Expatriates and their Pets in Germany!

International Pet Relocation: Adjusting to Life in Germany

An international relocation brings many exciting changes to one's life, especially when you have pets. 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 culture. The same is true for pets, and in Germany or other countries, expatriates and their pets can suddenly lose many things they once took for granted.

Familiar Places and Culture Shock

When you first arrive in Germany, you may feel overwhelmed by the changes and challenges of adjusting to a new culture. The most significant challenges are familiar places, language, daily culture & beliefs. Where you once knew how things worked at the bank, while shopping, at the local dog park, at work, or on the road, now you're in unfamiliar territory. You may find that navigating daily life, such as reading a menu, can be a real challenge, especially when encountering strange German dishes you can't pronounce.

Additionally, you may have to adjust to different banking systems, currencies, and payment methods. Once you know that credit cards are taken for granted, you must ensure they will be accepted – even in a restaurant! You may find it challenging to read package labels at the grocery store if you are unfamiliar with the language.

Fortunately, with the right mindset, an assignment in German-speaking Europe can be a wonderful experience. You not only learn a new language and culture but also a lot about yourself and your own culture when you live in a foreign country.

Adjusting with Pets

Like you, your pets will need time to adjust to their new environment. While pets may not understand the language, they will feel the change in climate and routine. You and your pets will need to establish a routine again, and it may take some time for your pets to feel comfortable and confident in their new surroundings. However, with patience, love, and a little bit of extra care, your pets will adjust and enjoy the new challenges ahead.

Life in Germany: Beautiful and Safe

Germany is a beautiful country with many lovely walkable neighborhoods, where you see the same people passing each day. Unlike many American suburbs, where cars are an absolute necessity, in Germany, you can catch the train to go where you want to go or walk a few blocks to the grocery store, pharmacy, or neighborhood restaurant. Life in Germany is different than in much of America - it's personal, beautiful, generally safe, and the food is delicious and sometimes fattening.

However, to fully enjoy life in Germany, it is essential to learn the language. Although English is widely spoken, having a basic grasp of German will make your life easier and help you fully integrate into the local community. The German government also offers and often expects immigrants to participate in a German Integration Course, designed to assist immigrants in integrating into German life and culture with fairly intensive language sessions.

Import Regulations for Pets

When importing your pets to Germany, you need to follow specific regulations and requirements. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Microchip: Each pet must be identified by a microchip that complies with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. No other form of identification is acceptable.
  2. Vaccinations: All pets must have complete vaccinations, including distemper, hepatitis, parvo, leptospirosis (DHLPP), and rabies, within the last three years. Additionally, cats must be vaccinated against feline leukemia.
  3. Health Certificate: A veterinary health certificate issued within ten days of travel is required for each pet. The certificate must state that the animal is in good health, is free from infectious diseases, and has been treated for ticks and tapeworms.
  4. Quarantine: There is no quarantine period for pets entering Germany from most countries. However, pets from countries with a high risk of rabies may be subject to a quarantine period of up to 4 months.
  5. Transportation: Pets must be transported in an IATA-approved crate or carrier large enough to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The crate must also be labeled with the pet's name, owner's name, and contact information.


International pet relocation to Germany may come with challenges, but with the right mindset and preparation, it can be an excellent adventure for you and your furry companions. Following the necessary regulations and requirements for pet importation can ensure a smooth and safe transition for your pets. Remember to be patient, stay positive, and enjoy all the new experiences living in Germany offers.


PetRelocation Team




Back to top