Your list of things to do when starting your move to Germany may seem a neverending one and don’t forget, your trusty pet has needs too!
For sure you won’t want to leave them back home, after all, you’ve loved and cared for them for so long, so how are you going to take them with you? What’s necessary to do and when should you think about it?
Of course, Germany is a very welcoming place for pets, even if the red tape and paper work makes you think otherwise. For example, it’s commonplace to see a dog owner sat at a table in a restaurant with his best friend. It’s also not unusual to find dogs sat alongside their owners on trains. In fact the dog has his own ticket too. Simply ask at the ticket office before you travel, just to make sure. You will often see dog owners WITH their pets in the most unexpected places, compared with your habits back home. Some places however, do draw the line at dogs other than Guide dogs for the blind, and this will be made clear at the entrance to the place with a picture of a dog in a red circle with a line through it, similar to a no smoking sign. Examples of such places include bakeries, butchers, kindergartens, hospitals, some bars and restaurants etc.
There is also a requirement that your dog is not considered a dangerous animal and that if it should be a type of dog that is known to bite, kill or maim, then you will be required to keep your dog muzzled at all times in public places. This rule is not so clear at the moment as there have been several high-interest cases in courts recently and so changes to these rules will surely happen soon. One point to mention here, you as the owner are completely responsible for the actions of your pet and any damage or injury caused by the animal will come under your responsibility to rectify. This is why lots of dog owners take out a third-party accident insurance on their pet that covers things like breakages in shops, injuries caused by tripping someone up in the street etc etc. Contact an insurance broker for more information on this topic.
Your dog is not allowed to make, lets say, solid deposits in any public place unless there are bags/gloves provided for the owner to clean-up after them. Failure to do so can result in a huge fine and many local walking places now provide these bags at all entrances to the paths. Take a plastic bag or two with you whenever you take your dog out just to be sure that you’re prepared. Remember also that even clearing up after your pet is not a tolerated behaviour in childrens’ play areas as it is thought that bacteria from dog dirt can lead to infantile blindness. Keep your dog tied up outside of such play areas just to be sure.
If you are flying with your pet, you will often find that the pet has to be locked-away in a special travel carrying device so that no ‘harm’ can come to the pet or the passengers onboard. You may even be allowed access to your pet throughout the journey, be it at your seat or at a designated part of the plane. It’s unlikely that your pet will be stored in the hold of the jet as temperatures in these areas could pet immigration mean that your pet arrives as a frozen version of it’s former self!
Before you travel.
There are of course rules and regulations concerning the import and export of animals to and from any country in the world and Germany is no exception. You must not forget to comply with these long before you start your journey as you may find that your pet could be taken away from you for a period of quarantine, which is never a good thing for either of you.
If you are travelling within the EU, you now need a pet passport which contain the list of vaccinations received as well as any tagging info that may exist under the animal’s skin. This is an EU scheme to ensure or lower the danger of rabies spreading within the EU member states.