Moving a Pet to Germany
Rules and Regulations for International Pet Shipping
- Pet Travel Documents & Requirements
- Pet Restrictions for Germany
- Microchip for Pet Travel to Germany
- Quarantine for Pet Travel to Germany
- Area Specific Information
- Top Destinations in Germany
- How Starwood Can Help
What Pet Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Germany?
The German Federal Customs Service (known as “ZOLL”) is responsible for regulating pet importation. As with every other country, the rules for moving to Germany with a pet depend on where you’re living now. For example, if you and your dog or cat (or ferret) are coming from another European Union country and your pet already has an EU Pet Passport, you’re good to go.
You can read those rules in detail here if you currently live in a non-EU country. As an overview, however, you’ll find everything you need to know below. Germany’s regulations are not complex compared to many other countries.
Originals of all documents must travel with your pet.
Rabies is the only immunization required for dogs, cats, and ferrets to enter Germany. One, two, or three-year vaccines are acceptable, as long as it was administered according to manufacturer guidelines, and is still current when your pet arrives. To be considered valid, the rabies vaccine must be administered after or at the same time your pet is microchipped. All countries make this distinction because each animal’s microchip number is their unique identifier and it has to appear on all documentation.
To enter Germany, your pet’s microchip must be ISO-compliant. If your pet has a microchip that was implanted prior to rabies vaccination, they will not need to be re-vaccinated but will need to get a second, ISO-compliant microchip. All paperwork must show both microchip numbers.
The first rabies vaccination given after implantation of a microchip (or at the same time) is considered the “primary” vaccination. This definition also applies to a vaccination given after an earlier rabies vaccine has expired. All pets must wait at least 21 days between the current rabies vaccination date and their arrival in Germany.
Pets are not required to be vaccinated for anything other than rabies. However, the following vaccines are recommended to be valid when your pet enters Germany and should be given at least 2 weeks before your pet departs:
- Dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP), and Bordetella
- Cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP)
If you are moving from a non-listed country (where rabies is a known problem or not reliably controlled), your pet will also require a rabies titer blood test. The blood test must:
- Be completed by a government-approved veterinarian
- Be sent to an approved laboratory
- Be completed at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination and at least 3 months prior to travel
Dogs, cats, and ferrets do not need an import permit to enter Germany.
An accredited veterinarian must scan your pet's microchip, examine them for travel, fill out, and sign an EU Veterinary Health Certificate. The health certificate must then be endorsed by the official government vet. In the USA, the USDA will endorse the certificate. Accredited vets can electronically sign the health certificate, but the official government vet (USDA) must place their original ink signature, stamp & seal on the paperwork and the originals must travel with your pet.
The health certificate must be completed within 10 days prior to your pet’s departure.
Photo of Pet
Pet photos are not required. If someone asks, though, we suspect you’ll have plenty available on your phone to show them!
What Are the Pet Restrictions for Germany?
When it comes to banned dog breeds, Germany’s regulations do become complicated. Countrywide, except for documented service dogs, you may not import any dog that is a purebred or mix of Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Bull Terrier. Beyond that, however, each of the country’s federal Lands (equivalent to states in the US) can enact their own restrictions.
Dogs considered dangerous by federal Land:
- Baden-Württemberg - Bullmastiff, Dogo Argentino, Bordeaux Dogge, Fila Brasilero, Spanish Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Mastiff, Tosa Inu
- Bavaria - Bandog, Tosa Inu, Alano, American Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Rottweiler, Perro de Presa Canario (Dogo Canario), Perro de Presa Mallorquin
Brandenburg - Tosa Inu, Alano, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Dobermann, Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Rottweiler, Perro de Presa Canario (Dogo Canario), Perro de Presa Mallorquin
- Hamburg - Bullmastiff, Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Kangal Dog, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Rottweiler, Tosa Inu
- Hesse - American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Kangal Dog (Karabash), Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler
If your dog is on the restricted list for the Land where you will be living, you may be able to obtain prior written permission from local authorities to import your pet after all.
Germany does not allow pets not vaccinated against rabies to enter the country. Puppies cannot be vaccinated until they are 12 weeks old, and the vaccine must be given at least 21 days prior to entry. Therefore, puppies must be at least 15 weeks old for import. If you are coming from a non-listed country as described above, the minimum age for import is 7 months due to additional time required for the blood titer test following rabies vaccination.
Do I Need a Microchip for My Pet to Travel to Germany?
Every pet entering Germany must be implanted with a microchip that is A 15-digit ISO standard or 9-digit AVID compliant.
Pets must be microchipped before the rabies vaccination is administered.
If your pet has an older microchip, it may be possible to carry a chip reader with you, but your vet can easily and safely implant your pet with a second, ISO-compatible chip. Note that pets with two microchips must show the number and date of implantation for BOTH chips on all documents.
We strongly urge pet parents to also register their pet’s microchip with Global Pet Register. Other registries are country-specific; GPR is the only pet recovery database that works around the world.
What Are the Quarantine Requirements for a Pet Traveling to Germany?
As long as your pet meets all the requirements and has the proper documentation, they will not face quarantine. However, a lack of adequate paperwork can result in quarantine, deportation, or worse.
Are There Any Area Specific Pet Requirements in Germany?
As noted above under Banned Breeds, each Land within Germany can set its own rules for pets living within their jurisdiction. Checking in advance about rules for pet import, licensing, etc. will help avoid surprises and make your move go more smoothly.
Top Destinations in Germany
Our Germany pet shipping services include:
- Door-to-door transport
- Assistance with health certificates, import certificates, and other travel documents needed for animal transport to Germany (outlined above)
- USDA endorsement and consular legalization (when needed) of all relevant documents where required
- Airline-approved flight kennels provided with personalized labels, identification
andemergency notification instructions
- Customs clearance and delivery to your home
- Local pet taxi service to and from the airport, your home, veterinarian, kennel, or groomer – available in major German cities as well as their surrounding areas
- Travel consultation and flight reservations
We will inform you of your pet's full itinerary before the trip and we will update you as your pet travels to Germany.