Taking a Dog to Portugal: How to Travel with Your Pet

30 de August, 2023

Taking a Dog to Portugal: How to Travel with Your Pet

Travel with your pet to Portugal: essential tips for bringing your dog. Make your journey easier and enjoy Portugal together!
Reading: 9 min

We know that your four-legged companion is more than just a pet, he’s part of the family! When the decision is made to move to Portugal, the inevitable question arises: “How do I take my dog to Portugal??” The truth needs to be told: taking your pet with you to Portugal involves some essential bureaucratic steps. It’s a process that should be started well in advance of the trip (at least 4 months in advance). Flying with your beloved furry companion isn’t necessarily difficult, but not knowing the rules involved can lead to some avoidable inconveniences.

So, to ensure a smooth trip for everyone, read on. We’re going to objectively teach you all the steps involved in transporting your dog or cat to Portugal. From the microchip to disembarkation. Remember: when planning is done with care, a happy ending is guaranteed.

And if you want them to take care of it for you, talk to us! The Atlantic Bridge has partnered with specialized animal transportation companies, offering an exclusive service to our clients, to ensure a comprehensive and worry-free experience (exclusively for clients).

Which animals can I take to Portugal?

You can transport dogs, cats and ferrets under similar conditions. For other animals, please contact the airline.

Do you want to live in Europe?

Realizing your goal of living in Europe or obtaining European citizenship can be simpler than you think. We offer personalized support to make the immigration process more accessible and uncomplicated.

What do I need to travel with my pet to Portugal?

Taking a pet to Portugal involves several steps, in addition to buying a ticket.

Please note that not all airlines allow the transportation of animals. Those that do, have specific criteria to determine where the animal travels and what fees and prices are payable, based on size, weight, species and breed. Find out beforehand.

It is also important to know that airlines have limited spaces for transporting animals on each flight. Therefore, the transportation of the animal will always be subject to confirmation. Don’t leave it too late!

What documents are required for the international transportation of animals?

The rules for transporting your pet may vary depending on the country of departure and destination. According to Portugal’s Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary ( DGAV ), the following documents are required to embark for Portugal:

  • Dated Microchipping Certificate
  • Proof of rabies vaccination
  • Anti-rabies serology report
  • Health certificate issued by a veterinarian
  • CVI – International Veterinary Certifie
  • Arrival notification form

Be sure to check the rules in your country of origin.

Step 1: Microchip application certificate

Doesn’t your pet have a microchip? You’ll need one to travel. The microchip must be ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standard. Approximately 1.5mm in size, it is inserted by means of an injection into the back, between the animal’s shoulder blades. In addition, the chip must be dated, signed and stamped by a veterinarian. This professional must also issue a certificate containing the date the microchip was implanted.

The microchip must be implanted (or read) before the rabies vaccination.

Step 2: Vaccinations and deworming

To guarantee your pet’s international transportation, vaccination is essential. The rabies vaccine is required annually for animals over 12 weeks old. However, if you’re going to Europe, beware: this vaccine is only valid if administered after the microchip has been implanted. Even if your pet has already been vaccinated, you’ll need to do it again. In this case, repeat the vaccination, waiting 30 days from the previous dose.

When booking the vaccination, state that it is for migration, as the vaccine must be valid in the country of destination.

One detail: get the rabies vaccine at least 30 days before the rabies serology test.

Keep a strict record of the dates, as mistakes can affect the International Veterinary Certificate.

Step 3: Serology ret

The European Union requires all pets coming from abroad to undergo this to confirm the effectiveness of the rabies vaccine. The serology test is a blood test that identifies whether the animal has developed antibodies against the disease. An antibody level of 0.5 IU/ml or more is required.

Important to remember: the serology test can only be carried out 30 days after the rabies vaccine has been administered and must be carried out fasting for 12 hours.

This is one of the most expensive parts of the process, as the sample must be sent to a laboratory in accordance with Article 3 of Decision 2000/258/EC. See here which laboratories in the country of origin are authorized to carry out the examination required for entry into the European Union.

Step 4: Passage and kennel

As soon as you get the rabies serology report, arrange your pet’s ticket and transportation box. Most airlines require you to book your pet’s flight by phone.

Important Make sure there are still places for animals on your chosen flight, and make your reservation. The boarding fee is usually paid at the time of boarding.

The dimensions of the transport box vary depending on the airline you choose. In addition, each airline has maximum dimensions allowed for both the cabin and the hold. Before buying the box, find out what the airline you are traveling with allows.

Airlines will require the following information:

  • Type of pet to be transported
  • Transport container dimensions
  • Total weight of the animal with the container

Step 5: Pet health certificate

The veterinarian of the animal in question must issue, no later than 72 hours before your appointment to apply for the VCI, a health certificate for your animal with the veterinarian.

Here is a template in Portuguese, provided by the Brazilian government.

Step 6: International Certificate (CVI or CZI)

The next step on how to take a dog to Portugal is to get an International Veterinary Certificate (CVI), also known as an Animal Health Certificate, or International Zoosanitary Certificate (CZI).

The CVI is a document certifying that the animal shows no clinical signs of an infectious, contagious or transmissible disease and that it complies with all federal travel requirements. It is usually provided free of charge.

Be aware of the validity of the CVI (10 days in Brazil and 30 in the USA). For this reason, we recommend buying the ticket and the shipping box before requesting it. Another detail: A CVI is only valid for travel from the address of origin to the address of destination indicated on the CVI.

