Taking your dog to Portugal: dog laws and entry requirements

What are the rules for dogs in Portugal? / Gtres
What are the rules for dogs in Portugal? / Gtres
5 November 2018, Redaction

So you’re planning to move to Portugal with your dog, or maybe just spend your next holiday there… first you should inform yourself about the requirements for bringing a dog into the country. In many ways, Portugal is a paradise for pets: plenty of unspoilt nature to run around in. Away from coastal areas, Portugal isn’t very densely populated, so your dog can enjoy plenty of free space.

Remember, though, that you should try to avoid the hot summer months. Dogs suffer in the heat, and in many places they aren’t allowed on the beach and get hardly any exercise. In the low season the weather is excellent and you can enjoy a vacation with your family and your dog in peace.

General entry requirements

  • You must carry a valid EU pet passport.
  • Your dog must be identified with a microchip (or a tattoo that was done before 3rd July 2011 and is clearly legible).
  • Your dog must be at least 12 weeks old before the first rabies vaccine; the vaccine must be administered by an authorised veterinarian. The validity period of the vaccination extends until the end of the vaccination protection period specified by the manufacturer. This also applies in the case of booster vaccines. A booster vaccination is considered an initial vaccination if it is not carried out during the period of validity. At the time of the initial vaccination, your dog must be identified with a microchip.
  • You may not enter Portugal with your dog until at least 21 days after the end of the vaccination period recommended by the manufacturer for the initial vaccination.

Transporting your dog

Many airlines allow even the biggest dogs to fly without much hassle. Larger dogs are transported in containers in an air-conditioned section of the hold. You’ll have to call the airline in advance to book and buy a place for your dog. Unfortunately, animal transport boxes are sometimes treated like suitcases during loading and unloading, and no special attention is paid to living things.

Small dogs of up to 8 kg can be transported in the cabin, provided that they are booked and paid for in advance. They have to be in a special carry box, which must meet the specifications of the airline you’re flying with. Your four-legged friend will have to fly at your feet under the seat in front of you. You can't take the dog out of its carrier during the flight under any circumstances; they must also behave well and can't bother other passengers.

Places dogs can’t go in Portugal

By law, dogs are forbidden in the following places in Portugal:

  • Public buildings
  • Public transport
  • Restaurants
  • On some beaches

While for other forms of public transport in Portugal there is a ban on dogs, this doesn’t apply for trains and buses, but they have to wear a muzzle. Guide dogs, of course, are exempt from these restrictions.

Dogs on the beach

Generally speaking, dogs are forbidden on Portuguese beaches. Especially during the high season, this prohibition must be complied with, otherwise you may face a fine. If you want to take your four-legged friend to the beach, you can go to one of the special dog beaches. During the off-season, when the beaches aren’t so busy, the “no-dog” signs are more of a recommendation and the authorities normally look the other way if your dog is playing on the beach.

What else do you need to know?

  • Dogs under 15 weeks of age are not allowed to be brought into the country.
  • You can travel with a maximum of 5 dogs.
  • In southern Europe, several diseases are widespread, such as leishmaniasis, against which you should protect your dog using a suitable vaccine. Talk to your vet about this before you leave.
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