Animal import questions

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I was asked by someone on Live Chat about bringing a dog into Germany but I wasn't at the computer. I searched TT and came across Getting a dog in Germany but the thre... discussion links that Webmaster6 gave were all dead.

 

Since I'm bringing two cats to Germany on Saturday, I've had to find out what to do. If you have other info, please add it. I'll update this with anything else I find out once I get to MUC.

 

First, see this document for some helpful info.

 

Shipping pets is pain in the ass/arse. Certain dogs are classified as "dangerous" and import is either restricted or outright banned in Germany.

 

You'll need to have each animal either tattooed or chipped (the latter is less stressful, less painful and more certain).

 

You also must have a Veterinärbescheinigung. The form is in German and English so that your vet can read it without a translation. The second page will probably not have to be filled out but that doesn't matter. Make certain that the vet staples both pages together, writes "N/A" in the boxes, and stamps and initials the page (one 2-page form per animal). You don't want customs to think that it wasn't filled out completely. Getting this busywork done ensures there can be no question that the second page (tick and echinococcus treatments) don't apply.

 

Your pet has to have had a rabies shot within the past year, and it had to be given at least three months prior to travel. Many sites state it's only 30 days but I was told by someone at the German embassy that it's 90 days. Making matters worse, the rabies shots are supposed to be with inactivated vaccine which isn't normally available in the US. The vaccine in the US is either killed or trans-species virus. I'm hoping customs doesn't notice.

 

Transport is another problem. Some airlines (like Lufthansa) will let you take a single pet weighing 8kg or less on board as hand luggage. Others won't. I have two cats and will be begging, pleading, and holding up a sign offering $100 to anyone willing to take my second cat as hand luggage so that they don't have to go into the hold.

 

Call the airlines to find out about charges first! It may be cheaper to fly on a more expensive airline. Some charge nothing, some charge a small fee, others charge a fortune. BA charges "double excess baggage ($125x2) plus a 'handling fee' ($150) for transfer in London per animal" whether or not you have other baggage. Taking the cats with BA would've cost me $800 on BA; it's not costing $100 on Lufthansa. The charges apply regardless of class of travel.

 

The hold that pets are kept in is pressurised and heated, but the animals are stuck in the cage for the duration and you can't go to them during the flight. You need to have a blanket in the cage and find some sort of water dispenser for each at the very least.

 

You should take your pet to the vet a couple days before travel. Tell the vet where you're going and you should get some mild tranquiliser for the animal which will ease the stress of cage, travel, handling and no food or place to relieve itself.

 

Your pet should not have food at least 6 hours prior to travel. Have some food (not snacks) in your hand luggage ready to put in the cage upon arrival so your pet can finally eat before you get home.

 

Once in Germany, take your pet and the customs paperwork to a vet and get a pet passport which is recognised throughout the EU. If nothing else it will help avoid you having to get additional and/or unnecessary vaccinations and treatments.

 

Dogs have to have a license. Someone else will have to chime in to say where to get it. I have cats; they don't need licenses.

 

That's all for now. Updates as I find out more.

 

woof.

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I think I read somewhere that Britain has a quarantine law for pets. So even if you have layover there, your pet might be in quarantine for 90 days.

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Hi,

If you're going to reply to this factual post, could you make sure the info is backed up please? AFAIK the quarantine was scrapped last year, but I'm not sure and am not going to check right now, so usually I wouldn't post anything.. if you get my drift ;)

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@UrbanAngel

Hmm, good to know. That was actually one of the reasons I didn't bring my cat with me. Maybe next time .. :unsure:

 

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Glad to see some more updated information on this topic. I brought my two cats over with me last December, and it was way easier than I thought. We flew Delta, which charged us about $75 for each cat to bring on-board. I did not sedate my cats, since I've heard from many vets that it is actually not recommended, but used some herbal drops (Rescue Remedy) which seemed to work fine. Both cats were totally fine, and nobody knew we even had them on board until the last few minutes when they started to get antsy.

