Traveling with Pets


Are you planning to travel from Canada to Europe with an animal ? Please carefully read this information, as the EU strictly enforces regulations on animal travel in order to protect the member states against the introduction and spread of rabies and other infectious diseases.

Cat in an open transport box next to a little dog
Animals in transit© Colourbox

Do you plan to travel with your pet(s) from Canada to Germany (up to five per person) and need specific information about regulations and procedures? Below you will find basic information about various possible scenarios.

Please note our disclaimer.

1. Accompanied Noncommercial Movements of Pets (Cats, Dogs and Ferrets)

When entering the Federal Republic of Germany directly from Canada with dogs, cats or ferrets, you must have with you a health certificate issued by an official veterinarian in accordance with the EU uniform sample, as well as supporting documents, such as a vaccination certificate. The animals must not be intended for sale.

Animals older than three months require valid vaccination protection against rabies (inactive vaccine with an efficacy level of at least one international antigen unit according to the WHO standard) and a transponder inserted under the skin (microchip) in accordance with European standard ISO 11784 (15 digits) or ISO 11785 (readable at 134.2 Hertz). If the transponder does not conform to either of these standards, you must bring your own scanner that can read the transponder.

Older tattoo markings remain valid; you must, however, be able to prove that the animal’s tattoo was made prior to July 3, 2011.

Please note that the rabies vaccination must occur after identity of the pet has been established through the microchip. Any rabies vaccination occurring before identity of the pet has been established will not be recognized.

A new vaccination, which must occur at least 21 days prior to travel, will thus be required once identity of the pet has been established.

A rabies serological test (Part V of the form), Tick treatment (Part VI) and Echinococcus treatment (Part VII) are not required when entering from Canada.

Movements of Pets (Dogs, Cats and Ferrets) -- Noncommercial Movement from Third Countries (EU-Regulation 998/2003)

Amended EU animal health requirements applicable to the non- commercial movement of pet animals (May 2010) PDF / 740 KB

As of January 1, 2012, the following sample applies to the health certificate for accompanied entry/movement of up to five animals (same flight – cabin or cargo).

Veterinary Certificate for non-commercial movement of up to five pets PDF / 59 KB

On page two the form must be endorsed by an official veterinarian. Please contact your local Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to obtain an official endorsement:

Please note: If you enter Europe through a country other than Germany and your pet has no valid rabies protection, please contact that country's embassy in Canada.

Please also contact your airline for information about their specific regulations. Generally, the airlines will require an international health certificate, which must be issued no more than 10 days prior to travel and endorsed by your regional veterinary services area office.

2. Unaccompanied/Commercial Movement Pets (Cats, Dogs and Ferrets)

The provisions of Directive 92/65/EC, Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003 and Regulation (EC) No.1/2005 apply to the import of dogs, cats and ferrets for commercial purposes.

EU Council Directive 92/65/EC: Animal health requirements governing trade in and imports into the EU PDF / 328 KB

EU Council regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations PDF / 802 KB

As of January 1, 2012, the following sample applies to the health certificate for animals entering the country unaccompanied or for more than five animals entering the country:

Veterinary certificate for commercial import PDF / 58 KB

Since a clinical examination of the pet that has to be performed within 24 hours of movement of the pet, the following procedure is suggested to ensure complete paperwork:

1. Present the pet, along with the form, proof of the last rabies vaccination and proof of the microchip, to a federally accredited veterinarian.

2. Find your regional animal health office here to make an appointment within 24 hours prior to travel:

List of Veterinarians from the Website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

3. Present the pet and the proper form, along with the required documents (e.g. vaccination certificate), to a federally accredited veterinarian to perform the required clinical examination within 24 hours prior to travel. The veterinarian must sign the form.

The rabies vaccination must occur after identity of the pet has been established.

Please also contact your airline about specific airline regulations.

You will also need to provide:

  • a transport documentation, (origin and ownership of the animals, place of departure, date and time of departure, expected duration of the journey)
  • a feeding regime

There is no special form for the feeding regime and the transport documentation. All you need to do is to prepare

  • a document labeled “VERSORGUNGSPLAN” (German for ‘feeding regime’) at the top of the page and then list the animal’s food and environmental needs, e.g. temperature and
  • a document labeled “TRANSPORTPAPIERE” (German for “transport documentation”) with the necessary information

You may enter the European Community with your pet only after you have submitted the aforementioned health certificate to an approved veterinary border inspection post.

