Pet relocation to Germany is possible!
When moving to Germany, there are a lot of things you have to consider – visas, finding housing and work, schools (if you want to study or if you have children), creating a solid budget plan, finding a moving company, learning the language, and opening a bank account are just a few of the most common things you need to make sure you have in order before you move. However, there is another thing that doesn’t always get talked about as much – how to get your fur babies across the pond and into Germany.
Understanding Germany’s pet regulations is a very important step that can often require a lot of research and communication with the proper authorities. You want to ensure a smooth and hassle-free relocation for both you and your beloved companion.
Germany has specific rules and requirements in place to maintain the well-being of pets and protect public health. By familiarizing yourself with these regulations in advance, you can ensure a seamless process and provide the best possible care for your pet in your new German home.
From prohibited pets to import requirements and licensing, this guide will walk you through the necessary steps, allowing you to embark on this new chapter with peace of mind.
Can I bring my pet hedgehog?
Germany has specific regulations to ensure public safety, animal welfare, and environmental protection. Here are some important points to consider:
Restricted Dog Breeds
Germany has breed-specific regulations for dogs, and certain breeds are considered “dangerous” or “attack dogs.” These breeds may be subject to restrictions or even outright bans. The specific list of restricted breeds can vary from state to state within Germany.
Some commonly restricted breeds include Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Rottweilers. You should do your research on the regulations specific to your intended German location, as requirements may vary.
Reptiles and Exotic Animals
Germany has strict regulations regarding the ownership of reptiles and exotic animals. Some species, such as venomous snakes or large constrictor snakes, may be prohibited altogether. Other exotic animals may require special permits or documentation for ownership.
You should check with the relevant authorities in your intended location in Germany to determine the specific rules and restrictions for reptiles and exotic pets.
The ownership of wild animals in Germany is generally prohibited. This includes animals that are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and local wildlife protection laws. Germany prioritizes the preservation of native wildlife and discourages the ownership of wild animals as pets. So, no, you cannot bring a pet hedgehog to Germany.
What are the pet import requirements in Germany?
Bringing your pet to Germany requires careful preparation and adherence to specific import requirements. Here are the necessary steps and documents you need to be aware of:
According to the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the minimum age your dog or cat needs need to be in order to enter Germany is 15 weeks. This is due to the amount of time it takes after your fur baby receives their rabies vaccination for them to build up immunity.
In general, we would recommend waiting until you arrive and are established if you want to have a kitten or puppy.
Obtain a Pet Passport
Obtaining a pet passport or official veterinary health certificate is crucial for international pet travel. The pet passport serves as an identification and health record for your furry companion.
It contains essential information such as microchip details, vaccinations, and veterinary examinations. Ensure that the pet passport complies with the standards set by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) or the European Union Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
Microchipping your pet is mandatory for entry into Germany. The microchip serves as a permanent form of identification for your pet and should comply with ISO standards. Before traveling, ensure that your pet’s microchip is implanted, and the information associated with it is accurate and up-to-date.
Germany requires specific vaccinations to ensure the health and safety of both pets and the general public. The most important vaccination for entry into Germany is rabies. Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies, with the vaccination administered at least 21 days before your arrival in Germany.
You need to make sure you have a valid rabies vaccination certificate that includes the vaccine’s manufacturer, batch number, and date of administration. Don’t forget to make sure your pet is up to date on other routine vaccinations recommended by your veterinarian.
Obtaining a veterinary certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian is a mandatory requirement for importing your pet into Germany. This certificate confirms your pet is in good health, free from contagious diseases, and has received all necessary vaccinations. The certificate should be issued shortly before your departure to Germany and must be endorsed by the official veterinary authority of your home country.
To ensure a smooth entry into Germany, it is essential to carefully review and fulfill all the necessary import requirements for your specific pet. Regulations may vary depending on the country of origin and the type of animal you are bringing.
We recommend consulting with your local veterinarian or an experienced professional pet relocation service with experience in international travel to Germany to ensure that you have all the correct documentation and meet the required standards.
Does my pet need to stay in quarantine?
Quarantine regulations for pets in Germany aim to prevent the spread of diseases and ensure the well-being of animals entering the country. Here are some key points to consider:
Germany is considered a rabies-free country. As a result, pets coming from other rabies-free countries or regions typically do not require quarantine upon arrival. This applies to most countries in Europe and other regions with controlled rabies status.