 

I had all of the proper paperwork, microchips, rabies shots etc. done for them. When we walked through Customs there was nobody there at the counter, so we really could have walked through without anyone noticing at all. I ended up finding a Customs agent, thinking it might be a good idea, in case something needed to be stamped in their paperwork. I'm sure this is not the usual case, so I'd just make sure you have all of the proper vaccinations, identifications, and paperwork done. Also, make sure you have water with you for any pet you are traveling with!

 

My two little ones adjusted immediately, and are quite happy in their new home. :)

 

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inka, I brought my two cats over from the US in June 2001, and I walked right through Customs with them at Munich Airport. Nobody stopped me; I suppose their carry cases just looked like duffel bags or something.

 

I did give each of my cats a tranquilizer before leaving Chicago. I was glad I did, not least because the airport security people made me take them out of their carriers to check the carriers. Since they'd already taken their pills, the cats didn't panic and make a break for it, which they might have done otherwise. They would have had the entire terminal to hide in.

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I had no problems bringing my then 17 year-old cat over in November 2003. She had her shot 4 weeks before I left...the vet filled in the papers (had to get the German consulate in Toronto fax me over an English-German version but it was not a problem). I had no problems coming through the airport...as cinzia mentioned they didn't even look in the carrier and barely glanced at the papers.

 

I do not recommend the use of tranquilizers...at least in older cats as it can cause respiratory problems. Mollie travelled with me in the cabin and although she was a bit agitated at first...I think she got used to it. She is now here happily growing old in Munich.

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Thank you for this information. Anything similar from a dog owner? I know, there have been posts on this in the past - looking for some up to date information however...my dog weighs 8.9 kg. :( Time for a diet?

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I can't remember all the specifics, since it's been a couple years now since I brought my cat over. Someone else brought her to the vet for the rabies shot, and yet another person brought her over on the plane. Baddoggie, you might have been been given false information regarding the rabies shot time limit, so I'd check that one. I don't think it was much over 30 days before the flight that my kitty got her rabies shot (and I did lots of research on the subject at the time). I also don't remember anything about a microchip, but again I didn't take her to the vet. I did get a dual language form off the web to have the vet sign and stamp and kept her vet records tucked in a zipper compartment on her carrier.

 

When bringing over a cat, I'd say it's best to bring them in the cabin with you as a carry on. It's much less stressful for them, and you're right there to take care of any mess or food needs. I lined my kitty's carrier with several diaper-like pads, so that when she peed (which is inevitable on a 12-hour flight), I could just remove the top liner. Make sure and have plenty of food and water with you.

 

I fully expected my cat to do some howling, since that's what she used to do in the car, but she was actually perfectly silent and calm the entire trip. She didn't make a sound, and she was much less stressed than I expected her to be. After having seen that, I'd definitely avoid drugging an animal. The shock of the whole thing seemed to sedate her without the risk of the drugs.

 

Since I just went through the procedure of taking her to the States from Germany, I guess I should expound on that here for the benefit of others as well. There are different import laws for different states, so I can only account for import into California. Basically, there's nothing to do. I flew through France to get to California, so I got an EU pet passport for her just to be safe, but going into California they just have to look healthy. For the pet passport, she just needed a rabies shot no later than 30 days before the trip, and she needed a microchip. Baddoggie's right about the six months going through the UK, and you have to get a rabies test at the end of that six month period. Don't bother bringing any pet food into the States, because if they find out about it, they'll take it even if it's unopened. In addition, here's your heads up that Hill's Prescription Diet does indeed require a prescription in the US (wtf?! Who's going to abuse kitty food?).

 

Anyway, that's what I can come up with off the top of my head. If I can think of anything else, I'll add it later.

 

Edit: Btw, my little 19-year-old made it back just fine and is happy and healthy (though old and wobbly).

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There is also Bringing a puppy dog into Germany where some of us have shared our experiences. Like others who have posted, we had no problems getting Cookie in. The customs people looked at the paperwork for maybe 10 seconds, and never looked at her or even inside the carrier bag. It took more time and energy to get our check-in luggage back then to get the dog into this country. But then, we have only one dog and she's 6 kgs. We will bring her to the States with us when we see family for 2 weeks for Christmas and I expect the same low-stress experience. I guess the only thing to remember is that the airlines require a health certificate less than 10 days old. Althoug, once again, no one looked at it.

