(239) 344-8959

Get a Quote

Pet Etiquette in Germany

Published on: January 27, 2023  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

Cochem, Germany

If you’re moving with family and pets to Germany, there is a lot to learn about your new home. Every foreign country has its own customs and, of course, its own laws. These apply to pets as well, and you may find that Germany has more pet-related rules than you’re used to. Learning proper German pet etiquette will make you and your pets welcome new neighbors.

First, you have to get there

Every country has specific requirements for importing pets. It is crucial that you follow these rules. The easiest and most reliable way to do this is to work with someone like Starwood Pet Travel. You won’t have to worry about making a mistake or spend countless, frustrating hours trying to figure out the best flight(s) for your pet.

If you plan to rent your home or apartment, you will need permission from your landlord to have a pet. This is really no different from the US. No matter where you live in Germany, though, pit bulls and similar dog breeds are not allowed. In some German states, other dogs considered dangerous (such as Rottweilers) are allowed, but they have to pass a viciousness test.

Once in Germany, you’ll need to follow the rules

Your dog must be licensed, and there may be a tax to pay as well. This differs from one region and municipality to another, so you’ll have to ask. Your cat will be tax-free, and they won’t need a license.

Rules also vary regarding leash laws, where it’s OK to walk your dog, and whether you may allow your dog or cat to roam around on their own. Definitely inquire about these key pet etiquette rules in your community, because failure to follow the rules can earn you a very stiff fine, not to mention the ire of your neighbors, who are very likely to report you and your pet’s misbehavior to the authorities.

The German Animal Welfare Act defines the rules of pet care. You may not “limit the animal’s opportunity for species-specific movement in a way that the animal suffers from pain, diseases or injuries.” What does that mean for you as a pet parent?

You may not restrict your dog in a crate all day while you’re gone. You cannot lock them in a room, stick them out on the balcony, or leash them inside your home, either.

Officials say you need to walk your dog at least every five hours, and your dog should get at least one hour of exercise (total) each day.

If the local police believe you are putting your dog at risk, they will get with the official veterinarian to rescue your dog. You could lose your pet, and you could be fined or even sent to prison.

Barking and whining are officially restricted, too, by local noise ordinances. Dogs must remain quiet at night between 10 pm and 6 am, and during the afternoon from 1 pm to 3 pm. Noise cannot last longer than 10 minutes at other times.

In Germany, you are wholly and legally responsible for your pet’s actions. If your dog knocks (or scares) someone off their bike, causing injury or damage, you’re liable. Locals suggest you invest in pet liability insurance.

You can prevent problems by helping your pet acclimate to their new home and new surroundings.

On the upside . . .

In Germany, you can take your pets to a lot more places than in some other countries (including the States). Not surprisingly, dogs aren’t allowed in stores that sell fresh food, such as grocery stores and butcher shops. However, many other stores including cafés and restaurants, are happy to welcome your dog. They will post a sign on their door if this is not the case. In some places, there are even public swimming pools for dogs.

German pets are also welcome to ride any type of public transport along with you. That includes the subway, buses, trains, and trams. Their ticket price will be about half of your cost. Locals say many conductors won’t bother to check, but as a foreigner in Germany representing your home country, it’s best to observe proper pet etiquette and buy that pet ticket when you travel.

Municipalities provide free poop bags, and you’re expected to use them.

And, by the way, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a veterinarian near your new home. And like so many Europeans, they may very well speak English.

New Call-to-action

Starwood Animal Transport has rebranded to Starwood Pet Travel. We are still the same great company with the best team, just now with a slightly different name.