Pets coming from high-risk countries, where rabies is prevalent or not adequately controlled, may be subject to additional requirements and examinations. The specific regulations and health examinations will greatly depend on the country of origin and the specific circumstances.
Additional Health Examinations
In some cases, pets coming from high-risk countries may undergo additional health examinations upon arrival in Germany. These examinations are typically conducted by a veterinarian designated by the local veterinary authority. The purpose is to verify the health status of the pet and ensure that it does not pose a risk to public health or other animals in Germany.
It’s important to note that quarantine requirements can change. We advise you to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations from the relevant German authorities, such as the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) or the local veterinary authority in your intended German location.
It really helps to contact a professional pet relocation service to help with the process, and a double bonus – they can also help you transport your pet if you cannot do so easily with an airline company.
I heard I need a license for a dog in Germany. Is this true?
This may come as a surprise to many expats, but it is very common to need a license to have a dog in Germany. Especially if you plan on taking your dog for walks without a leash. As with most pet regulations, the need for a license will depend on the city and state you will be moving to in Germany. Here are some things you should know:
Variations in Licensing Requirements
Dog licensing requirements in Germany can vary from city to city or even within different districts of the same city. So you need to do your research and understand the specific regulations where you are moving. Local municipal or city authorities, as well as official websites, can provide detailed information regarding the licensing process and requirements.
Dog License Application
Typically, dog owners must register their dogs with the local authorities within a specific timeframe after arrival in Germany. The registration process usually involves completing an application form and paying a registration fee.
Be prepared when you are budgeting – you will need to pay dog tax in Germany for each dog that you have, but there are some instances like having a service dog where you may not be required to pay the full amount. The application may require details such as the owner’s information, the dog’s breed, age, and microchip number.
Proof of Liability Insurance
Dog owners are required to have liability insurance coverage specifically for their dogs. This insurance is essential in case the dog causes any damage or injury to others. When applying for a dog license, owners must provide proof of liability insurance coverage that meets the minimum requirements set by the local authorities.
Some cities or districts in Germany may require dogs to pass a behavioral test to ensure they are well-behaved and pose no danger to others. The test typically assesses the dog’s behavior in various situations, such as interacting with people and other animals. Successful completion of the test may be a prerequisite for obtaining a dog license.
Additional regulations may apply, such as leash laws, designated dog-walking areas, and waste disposal rules. Picking up dog poop is very important in Germany. No one wants to step in dog poo that has been left on the walkway or in the grass.
How do I get my pet into Germany?
As mentioned before – there are services that specialize in pet relocation. This is a really great option if you have a bigger pet that you do not want to fly in the cargo area of the plane, or if your pet has special needs. These services specialize in giving your pet the best possible and most comfortable travel to Germany, as they have experts who are there to make the trip less stressful for your pet.
If you want to fly with your pet on an international flight – do your research because each airline will have slightly different rules and regulations you will need to follow. For smaller pets, like cats or small dogs, you can keep them with you but they will need to be kept in a specific size animal carrier, and you will need to purchase a seat ticket for them.
Unfortunately, not all airlines offer this service, so you should call in advance to make sure you have all the details in order. We highly recommend booking a flight without any layovers or changes in airlines, since each airline will have a different set of rules and also because it will put less stress on your pet.
Lufthansa is a wonderful airline for traveling internationally with pets. They allow smaller dogs and cats weighing no more than 8 kg (about 17 pounds) including their carrying container may be transported under certain conditions as additional carry-on baggage in the passenger cabin. Service dogs can ride for free but you still need to register them with you when you fly.
Larger dogs and cats and all other animal species, regardless of their weight and size, are not allowed in the cabin. There are also restrictions for snub-nose animals like bulldogs due to their anatomically restricted airways which can cause difficulty in breathing – be sure to check in with the airline to see what the regulations are if you have a snub-nose fur baby.
You will want to make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible. If they are riding in the cabin with you, we recommend using the biggest possible soft carrier so your pet can stretch out as much as possible. Soft carriers will also help with meeting the weight requirements for trying to get your fur baby in the cabin with you.
Here are a few examples
If you cannot bring your pet to Germany, we recommend finding a close friend or family member to care for your pet so that you can still visit and see them when you return to your home country. This can make the process of not being able to take them with you a bit easier.