Pet-friendly Portugal: rules and laws for living with animals

Rules for living with animals in Portugal / Pixabay
Rules for living with animals in Portugal / Pixabay
27 February 2019, Marilia Poiares

If you have a four-legged, or even two-legged, friend, you’ll probably want to bring them to Portugal with you to share your new life in the sun. It's not always easy to take a pet to a condominium or private estate, though, since not all neighbours are fans of animals.

Having pets in flats is not forbidden by law in Portugal, but there are certain obligations that must be respected so that everyone can live in harmony, without jeopardising the welfare of humans and animals.

Rules for keeping pets in an apartment

The prohibition of animals by landlords or the homeowner’s association of the building was used to be quite common, but now, according to the new legal status, pets no longer suffer this type of exclusion. However, some rules remain, such as the maximum number of pets allowed in a flat, which must not exceed 3 adult dogs or 4 adult cats and, in no case, 4 animals. Nonetheless, there can be exceptions to this on the express request of the owner, if it is authorised by a municipal veterinarian or by a health decree that can allow a maximum of 6 adult animals.

It’s important to remember the basic rules of hygiene, rest and welfare where you live. For example, if your pet is constantly making noise and disturbing the neighbours, as the owners you are responsible for it and according to the law, therefore, can be sanctioned.

It’s worth pointing out that the residents’ association may prohibit the presence of animals in the common areas of the apartment building, but never inside a flat, so the decision to have pets is yours alone. That said, if you are renting property in Portugal, we recommend that you inform your landlord to avoid future problems.

Pet laws in apartments and country homes

In the case of separate properties in a block of flats, the community statutes can establish a limit on the number of pets lower than that mentioned above. In the case of rustic cottages and mixed-use buildings, the total of six pets may even be exceeded if the size of the land is sufficiently large and the conditions in which the animals live is good enough.

Status of animals and living conditions in Portugal

In Portugal, there has been a recent change in the status of pets, meaning they have ceased to be seen as "things" and have come to be considered living beings with feelings who are deserving of legal protection.

Owners are responsible for the physical and mental well-being of their pets, giving them food, water, adequate living space, hygiene and health care, the correct vaccinations, identification services, etc.

In Portugal, it is necessary to register your pet with the local council between 3 and 6 months of age, up until 30 days after it has its microchip fitted. It is also mandatory to follow the vaccination program, with special emphasis being placed on the vaccine against rabies, which you must get renewed every year.

To register your pet in Portugal, you must present:

  • An up-to-date animal health card
  • Identifying microchip
  • In the case of breeds considered dangerous, you must provide your criminal history
  • Civil liability insurance
  • A certificate proving your physical and mental health (as the owner of the animal)
  • Proof that the animal has been spayed or neutered

Pet registration is a one time thing, but you must renew your license each year and pay the corresponding fee (about 20 euro).

If the animal is in common spaces or public places, it must be on a lead and wear a collar which identifies it and has the owner's telephone number or address. If the breed is considered violent or dangerous, the animal must wear a muzzle.

By following these simple rules for pets in Portugal, you and your furry little friend can live in peace and tranquillity with your neighbours.

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