Rules for travelling with pets

As of July 3, 2004 the provisions of a European Regulation, which was adopted in May 2003, will apply to the entry of certain pet animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) from third countries.

The objective of the Regulation is the protection against the introduction and spread of rabies. The requirements to the health status of the animals principally depend on the rabies situation of the third country of origin and the EU Member State of destination. One person may be accompanied by up to five pet animals not intended for sale.

In Germany, the federal states (veterinary authorities of the federal states ) are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this new European regulation.

Travelling with pets Enlarge image Travelling with pets (© picture-alliance/dpa) For entry into all Member States (apart from Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom) from third countries, which are listed in the enclosed document under Part B Section 2 or Part C, the animals must be identified by a clearly visible tattoo or by a transponder and be accompanied by a document proving there is an effective vaccination protection against rabies (inactivated vaccine with an efficiency of at least one international antigen unit according to WHO standard, period of validity of the vaccination protection according to the information of the manufacturer). For a transitional period until December 31, 2011, the Member States Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which are traditionally rabies free, may maintain their most stringent requirements to the documents proving vaccination protection and in particular to provisions on anti-parasitic treatment.

If the country of origin is not listed and hence the rabies situation and its surveillance in this country is unclear or critical, the animal must have been subjected to an additional blood test for antibodies against rabies. This test must have been carried out by a registered veterinarian

  • at least 30 days after the vaccination and
  • 3 months prior to the entry.

The blood test must be carried out by a laboratory which is approved by the European Commission (Annex 1 of Decision 2004/233/EC). To this end, the blood sample has to be sent to one of the approved laboratories. It is recommended to establish contact with the laboratory in question beforehand to make arrangements concerning the shipment of the blood sample. No repetition is required if from then on the vaccination protection is maintained according to the provisions.

In the case of animals from the European Union re-entering the EU after staying in a non-listed third country, the 3 month period does not apply if the blood test was carried out with a positive result prior to leaving the EU and was documented in the pet certificate.

Compliance with the entry requirements mentioned above must be proven in a form according to the enclosed sample of the "animal health certificate applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to the European Community (Regulation [EC] No. 998/2003"). The certificate must be issued by a registered official vet or a vet authorized by the competent authority. It must also be accompanied by supporting documentation such as a vaccination certificate or the result of the blood test. This is conditional on the animals being accompanied by a responsible person.

If the animals are not accompanied by any person and transported as "unaccompanied freight", a "health certificate for the importation into the Community for trade of dogs, cats and ferrets" according to Commission Decision 2004/595/EC is required.

Please Note: as of December 30, 2014 all puppy-dogs entering or transiting Germany must have anti-rabies inoculation. This regulation applies to all, commercial and private, transports of puppies. The rule further applies to cats and ferrets.


Travelling with pets

Travelling with pets

Regulations for entering South Africa with pets

Hund und Katze

When travelling with cats and dogs to South Africa, certain rules need to be observed. Kindly check the following links for more information.

Regulations for entering the European Union(EU) with pets


To find out more about the rules on entering the European Union (EU) with dogs, cats and ferrets, please follow the link below