We have two vans, a 2012 Vauxhall Movana and a 2011 Nissan NV200 both with a DEFRA Animal Welfare Certificate (Vauxhall: 10619 & Nissan: 10603) for the transportation of live animals across Europe on journeys in excess of 24 hours.
The certificates mean the Vans have met the stringent requirements of DEFRA which in brief means that the vans have air conditioning, a grill separating the drivers from the animals, the means of monitoring and adjusting the temperature in the rear of the van, independent lighting in the rear in the van, a washable floor in the van, approved cages and transport boxes for the cats and dogs, and the means to secure the cages and transport boxes throughout the journey.
In addition we have the means to water the cats and dogs in transit without having to open their cages or transport boxes, if required. We travel with a Sat Nav and a back up system and a Spanish and UK mobile phone.
The vans each have a cool box which can be used as necessary for any medication that needs to be carried.
We carry a full first aid kit for animals, surgical gloves, tie wraps, dog ‘poo’ bags, wet wipes and kitchen roll, along with headache tablets etc for ourselves!
The configuration of cages changes depending on the destination and number of animals being transported. The Nissan typically has 4 Large Cages and 2 Medium Cages and is capable of taking 10-16 dogs of Medium, Small and Puppy sizes. The Vauxhall typically has 10 Extra Large Cages and is capable of taking 15 dogs to the UK of varying sizes. We change the configuration of cages depending on the profile of dogs booked on each transport so please be accurate and honest when submitting your dogs size.
The Large Van
The Small Van
We have a Type 2 Animal Transporter Authorisation (UK/STAFF/T2/00081793) valid until 2017 issued by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency which allows us to transport the cats and dogs by road throughout Europe on journeys exceeding 8 hours.
We provide the following transportation services for your pet cats and dogs.
Cat & Dog Transport to Europe & UK
We run a transport to the UK every three weeks, with a break in the summer and over Christmas.
You can see the schedule on the Diary Page.
With respect to the UK we have a number of regular drop off points, but the actual drop off points and schedule vary from transport to transport depending on where the cats and dogs need to go. We endeavour to get as close to your door as possible depending on logistics. Our priority is to reduce the amount of time the animals spend in the van so please be prepared to drive to meet us.
If you want to guarantee a door to door services then subject to logistics we will offer it but it will incur a charge of 25€ so if you require door to door please indicate when booking.
Boxes and Cages
The cat boxes MUST be approved in advance, so if you have any doubts please check this page for the dimensions that we can accept, and the water bowl MUST be fitted securely INSIDE the box (please use tie wraps to secure) but empty, and the cat should not have been fed since 6pm the night before.
Please note though that boxes MUST NOT be any bigger than those on this page. However tempting it is to sneak in a bigger box this causes us real problems as we have an optimum layout that we must achieve if we are going to cover the costs of the transport, and if we can’t load your box because it is too big then we will have no option other than to leave the box and the cat with you BUT we will still require you to pay your contribution as we can’t afford to provide the transports if they aren’t full, and your space could have been taken by someone else and it is unfair on all the other cats and dogs and owners if we cancel because you couldn’t be bothered to sort out the right size box!
TIP don’t put a blanket or bedding into the cat box when you are transporting it to the drop off location. If it going to go to the toilet far better it does it in an empty box that you can easily clean out before handing the cat over to us. Put the bedding into the box once you are at the pick up location.
After we have secured all the cats we will fill up their water bowls as part of our final check before setting off. We check the water levels continually throughout he journey.
Please ensure that your box is labelled with your unique identifier i.e. XX01 which Sands will provide you with.
We use two sizes of cage depending on the size and number of dogs traveling: 109x69x75cm, and 89x60x66cm. These are classified as Extra Large and Large. By way of guidance we would expect to able to get two Large dogs in an Extra Large Cage, 4 Medium dogs in and Extra Large Cage (2 Medium dogs in a Large Cage) and 6-8 Puppies and Small dogs in a Extra Large Cage (4-6 Puppies and Small dogs in a Large Cage). Of course this depends on the size of the dogs which is why it is important that you are accurate when booking your dog a place. We NEVER overcrowd the dogs and always ensure that they have water in the cages and enough space to move around and lie down.
