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Rules on travelling with dogs, cats or ferrets within the EU

A maximum of five pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) may be carried per person when travelling. The animals must not be destined for a change of ownership.

If this is not the case, the rules governing trade in animals apply. For more detailed information, please refer to the Ordinance on Intra-Community Movement, Import and Transit of Live Animals and Products (Ordinance on Disease Control in the Internal Market).

Pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 and Implementing Regulation (EU) No 577/2013, which have been in force since 29 December 2014, dogs, cats and ferrets transported across borders within the European Union must always be accompanied by a standard pet passport.

It must be possible to clearly assign this passport to the respective animal, i.e. it must be possible to identify the animal by tattoo or microchip and the identification number must be entered in the passport. Since 3 July 2011, micro-chipping has been mandatory for newly identified animals (Technical requirements for transponders).

EU pet passports can be issued by a veterinary practitioner. However, the practitioner needs to be authorised for this purpose by the authorities competent under the law of the respective Member State.

The maximum number of five pets may be exceeded if the animals are being moved for the purpose of participating in competitions, shows and sporting events or of training for such events (no change of owner). These animals must be at least 6 months old and evidence in writing must be provided that they have been registered for one of the above-mentioned events. If more than 5 animals are to be moved for other purposes, then the rules for trade in animals apply. For more detailed information, please refer to the Ordinance on Intra-Community Movement, Import and Transit of Live Animals and Products (Ordinance on Disease Control in the Internal Market).

Vaccination against rabies

In addition to information on the animal and its owner, the pet passport must include a statement by the veterinarian providing evidence that the animal has a valid rabies vaccination.

In this regard, it is imperative to ensure that the vaccination is not performed before attaching the microchip in order to guarantee that the rabies vaccination can be clearly and unmistakably assigned to the animal.

Given that a time period of 21 days needs to elapse in order to develop effective immunity, the primary vaccination must be administered at least 21 days prior to crossing the border.

If a repeat vaccination is administered only after expiry of the last vaccination’s period of validity, this vaccination counts as a primary vaccination (period of validity of the vaccination is indicated in the passport).

Ban on entry and transit with puppies/kitten under 15 weeks of age

Puppies may only be imported into Germany or pass through Germany in transit with adequate vaccine protection against rabies. In view of the fact that the primary vaccination against rabies may be administered at the age of 12 weeks at the earliest and given that it takes a further 21 days afterwards to develop effective immunity, puppies may only enter or pass through Germany at the age of 15 weeks at the earliest.

EU countries with tighter requirements

Tighter requirements regarding antiparasitic treatment, in particular echinococcus treatments (tapeworms), apply in the Member States of Ireland, Malta, Finland and the United Kingdom.

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