Taking a dog to Germany and back in 2023: Everything you need to know
Taking a dog to Germany from the UK is easy, but it's important to plan ahead so you have enough time to get the vaccinations and paperwork required. In this post, we run through all the steps to take your dog to Germany and back to the UK again, including the rabies vaccination, the Animal Health Certificate and the tapeworm treatment requirements.
This guide is frequently updated by our vets to ensure our advice is up to date. If you think that something is incorrect or needs updating date please do contact us so we can update our guide.
6 Steps to Travel with your Dog from the UK to Germany and Back
1. Ensure your dog is microchipped and has a valid rabies vaccination
The first thing to do is to check your dog has been microchipped and has a valid rabies vaccination.
All dogs in the UK are required to be microchipped by 8 weeks old, so this should already have been done.
Rabies vaccinations are not routine vaccinations in the UK so unless your dog has travelled before, it is unlikely that they will have had one.
If they haven't, you'll need to book your dog in at your vets for a rabies vaccination (the minimum age a dog can be vaccinated against rabies is 12 weeks). The vaccination needs to be administered at least 21 days before a vet can issue you an Animal Health Certificate (more on this later), so it's vital that you get this booked in at least a month or so before you plan on travelling. Most brands of rabies vaccinations administered in the UK last for 3 years, so it's worth ticking this off your list early.
At the rabies vaccination appointment the vet should either update your dog's existing vaccination card with the details of the rabies vaccination, or they'll issue you a new vaccination card or certificate. You'll need to keep hold of this, as the vet that issues your Animal Health Certificate will need to see proof of the rabies vaccination in order to issue a certificate.
The routine, annual vaccinations are not required for travelling to the EU with your dog, however it's advisable to keep this up to date anyway.
2. Arrange your travel to Germany
The next step is booking (or being ready to book) your travel plans to Germany. The reason you need to have a departure date in mind before you get the Animal Health Certificate (AHC) is that the AHC needs to be issued by an Official Veterinarian no more than 10 days before you go. If you end up travelling more than 10 days after you get the AHC, you'll need another one issuing.
Most people travel to Germany via France, either through the Eurotunnel or by Ferry from Portsmouth, Dover or Plymouth.
Flying with a dog is much more difficult, as very few airlines take dogs, and the ones that do often require them to be in the hold rather than the cabin. That said, if you are planning on travelling by plane, the airlines that do take pets include Eurowings and Lufthansa.
If your dog is going to be travelling with a friend/family member or with a pet transport company, you (the owner) must be travelling within 5 days of your dog's departure date. If you are travelling more than 5 days outside your dog's departure date, an Export Health Certificate would be required instead.
3. Book an Animal Health Certificate appointment with an Official Veterinarian for within 10 days of your trip
All dogs entering the EU from the UK are required to have an Animal Health Certificate (a 9+ page document) issued by an Official Veterinarian (a vet that has done the extra qualifications to issue pet travel documents). Animal Health Certificates replaced GB pet passports when the UK left the EU in 2021.
The key requirements to get an Animal Health Certificate is that your dog must be microchipped and your dog must have had a rabies vaccination at least 21 days before the AHC can be issued. Up to 5 pets can go on the same Animal Health Certificate and the certificate is valid for 4 months from the date of issue. However, they are single-use only, so you need a new certificate each time you travel from the UK to the EU.
The Animal Health Certificate needs to be issued no more than 10 days before you depart on your trip, so you'll need to book an appointment with an Official Veterinarian to get this within 10 days of your departure date. Not all vet practices have an Official Veterinarian, so you'll need to find a vet practice or pet travel clinic that does.
Prices for an AHC vary by vet practice but most normally charge between £100-300 per dog, so it's worth calling a few different vets to ensure you aren't paying too much.
At PassPets, we are one of the leading providers of Animal Health Certificates in the UK, and we charge £99 for the first pet plus £50 per additional pet. You can find more information about our service on our home page.
At the appointment the Official Veterinarian will scan your dog's microchip to ensure it matches the microchip number on your rabies vaccination document, and they will issue the Animal Health Certificate in English as well as the language of your country of entry into the EU. So if you are travelling to Germany via France it would need to be in English and French, but if you are travelling directly to Germany via plane, then it would need to be in English and German.
It is very important that the vet issues the AHC in the correct language otherwise you may be refused entry into the EU.
To learn more about Animal Health Certificates please see our AHCs Explained page.
4. Travel to Germany
As soon as you have the AHC in your hands, you can travel to the EU with your dog. You need to have travelled within 10 days of the date the AHC was issued.
At the Eurotunnel, or ferry port they'll check the Animal Health Certificate to ensure it is filled in correctly and they'll scan your dog's microchip to check it matches the one on the AHC.
If you're travelling via ferry it's worth checking their pet policy, as some companies require dogs to be muzzled at all times.
Once you've entered the EU, the AHC is valid for travelling to any county in the EU for a period of 4 months. However, if you leave the EU (for example to return to the UK), then you would need another AHC in order to re-enter.
5. Visit a vet in the EU to get tapeworm treatment administered between 1 and 5 days before you return to the UK
All dogs entering the UK are required to have tapeworm treatment administered and recorded in the AHC by a vet between 24 hours (1 day) and 120 hours (5 days) before the dog's scheduled arrival time back in the UK.
So you'll need to find a vet somewhere in the EU to do this for you and record it in the Animal Health Certificate (normally at in the table at the bottom of page 4).
Most vets in the EU are very familiar with having to do this, so you shouldn't have trouble finding a vet whilst you are out there, but some people prefer to organise this in advance.
The below image shows how the tapeworm treatment table needs to be filled out on the Animal Health Certificate:
6. Return to the UK
Once your dog has had a tapeworm tablet administered in the correct timeframe (24 to 120 hours before arrival in the UK), you are free to return to the UK.
At the border they'll want to check the AHC again to ensure the tapeworm treatment part has been filled out.
We hope our guide helps when planning your trip to Germany with your dog.
If you would like any more information or clarification on the above please don't hesitate to contact us. One of our team will be happy to help.