We took advice from a number of vets who recommended that dogs prefer to travel in company so we always try and have at least two to a cage, size allowing! The reason for this is that dogs are less stressed when they have company and so long as they can stand up and stretch to change positions while actually traveling they are more comfortable snuggled up. We ensure the dogs are introduced to each other before hand if they haven’t met before the transport, and we carry a couple of extra cages in case dogs need moving during a transport.
To date the vets advice has been spot on. Only issue we have had is with dogs traveling on their own wanting to go in cages with other dogs!
With the Large Van we are able to open the cage doors to access the dogs with the van doors CLOSED which we do if we are in any doubt about a dogs tendency to try and bolt!
The default configurations are: Large Van – 7 Extra Large Cages and 3 Large Cages as well as 5 Flight Boxes of varying sizes so 15 cages/boxes in total. Small Van – 4 Large Cages and 2 Medium Cages (78x55x61).
We DO NOT put blankets or bedding into the cages at the beginning of the journey. Experience tells us that this is when a dog is most likely to be sick or go to the toilet (especially if they have been fed prior to travel) so we always leave it a couple of hours to let the dogs settle, and then give them their blankets. You are more than welcome to provide favourite bedding etc. We have plenty of space to take it with us. We do this for the well being of the dogs: last thing they want is to start their journey on a soiled blanket!
We drive in three hour shifts, stopping every three hours to check the cats and dogs and fill up their water, top up the Van with fuel, and take on some food and drink ourselves, as well as take a short break to stretch and get some circulation going through the body (achieved by walking the dogs)!
We drive straight through with a number of short breaks to rest.
We will provide regular progress updates via Twitter which are posted directly in the sidebar on the site along with any TwitPics that we take en route.
Our intention has always been to offer a high quality, affordable transport service for your pet cats and dogs. Our costs are based on our regular schedule i.e. departing from Almerimar and delivering to the South, South East, South West, Midlands and Yorkshire.
We will deliver dogs to Wales, the North East, North West i.e. Carlisle and Scotland, but this will cost extra.
We are able to collect dogs from in Spain prior to travel and keep them for several nights before each trip.
We DO NOT offer a Door to Door service as standard but depending on the schedule for each trip it may be possible so please feel free to ask at the time of booking.
We will provide a quote for anywhere in Spain or Portugal.
IF you are arranging by prior arrangement to have a cat/dog delivered or dropped off with us prior to a transport then they MUST be delivered Friday morning: no exceptions! We can only accommodate a limited number of cats and dogs prior to a transport so if you think you will require this option please ask as soon as possible and we will let you know.
Please DO NOT ask for a cheaper price or a ‘charity price’. Our prices are the cheapest that we can afford to offer and sustain a three weekly transport.
If you transport cats and dogs on a regular basis and are prepared to use us exclusively please ask about our Preferred Partner scheme.
If you have a large number of cats or dogs to transport please ask about our One Off Transport options where you can book the whole van based on one pick up in Spain and you provide the second driver.
Please check with us regarding the size of the dog as we pre load a number of specific cages depending on the number and sizes of dogs we are transporting so if your dog is bigger than we are expecting we can’t guarantee to take it.
ALL dogs must travel in our cages so we know the configuration of boxes and cages on each transport. We use three sizes of cage depending on the size and number of dogs traveling: 109x69x75cm, 89x60x66cm and 78x55x61cm. Please confirm the size of your dog when making your booking.
Pets Transported From The UK
We will of course bring pet cats and dogs back from the UK to Spain if required. As we do not have the restraints of picking up and delivering so many dogs on our return trips we are able to offer a ‘door to door’ service for this.
Although it is a ‘door to door’ service we have a fixed price for the transports although we may need to charge extra for transports from Scotland, North East & West and to the likes of Malaga, Gibralter, Portugal and Northern Spain, so please be specific when making your request as to the locations and size of dogs.
- Cats, Puppies, Small & Medium Dogs £250 + VAT
- Large and Extra Large Dogs £300 + VAT
Please confirm at the time of booking if you require a VAT invoice!
Terms and Conditions
If you ask us to take a cat or dog please ensure that you have the funds and paperwork in place first. The person making the booking is wholly responsible for ensuring that the funds are in place and that all the information we require is provided within the timeframes.
