Moving to Portugal with Pets? | Read this and Take Notes | Life in Portugal with Pets

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Bandit and Marlo

You might be curious as to what it’s like having pets here, how to actually get your pets to Portugal, and the cost to maintain basic and emergency vet bills, so let’s get into it. I have been living in Portugal Lisbon since August of 2021 so I have a little bit over a year and a half in living here and life has been simply amazing. I am here with two of our pets, we have one dog and one cat. I do have my dog here right here, his name is Bandit, he is a little old Chihuahua and he does nothing all day, he sleeps all day and he likes to steal the cat cans and eat the cat food. I remember seeing him one day at an event I was at and it was kind of like love at first sight and I knew that I had to adopt him at the time. I wasn’t looking for a dog, I had already had a dog and that same day I adopted him. So we had fostered over 50 rescue dogs, it was an interesting period in my life, I never grew up with animals so just the thought of being able to take care of these animals that have been neglected or abused and then preparing them for their forever homes was something that I and my daughter were passionate about. One thing about Bandit is that he’s slightly different from some of the other chihuahuas. Bennett rarely ever barks, he rarely ever growls, he only gets excited for warm blankets, and human food and when I tell him that we’re going to go outside he gets all these bursts of energy and he doesn’t know how to act right, he also gets a lot of energy when he wants to play this game with me. Since he’s so small he likes to hide underneath my bed and hide underneath the couch or anywhere that’s very low. He is about 15 years old, we don’t know when his birthday is but we kind of just chalked it up as MacKenzie’s birthday. We knew how old he was when we got him which was about 7 years ago.

Up next is kitty a.k.a Marlo. We adopted her about five years ago and she is about five years old. She was found in the trunk of a car or somewhere underneath a car and Mackenzie just had to have a cat. I am not a big cat fan but, here we are today. She is also a weird one too, no one ever knows that we have animals because they’re always hiding. She loves to hide in my bed which I don’t like because of the cat hair. She loves the height underneath my bed and she also likes to eat dog food. So it’s odd, he likes to eat the cat food she likes to eat the dog food but overall they get along very well. Kitty, she’s a really pretty cat but I don’t like all that cat hair. I have this super useful tool that I like to use when you have animals that have hair. There’s this little tool right here by Oxo, I know you’ve probably seen these at like your grandparents’ house maybe back in the day, it kind of looked like a hairbrush but I just use this to get the animal hair off of me especially if I have something dark color or black. I got this when I was back in the States in November I got this from TJ Max, it was about 6.99 and you can get it here. If you have animals I highly recommend it

Bringing Your Pets To Portugal

So let’s start to get into bringing animals to Portugal. I was living in Mexico and I was bringing my pets to Portugal we had to stop in the United States because I had to do some last-minute things and also prepare for our journey to Portugal All together my pets have lived in the U.S, Mexico and now they have lived in Portugal so they are International pet Travelers. Before moving to Mexico band and kitty were up to date on their shots and they were good for at least a year and a half. In Mexico, they saw the Vets as often as they needed to for their shots, which we had for the dog and the cat. They keep all their updated vaccination records especially when you’re traveling back into the U.S. from Mexico you have to have certain vaccinations for your animals.

Bringing your pets into Portugal ideally is fairly simple but there are so much more small details that go into it. My experience I would say, went very well, it was very stressful and I will explain why it was stressful. These steps that I want to give you will help you have a smooth transition to bringing your animals to Portugal.

You must have an original endorsed health certificate which means you can’t have a copy, you can’t have an e-copy. You have to bring it with you when you’re on your way to Portugal. The first thing I suggest doing is going to the USDA APHIS website here. The USDA stands for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and APHIS stands for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The first thing you want to do once you’re on that website, is they have a link that will point you towards accredited veterinarians. Now I’m not going to lie, this list can be out of date I called about eight or nine different vet offices in North Carolina and none of them either did that anymore or they were not knowledgeable enough. Another option is to go on a military base but the same thing applies, you have to have a vet who is very knowledgeable and knows how to submit the paperwork the correct way because you only have a 10-day window from the day you submit the documentation and the date that you’re leaving to get on the airplane that endorsement has to be within those 10 days. So you needed to find someone. For me, I had to leave the state of North Carolina and drive to South Carolina looking for an accredited veterinarian who knew what they were doing. It’s really important to ask questions like “How many have you done in the past? “Have you done an electronic one?” “What has been the rejection rate?” These are all crucial questions to ask. I have run into people who have said they had to miss their flight because their documentation was rejected or the veterinarian didn’t know what they were doing when they were doing the paperwork.

When you’re on this website you need to click Portugal If you are going to any other countries. It would be the same thing if you’re coming from the United States, click whatever country you’re going to and it will give you the information. For Portugal specifically, it will bring up a screen and it will tell you the steps on what you’re supposed to do.

