Getting a pet in Germany
Expat Life in Germany,  Lifestyle

Missing a Furry Friend? Here’s How to Get a Pet in Germany

Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 02:19 pm

Did you have to leave your furbaby behind when you relocated to Germany? Now you wish to fly your pet to Germany? Or are you finally at the right time and place in your life to get your four-legged buddy? *quietly raises hand* In this post you can find out how to get a pet in Germany. 


There is no need to feel shy about wanting companionship. After all, we are all foreigners, living miles away from home. Nurturing meaningful connections can take a long time in a new country, so it is only human for wanting a loyal pet to keep each other company.

Here are a few ideas about how to get a pet in Germany!

Buy a dog in Germany


1. Fly Your Pet to Germany

As much difficult as it is to imagine, it is always possible to fly your pet to Germany. The first thing to bear in mind is that the rules of flying with animals may differ from country to country and airline to airline. You need to observe several regulations (depending on your country of origin) to bring your pet to Germany. So give yourself adequate time to do some homework before flying your pet to Germany.

Here are some key points to keep in mind before your trip.

1.1) Tips to prepare before flying your pet to Germany

  • First, find out the laws specific to your country for bringing your pet to Germany.
  • Your pet must be at least 15 weeks old. There is a ban on bringing cats and dogs younger than 15 weeks into Germany.
  • Germany does not have a quarantine requirement, but it does require a recent rabies vaccination, a microchip and a veterinary health certificate.
    • Your pet should be identified by a clearly readable tattoo or a microchip. If you are flying your pet to Germany, then be aware that EU countries require a microchip implant.
    • Your pet must have proof of rabies vaccination in the animal health certificate. A primary vaccination must be administered to your pet at least 21 days prior to crossing the border.
    • Your pet needs a health certificate filled out by a vet and dated within 10 days of departure.  (“Tier aus Nicht-EU-Staat”) stating the microchip number or the tattoo.
  • Thoroughly check the airline’s regulations when you decide to fly your pet to Germany. On flights of under 10 hours, some airlines allow small cats or dogs in the cabin.
  • The pet carrier must be large enough to allow your pet to stand and turn around. Check with the airline about possible pet carrier sizes.
  • Do not sedate your pet before flying it to Germany, in fact, many airlines do not allow sedated pets on the flight for safety reasons.
  • On the day of the flight, consider your pet’s comfort at all costs. Flying is an extremely stressful experience for human bodies, then imagine the toll it takes on animals who can’t comprehend the situation as we do.

Bottom line: Educate yourself as much as you can and you will be able to fly your pet to Germany safely.



2. Adopt a Pet in Germany

So you made one of the toughest decisions of your life to leave your pet behind. This doesn’t mean that you cannot give your love to a German animal in need. Sadly, every year several pets are abandoned and require immediate re-housing.

This situation has worsened Post-COVID-19. There has been a ‘Corona-Tiere’ (pandemic pet) flux in Germany since the pandemic – people buying pets in Germany during the quarantine period and then abandoning them at animal shelters after the normal resumed. Several animal shelters in Germany have been forced to pause any new intake because they have reached maximum capacity.

This means there are plenty of poor cats and dogs looking for forever homes all across Germany.

2.1) Tips on how to adopt a pet in Germany

  • If you are prepared to adopt a pet in Germany then you can start by searching on Google. Start by typing:
    • your city + tierheim or
    • your city + tierschutzverein or
    • your city + katzenschutzverein or
    • your city + hundeschutzverein or
    • your city + tierschutzverein
  • If you are looking for a specific breed, you can find it in specific animal welfare organisations.
    • For example, we found that there is a nationwide Maine Coon welfare organisation in Germany – Maine Coon Hilfe e.V.
    • Here is how you can search in Google for a specific cat breed from an adoption centre:
      • Cat breed name + in Not (e.g. Bengal Katze in Not)
      • Cat breed + Hilfe (e.g. Bengal Katze Hilfe)
      • Dog breed name + in Not (e.g. Rottweiler in Not)


PETPROTECT Katzenkrankenversicherung


2.2) A non-exhaustive list of animal shelters in Germany

Below are a few major online and legit platforms that you can use as a starting point to adopt a pet in Germany.

  • Der Deutsche Tierschutzbund e.V. – This is the official German animal shelter platform. It has a large directory of animal shelters across Germany. You can easily sort by location and find an animal shelter close to your city.
  • Tierschutzverein Europa e.V. – Here you can find pets from all over Europe who are in urgent need of a home. They also have a lot of young puppies and kittens that are up for adoption in Germany.
  • Rassekatzen-im-tierheimThey list abandoned cats and dogs in need of a home from all over Germany and some EU countries. You can sort through specific cat breeds, ages, temperaments or required care-level. There’s also a section for older doggos waiting for adoption who also have a great temperament with cats and kids.
  • Tiervermittlung.deIt’s a very large directory of several types of pets all over Germany and neighbouring countries. You can also find lists of animal shelters in your area and directly contact them.


