Nobody wants to leave their pet behind, right? A pet dog is among the most beloved companions of a person. Whether you are moving abroad or looking forward to adopting a pet dog like most German families, it is important to know about the culture and laws regarding your furry best friend. Don’t worry! We got your back.
Germans love dogs and have had a deep-rooted culture with them throughout the history of Germany. Over 20 famous breeds have arisen in Germany, which is not a surprise since dogs have contributed to German society for centuries. Whether you intend to bring your pet with you to Germany or to purchase one, here is a quick guide for you.
Is Germany Friendly to Dogs?
The answer is a big yes! Germany has registered over 10.7 million dogs, living among families. They are the second favourite pets, after cats. Even in most cafés and restaurants, you can have your dog by your side. Though, it is better to ask the premise’s owner beforehand.
However, places like Government institutions, bakeries, and supermarkets do not permit dogs inside. Plus, in children’s playgrounds, dogs are not allowed. You will see a sign stating “Wir müssen draußen bleiben”, translating to asking you to stay outside if you have a dog alongside.
Nonetheless, Germany treats the dogs with affection and protects them legally with several laws and penalties, while working on their well-being.
How Can You Bring Your Dog to Germany?
It is possible for you to bring your dog to Germany from some other country. However, you need to take the rules of the EU seriously regarding the transportation of animals, both from EU and non-EU countries. It is applicable for both commercial and non-commercial reasons. Here, we will discuss non-commercial reasons for non-EU countries.
Basically, there is one major deal-breaker rule and that is; you cannot bring more than 5 dogs per person. Additionally, your dogs should have the following proof:
- A tattoo or microchip
- Vaccination credential for immunization against rabies
- An official dog passport, also known as a veterinary certificate could show the above two key points with the individual number.
Your airline may also have specific guidelines about bringing pets into Germany like the size of the animal, sedation, pet containers, etc. So check them beforehand as well.
If you are bringing your dog from countries such as Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and Morocco, you must get your dog’s blood test for rabies as a precaution as the disease is very common in these countries. In fact, this test can only be done after 30 days of rabies vaccination. Moreover, it should be done at least 90 days before you plan to enter Germany. If you are working with an agent, then you should announce your plan earlier, so all documents can be organized and checked, making your import of a dog more manageable.
How Can You Adopt a Dog in Germany?
If you are planning to buy or adopt a dog in Germany, then you need to be more careful, as the laws in Germany are getting more rigid. This means, now you cannot simply become a dog owner by going to a closed pet handler and getting one.
But look no further, we are here to help you in buying your dream dog while following all rules and regulations.
Where To Adopt a Dog?
You can buy a legal and healthy dog in Germany with the following options:
- Pet Shelter; also known as Tierheim or Tierschutzverein. These are the animal shelter that connects the rescued animals with caring families. They save the animals that either lose their owners or get lost on the streets and give them new homes.
- Registered Breeder; also known as Züchter. They are the breeders that are enlisted via German Dog Breeder Association (VDH). The official fellows of this organization have clearance to sell dogs lawfully. You can easily find one around your area.
- Private Friend; if you are looking for the easiest way to adopt a dog, then you may be in luck if your friend has a pregnant dog. So, if you want to have a dog in a hassle-free manner, let your friends and colleagues know about your desire for a dog. You may never know who would help you out.
Where Not to Adopt?
Indeed, there are illegal ways to buy a dog as well, and knowing about them might come in handy, especially if you are new to Germany. In Germany, there are black markets for animals. They are usually around the borders of the country or online. Puppies that are not provided with proper food and water, taken prematurely from their mother, and living in worse conditions, are available in this kind of market. To stay away from such traps, it is better to watch out for the following warnings:
- Strange advertisements online
- Visits without the pet’s mother
- Selling of pets on the street
- No license or other proof of legal
Better to report any sketchy activity, if you came across one!
Living With a Dog in Germany
Before finalizing your purchase of a dog legally, you should get permission from your landlord. Although according to law, you can have a pet on a lease property, still it is better to let the landlord of your plan. If you have a breed that is legal and harmless, then your landlord might not have problems with it. It is important to realize that even if Germany loves dogs, some breeds are illegal in Germany. You can check the list of legal breeds here.
Now, if you finally got yourself a dog in Germany, you have to learn about some common things that will come in handy as the need arises.
Nobody is a fan of visiting an animal infirmary for any emergency. But you must have to find a common veterinarian, also known as Tierarzt, for frequent visits. For reasons such as yearly vaccination, poisoning, injuries and maintenance, spaying, flea prevention, etc you need to have a vet near you. Though they are not mandatory, except for required vaccinations, still every animal needs a doctor to cater to their health.
Germans are okay with traveling with pets on public transportation. You can check if an additional ticket is mandated for your pet or if any restriction is applicable. Generally, your dog must have a leash and muzzle. Some animals may also need to be secured in carriers.
There are numerous pet stores in the country where you can easily find any pet supplies you can think of. Many pet stores also provide services online, so you don’t need to worry about going to the market. There are also butchers for dogs, Hundemetzger. They can help you fulfill your dog’s needs for raw meat. You can google about it or join Facebook groups of your community. You can not only ask questions about any query, but your process of living with a pet will also become easier.
With a pet comes the responsibility of insurance. Animals like dogs tend to get injured or sick frequently. Though small injuries can get treated with small charges, for big surgeries the expenses are very high. Signing up for pet health insurance, Tierkrankenversicherung will come in handy in such situations. You will still have to bear the expenses of vet visits, but for standard operations, insurance will save you. Some of these procedures can be castration, travel insurance, sickness treatments, etc
Generally, the cost of insurance in Germany can be at least 250 euros for a dog per year. There are also fines policies of companies, so you should also check them. The companies have a list of services that cover the insurance. Providers, like Getsafe and Luka, provide insurance at reasonable prices with adjustable pet policies.
If not, then you can also sign up for insurance that only covers heavy surgeries and costs around 130 euros annually. These types of insurance are called Operationskostenversicherung. For detailed information about cost-effective pet insurance, visit our article here.
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Having a Pet in Germany + Liability & Health Insurance
The rules and regulations surrounding dogs in Germany may seem daunting at first, but once you get used to them, living with a pet will become less challenging. You can also take help from your friends and colleagues, who have pets, and find out more about owning a pet.
Remember, you must have proper documents of your dog so that you can be saved from any illegal activities. If you are moving to Germany with your pet, then you must follow all instructions from the customs office of Germany. When it comes to owning a dog in Germany, you should mentally prepare yourself for the responsibility before getting one, so ownership would be fun instead of stressful.