Pet Carriers and Travel Arrangements

How to safely bring your pet into, and out of, Germany...

An animal may cross several borders en route to its final destination and must be eligible to travel at all times. It must always be accompanied by the relevant paperwork.

There are specialist companies dealing with the international movement of small and large animals.

There are approved routes and strict regulations relating to care of the animal during its journey. UK citizens should consult the DEFRA website for details of approved ports and airports. Citizens entering Germany from outside the UK should consult their own customs department or ministry of agriculture for information.

As a general rule, an animal must travel in an approved container, which must be big enough for the animal to stand and to sit in during the journey. There must be adequate ventilation and journey times must be kept to a minimum. If the journey is going to last longer than a few hours, food and drink may be necessary. In very hot weather, airlines may refuse to carry animals.

Ferry companies, trains and airlines will normally carry caged animals. Consult individual carriers for their conditions and cost of travel. Airlines will normally insist that animals travel in the hold (although if a container will fit under the seat they may allow them in the cabin). Ferry companies normally insist that animals remain below deck (for example, in the car) during the crossing. Euro Tunnel allows pets to travel in cars as long as they have the required documentation.

Where animals are travelling apart from their owners, their cages must be marked according to the requirements of the airline for identification purposes. Always ensure that documentation is enclosed in the relevant languages.

Inside Germany, pets (dogs in particular) are often seen on public transport. The rail network, for example, sells reduced price tickets for them.

Crossing Borders and Returning Home

Travelling within the EU with pets who have passports is relatively straightforward. Trips to non-EU destinations are more complicated and are likely to involve extra cost. Animals will need to be examined on re-entry to the EU as if entering Germany for the first time.

UK citizens should be aware that travelling outside the EU shortly before returning home may cause problems. UK regulations are stringent and animals which have been outside the EU or the non-EU listed countries in the last six months may face a period of quarantine.

  • Anyone planning to travel to the UK, Ireland, Sweden or Malta should consult the EU website for details of additional vaccinations and checks required for entry
  • Citizens returning to the USA should consult their Department of Agriculture