When you decide to adopt a pet in Germany, be prepared to fill up a long list of forms as well as some additional paperwork, because we are in Germany, of course! 😉 But once you have your new cuddlebuddy at home with you, all that hassle is certainly worthwhile.


Note: Dogs owners in Germany need additional liability insurance. Learn more about dog tax and dog liability insurance here.


3. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

What if you are not ready to commit to full-time care yet but would like to test the waters before you get a pet in Germany? If yes, then you can always volunteer at your local animal shelter. There are two ways to do this:

  • Foster an animal in Germany (at your home) 
  • Take care of the animals directly at the shelter

3.1) Tips to foster an animal in Germany

  • It isn’t uncommon for animal shelters in Germany to be understaffed and under-resourced. If there is a dog or a cat on the waiting list, you can always foster an animal in Germany temporarily until they find a forever home.
  • The German word for foster care is Pflegestelle. You want to combine it with other keywords such as your city or town name, and the animal that you want to foster. So an example of a search query would be
    • Katzen Pflegestelle + Berlin or
    • Tierschutzverein, Pflegestelle + your city name.  

Other forms of volunteering are becoming a dog walker (Gassi-Geher), kitty petter (Katzenstreichler). Yeah, that one really exists!

Cat petter in germany, katzenstreichler tierheim
I could do this all day!

But because we are in Germany and even having fun requires paperwork, most of the animal shelters require dog walking volunteers to take a mandatory dog walking course or seminar. Once you have your shiny German-approved dog walker licence (called a Hunde-Gassischein), you can take dogs out for a walk.

There are usually small fees that you may have to pay and that differs from shelter to shelter. You will also have to give pass a theory exam to get a Hunde-Gassischein.


You may also like: How to leash train your cat (and take him on walks!)


4. Buy a Pet in Germany

It is often considered a controversial option to buy a pet in Germany directly from the breeders. But tough, sometimes you want what you want. And sometimes, circumstances call for it.

Maybe you have young children and a quiet, calm patient dog breed suits your needs the best. Maybe you want a cuddly kitty with a dog-like temperament, and only a few cat breeds have this temperament.

The reasons could be many and you should not feel guilty or judged. The key is to research properly and be as responsible as possible when buying a pet in Germany.



4.1. Tips for responsibly buying a pet in Germany

If you have decided to buy a specific cat or dog breed in Germany, here are tips on how to do it responsibly.

  • If you want to buy an older pet in Germany, you can start by looking for specific breed dogs or cats that are up for adoption. Websites like rassekatzen-im-tierheim and deine-tierwelt are great starting points to find the specific cat or dog breeds in need of rehousing.

    If you choose to buy a young animal then here are some tips.

  • Before buying a cat or dog in Germany, you may wanna do some thorough research in your area for a certified breeder. Most legit breeders will already be verified members in organisations relevant to the animals that they breed.
  • Steer clear of breeders outside of Germany. Animal breeders in Germany have to go through various certifications and verifications, with very few loopholes to allow a ‘puppy or kitten’ mill type of situation. So even if there are kittens or puppies on sale for a much cheaper price elsewhere outside Germany, I highly recommend sticking with breeders inside German borders.
  • I found it best to contact breeders in our local area. This way we were able to personally visit them and check their facilities – whether the animals looked healthy and happy, their house was clean and spacious enough for all animals.

    We visited four Maine coon breeders and never found any suspicious-looking breeding conditions. Many of them were ‘hobby’ breeders. This means they don’t breed animals for business. Sometimes there were also long waiting periods because they allow only one or two litters per year. All in all, the breeders we met seemed to genuinely love their ‘breeding’ animals like their own pets, kept them at home with the entire floors, terraces and gardens of their house dedicated to them.
  • Even if everything looks great during your visit, make sure to ask the breeders if they provide all proper paperwork for the cats. We got the vaccination, passport, deworming certificates when we got our cat. A breeder that hesitates to provide proper paperwork and seems too eager to sell animals for a lower than average market price, you should nope out of there.
  • It doesn’t hurt to Google some local breeders and read reviews. Some also have social media pages so find as much info you can about their legitimacy and operations.
  • You can also search for private classified adverts on Search under “tiere” and then “hunde”  or “katze” and then filter the search based on your postal code.



Ready for the next steps? 

If you have made up your mind to get a pupper, read here to learn about dog tax and dog liability insurance before buying a dog in Germany.


If you have decided to welcome a kitty to your household, read here how you can cat-proof your home in Germany and sort other formalities. 



So here goes! Do you have a pet in Germany? Did you adopt, buy or fly your pet to Germany from your home country? Make sure to share your story in the comments below!


Getting a pet in Germany

Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.


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    • yamini

      Hi Ronique,

      That’s hard. It must be so stressful for pets to be on the plane. The first step would be to get in touch directly with the airlines and inquire how can you carry the dog (in the cabin or in cargo?). I have also read in some other blogs that the vets can help owners prep the dog for long haul flights.

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