It is vital that you provide us with the name, mobile and email for the person that is collecting the cat or dog in good time. This is even more important for animals traveling to the UK as we need time to arrange final drop-offs. To ensure that those that respond promptly aren’t kept waiting by those that are less responsive we have a cut off of 7 days before the transport where we will confirm the schedule of UK drop offs and times after which anyone that has yet to respond will have to fit in with that schedule. At this time if we haven’t heard from the the person collecting the dog/cat in the UK to confirm details we will cancel the booking ensure and offer the space to the waiting list.
Do NOT sedate your animal in any way prior to travel. We do not agree with this and will refuse to transport the animal and you will have to pay the full price.
You can see the latest DEFRA guidelines here. PLEASE ensure you read them and ensure your vet completes the passports accurately as an incomplete or inaccurate passport means your animal will not be taken but you will still be charged. Once we have checked the microchip and the passport and accepted the pet onto our transport then the responsibility is ours. In the event that the pet isn’t allowed into the UK due to an issue with their passport then we will cover any kennel costs and the cost of returning the pet to the point we collected it in Spain. Please note this ONLY relates to an issue with the passport. If for example the dog becomes too ill to travel, or is deemed a dangerous breed etc then we can not accept responsibility.
Please also ensure that all animals have been treated for fleas and that all dogs have been tested for leishmania. Although this is not a DEFRA requirement it is something that we insist on for all dogs that travel with us.
Please note that because we have been let down in the past with people confirming but then putting dogs on alternative transports, we have had to implement a 25% non refundable deposit for dogs at the time of booking. Until you have paid your deposit and received confirmation your booking is not guaranteed.
Once your booking for a cat or dog is confirmed we will provide you with a link and password to a secure page on the site with details specific to your transport, including details and links to the actual drop off and pick up locations.
IF in the unfortunate event that a pet we transport doesn’t settle in the UK and needs to be returned to Spain we will do this for FREE for dogs that we have transported to the UK. We only offer this service for the UK.
Pet Passport & Paperwork
In ALL circumstances the “client” is responsible for the animal’s passport. Please take particular care with the passports of animals going into the UK. If the animal’s passport is not complete and the animal needs to be held in customs, quarantined or taken to a vets we will do all we can to help but can not incur any costs or delays to our schedule.
Common errors that we come across include:
1. Name not entered on the front page
2. Date of microchip not entered
3. The end date for the rabies not completed
4. The time and date both not entered for worming and ticks. You only need worming but if you treat for ticks this needs to be completed as well. REMEMBER you have 1-5 days before we travel.
5. Date for the clinical examination that the animal fit for travel.
NB Your cat requires the microchip and rabies vaccination NOT the worming.
Please check here for the latest DEFRA guidelines of taking your pet to the UK.
If you are collecting an animal from us, and you are not from one of our partner organisations, please bring your passport or appropriate photo ID with you.
Also note that the insurance of the animals that we transport is solely the responsibility of the owners. We will make every attempt to keep them safe and sound, and their well being is our prime concern. If they become unwell or distressed we will find a vet and take advice from the vet as to the correct course of treatment. The vets word will be final on this and while we will pay any vets bills directly we will recover these from the person that is paying for the transport. We do have Public Liability Insurance.
By booking a place on one of our transports you are acknowledging and agreeing to this disclaimer.
We MUST have an authorisation to transport email from the person receiving the animal in the UK and it MUST say that they are the owner of the pet. Please ensure you send us the following email. If you don’t have a passport use your driving license, or a similar ID.
With reference to my booking on xxxx for the transportation of my pet to the UK.
I, being the owner of the pet declare that the animal identified by the following passport:
will accompany the natural person that I have designated to be responsible for the animal on my behalf, and are not intended to be sold or transferred to another owner.
Please use as the subject for the email the following: Declaration of Owner not accompanying Pet during its journey
Please ensure that we have this authorisation email before we collect your pet.
If you are interested in having your dog or cat transported by us please check out our form here
A Few Extras
We will bring back from the UK any donations for rescue centres or produce that rescue centres have purchased for their centre free of charge.
Only caveat is that we don’t have to travel out of our way to collect or drop these off.
We are NOT a white van and man operation so please don’t ask us to bring stuff back as we just not interested as have been exploited too many times!