Check in your country which unit provides this document. In Brazil, it is VIGIAGRO. In the United States, it is issued by a veterinarian licensed and accredited in the State of State.

To obtain the CVI, you must present all the documents listed in the previous steps.

Step 7: Report arrival in Portugal

We’ve reached stage 7, we’re almost there!

While you’re still in your country of origin, arrange for the Notice of Arrival at Portuguese airports. The procedure involves filling in a form available on the DGAV website.

This form should be sent by e-mail to one of the Traveler Entry Points for Animal Control. A veterinarian will examine your pet on arrival in Portugal. There is a fee of 40 euros associated with the procedure.

Please note: notification is mandatory and must be sent no later than 48 hours before disembarkation. Another detail: the Travelers’ Entry Point (PEV) is usually closed in the early hours of the morning. Check the detailed information on the DGAV website.

Tips for preparing your pet for a plane trip

  • Before the day of the flight, get your pet used to the carrier.
  • Leave it accessible for your dog or cat to sleep in.
  • Consider giving your pet a hygienic trim.
  • On the day of the trip, keep to your pet’s normal routine. Walk it and feed it, but don’t overdo it.
  • Still at the airport, go to the outside area so he can have one last pee.
  • Use a sanitary diaper on him.
  • Don’t use blankets, prefer clothing to prevent suffocation. You may line the box with absorbent paper.
  • Offer them something familiar to make them feel more at ease during the trip.
  • Close the box tightly.
  • Put a label on the box with information about the animal: name, owner’s name and destination address.

How do I bring a cat to Portugal?

But what about cats? Does it work the same way as with dogs? Yes, the process is similar, with the advantage that they are small and can be transported in the cabin in flexible boxes under your seat.

How much does it cost to take a dog to Portugal?

There will always be some variation depending on the country of destination, the type of animal, its size and the airline chosen. We’ll give you a general estimate here. The figures below are in euros.

Microchipping€ 30
Rabies vaccine€ 10
Rabies serology€ 175
CVIfree of charge
Veterinary certificate€ 45 (Value of a veterinary consultation)
Transport boxBetween €50 and €350 (depending on model)
Arrival at the airport€ 40

Ticket costs for pets

Pets do not pay a fare, but a transportation fee. The price will vary depending on the size of the pet and the distance of the flight (country of origin).

Fees for transporting animals on intercontinental flights

*We have used the prices charged by TAM in August 2023 as a reference. It’s worth noting that they also accept mileage in payment.
Up to 8kg (transport in the cabin)€150 (online) or €160 (counter)
Up to 32kg (transport in the hold)€230
Between 32kg and 45kg€300

Fees for transporting animals on flights within Europe

*We have used the prices charged by TAM in August 2023 as a reference. It’s worth noting that they also accept mileage in payment.
Up to 8kg (transport in the cabin)€70 (online) or €75 (counter)
Up to 32kg (transport in the hold)€120
Between 32kg and 45kg€230

Does the animal need to be sedated to travel by plane?

The DGAV recommends avoiding the use of sedatives on animals during transportation, unless it is strictly necessary to ensure their well-being and under veterinary supervision. Sedation of healthy animals is not recommended, as sedatives reduce vital functions such as heart rate and breathing, which, when animals are transported in the hold, can impair their adaptation to changes in altitude and atmospheric pressure.

Can I take my dog with me in the cabin?

On most airlines, only small animals, guide dogs or emotional support dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin. Medium or large animals are assigned to the cargo compartment in the hold of the aircraft.

Maximum total weight (animal + carrier): 8kg / 17lbs

Dimensions of the space where the carrier is accommodated: 45x30xm

What is the weight limit for dogs on international flights?

According to TAP, the combined weight (transport + animal) allowed is:

  • up to 32kg / 70lbs, on flights to, from or via the USA, Hungary, France and the Netherlands.
  • up to 45kg / 99lbs, for all other destinations.

Transportation of dogs over 32kg

If your dog is heavier than the above limit, don’t despair. Get in touch with the airline and they will certainly have to transport it as cargo under a different regime (and at different prices).

Are there any breeds of dogs that can’t travel by plane?

The DGAV provides a list of dog breeds considered potentially dangerous. They are subject to specific regulations at Travelers’ Points of Entry in Portugal. In these cases, the guardian must sign a term of responsibility and notify the animal’s stay in the country.

There are also restrictions for animals (including cats) with short, flat snouts (brachycephalic). Due to their sensitivity to extreme temperatures and the risk of breathing difficulties during the flight, these animals cannot be transported in the cargo compartment.

Check with your airline for specific details.

What to do when you arrive with your pet in Portugal

When you arrive with your pet in Portugal, see a vet to check its health. Have their vaccinations updated (if applicable) and ask for a Portuguese vaccination card. You can also get a Pet Passport. In addition, go to the Junta de Freguesia in the neighborhood where you live to register the animal. This license needs to be renewed every year and costs €10 to create and €5 for the annual fee.

Pet Relocation Advice

If you want to ensure that your trip runs smoothly, on time and with greater security, consider hiring a specialized company to take care of it for you.

A Atlantic Bridge has partnerships with companies that specialize in transporting pets (exclusively for clients). Ask us for your quote! We’ll take care of everything for you!

And now that you know all about the transportation procedure, don’t think twice! Bring your four-legged friend to Portugal. By bringing your pet to Portugal, you’re not only adding a beloved member to your journey, but also making it easier to adapt to this new phase in a different country. Together, you can explore the beauties of Portugal and build a new life full of bonds and exciting adventures.



Atlantic Bridge

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