 

And about tranqulizers - they are very dangerous. According to most web site (Petsmart fr example) you SHOULD NOT sedate because:

 

"Most veterinarians don't recommend tranquilizing Pets before air travel, because tranquilized Pets can have difficulty regulating their body temperature and blood pressure. In addition, sedated Pets can lose their balance, which increases their potential for injury. If you think that your Pet may require a sedative, visit with your veterinarian about prescription recommendations."

 

YMMV, of course. (I am not a vet, nor do I play one on TV! )

 

:P

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I travel with the mini-pup all the time, in cabin. We just got back from a trip to California. Anyone feel free to PM me - I've traveled with him back and forth and all over so many times, my experiences would fill up a thread and then some, but quickly -

 

He didn't have the translated paperwork the first time. They looked at what I had, and no problem. Now he has a passport. They barely glance at it. Weight limits are usually with container, so beware of that. Some airlines will make you put the pet with carrier on the belt to be weighed (actually, more like some counter personnel, most take your word). Generally Luft/Star Alliance members charge about $100 per leg for pet in cabin. There was one airline that used to have a 25 lb limit, but I don't recall which. In all cases though, the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you, so you cannot sit in the bulkhead or exit aisles. You should call ahead to note pet in cabin with your reservation, as most only allow 2 max per flight. Leave yourself at least 1/2 hour extra for check in, as most counter personnel don't know how to ticket it (fyi, the code is always PETC).

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i just brought my dog over here with me a month ago. it wasn't too bad. and about not liking the idea of an animal in the hold below the plan. it was fine for Brenna, my dog. and anyway if the cat/dog is up above you cannot/should nto let it out of its cage anyway so what does it matter? and this way other passengers do not have to listen to the animal whine (especially if flying from the US).

Britian has relaxed it's restrictions on animals, but hte are still difficult. Heathrow claims they will allow animals to move through the airport on transit (say your flight changed there from Chicago to Munich). but in actually they do not- airlines have severe diffictulties booking animals through London. b/c of this i had Brennan fly a direct flight to Munich while i was on one through london (m y ticket was bought for me by the people i work for). you can also send animals unaccompanied (if you are not on the flight) as cargo. it's a lot more expensive though!

as you know the animal needs microchip or tattoo and rabies that's it. also they should (not sure if they have to though) have a tick/flea treatment and a worming w/in 24 hours of departure. make copies of the bilingual health certificate in case somethign happens since the original must stay with the pet. also if you microchip in the US be careful per normal US the US microchips are not ISO! you can get ISO ones though. even if you do they may/may not be readable here. Brennan has an ISO chip, but cannot be read with the reader at customs here. they let him through though and said if i want to travel get one put in here.

if you want to travel in europe with your pet get one of the pet passports. they keep track of all the vaccinations etc and are used at borders in the EU and save on a lot of cost and paperwork in the end.

also, try to get familiar with parasites/diseases here. I am working for a vet (not in her practice but with her children) and there are some ones that are more common here that she will give monthly pills to (like in the US how we would give heartworm).

also, i've notice more of a tick problem here than we had at home.

if you have any more questions please ask! i have lots of more info esp relating to the process of bringing a pet over here and the requirements! :)

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Interesting. They must be more conscientious if your pet goes through cargo. I've never even seen a scanner at any airport (though my pup is chipped).

 

My little bugger has never whined during a flight, even the long ones, but I started flying with him when he was about 6 months or so (he's 3 now) and never need to sedate him now. He loves his travel bag. Even on this last trip, the people near us never realized I had him with me until I took him out at baggage claim. [puffs out chest with pride :)]

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butterbean i think it'd be fun to watch people's surprise when all of a sudden an animal emerges (imagine flying for so long and then bam a dog or cat you didnt know of!)

 

for those of you who have brought your animals back to the US did you have to do anything? i'm not planning on bringing Brennan back anytime soon, but it's always good to be prepared. I know they have to have a current rabies shot, but that is all i could find out.

anything else you know of?

 

also, what is needed/cost for an EU pet passport?

thanks! :)

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Hi everyone,

 

I've been reading what you wrote and it's very useful!

