Expatriates and their Pets in Germany!

An international relocation brings many interesting changes to ones life.  It is only when you leave your own country to live in a different one that you fully appreciate how much we humans are not only creatures of habit, but also of culture.  When you think of your pets, it is the same for them.  Expatriates and their pets, in Germany or other countries, can suddenly lose many things they once took for granted. The most significant of these are familiar places, language, daily culture & beliefs.

Where you once knew how things workat the bank, while shopping, at the local dog park, at work, on the roadחnow youre in unfamiliar territory.  Where once you knew how to read a menu, now you find strange German dishes you canҒt even pronounce. Where once credit cards were taken for granted, now you have to make sure theyll be acceptedҗeven in a restaurant! Where once you could read package labels at the grocery store, now you can’t.  What you will take for granted, your pet will often overlook - unless yours can read a menu?

The good news is that you also gain things you didnt have before. You not only learn a new language and a new culture, you also learn a lot about yourself and your own culture when you live in a foreign country. Viewed and handled properly, an assignment in German-speaking Europe can be a wonderful experience. And others have gone before youҗand not only survived, but thrived.

Just like you, your pets will adjust and enjoy the new challenges ahead.  You and your pets will need to establish your routine again.  Once you have that structure in place, the growth and experiences will follow.

We hope our blog and our website help you all in navigating not only the adventures of importing your precious pets into Germany but also the life you will have once you arrive!  Please do share with us any stories, recomendations, etc that you may have for other readers.

Here is a great letter we found and it talks about an Expatriate’s time spent in Germany:

There are over 100,000 Americans living in Germany - why do we live here? Because the cities are beautiful and we can Hamburg Kneipe (Pub) smoke in the kneipes (pubs). Munich comes first with 22,290 Americans followed by Cologne and the surrounding regions (10,933) and Frankfurt where all the bankers congregate. Berlin, the capital of Germany has 10,000 or so Americans. Personally, I love Germany, the neighborhoods, the opportunity to walk out at night and have no worries. It is generally very safe here and while I live in the middle of Hamburg, I never worry about walking to local restaurants or stores no matter what time of the night it is and a large majority of businesses are locally owned so there is a high degree of personal service.

Germany is full of lovely walkable neighborhoods, where you see the same people passing each day - it’s something I missed when I was living in the American suburbs where an auto is an absolute necessity. Here, I simply catch the train to go where I want to go or I walk a few blocks to the grocery store, the pharmacy or a neighborhood restaurant. Life in Germany is different than in so much of America - it’s personal, it’s beautiful, it’s generally safe and the food is fattening as can be. I can buy a sausage and french fries for two euros or order a pizza in for five euros. I can buy a lovely bottle of French or German wine for less than three euros and go into a pub and have a beer for less than two euros. Not that I am only interested in food or drink - it is just much easier to compare. We used to use the “McDonalds” analogy when I traveled from country to country - comparing the cost of a Happy Meal in each location - it gave my children a brief intro to economics and prices that they could easily understand.

If you are thinking of moving to Germany, learn German!!! One of the most frustrating things for me about living in Germany is that although I have a basic grasp of the language things still fail me. There are some excellent resources for learning German that are on CDs or books, or you can attend a German language course in your area - the Goethe Institute comes to mind but there are several others. If you do not learn German before you come, you will be obligated to learn it once you are here. Since 2005, the German government offers and often expects immigrants to participate in a German Integration Course - a course designed to assist immigrants in integrating into German life and culture with fairly intensive language sessions.

Naturally, one of your best resources to make sure you get everything just right is talking to the German Embassy nearest you before packing your belongings. The Washington D.C. German Embassy is a great place to start if you are an American, their Web site has a lot of very valuable information and tips on what you need to do.

For advice on importing your pets to Germany, here is our current list of Import Regulations:


1) Microchip:  Each Pet shall be identified by means of a microchip.  No other form of identification is acceptable. The microchip used should comply with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785- otherwise the pet will need to be sent with its own scanner attached to the top of the crate.

2) All animals need to have Full Vaccinations:

Dogs:  Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo, Leptospirosis, (DHLPP) and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival.

Cats:  Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia (FVRCP), and Rabies within the last 12 months or a minimum of 4 weeks before arrival.

3) EU Vet Health Certificate (Form EC#: 998) Җ (Form provided to you by PetRelocation.com)  This is the standard Health Certificate to be filled out by your accredited Veterinarian.  This certificate is valid for 4 months prior to departure date so do not get this issued too early.

4) USDA Endorsement:  The below referenced forms:

  * Microchip Implantation Record
  * Rabies Certificate
  * Vet Letter
  * EU Vet Health Certificate

Must be sent to your local USDA for their stamp of approval.  Please contact your PetRelocation.com representative on the best way of handling this.

5) International Health Certificate:  Your vet should have these in stock.  It֒s a good idea to call ahead and ask.  This is an international health certificate that needs to be completed by your vet within 10 days of departure.  Depending on the logistics of your particular pet relocation and the specific health certificate being used (APHIS Form 7001) an additional USDA Endorsement maybe required on this health certificate.  Speak to your PetRelocation.com specialist regarding the USDA portion of this process.

6) All original documentation listed above must travel with the pets.

7) In order for us to successfully clear customs we will need the following documents supplied prior to the animals arrival:

ҷ      Copy of Pet Owners Passport

ҷ      Note from Pet Owners Employer for the Relocation

ҷ      City Registration or Anmeldung

Berlin Cologne/Duesseldorf Օ Dresden Frankfurt/Rhine Main Օ Hamburg Heidelberg * Leipzig Օ Mannheim Munich Օ Nuremberg Salzburg Օ Stuttgart Vienna

Happy Pet Travels!


PetRelocation Team




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