Travelling with pets
But there are also provisions to make importing animals easier in certain cases, for example for private pets.
The conditions for the simplified (re-) import of up to five dogs, cats or ferrets by private travellers or in the case of a private change of residence are as follows:
The animals must be properly vaccinated against rabies, clearly identifiable by microchip (or by a readable tattoo as a transitional arrangement until 2 July 2011) and accompanied by an EU pet passport in which the microchip or tattoo number has been entered (or by the type of vaccination card issued hitherto as a transitional arrangement). In addition, vaccination certificates and in some cases blood-test results must be submitted. If you are travelling to a third country where rabies occurs or where the epidemic status is unknown, e.g. holiday countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Thailand or India, a blood test (rabies antibody test) must be carried out beforehand in an EC-approved laboratory.
In cases of doubt, the frontier customs office will call in the responsible veterinary inspector who will then decide whether the animal can be allowed in or whether other measures are necessary.
Please note that although other countries have similar regulations, before travelling abroad you should make enquiries about the conditions that apply in the destination country.
To ensure that there are no problems on entry, every pet that comes from a third country and is imported into the EC must be
- clearly identifiable by microchip (or a readable tattoo as a transitional arrangement until 2 July 2011),
- properly vaccinated against rabies,
- accompanied by an veterinary inspector's certificate in which the microchip or tattoo number has been entered. In addition, vaccination certificates and in some cases blood-test details must be carried.
If you are travelling to a third country where rabies occurs or where the epidemic status is unknown, e.g. Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Thailand or India,
- a blood test (rabies antibody test) must be carried out before leaving in an EC-approved laboratory in the respective country,
- a three-month waiting period must be observed from the date of the blood test until entry into Germany.
Because of all the waiting periods that have to be observed (for the vaccination and blood test), dogs, cats and ferrets from these countries must be at least seven months
old in order to meet the entry conditions as prescribed by the laws on animal epidemics.
It must also be borne in mind that:
- these regulations also apply to bringing in found (stray) animals (e.g. beach dogs/hotel cats),
- no more than five animals may be brought in.
If animals are imported in violation of the above-mentioned conditions, it is likely that the veterinary inspector at the first EC frontier will either
- return them to the country of origin at the expense of the person bringing in the animal,
- put the animal into quarantine for several months, or
- order the animal to be killed under certain conditions.
Further information about regulations on animal epidemics is available from your vet, the responsible veterinary inspector and the website of the Federal Ministry for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture on the subject of "Travelling with pets".
When importing dogs, the law on the restriction of the introduction or importing of dangerous dogs into the country must be observed.
This law bans the introduction or importation into Germany of pit-bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, bull terriers and hybrids resulting from interbreeding or crossbreeding these breeds with other dogs. The ban also applies to other breeds that are considered dangerous according to the regional regulations that apply in the Land in Germany where they are to be permanently kept. Further information is available from the local Ordnungsamt (town clerk's office).
To avoid excessive difficulties in passenger traffic, the following dogs are exempted from the import and introduction ban:
- dangerous dogs brought in by persons who are only staying in Germany for up to four weeks (this primarily applies to tourist traffic),
- dangerous dogs originally from Germany which are being re-imported from abroad,
- service dogs and companion dogs for handicapped people,
if the dog's owner has the documents required for checking the animals (e.g. pedigree, vaccination certificate, Wesenstestbescheinigung (certificate documenting a test of the dog's temperament/character), other relevant documents from the responsible Ordnungsamt (town clerk's office)).
The usual customs regulations on imports in passenger traffic must also be observed in addition to the above regulations.