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In Spain, there are approximately 15 million pets, mostly consisting of dogs and cats. However, rabbits, tortoises, and turtles also contribute to this number.


Dogs are the most popular pets, with a 38 percent increase in ownership over the past three years. It is important for dog owners to be aware of the necessary vaccinations to maintain their pet's health and prevent the spread of diseases.

Certain vaccines are considered "compulsory" for dogs and are crucial for their wellbeing. However, the required vaccinations may vary depending on the country or autonomous community within Spain.


Some of the essential vaccinations for dogs include Canine Parvovirus, which causes bloody diarrhea, and Distemper, a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease that affects the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. Fortunately, vaccination can prevent this illness.


Although Spain is officially rabies-free, it is still crucial to keep dogs vaccinated against rabies to maintain this status and prevent virus transmission through bites. Rabies is a fatal disease, and although vaccines are available, there is currently no cure.


When should puppies receive vaccinations?

In Spain, puppies can receive vaccinations against parvovirus and distemper as well as two polyvalent vaccines (which combine various viruses and bacterial diseases) as young as six weeks old.


The basic polyvalent vaccine includes canine distemper, canine infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis vaccines, parvovirus vaccine, kennel cough and canine coronavirus.


While puppies retain defences from their mother until six weeks old, they need external defences from vaccines thereafter.

Puppies can receive the polyvalent vaccine at two months old, followed by a booster at three months old. At four months old, they should receive a rabies vaccine booster. After one year, dogs require booster shots for both the polyvalent and rabies vaccines.


Yearly vaccines for both the polyvalent and rabies vaccines are typically required in most regions of Spain, though Catalonia, Galicia, and the Basque Country do not mandate the rabies vaccine. However, it is still recommended to vaccinate against rabies, especially if you plan to travel with your dog. Some regions allow a booster every two years instead.


Optional vaccines for dogs include canine hepatitis, canine leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, lyme disease, and kennel cough. Dogs that frequently visit forested areas should receive the leptospirosis vaccine, which provides protection for at least 12 months.



Cats may not be as popular as dogs, but there were still over 5.8 million pet cats in Spain in 2021 according to Statista.

When it comes to vaccinations for cats, their lifestyle should also be taken into consideration. Depending on whether the cat lives indoors or outdoors and comes into contact with other animals, different vaccinations may be required.


In general, the basic recommended vaccinations for cats are the trivalent vaccine (considered the most important), the leukemia vaccine, and the rabies vaccine.


So, at what age should cats be vaccinated?

Indoor cats that live alone should receive their first trivalent vaccine when they are two months old, followed by a booster at three months.


The trivalent vaccine protects against the following diseases:

Feline Panleukopenia (also known as Feline Typhus), a disease caused by parvovirus which can be fatal in cats under six months old.

Rhinotracheitis, a contagious respiratory disease caused by herpesvirus.

Calicivirus, a respiratory disease that produces flu-like symptoms in cats and is caused by picornavirus.


For cats that spend most of their time outdoors, both the Trivalent vaccine and Feline Leukaemia vaccine should be administered at two months (eight weeks) of age.

A Feline Leukaemia booster should be given two weeks later at 10 weeks.

All vaccinations require annual boosters.


While the rabies vaccine is not mandatory for cats in Spain, it is recommended to administer the rabies vaccine to cats at six months.

If you adopt a cat or kitten, it is crucial to test them for seropositivity as feline leukaemia can be transmitted from the mother cat during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or sharing water bowls.


The rules for administering the rabies vaccine to cats are the same as for dogs.

Chlamydophila and leishmaniasis vaccines are not obligatory and usually not made to cats because they do not provide complete protection against these two diseases. However, Chlamydophila is typically recommended for multi-cat households to control the spread of eye infections, while leishmaniasis is an uncommon skin parasitic disease in cats.


If in doubt, always consult with your local vet.

I live in Spain, love this country and share my experience with others.

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