Madrid With A Dog: What You Need To Know

For weeks and with much anticipation we have been preparing for the arrival of Timón in our home just as other people would do for a newborn. So we stocked up on dog’s accessories of all sort, spent hours analysing the different fabrics and sizes on the market for dog’s beds; and checking the reviews on the veterinary practices in our neighbourhood soon became a second job. We have also been kindly gifted “Be The Pack Leader” written by Cesar Millan also known as the dog whisperer for his successful and international career as a dog behaviourist. This is a great read which I recommend to any dog owners in particular as it personally gave me a better understanding about dog behaviour in general but also taught me how to behave around them in different situations. I was mainly captivated by the different chapters and tips regarding shelter dogs as Timón is a rescue himself, I wanted to make sure that we were introducing him to his new environment the right way and without the book I would not have been able to do so . From the material to the psychological aspect of welcoming Timón I thought that I had it all under wrap but nothing that I have read informed neither prepared me about the below points.

If like us you are foreigner and just moved to Madrid with your dog or in the process to adopt a dog I believe that the below points will be useful.

CIVIL INSURANCE – Madrid

In England this is a common thing for most dog’s owners to have a pet insurance covering either part or most of the veterinary fees depending on their plan, which is a cautious rather smart way to help financing the multiple visits to the veterinary as well as preventing the unexpected costs. A health cover for Timón was a must have for us but we were not aware that this was not the only insurance that we needed to be in possession. Thankfully a family member heard about it on the radio and shared the information with us.

Madrid is the one of the two communities in Spain, which requires that every dog owners have a civil liability insurance. This insurance is not related to veterinary fees but aim at covering any damages that your dog may cause to a third party such as biting someone, making someone fall over on the pavement, damaging urban furniture or the medical cost involved in the case of attacking another dog…

If one of those scenarios occurs then the cost will be covered by your insurance depending on their policy. Here’s what you need to know to insure your dog.

  • Your dog must be aged over 3 months or no older than 9 years old.
  • Your dog must be registered with a microchip.
  • All vaccinations must be up to date (check with your veterinary if unsure).
  • If you have bought your dog and it is “worth” more than 300 euros you will have to provide a pedigree certificate.
  • Check further requirements and clauses if your dog breed is included in the Spanish law known as “Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos” (Dogs Potencially Dangerous).

A few private insurances as well as banks do offer this service and the cost is less than 10 euros a month, in our case we have decided to add it to the health insurance that we have opted for through Santé Vet.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTS in Madrid

If you are coming from London and you are used to travel with your pet via public transports you are surely unaware about the strict rules that you and your dog need to comply to before entering the tube in Madrid.  First of all, you are not allowed to travel with your pet in buses, a simple no dog zone so we are left with the tube as an option. Nonetheless, make sure that you comply to all the rules stated below before planing on your journey, as just like Timón and I on our attempt, you will be refused access to it.

  • Your dog have to be on a leash and wearing a muzzle at all times.
  • Leash cannot exceed 50cm
  • You are allowed to board the last carriage of the train only.
  • Only one dog per person is authorised.
  • Access hours are limited (check before travelling as it varies throughout the year). From Monday to Friday you are not allowed to travel with your dog in these time slots 7:30 a.m to 9:30 a.m, 14:00 p.m to 16:00 p.m and from 18:00 p.m to 20:00 p.m. You can access at any time of the day on weekends as well as week days in July and August.
  • Two dogs maximum per person.
  • Dogs are not allowed on buses except guide dogs.

Good news is that despite all those restrictions dogs are now allowed on the tube, something that was not possible before July 2016.

TAXI, UBER, CABIFY…

Cabify and Uber only allow you to board their cars with your dog if he is in a pet carrier, so if you are just heading somewhere for dinner this is definitely a rather inconvenient way to travel,  with no carrier on hand we tried our luck twice with Uber drivers and it took us a bit of negotiation to be let in.

I would opt for the normal Taxi but although they do not need to follow a company strict guidelines it all goes down to the cab driver’s willingness to accept your dog and most of time they won’t. Thus the best way is to call Tele Taxi, book a taxi and mention the presence of your dog without a crate, this way they will send you a taxi that is dog friendly.

RENFE/AVE – Spain

Probably the most outrageous out of all. Does your dog weight over 10kg, then forget about it you are not allowed in long distance train part of Renfe. If you are the “lucky” owner of a smaller dog then you won’t be discriminated by his weight but there is still some requirements that you need to check before travelling.

Due to this restriction many dogs of larger breeds are not being adopted as the owners are aware that they won’t be able to travel with their dog across Spain by train.

  • One dog per person only.
  • Be as discreet as possible with the dog staying on the floor.
  • Dog will have to remain in the transport cage at all times.
  • Transport cage dimensions must not exceed 60x35x35 cm.
  • Dog can not exceed 10kg.
  • If you travel in economy i.e “turista” you will have to pay 25% of the cost of your own ticket for your dog.

There is other requirements which apply to it depending on how you travel so please always check beforehand. Se admitirá como máximo un animal por viajero.

If you are travelling to any other cities in Spain, please check beforehand as they have a different policy towards dogs on public transports.

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