Requirements for bringing our dog to Spain, an unnecessary ordeal.

We think of ourselves as informed and organised people.  We like to research before making decisions and any plans.  Before deciding on this long-term destination, we ensured that our small dog could come with us.  Six months is a long time and we would never think about going away for that long without our little Amy Lou.

The requirements to bring a dog to Spain are relatively simple;

your dog needs to be microchipped and have a valid rabies vaccine.  “The first step to prepare your dog, cat or ferret to enter Spain is to have your pet microchipped with an ISO 11784/11785 compliant 15 digit pet microchip. For the rabies vaccine, you will need proof of a current vaccination that was administered after the microchip was implanted. If this is your pet’s first vaccination after microchipping, it will need to wait for 21 days before traveling. There is no waiting period after boosters as long as: the previous vaccination was administered after a microchip was implanted AND the previous vaccination had not expired when the booster was given.”

Easy, right?  Not so much as we discovered 3 days before our flight.

Part of the package of forms we had to complete with our vet included a CFIA form (Canadian Food & Inspection Agency).  This form had to be approved by a Vet from the CFIA.  The forms can only be completed 10 days before your trip.

So after our vet visit, Terry goes to the CFIA with all the forms required.  He was then told that because we had a layover in Amsterdam, we needed the Netherlands forms, not the Spanish forms.  We then had to go back to the Vet to get the Netherlands forms completed.

The next day, Terry goes back to the CFIA and was then asked whether Amy Lou had always had her rabies shots on time.  Terry gave the records to the CFIA vet who immediately saw that one of the vaccine she had in the past was 11 days outside the 3 year Canadian requirement.  This meant that Amy Lou could not get the CFIA approval and could not fly as scheduled on Monday!!!!!  What!??!!!  We were flabbergasted!  Our vet told us that in Canada, there is no problem being outside the period and this was totally ludicrous since the vaccine is actually good for 7 years in theory.  The CFIA would not budge even for such a short period several years ago even if she had always had her shots on time afterwards.

We then called our wonderful Travel Agent and friend Regine, who called KLM and was refer to the European Union website who simply showed the rules outlined above.  I also contacted Pet Travel who specialized in pet passport for the past 17 years and they confirmed that the CFIA approval was not required to fly to the EU.  The vaccine was fine as long as within the 3 year period.  We then contacted a friend who had several trips to the EU in the past few years and told us that the airlines or authority never questioned her documents.

We then reluctantly decided to go with all documents KLM required without the CFIA approval.  We essentially spent 3 sleepless nights for nothing.  KLM thoroughly checked all our vet health certificate and documents without asking anything further about her past vaccines or the CFIA approvals.

Moral of the story, you don’t need the CFIA for the EU but it is prudent to ensure that you always get your dog’s shots on time.

Bottom line, you need the microchip certificate, the vaccine records showing that it is current and your vet health certificate.

Needless to say, we celebrated our arrival in Spain with our sweet little Amy Lou and were incredibly relieved to make it here without further issues.


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