Traveling with Pets in Germany

Traveling with Dogs
Birge Amondson, licensed to about.com

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 pet to Germany all it requires is planning ahead and knowing the rules. Learn these important regulations and helpful travel tips for you and your pet.

Vaccination and Papers Required fro Taking your Pet to Germany

Germany is part of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

This allows pets to travel without boundaries within the EU 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.

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.

Air Travel with Pets

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.

Traveling With Dogs in Germany

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. 

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.

Train Travel With Pets in Germany

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 in Restaurants and Hotels in Germany

Dogs are allowed in most hotels and restaurants in Germany. ; some hotels might charge you extra for your dog (between 5 and 20 Euro).

Adopting a Pet in Germany

If you aren't bringing a furry friend with you, you can make one in Germany. Adopting a pet is fairly easy to do in Germany, and they come with a passport and vaccination book.