One of the important things is to make sure your pet is microchipped and not just any microchip it needs to be a 15-digit microchip that’s ISO compliant. Before there were microchips that were less than 15 digits, they were about 12 digits. If your animal or pet does have that particular microchip you must provide your scanner so you can scan your pet at the vet office and the airport. Since America is not listed for a high rate of rabies, your animal will not have to quarantine. I’m not sure about other countries but if you’re coming from the U.S. it’s good to look it up.

You have to have a vaccination for your pet, this is a reason why you should plan at least 30+ days. Both my animals had vaccinations, and they were good for at least another year, a year and a half but because the vet did not administer them They had to re-administer the vaccination again, thankfully I had more than 21 days I think I was at day 22 when they got their vaccination. So I had to wait another 10 odd days before I could start the application for the health certificate. The cost is not free I will say that for I paid about 300 dollars for both of them to get their vaccinations, get the USDA paperwork, and pay for an overnight mailing to get my endorsement back. There’s no way around not paying the overnight fee to FedEx I think it was like 35-40 bucks, but it’s crucial if you want to get your documents back in time.

After you have already got your vaccinations. Your microchip is good, you need to contact the veterinarian at the airport you’re flying into whether it’s Farro, Lisbon, or Porto. You need to make an appointment with them, I however did not have an appointment, I sent several emails and nobody responded to me and that was like my first dose of how things run in Portugal. When I arrived, I was asked if I made an appointment and I said no, I showed them the emails that I had sent and they asked if I got any response and I was just like “Well, no” They’re always like well “You don’t have an appointment” I was like “okay cool” but he was nice, he was questioning some of my paperwork because they were both rescues. I only have the documentation from the rescue itself, so he saw that one of their paperwork wasn’t in some order so he allowed us to get clearance. I paid 80 euros and we were on our merry way.

If you wondering how I transported them, both of them are small they both fit in the cabin, I love the Sleepy Pod brand carriers they are really expensive and when I say expensive, they’re like 200 for just one. I care deeply for my animals and I wanted them to be comfortable, I wanted them to be safe, I wanted something that was airport-friendly and the soft mesh did it for me. Sometimes both of them fit into one carrier because they just feel comfortable with each other, even now in the house they are both in their carriers and it’s kind of like their little home when they’re hiding from me or McKenzie. I highly recommend finding something that works for you, there are cheaper ones that are like 35. There are hard carriers, and there are soft ones but for me knowing that I was going to be traveling, I wanted something that could be compliant with all the Airlines one thing about Sleepypod is that if the carrier is too long depending on a certain aircraft the sides fold up and it will make it more compact. Some Airlines have really strict rules as far as the size of the carriers and that’s one thing I did like about them. Also, they are Airline-friendly, at least American Airlines and they are safe, they did all these test dummies with animals and they’re rated very safe. You can probably find it on Amazon, they do have smaller versions of the one I have but I think it’s like a twenty-dollar difference, I prefer the bigger ones and they’re easy to clean and another thing I like about it is that they fold up. When I was in Mexico, I would take Bandit to the groomer and I would bring him in his carrier but I couldn’t leave the carrier there. I would fold the carrier up and then I would just have it and just walk out and when he was ready I would bring it back, open it up zip it and that was it. Just the convenience was really good. I just by chance had the best experience, there’s a vet office like literally right outside my door and they have been amazing. I came when I first got here, I registered them and I ended up getting a passport book for both of my animals, so now if I want to travel in the EU with them I just bring along all their information needed. I don’t remember how much I paid for these but I know they were probably like 25 maybe 20 or 30 Euros each, Not too expensive as far as the cost of visits I feel like they were extremely cheap. I had emergency vet visits back in November, McKenzie’s cat was throwing up and we had to take her to the vet. She was dehydrated and they had to shave her because they couldn’t get a vein and it was just a really hot mess. So after they did an ultrasound, they did a fecal exam, they did all these exams. I didn’t think the bill was going to be too high or anything because I know the cost of the previous visits has not been that much but, in the back of my head I remembered even with the discount the price was crazy. It was like 300, 400 or 500. This vet for the medication, the fecal exam, the emergency visit, the ultrasound, and the IV with medication in the IV was 117 euros, which I think is crazy cheap.

My dog recently also had to go to the vet, he was having some heart issues he was doing this weird cough and he does it sometimes here and there but this one was like consistently back to back. We took him to the vet and he had to get another procedure done, he had some medication via vaccine and he also got medication to take home and all together between the vaccine and the medication, his office visit came to 53 or 53 Euros, which was super cheap. I was not charged for the follow-up visit and he had to get another exam done on his heart and the only thing I ended up paying for was his month’s medication which came to five dollars and 80 cent Euros overall.

Having pets here is very much more affordable than in the US. I feel like the quality care that I have received and the hospitality from the vet’s office, they called, they sent emails asking how Kitty and Ben are doing, with that type of care I feel like I did not have at any other vet offices in the United States at least not in Northwest Florida.

If you have any questions reach out. I’m sorry I don’t have any information as far as transporting larger animals underneath the cabin but I believe the process is 100 percent still the same as bringing your pets and getting the documentation and everything else.

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