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How much does it cost to keep a pet in Spain?

Many people in Spain own a pet, but how much does it actually cost to keep your furry friend? Find out what the average expenses in Spain are for vet bills, pet food, and pet insurance.

How much does it cost to keep a pet in Spain?
Pet costs in Spain. Photo: Andrew S / Unsplash

Let’s face it, owning a pet can be expensive, as well as basic items such as food, leashes, and litter trays, there are vet bills to pay, vaccination and grooming costs, which can soon mount up.  

According to the most recent data from Veterindustria, the Spanish Business Association of Animal Health and Nutrition in collaboration with the National Association of Pet Food Manufacturers (ANFAAC), 50.2 percent of families in Spain own some type of pet.

A survey by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) suggests that 65 percent ​​of the owners have a dog, 44 percent have a cat, 15 percent have a small bird, 11 percent have a turtle, seven percent have fish and just six percent have a hamster or other type of rodent.

The OCU discovered that people in Spain spend an average of €1131 per year on a dog and €986 on a cat. This can be quite a big expense and works out to €94.25 per month for dog owners and €82.16 per month for cat owners.

Find out how is this broken up, what the biggest expense is, and if there are any ways you can save money as a pet owner in Spain.

READ ALSO – Renting in Spain when you have a pet: What are my rights?

Pet food costs

The biggest expense in owning a pet is food, according to the OCU survey. Pet owners spend an average of €47 per month on dog food and €44 on cats. This equates to €564 and €528 per year respectively.

But, pet food doesn’t need to be so expensive, in fact, the OCU state that it’s possible to save up to €300 per year if you choose wisely.

During their pet study, they also discovered that the most expensive brands of pet food weren’t necessarily the best and did not always meet the nutritional needs of the animal.

For cats, they discovered that a 5kg bag of dry food costs between €0.40 and €0.50 per day, while wet food costs €4 per day.

Be aware, that the report found there were no good dry food brands that completely met the nutritional needs of a cat for less than €3 per kg, so while you can save money it’s best not to buy the very cheapest brands on the market.

READ ALSO: Can Brits move to Spain with their pets post-Brexit?

Veterinary costs

Whatever happens, at some point you will need to take your pet to the vet. Even if they don’t get sick very often, they will need vaccinations, check-ups, and sterilisation.

According to a report by the Spanish Veterinary Management Studies (VMS), the average price of a vet visit in Spain is €34.

Average prices for other common veterinary services include ultrasounds (€56), X-rays (€40), rabies vaccine (€26), castration of dogs (€150) and cats (€85), and mouth or teeth cleaning (€108).  

In Barcelona, the prices were among the highest in the country, well above the average, while in Andalusia and the Canary Islands, the prices were below the average.  It is also worth noting that veterinary centres have increased their prices by 4.98 percent since last year, due to recent inflation.  

When you first get a pet there are other costs involved too, such as the registration and microchipping costs. Typically these are sold in a pack along with basic vaccinations and vary widely in price. If you want to travel with your pet, getting a pet passport can add further costs on top of this. For example, in Madrid, it costs around €25 for a pet passport and another €25 for a vet certificate. 

Pet insurance costs

According to the OCU survey, in the last 12 months, 45 percent of dogs had to have an emergency trip to the vet and 24 percent of cats. As we’ve seen above, vet costs can build up, but if you have pet insurance this can help cover the cost of the financial burden.

Pet insurance varies widely, depending on exactly what it covers. Here are some of the costs for the most popular insurance companies.

  • Caser pet insurance €199 per year
  • Adeslas Mascotas basic from €5.58 per month or complete cover from €24.74 per month
  • Mapfre from €64 per year
  • Asisa Mascotas from €9,47 per month

Member comments

  1. Cats should always have wet food everyday in addition to dry food (kibble).
    Wet food provides necessary nutrients that kibble alone does not, & most
    importantly fluids, even though a cat should always have a bowl of daily fresh
    water available. Providing both wet & dry food also provides variety, another
    element important for cats (& dogs). Finally, a diet high in dry food poses a risk for kidney stones & bladder infections.

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All aboard the pooch train! Spain’s Renfe starts large dog trial

Spain's national rail provider on Tuesday began a three-month trial to ascertain if allowing medium and large dogs on board its trains is a viable option, with tickets on sale for its Madrid-Barcelona route.

All aboard the pooch train! Spain's Renfe starts large dog trial

Spain’s Renfe on Tuesday September 13th kick-started its three-month trial to assess the viability of allowing canines of up to 40 kilos on its trains.

Up to now, Renfe only permitted passengers to travel with small dogs under 10 kilos in weight, kept at all times inside a carrier, with the exception of guide or assistance dogs.

Only two large dogs will be allowed on each train during the trial period, with a maximum of one per passenger.

A specific dog-friendly area on one of the train’s carriages will be allocated for these medium and large pooches.

Dog owners will also have to follow a set of rules and recommendations, such as carrying a blanket with them, taking toys that don’t make noise or squeak, avoid feeding them during the three hours prior to the trip to prevent the animals from doing their business or getting dizzy on the train, as well as taking them for a long walk before the journey.

Dogs that aren’t kept inside a pet carrier will have to wear a muzzle and be kept on a non-extendable leash (3 metres long max) at all times.

The dog breeds (small, medium and large) that will be allowed on these high-speed AVE and Long Distance trains between Barcelona and Madrid include Beagles, Bichons, Boxers, Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Poodles, Pugs, Chow Chows, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, Collies, Greyhounds, Golden Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, Labradors, Alsatians, Pekinese, Pointers, Pomeranians, Rottweilers, Schnauzers, Setters, Shar Peis and different terrier breeds.

However, given the 40kg weight restrictions, Bordeaux Mastiffs, Great Danes, Spanish Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Tosa Inus, Newfoundland dogs and Bullmastiffs cannot be included on the list, as many of these breeds can weigh more than 60 kilos.

Passengers who want to book tickets for themselves and their furry friends on this initial Madrid-Barcelona route will find the option of adding their “mascota grande” (large pet) on the Renfe website.  

Whereas Renfe’s rates for small dogs and other pets (cats, ferrets, birds) are €10, for larger dogs weighing between 10kg and 40kg the fixed price per trip will be €35.

Passengers travelling with their medium or large dogs will not be able to choose their seats either, instead they will have two spots pre-assigned to them (next to each other) for themselves and their pet.

Dog owners will also have to fill in a civil responsibility form at the train station’s Centro de Servicios 30 minutes before travel. It is then that they’ll be handed a cover and a mat for the seat as well as a gift for their pet.