List of Border Inspection Posts in Germany

3. Kitten/Puppy (0-3 month)

If you intend to bring a kitten or puppy into Germany that is not older than three months, you will need to purchase an import permit from the state authority of the future domicile and the state authority of the port of entry.

Puppies or kittens less than eight weeks old must be accompanied by their mother.

The following pdf file (in German only) lists the various state authorities that you will need to contact for the import permit. Please follow the state authority’s instructions.

List of the Veterinarian Administrations of the German States (Bundesländer) from the website of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (in German language) PDF / 33 KB

Please also contact your airline for information about specific airline regulations.

4. Transit with Pets (Cats, Dogs and Ferrets)

a) Onward Travel within the European Union:

Another health certificate in accordance with the EU uniform sample is not required, but if you are traveling with dogs to Finland, Great Britain, Ireland or Malta, the animals must additionally be treated against parasites (Echinococcus) prior to travel. When traveling onward to those countries, please contact their embassies.

b) Onward Travel outside the European Union:

When you are merely connecting to another flight at an airport in the European Union, you generally do not enter the respective country. You therefore do not need to meet the requirements listed under the section “Accompanied/ Unaccompanied Movement of Pets”. Procedures at the Frankfurt/Main and Munich airports are explained below:

- if the animal is traveling with the owner in the cabin:

There generally is no veterinary inspection.

- if the animal is traveling with the owner but in the baggage compartment and is declared as baggage:

In case of layovers lasting approx. two to three hours, no veterinary inspection occurs; the animal will be loaded directly onto the next aircraft without the involvement of the veterinary border inspection post.

In case of longer layovers, the animal will be brought to the animal station of the veterinary border inspection post and evaluated by a veterinarian there.

- if the animal is traveling with the owner but in the cargo hold and is declared as cargo:

The above paragraph applies. We additionally ask that you be sure to note on the waybill that the owner is traveling on the same aircraft and attach a copy of the flight ticket so that this variant can be distinguished from that of an unaccompanied movement of an animal as air cargo.

When traveling via other airports within the European Union, please contact your airline for information about specific regulations and any resulting approval or other requirements.

- in case of unaccompanied airport transit:

In this case, the Ordinance on Intra-Community Movement, Import and Transit of Live Animals and Products applies. Under this regulation, you must apply for a transit permit. Please contact your airline for more information.

5. Dangerous Dogs

The Law on Restrictions for the Introduction and Importation of Dogs came into force April 21, 2001. Among other provisions, it prohibits the introduction or import of dogs regarded as dangerous. These regulations serve to protect the public. The customs authorities participate in controlling the import of such dogs. Under this law, certain breeds as well as crossbreeds of those dogs may not be introduced or imported into Germany.

Dangerous Dogs

6. Other Animals

Pet Birds – Accompanied Movement:

It is possible to enter the country with pet birds from countries outside the EU (third countries) only under controlled conditions to prevent the introduction or spread of avian influenza.

The conditions are detailed in the Decision 2007/25/EC of the European Commission (see pdf document appearing below):

Information on certain protective measures relating to avian flu and movements of pet birds to the EU [pdf]

Guinea Pigs:

There are currently no veterinary regulations for the private import of guinea pigs. Please contact your airline for information about possible airline regulations.

Pet Rabbits:

There are currently no veterinary regulations for the private import of up to three pet rabbits to Germany. Please contact your airline for information about possible airline regulations.


There are currently no veterinary regulations for the private import of turtles to Germany. If your turtle falls into the category of endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), please purchase an export permit from your home country and an import permit requested by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

Import Permit Form - CITES 221 [pdf]

The information provided on this page is not legally binding. Because of the complexity of the matter, German diplomatic or consular offices cannot provide any binding information on German Customs regulations or duties. Before making decisions, please carefully read the complete legal information on the website of the European Commission.

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