Everything you need to know about moving your dogs to Germany - PART 1 The Paperwork

Meet our adorkable pups! One of the many reasons Germany looked so appealing among my husband's offers was because Germany has no quarantine laws for dogs entering the country. If you're not sure what that means, some countries require your dogs be placed in quarantine for a certain amount of time to make sure everything checks out (they can't go home with you right off the plane). For example, even with all of the right paperwork, Iceland will quarantine your dog for 4 weeks. But if you want to move to Germany, you don't have to worry about quarantine and the whole process should be pretty easy (for those coming from the US). Just make sure you have all of your paperwork in order.

Before we even get to the paperwork, GERMANY DOES NOT ALLOW CERTAIN DOG BREEDS SUCH AS PITBULLS. Please make sure you look into what breeds are not allowed before reading further. You can find the most accurate and up-to-date information with your German Embassy/Consulate.

Part 1: Paperwork to make sure your dogs enter Germany safely (from the US)!

Check out Part 2 for flight details and proper travel carriages

Please read the correlations carefully and plan with your vet ahead of time!

1A. Ask your vet if they do 'International Dog Health Certificates (APHIS Form 7001)'. They will need to be USDA accredited to do so. If they don't, you will have to find another vet. And depending on your vet, it could cost an arm so be prepared (we paid $200 per dog). Admittedly we had an upscale vet not because we could afford to, but because the humane society had our dog's heartworm treated at this vet when we chose to adopt her. It seemed better to stay with that vet since they had full knowledge of her heartworm treatment, but hopefully, your vet will have better rates. The $400 for our two dogs PLUS the rabies vaccines, new microchip, and two different appointment rates had us breaking our backs (more about that below)! FYI - you will only need one form for multiple dogs, but our vet still charged per dog.

KEY POINT for this health certificate: it is required that this Health Certificate be completed LESS than 10 days before entering Germany. Which leads to...

1B. Germany requires your dogs have up-to-date rabies vaccines, and they do NOT accept 3 year rabies vaccines (which our dogs had). So we had to get newer rabies vaccines for them BUT Germany requires that your dogs get the rabies vaccines AT LEAST 21 days BEFORE you enter Germany (apparently dogs can react to the vaccine within 21 days so you can catch problems within that amount of time).

You can see why the two different requirements in A & B are important. Once you make sure your vet can do the Health Certificate, you then have to make two appointments with them.
FIRST - MORE than 21 days before departure for their rabies vaccine.
SECOND - LESS than 10 days before departure for the Health Certificate.

1C. Also, Germany requires an international micro-chip for your dog so while you're at your vet, check and make sure you have the right kind of chip. This chip number is required for the Health Certificate.

***We were strictly advised to double check our vet's completed Health Certificates before going to the USDA! Double check the work! All dates must be filled out in the format, DD MM YYYY (in the US, we flip the day and month), microchip numbers must match the paperwork, and your pet's age must match what's on their vaccination records, etc.

2. Call your state's USDA APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Office ahead of time to set an appointment (we called 2 weeks before the preferred date). You will need an appointment with the USDA APHIS to notarize the Health Certificate that's completed on your second vet visit so make sure to set it after the second vet visit. There is only one USDA APHIS Office per state so make sure you're headed to the right office. It is NOT any USDA office, it must be the APHIS Veterinary Services Endorsement Office (I almost made that mistake). This rang us up $38 (they do not accept cash; only some accept checks).
     You can also mail the certificate to the office, but with less than 10 days till you leave, do you really want to leave the fate of your furbabies in the hands of a postal delivery service? And don't get me started about how the USDA doesn't accept cash or checks so you'd have to time a call with them for your payment after they receive your forms. And if you don't include an expedited return envelope, they'll use regular ol' USPS. So hopefully the nearest office isn't too far for you (ours was about two hours away from us, could've been worse).
     The whole process once you get to the office, at your appointment time, should only be about 30 minutes. They'll need to check your Health Certificate along with all of the forms validating the information, such as your vaccination records and microchip paperwork. I brought any and all records I had on the dogs just in case they needed anything I missed.

After all of this, your dog is paperwork ready for Germany! Also, make sure you're flight ready by reading Part 2

*This is simply what I learned from my personal experiences/research. Please always make sure to consult with the proper authorities such as your Consulates, USDA APHIS, and your Vets.