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Moving with your pet to Germany

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If you intend to travel to Germany with your pet, you are advised to check EU requirements. Your dog or cat can accompany you to Germany provided it meets the criteria established by the German authorities and that you complete the formalities required. You can start by enquiring about these with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, or with the European Commission, if you come from a European Union country.

Germany mostly follows EU regulations for animal movement. Therefore different requirements apply when travelling within the EU, from a listed third country (low risk of rabies) or a non-listed third country with high risk of rabies.

Travelling to Germany with a pet from within the EU

Whether a dog or a cat, you will need:

  • A pet passport (Heimtierausweis): This document should be issued by a licensed veterinarian and must clearly identify the animal by microchip or tattoo. Your pet's passport should include other details such as its name, breed, colour, age and weight, as well as the owner's name and contact details.
  • Marking: Before proceeding, the veterinarian has to check if your pet is wearing an identification microchip or transponder. Clearly readable tattoos are valid if applied before 3rd July 2011.
  • To make sure it has been vaccinated against rabies. Note that dogs and cats travelling to Germany must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days prior to the scheduled travel date and remain within the period of validity of the vaccination. Since rabies vaccinations can only be carried out after 12 weeks of age, puppies can only travel at 15 weeks earliest. If your pet's rabies vaccination certificate is up-to-date, it will not be quarantined upon its arrival in Germany.
  • A written declaration that the animal is not intended for sale or change of ownership.
  • Treatment for tapeworms if your dog is coming from Sweden, Ireland, Malta, Finland and the UK

Finally, it is recommended to give your pet necessary treatment against parasites such as fleas and ticks before the scheduled travel date.

Travelling to Germany with a pet from outside the EU

Generally, health requirements depend on the rabies situation in your country of origin (listed or non-listed). In addition to the above-mentioned necessities for travelling within the EU, you’ll also have to comply with the following:

  • Valid health certificate (as equivalent to EU pet passport)
  • Your pet will have to have travelled by direct means. In the case of passage through non-listed third countries, a self-declaration is needed stating that the animal had no contact with rabies-susceptible animals during transit and had not left the means of transport or the airport.
  • Rabies antibody test: Moreover, your pet will have to undergo a blood test in order to determine the rabies vaccine's effectiveness at least 30 days after the vaccination date and no less than three months before the date of travel. The test must be undertaken by an authorised vet and approved laboratory. It is recommended to check with the laboratory regarding the conditions for sending the blood sample.

 Attention:
You should enquire as to the specific restrictions that may apply regarding your country of origin in order to avoid your pet having to go through quarantine, which may result in very expensive costs.

 Important:
A maximum of five pets per person (dogs, cats, ferrets) can travel to Germany, otherwise, the rules for animal trade apply. This also applies when the purpose of travel is to change their owner. Exceptions are participating in competitions, exhibitions, training or sporting events without change of ownership.

 Good to know:

Required vaccination may vary from one country to another. For instance, pets coming from some countries such as New Caledonia and Australia should be vaccinated against leptospirosis, distemper, Rubarth hepatitis, etc.

Travelling with other animals

If you wish to import other pets such as ferrets, birds, fish, among others, it is best to enquire about related formalities with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. As regards horses, they will be quarantined for a certain period upon their arrival in Germany.

Transport

Make sure to check your pet's travel conditions with your carrier beforehand. Advance booking is recommended, as the number of places may be limited. Animals weighing a maximum of 4 pounds are allowed to travel in the cabin, while those weighing more than this are required to travel in the hold. Remember to bring an emergency kit for your pet in case it gets sea or air sick.

Travelling across the country

Once you are in Germany, travelling across the country with your pet should be quite easy. In fact, pets (dogs in particular) are allowed to travel by public transport. Train networks, for instance, offer discounted rates for dogs.

 Useful links:

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture www.bmel.de
European Commission https://ec.europa.eu
Pet Travel www.pettravel.com
Europa - List of third countries from which animals do not require quarantine ec.europa.eu

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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