One of the best things about being a pet owner in this country is that you can make friends with millions of other pet parents - in fact, the government is incredibly pet-friendly.
There are of course strict laws in place to own pets, and knowing all about them makes your life as a pet parent much easier. The most popular pets in Germany include cats, dogs, small animals like hamsters, and caged birds.
Here’s all you need to know about the ways to bring home a pet in Germany.
Bring Your Pet To Germany
If you plan to relocate to Germany with your pet, there are some specific guidelines to follow before importing them.
Firstly, all pets brought into Germany must be microchipped and fully vaccinated. EU owners must own a pet passport in Germany, and while traveling to another EU state with their pets - these are issued by authorized veterinarians. The only mode of identification of a pet acceptable in Germany is a microchip that complies with ISO standards 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785.
Also, the pet must be brought into the country within 21 days of being examined for rabies post-vaccination. The pet parent must possess an original rabies certificate signed by an authorized veterinarian. The rabies antibody test needs to be approved by an EU-approved laboratory.
Recommended vaccines include:
For dogs: Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP) and Bordetella.
For cats: Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, panleukopenia (FVRCP).
This procedure is recommended to be started at least 30 days prior to travel plans. If the pet is to fly non-commercially, then this has to happen within five days of the owner’s travel; if not, then the travel will be considered commercial and the costs are increased.
Instead of wondering what pets are legal in Germany, here’s what you need to know.
Certain dog breeds are banned in Germany, including:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Bull Terriers
Rottweilers are not banned but need to undergo very detailed tests to enter the country. With a license, most non-threatening animals can be owned. Also, if you’re traveling from an unlisted country, your pet needs to take an antibody test called Titer.
Buy From a Licensed Breeder
Buying from a responsible and reputable breeder is always better than buying from pet shops and puppy mills, as the puppies there don’t receive a nurturing start or proper development at all.
Behavioral issues are extremely common in pets bought from pet shops or puppy mills, as they lack socialization. So, here’s how you spot responsible dog breeders in Germany and for other animals as well:
- They need to be honest and open-minded, ready to provide references from other families who have adopted them previously.
- They must possess appropriate research, pros and cons of owning any given breed.
- Most importantly, breeders must have veterinary records for the pet in question and their parents.
- They should know their breeds’ genetic conditions as well.
- A breeder having a waiting list is a good sign.
- Try visiting the kennel, and find out if there is clean and ample space for the pets to live, alongside proper exercise. It is definitely a red flag if the breeder doesn’t look into your own references and living conditions before handing the pet over to you.
Adopt From an Animal Shelter
Most of the animal shelters in Germany are privately financed through donations, and some of them even get a decent amount of support from the government as well. However, the support from the government shrinks considerably when a pet has to be legally removed from its owner.
This process is extremely difficult, and what follows is quite heartbreaking - as the animals have to be sheltered until their adoption or natural death.
Most of the animals arrive at the shelters in poor health conditions and need immediate medical treatment. Thus, these animals require a forever home that treats them with compassion and love.
The volunteers at animal shelters aren’t just focused on delivering the animals to a place of living but are also extremely particular about ensuring that the creatures do not end up with abusive individuals.
There are certain things that are completely prohibited by German law for animal shelters and pet owners in general:
- Docking of ears or tails
- Crate training
- Removing puppies and kittens very early from their mothers.
- Removing puppies and kittens from their mothers before they have a stable immune system.
- Having a single cat in a household. There always has to be a pair.
- Leaving a puppy alone for more than 4 hours.
- Not taking the dog for at least two walks every day.
The above rules for dogs in Germany help them fare healthily. After due vetting, you can take home an animal from a shelter and raise them along with your family. This would be a second shot at life for these innocent creatures.
So, how much does it cost to own a dog in Germany? It’s 120 euros per year for one canine and 180 euros for each extra dog.
Get One From The Pet Store
Although there are multiple ways to get a pet in Germany, one of the most accessible ways to get your own pet in Germany (birds, hamsters, fish, etc.) is through pet shops or hardware stores which have an animal department.
If you’re wondering what pet is most common in Germany, it is cats - they make up 52% of the pet population in the country.
Larger pets like cats and dogs can be adopted from shelters or bought from specialized breeders. Even though larger pets are available in certain pet shops as well; it is not advisable to buy them from pet shops.
Pet stores have their own set of advantages such as pet food supplies; accessories like leashes, grooming material, and toys; along with contacts of veterinarians and pet experts. A dog or cat depends on its grooming, feeding, and overall well-being with products that support a healthy immune system.
In pet stores, products like natural shampoos and grooming sprays are available for healthier skin and coats of the pet. Pet stores also have a supply of a range of multivitamins and nutritional supplements to enhance the pet’s quality of life.
On top of that, what is a pet shop without fun and games? Pet shops have a wide range of toys and treats for your pets that may help with their overall development, socialization, and healthy behavioral traits. So, if you’re confused about where to buy pets in Germany, opt for pet stores.
Volunteer at a Rescue Group
If you aren’t sure about the feasibility of owning a pet on a full-time basis but want to know the experience first, you may want to try volunteering with a rescue group. Rescue groups are responsible for bringing to safety any animal that is found to be in danger or simply requires habitation.
Usually, animals found by rescue groups end up in animal shelters, where you can work as well. It is uncommon for an animal shelter to lack staff or resources, and rather, they are always looking for more. So, you can always find an animal shelter and take care of the pets on the waiting lists.
The other option involved with rescue is fostering. Most animal shelters do not seek fostering as a permanent solution. However, at times they find it important for an animal if they are on a waiting list or require to be transported to a destination that requires rigorous and long travel.
In this process of fostering, if you are deemed fit to be the permanent owner of the animal, then they could be your forever pet too!
Animal shelters and volunteering groups are always seeking donations to meet the daily expenses of the volunteers, i.e., food, transport, etc. This is something you might want to help out with as well.
Final remarks on getting your own pet in Germany
We recommend insuring your pet right after you bring them home, so you don’t have to deal with sudden expenses that can disrupt your finances. Germans are fond of insuring everything they love, so if you’re a resident or a visitor, you might want to do this for your pets as well.
By having a pet around, both you and everyone around you can feel positive and happier from their energy. Don’t hesitate to add to the 47% of Germans who are already obsessed with their house pets.