Adopting a pet in Germany


Are you a dog or a cat person? A pet can add life to a home and make an ideal travel companion during your expatriation in Germany.

However, formalities or regulations might put you off traveling with your pet making adoption a better option.

Are there any particular rules or procedures for the adoption of an animal in Germany?

What are the costs associated with adopting a pet in Germany?

Are there different procedures depending on the animal?

Are pet-sitting options available?

Have you ever adopted a pet in Germany? Is he or she still with you today?

Thank you in advance for your feedback,


I have 2 cats and one of them is adopted. Furthermore, I have friends who founded an animal welfare group taking care of strays in Romania and finding homes for them in Germany. So I know a bit about the topic.
First, you have to decide: Do you want a dog, a cat, a rabbit or any other pet? You have to ask yourself: Do I have enough time and money for the pet? ( Cats, especially if you have 2, can stay at home alone all day while you are at work, provided that you gave them enough food and water and cleaned the cat litter box before you left. A dog usually can't stay alone that long. )
Ask yourself if an old or young pet fits better in your life. ( For old people, for example, it is better to adopt an old or at least middle-aged pet since a kitten or puppy is too wild for them. )
Then get in touch with the local Tierheim or another animal welfare organisation. But be careful. There are also "black sheep" who put the money in their own pocket and the pets do not benefit at all. Organisationys that I can recommend are for example
They will ask you a lot of questions, visit your home and you will have to fill in a questionaire. Don't take that personal, they just want to make sure that the pet is taken good care of.
If you made your decision for a pet, and after those investigations the organisation didn't find anything negative, the pet can move into your home. You will have to pay the organisation a so-called "Schutzgebühr". It is to partly compensate the costs they had for food, medical long as the pet didn't have a home yet - and I think also to make sure the person is really interested in the pet.

I have adopted two cats since I've been here (one after the other). The first I sort of inherited from a roommate...her life circumstances had changed and she couldn't take care of him anymore. She moved away and I kept him and took him with me when I moved into my own place. He stayed with me for the rest of his life...he died at the old age of 19.

We (my husband and I) adopted our current cat 6 years ago. It was important to me to adopt an adult cat, so we looked at various shelters and advertisements. We found him through eBay Kleinanzeigen...his previous owner had recently moved to Berlin for work and found that he didn't have time to take care of him (and I suspect that his girlfriend didn't like him...he can be a little bit bitey if you approach him the wrong way).

In Berlin, the Tierheim ( is a great place to adopt a pet. There are other smaller shelters in the city, but that's the main one. They take a lot of care when they're placing pets. Before they even consider adopting a specific pet to you, they consider if it's a good fit. Like, if the cat was previously an outdoor cat and you live in an apartment, or if it used to live in a quiet home with seniors and you have kids, they won't adopt that cat to you. If they think you're a good fit, they'll do a home visit.

Private adoption from a previous owner can be a lot easier, but if the cat had a good home before, they'll still want to ask you questions and do a visit (we did that with our current cat). I think it's a good sign if they want to make sure their pet is going into good hands.

Usually shelters like the Tierheim charge a fee. This helps them cover the costs of the animals that are in their care. If you adopt privately, they may or may not charge a fee.

I can highly recommend getting an adult cat (if you're adopting a cat...I have NO experience with dogs). They tend to be quieter and less work if you're not at home during the day. If you adopt from the Tierheim and the cat has any pre-existing health conditions, the Tierheim will cover the costs related to those, even after you adopt the cat. So, don't be afraid of adopting an adult cat with diabetes!

As the person above mentioned, I think it's also really important to make sure a pet is right for you before you go ahead. I've had a few friends get cats, only to realize that they didn't have time or patience for them, or that they didn't want to take them with them when they moved a couple of years later. Sometimes things happen, but generally pets should be considered a "forever" decision. Make sure your home is suitable for the kind of pet you want to adopt, that it works with your lifestyle, that you have care options when you go away, and that if you're not planning on staying here permanently, you can take your pet with you when you leave.

Virtually every town in Germany has a Tierheim (animal shelter), where abandoned animals are kept until a new owner is found. Despite the fees (which are strictly only to cover the costs), these are good places to find grateful pets.
You should be VERY wary with organisations that import animals from abroad! Yes, they may be treated mucb worse there, but with the cost of transporting ONE of them over the border, yiou could have helped HUNDREDS that stay there. Most of these organisations are therefore misguided, or, worse, commercial exploiters of people with kind hearts. Why import an animal when there are already many here that need your help?

beppi :

Why import an animal when there are already many here that need your help?

I always wondered that beppi.

Absolutely. There are so many animals in the shelter. First give them a home ...

I Think for travellers it's very uncomfortable to adopt an animal, because pets don't like being alone or to swap their home. Maybe a dog is okay. But if you decide to adopt an animal it's better to go to the animal shelter because they are homeless and not "overbreeded".

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