Bringing Your Pet to Germany


Copley and I made it to Germany! Thank you, Jesus…insert Melissa Gorga voice from season 3 of RHONJ. It’s been great to be reunited with Hubby and getting the lay of our new land. I’ll share our first few days in Germany in other post, but today I want to talk about everything we went through in order to bring Copley to Germany.


In a nutshell, preparing all the paperwork and Copley herself for the next great adventure was the most stressful and most annoying part of this entire process.

When Hubby accepted his job in late October, I started looking for information on bringing a dog to Germany. Well, I tried to for months to no avail. I Googled and Googled and Googled and a bunch of websites came up but all the information was different. How was I supposed to know which website had the most up to date and correct info?

One website said all dogs need to have their paperwork completed 21 days prior to arrival in Germany. Another said 10 days.

I figured I’d schedule a vet appointment and that they would know what to do. So, off we went to the vet January 2nd. They confirmed that we couldn’t do anything until 10 days before arrival. Okay, fine. We weren’t leaving until the end of January, so we had plenty of time.

The vet decided to do her health exam at that time anyway so that would be one less thing we’d need to do later. A health exam is required for the health form to get into Germany. While they were doing her exam, they couldn’t find her microchip, which is a requirement in Germany. And we had paid for a microchip when she was spayed in 2014! She got a new microchip that day.

We left the office feeling prepared and ready to go!

Then, the worst happened. On January 14th, I was emailing with someone else from Hubby’s company who brought her dogs to Germany and found out the correct website with all the information.

To bring dogs into any EU country you need:

  • A 15-digit microchip —> check
  • A rabies vaccine —> check
  • A completed health form by your vet that is signed and sealed by the USDA veterinary services department. The form can’t be signed or sealed until 10 days prior to arrival —> still needed
  • Health certificate for the airline —> check

For the most up to date information, this is the best website!

After reviewing the website, I discovered that dogs need to have a rabies shot AFTER they are microchipped. Because Copley had to be re-microchiped on January 2nd, her rabies shot occurred BEFORE her chip. And dogs must have their rabies vaccine completed 21 days PRIOR to entry to the EU country.

So….I make about 3 frantic calls to the USDA and my vet to find out what to do. It had only been 5 months since Copley’s last rabies shot and I was nervous about getting her a new one. The vet wasn’t concerned about her getting another one and it was the easiest way to make sure she adhered to German laws. Copley gets another rabies vaccine in the middle of January.

Then, I rescheduled her appointment for her EU health certificate 3 times to make sure we’re within the correct number of days. Hubby leaves for Germany a week before I do so I can train my replacement at work and Copley’s rabies vaccine is 21 days prior to entry.

Finally, get all the paperwork figured out (after 1.5 hours at the vet!) and take to FedEx to overnight to Lansing, so USDA can sign and seal the correct EU forms. I find out that it’s not possible to send 2 overnight envelopes at the same time without a FedEx account. I hold back tears while essentially yelling at the FedEx worker.  I overnight forms  to Lansing and pre-stamped envelope back to our vet because…I was living at the hotel.

I get a call from Lansing on the Friday before I’m supposed to fly saying I didn’t sign one page of the form. So, I drive to Lansing on Monday, January 29th, sign the document, get it sealed, pay the $38 and drive back to Detroit with completed forms in hand. All is good.

On Friday, February 5th, Copley and I head to the airport!



I pay $100 so she can fly in the cabin, get through security just fine and she’s the most perfect travel companion.

She only cried when I went to the bathroom and then a few whimpers halfway through the flight!! No bathroom accidents or anything. I didn’t give her any drugs or anything because I don’t feel good about drugging her. I did use a pheromone spray that is supposed to calm dogs. I’m not sure if it worked, but she was pretty calm!

We landed in Germany, went through customs AND NO ONE ASKED FOR HER PAPERWORK!! Not.A.Single.Person. In one way, I’m happy because it was super easy and the other side of me is PISSED because I went through all that trouble and all that money to make sure she had every in order. The airline didn’t ask me for anything, either.

Oh well, sorry for the rant. But if you’re brining your dog to Germany or any other European, I recommend doing your research early, talking to your vet and the USDA and don’t get upset when customs doesn’t give a shit that you’re brining a pet from a foreign country. All’s well that ends well.

Have you ever traveled with your dog? Any vet horror stories?


  1. First Days in Germany – Room for Gelato | 8th Feb 16

    […] talked about what an ordeal it was bringing Copley yesterday, but I didn’t talk about the flight […]

  2. Getting Your Dog a Pet Passport – Room for Gelato | 7th Apr 16

    […] will need to bring all the paperwork you did prior to bringing your dog to Europe. The rabies vaccine certificate and the microchip number are the most […]

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