Taking your pets to Portugal is easy when you know how

If you’ve holidayed in Portugal and fallen in love with the country, few would blame you. Sultry nights, sunny days, long sandy beaches and a relaxed way of life can be hard to put down when it’s time to return home.

But, for some, it gets under their skin so much they find themselves thinking about making a permanent jump and starting a new life overseas – and, for a few of those, thoughts become plans.

There are obstacles along the way of course; finances to extrapolate, health care to consider, perhaps schools to examine for example. But, for some, one of the biggest is how do you travel with the family pets? Naturally, you don’t want to leave them behind – but how would they adjust to a completely different environment?

Time to adjust

Given time, the answer is usually surprisingly well. Of course it takes a little while for them to recover from the journey and to get used to their new surroundings. Temperature is also an issue too, particularly if you’ve moved from somewhere with a much colder climate.

But, generally, animals are resilient and, as long as they have reassurance and a few familiars, in our experience, they will be themselves again within a few weeks.

If course, there are a few regulations that you will need to bear in mind if you are thinking of moving to Portugal.

The rules

Dogs and cats over three months must be vaccinated against rabies and must have the required booster shots at the prescribed time. Dogs – but not cats – must be chipped and registered with SIRA or SICAF as well as with the town hall.

A dog must have a collar and tag with ID if taken to public places but they are allowed on public transport with a few provisos. They must be either caged or in a bag and, if not, then muzzled and on a lead. Also you will have to pay a fair for an uncaged dog – even though it is not permitted on any seat and must refrain from pestering any other passenger.

Making new friends

As a rule, dogs are not particularly welcome in bars or restaurants – although there will be some who are a little less rigid. However, in parks and gardens, in the markets and on the streets of towns and cities, walking a dog is not regarded as at all unusual. Indeed, many expats will probably tell you that locals will often pat and fuss their pets.

But, if you find yourself wondering why there are few stray dogs, it’s probably because Portuguese authorities practice euthanasia. Unwanted dogs are rounded up and, if they’re unclaimed or not identified within eight to ten days, it’s usual for them to be put to sleep.

There are a few less pooper-scooper rules too. If Lisboans had any complaints about dogs, it may well be not so much about the animals but what they leave behind. But then – as many may point out – that’s perhaps less to do with the dogs and more about the owners.

Cats have it a little easier; strays are pretty common around the back streets of towns and cities and are even fed by the locals but, if you’re thinking of taking a ferret, forget it. They’re banned from immigration into Portugal in an effort to prevent cross-breeding with the indigenous species!

But, at the end of the day, we’re estate agents and by no means the experts in animal welfare. There’s more information in the link below if you need it and we’d recommend a thorough read if you’re seriously considering a new life abroad:

Good luck – and don’t forget, if you’re in the process of finding a place in Portugal, we’d be happy to help. We have an extensive portfolio of villas and apartments and we’d be delighted to offer our assistance.

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