Free vet care for vulnerable pet owners in Spain 

Spanish Government offers relief for some pet owners

Image of a Labrador being examined by a vet. Credit: SeventyFour/

There are many advantages to owning a pet, but there are also responsibilities, alongside feeding and housing, veterinary bills can significantly strain budgets.

A recent initiative from the Spanish government aims to help certain pet owners, the system has already been launched in Catalonia, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Foundation for Advice and Action in Defence of Animals (FAADA) introduced the ‘Best Friends’ programme.

As of now, regions such as Catalonia have allocated €154,500 for complimentary veterinary services. This programme offers substantial support for those facing financial hardships and who own pets.

Which pet owners are eligible?

Eligible participants for this program include people who find themselves in various situations such as homelessness to seniors living on minimal pensions.

  • Homeless individuals with animals.
  • Victims of gender violence with animals not covered by Viopet.
  • People in substandard housing with animals.
  • Older individuals on minimal pensions with animals.
  • Economically vulnerable individuals with a home and animals.
  • People with psychophysiological disorders.

The services provided cover such things as vaccinations, identification, sterilisation, deworming, and when necessary, euthanasia and cremation.

The ministry described this effort as ‘the result of the need to give visibility and recognition to the existing link between people and animals in vulnerable situations, providing the knowledge and resources for adequate management of these cases.’

Additional support

Further support comes from the Community of Madrid, which has adapted its shelters to accommodate homeless individuals with pets.

In these modified shelters, spaces are equipped for animals to rest comfortably, shielded from the elements, while their owners have a place to sleep. This initiative ensures that homeless individuals do not have to forsake their loyal companions for shelter.

In addition, residents with animals living in substandard housing or those facing economic challenges, despite having a home, are also eligible for aid.

This inclusive approach underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring that no pet owner in need goes without necessary care, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to community welfare.

This governmental intervention reflects a broader recognition of the bond between humans and animals, especially in challenging circumstances. It not only alleviates the financial burden on pet owners but also fosters an inclusive approach to social welfare.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.