Traveling With Pets to Germany

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Planning a trip to Germany but don’t want to leave without your four-footed friend? Germany is a fabulously pet-friendly country and if you’d like to travel with your dog or cat or whoever you call a friend, all it requires is planning ahead and knowing the rules. Learn these important regulations and helpful travel tips to travel with your pet in Germany

Germany is part of the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This allows pets to travel without boundaries within the EU (European Union) as each pet has a passport with vaccination record. Passports are available from authorized veterinarians and must contain details of a valid anti-rabies vaccination, usually within 10-30 days before travel.

You need to present the following documents when entering Germany from outside the EU Pet Scheme with your pet:

  • Valid rabies vaccination (at least 30 days but no more than 12 months prior to the entry to Germany)
  • Bilingual veterinary certificate (English/German)
  • Your pet needs to be identified by a microchip (standard: ISO 11784 or ISO11785 ); your vet can do this, and it is not painful for the animal.

The EU pet passport is only for dogs, cats and ferrets. Other pets must check relevant national rules on taking animals in/out of the country.

You can download the required documents and get updated and detailed information on the official Website of the German Embassy.

Many airlines allow small pets in the passenger cabin (dogs under 10 pounds), while larger pets are “Live Cargo” and will be shipped in the cargo hold. Make sure to get a airline approved kennel or crate for your furry friend and take the time to get them comfortable in the crate before leaving.

Notify your airline well in advance about your pet and ask about their pet policy; some airlines require an international health certificate. Airlines usually charge a fee for shipping a pet which ranges from $200 to 600. If money is no object and the paperwork seems intimidating, you can hire a company to ship your pet for you.

Germany is a very dog-friendly country. They are allowed almost everywhere (besides grocery stores) with only the rare Kein Hund erlaubt (“No dogs allowed”).

This is made possible because most German dogs are very well-behaved. They heel perfectly, listen to every command and even stop before crossing the street. It is incredible to watch, and takes a lot of heard work from dog owners. If you want to own a dog in Germany, prepare to also train them to perfection.

However, dog owners should know that the following breeds are considered dangerous by the government as class 1:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Or any dog mixed with the above breeds

Rules vary from federal state to federal state, but generally, these breeds are not allowed to stay longer in Germany than four weeks and they must be muzzled when out in public. If they are allowed to stay, you will need to apply to local authorities for a license and supply Haftpflichtversicherung (personal liability insurance). There are also class 2 dogs that face more lenient standards, but are still require registration. This includes Rottweilers, American Bulldogs, Mastiffs. Consult with the local authorities for banned or restricted breeds and requirements for registration.

Even dogs without muzzles should not be pet without asking. This is not culturally acceptable and you may get a curt response from the owner and the dog.

Small to medium-sized dogs, who can travel in a cage or basket, can be taken free of charge on German trains, U-Bahn, trams and buses.

For larger dogs, you have to buy a ticket (half price); for safety reasons, larger dogs also have to be on a leash and wear a muzzle.

Dogs are allowed in many hotels and restaurants in Germany. However, some hotels might charge you for a pet (usually between 5 and 20 Euro).

If you aren’t bringing a furry friend with you, you can make one in Germany. Adopting a pet is possible in Germany. If you adopt a pet in the EU, they automatically come with a passport and vaccination book.

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