What to do when your pet dies in Spain

It’s a moment all pet owners dread but must eventually go through. Here’s what to do if your pet dies in Spain, the processes to follow, and what you can and can’t do.

What to do when your pet dies in Spain
These are the steps to follow if your pet passes away in Spain. Photo: Helena Lopes/Unsplash

They say the Brits are a nation of dog lovers but if you’ve spent any time in Spain you’d have seen how popular pets are among Spaniards.

Pets can become like a part of the family, and losing them can be a great loss for many.

Unfortunately, it’s something that happens to all pet owners eventually, and, in Spain, it’s not as simple as burying the pet wherever you want.

There are several legal issues to consider, and it’s better to be prepared.

In fact, in Spain, the law specifically says that you can’t just bury your pet – or any animal – anywhere you like, such as the back garden.

According to the legislation, you can’t bury your pet in ‘unauthorised’ places, and there’s specific locations you are allowed to.

Veterinary practices

If your pet dies or is put down at the vet, there’s less to worry about legally because it is the responsibility of the clinic to carry out the legal procedures.

They will take care of the paperwork and registries, and will guide you through the decisions you need to make with regards to the next steps and arrangements. It is worth noting, however, that vets will often not let you leave with the body.

If your pet dies at home or in a public place, however, there are some steps to follow and things to know.


The first thing you need to do is to contact the Archivo de Identificación de Animales (like an Archive of Pet Identification) for your corresponding autonomous community to report the death of your pet and remove it from the identification registry.

You’ll need to provide them with the number of the microchip and in some municipalities there are also pet censuses that it’s necessary to remove them from.

Burial or cremation

Once you’ve reported the death, you’ll need to decide what to do with the body.

Simply put, that means choosing between burial and cremation. It is worth noting that, if you want to bury your pet, Spain isn’t home to many cemeteries specifically for pets, and the rates vary depending on the type of burial and location.

Cremation is free in some areas of Spain but in most places charge a fee based on the weight of your pet. Prices normally range from €25 to €180.

Travelling with ashes

If you’d prefer to take your pet’s remains home, wherever that may be, it largely follows the same process as travelling with the ashes of a loved one.

Ashes can often be carried on airlines as hand luggage, as long as you have a death and cremation certificate, and the urn is sealed.

As always, it’s better to be safe than sorry and call your airline if you’re wanting to scatter your pet’s remains out of Spain. 

READ ALSO: The rules for having a pet in Spain under the new animal protection law

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Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Talk of abortion policy reform and proposed menstrual leave has dominated Spanish discourse this week, but it’s also dividing Spain’s coalition government.

Spanish government divided over proposed menstruation leave bill

Spain’s PSOE-fronted coalition government recently outlined proposals that have dominated public discourse in the country.

But the legislation, which would allow women over the age of 16 to get abortions without the permission of their parents and introduce ‘menstruation leave’ for those suffering serious period pains, has not only divided Spanish society but the government itself.

The proposals would make Spain a leader in the Western world, and the first European Union member state to introduce menstrual leave, and changes to abortion law would overturn a 2015 law passed by the conservative People’s Party that forced women aged 16 and 17 to obtain parental consent.

The wide-ranging bill would also end VAT on menstrual products, increase the free distribution of them in schools, and allow between three and five days of leave each month for women who experience particularly painful periods.

READ MORE: What are Spain’s abortion laws for foreign residents and visitors?

Menstrual leave

Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, told Spanish newspaper El Periódico in March that “it’s important to be clear about what a painful period is – we’re not talking about slight discomfort, but about serious symptoms such as diarrhoea, fever and bad headaches.”

“When there’s a problem that can’t be solved medically, we think it’s very sensible to have temporary sick leave,” she added.

Cabinet politics

The proposals are slated for approval in cabinet next week, and judging by reports in the Spanish media this week, it is far from reaching a consensus. It is believed the intra-cabinet tensions stem not from the changes to abortion and contraception accessibility, but rather the proposed menstrual leave.

The junior coalition partner in government, Podemos, largely supports the bill, but it is believed some in the PSOE ranks are more sceptical about the symbolism and employment effects of the proposed period pain policy.

Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, said this week: “Let me repeat it very clearly: this government believes and is absolutely committed to gender equality and we will never adopt measures that may result in a stigmatisation of women.”

Yet Second Vice President and Minister of Labour, Yolanda Díaz, who is viewed as further to the left than President Pedro Sánchez and other PSOE cabinet ministers, is reportedly “absolutely in favour” of the measure to reform Spain’s “deeply masculinised” labour market.

Sources in the Spanish media have this week also reported that some PSOE cabinet ministers feel the proposed paid leave not only plays up to stereotypes of women, or stigmatises them, like Calviño says, but also places them at a disadvantage in the world of work.

Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, stated that while the government should seek to improve women’s employment protections, it should also seek to boost their participation in the labour market under “better conditions.”

In that vein, some feel menstrual leave could be used a form of of employment discrimination similarly to how pregnancy has been historically, and the policy would, in that sense, actually be more regressive than progressive in enshrining women’s workplace rights. 

READ MORE: Spain eyes free contraception for under-25’s

Trade unions

Trade unions are also sceptical of the menstrual leave legislation. Cristina Antoñanzas, deputy secretary of UGT, one of Spain’s largest trade unions, has echoed those in the cabinet who feel the proposals could “stigmatise women.” She added that “it does women a disservice.”

Public opinion

A survey run by INTIMINA found that 67 percent of Spanish women are in favour of regulating menstrual leave, but also that 75 percent fear it is “a double-edged sword” that could generate labor discrimination.

The survey also found that 88 percent of women who suffer from disabling and frequent period pain have gone to work despite it. Seventy-one percent admitted that they have normalised working with pain.

Cabinet showdown

The proposed menstrual leave policy will be debated in cabinet next week when the Council of Ministers debates and approves the broader abortion and contraception reforms. According to sources in the Spanish media, and many cabinet ministers themselves, it seems a consensus on menstruation leave is a long way off.