 

I plan to bring my dog with me from Phoenix to Munich next January, and I'm very concerned because I'm afraid I made the wrong airline choice. I'll fly with US Airways, but I just read that they changed their policies so that no carry-on pets are allowed in trasatlantic flights. Does that mean that I cannot have it with me during the flight, but as checked baggage? Do you know if it is still possible to transport pets using their cargo service?

 

Hope to hear something from you soon! Thanks in advance :)

 

Carolina

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carito- what type of dog?

i'm sure my dog would love to play w/ another american dog when you get here!!!

(Brennan loves to play with any dog, any type, etc etc... he's a collie/shepherd mix and is 1 yr- almost 1.5 yr!) :)

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argh! i just typed a long reply regarding Carito and USAir- no clue where it went (i prob pressed some wrong button somewhere or something!)

anyway...

i said you can send your dog cargo w/ any airline even if you're not flying it. call around to the airlines and check prices. for me to fly my dog from Chicaog-Munich it cost $700 he's a medium-large dog and weighs 40lbs. so depending on the crate and dog size/weight the price varies. i flew him Lufthansa b/c it was cheaper.

so i'd call USair and check w/ them regarding cargo service and price. also call other airlines and see what you can get. while on the phone w/ USAir also see if you can just fly him on your flight as "extra luggage" (he'll fly in a pressure/temp controled dept under the main part of the plane) this is cheaper than cargo and is what most do for larger dogs who cannot fly in the main compartment with them (seeing as it seems that your dog cannot-for whatever the reason).

also, call to to confirm he cannot fly up by you b/c i've received conflicting info on what is possible and is not.

lastly, when you're trying to book your dog make sure the airline does not have any regulations. some have times when dogs cannot fly (ie- summer when the ground temp is too hot for the animal to be in a crate and being un/loaded or some have winter ones too). somtimes they block off a few weeks/months others they just say they can make a reservation, but the weather that day will determine if it's possible.

 

don't worry! :) it'll all work out and if you have any more questions feel free to ask- i'm sure one of us out here has an answer or somewhere to go for it!

good luck with making your arrangements

 

oh- in the other message i also said something about medication. you know not to sedate the dog, but if your dog gets nervous a lot (like at the vet or whatnot) there's an herbal thingy you can give him it doesnt knock him out or anything, but just relaxes him- it's kind of like making him drunk (has hops and what not as ingredients). you can get it at almost any petstore in the US just ask and make sure to read the ingredients to make sure it's natural (less adverse effects- good esp when flying when the effects are amplified). i used it for brennan, not sure if it worked, probably did nothing, but for being caged up for 12 or so hours i figured it wouldn't hurt and all vets i talked to said nothing wrong with it. but it's not necessary or needed (unless your dog gets anxious/nervous a lot)

 

:)

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USAir does not allow pets in cabin on international flights, but they do allow pet as cargo as usual. Alitalia also doesn't allow pet in cabin (fyi for when you get here and start traveling about). United and Lufthansa, also in the Star Alliance group with US Airways, does. If you feel strongly about traveling with your pet in the cabin, you could see if they could switch you to one of these affiliates without significant additional cost.

 

mattiehh raises a good question regarding summer travel, but coming from Phoenix in January you should have no problem.

 

my vet in the US also recommended children's benedryl. I want to say it was about half a pill when my pup was a 2 lb baby (chihuahua), but any vet should be able to tell you.

 

@mattiehh - it is funny to see people's reactions, especially the ones I've been sitting next to for the whole 9 hour flight. Usually the flight attendants ask how he did on the way out and that's how people find out, as he never makes a peep. Once I had one woman that had sat next to me say she wondered why I seemed so obsessed with the carryon luggage at my feet! :lol: I usually spring him when I'm waiting at baggage claim. LOTS of attention there too.

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i'm sure my dog would love to play w/ another american dog when you get here!!!

Sorry, made me laugh like a drain.

 

Our dog does not like American dogs, he blames them for all the worlds problems. Only likes socialist, left wing, lesbian, one armed (legged), vegetarian, non-smoking dogs.

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