countries.

Rabies vaccine up to date

We all know how important vaccines are! They prevent most pet illnesses and can help avoid costly treatments for diseases. Ensuring your pet is vaccinated also acts as a safety precaution for diseases being passed on to other animals or even humans. This is a basic prerequisite that you will have to comply with to travel with your pet.

Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies for at least 21 days before entering Portugal. Remember that the vaccine’s administration date cannot be earlier than the date of application of the microchip.

If your pet is traveling from a high-rabies country (such as Brazil, Venezuela, Ukraine, or African countries, among others), there is also another mandatory document to present.

It is a blood test to check for enough antibodies to rabies. It must be done at least 30 days after the application of the rabies vaccine by laboratories approved by the EU

The transport of pets can only be done 3 months after the date of blood collection for the test. On the test result, the level of antibodies should be equal to or greater than 0.5 IU/ml.

Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old

Animals that are too young are not accepted in Portugal, as they cannot comply with the other rules. 

Official Health Certificate

Make sure your pet comes with a health certificate issued by a recognized veterinarian in your country and endorsed by your country’s government agency responsible for the transit of animals.

Please note that the document is only valid for 10 days from the date of issue until the date of the control in Portugal. In the case of maritime transport, the period of 10 days can be extended.

Usually, each official authority of each country has its specific form. But if you can’t find it, see the form provided by the Portuguese General Directorate of Food and Veterinary (DGAV).

If, however, you’re traveling from an EU country and you are an EU resident, the EU Pet Passport can replace this document.

Arrival Notice

You, as the pet’s owner, must contact one of the Points of Entry for Travelers in Portugal at least 48 hours before arriving.

You must fill out an Arrival Notice form on the DGAV website and submit it to notify your pet’s arrival at the corresponding Visitor Entry point.

If your pet arrives by plane, the control can be done in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Beja, Funchal, Terceira Island, and Ponta Delgada. If you’re arriving by boat, there are also points at ports in Lisbon and Funchal.

You will find the contacts of official authorities in this document.

With the exception of assistance dogs for people with disabilities, the Animal Control examination carried out then is subject to payment of a fee at the time.

For one pet, it costs €40; for two or more, €80. Remember that, to bring pets to Portugal, an owner can only bring 5 at a time.

Attention: dogs and cats coming from Malaysia and cats coming from Australia are subject to more rules to enter Portugal.

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Non-Commercial Declaration

When you come to Portugal with your pet, you must also fill in a declaration stating that it is traveling on a non-commercial basis.

How to take your pet to Portugal by airplane?

The most common way for expats to enter Portugal and bring their pets with them is by plane. Most airlines that fly to Portugal accept to transport cats and dogs.

They can either be transported:

  • In the cabin: provided your pet is small and has its own malleable container with a maximum weight of 8 kg (17lbs);
  • In the aircraft hold: in case your pet is too heavy, up to 45 kg (99lbs), with a rigid container.

Of course, the pet’s transport is also paid for and subject to confirmation. At TAP Airlines, the main airline in the country, pet transport prices vary according to their weight and origin.

Know the rules for flying a pet to Portugal

Fees for pets on flights within Europe range between €120 and €230, and for intercontinental flights, the rates range between €230 and €300.

Each airline has its own rules regarding flying pets, such as the exact measurements of the carrying bags, so confirm their rules before purchasing a plane ticket.

Once in Portugal, you’ll pass by one of the Points of Entry for Travelers, as we’ve already referred, at the airport. Don’t forget to send notice at least 48 hours before landing so the authorities are ready to receive you.

This step may take a little close to an hour once you’ve collected your luggage. It’s important to remember that your furry babies will be in their cages for a long time, so it’s crucial to make their journey as comfortable as possible. We highly advise against the use of any drugs or sleeping pills for your pets. 

Additionally, please note that if you choose to fly your pet on its own, unaccompanied, the transport will be seen by law as commercial. In that case, other rules must be adhered to.

How to take your pet to Portugal by car?

If you’re entering Portuguese territory by car, you’re not likely to be stopped by the police at the border or anything.

However, it’s still important to make sure your pet is safe and registered with the authorities.

So, as you plan to live in Portugal with your pet, you will need to notify the authorities and go to one of the Points of Entry for Travelers for the examination and official entry.

How to take your pet to Portugal by boat?

Let’s suppose you are entering Portugal by sea with your pet. In that case, you will have to present the documents to the maritime authorities when you register your boat at a marina either in Lisbon or in Funchal, Madeira Island.

Usually, you’ll get into Portugal through its main marinas and be contacted by the local police.

However, if you don’t contact the local authorities at a Point of Entry for Travelers, notifying your pet’s arrival for the check-up, your pet is not allowed to leave the vessel.

The sailing community is usually used to dealing with these bureaucracies.

Make sure to notify the authorities 48 hours before arriving and that your pet complies with the rules. Then, just disembark and continue the adventure in Portuguese lands.

Relocate your dog to Portugal

Is Portugal a pet-friendly country?

If you’re worried about whether Portugal will be a pleasant environment for your pet, don’t. There is no shortage of quality veterinarians in Portugal, as well as pet shops for bathing and grooming.

Plus, the Portuguese mentality is really shifting. Portugal has become more open-minded as the country becomes more globalized and home to many foreigners.

Until recently, in late 2017, the entry of dogs and cats in restaurants in Portugal was prohibited. The Portuguese law was changed, thankfully, and now establishments can choose to allow or deny the entry of animals.

Besides, Portugal is a fantastic place to live and raise your pet. Dogs especially will enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces.

The world’s biggest brands in the animal universe also sell and deliver in Portugal, and there are some specific parks for dogs in Lisbon, Cascais, Porto, and Faro.

Recommendations for pet parents in Portugal

Although not mandatory, deworming against internal and external parasites is always advisable.

Furthermore, there are some diseases in Portugal that affect animals more frequently. For dog owners, you should be concerned about canine leishmaniasis.

Prevent your dog from being exposed to mosquitoes between the months of early and late summer (June and September), especially in the Algarve and Alentejo.

When you settle in Portugal, make sure you get to know a trusted local veterinarian. It’s always good to have a professional around in case you need it. In addition, they will be able to give you the best tips for your region.

Pets also deserve to live in Portugal

Portugal has everything to offer them the best of both worlds. We know how important pets are and why there’s absolutely no room to leave them behind. If you have any more questions about how to take your pet to Portugal, get in touch with relocation experts from Viv Europe. 

We’ve helped numerous families with their relocation journey. From buying property to enrolling their children in an excellent school, we assure you nothing but the best.

Each year, more and more families from around the world are moving to Portugal. The climate, prices, and quality of life are only some of the reasons that attract expats

Join our community of over 9,000 members via our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. Get opinions from people who’ve already made their dreams come true! 

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