This is what you should know about adopting a pet from another EU country

Das solltest du über die Adoption eines Haustieres aus dem EU-Ausland wissen

If you've ever thought about adopting a pet from abroad, you've probably thought about the problems that come with it. Understandably, adopting a pet from abroad is a bit daunting at first and raises many questions. Where can I find trusted animal welfare organizations? What about diseases? And most importantly - is adopting a pet from abroad allowed?

Let's dive into this topic together and find all the answers to your questions. Here's everything you need to know about adopting a pet from abroad.

Entry requirements - the European pet passport

First of all, we have to clarify which requirements apply to the entry of your pet into Germany. It doesn't matter if you just fell in love with a little kitten while on vacation in Italy and want to bring it home or if you use an adoption website from home - the most important document for your pet is the EU pet passport.

Any licensed veterinarian within the EU can issue a passport for a pet. However, in order to obtain this passport, your pet must have a current rabies vaccination. The animal may not travel without a pet passport and all the information documented therein. In addition, your puppy or kitten may only enter Germany if it is older than 15 weeks.

In addition, as the owner, you must confirm in writing that your animal will not be passed on to third parties after its arrival in Germany. Anyone who brings a pet to Germany for adoption should first obtain permission from the relevant veterinary office, as required by the Animal Welfare Act.

Vaccinations and health requirements

EU rules only allow cats, dogs and ferrets to travel between EU countries if they have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before travel. The vaccination must not be older than 12 months and must be documented in the pet passport. In addition, the pet passport must contain the identification number of the animal's microchip or tattoo. Finally, you should make sure your pet is free of, and has been vaccinated against, Mediterranean diseases such as:

  • worms and other parasites
  • Parvovirus (in dogs)
  • canine distemper
  • scabies
  • Canine Tick Fever (Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis)
  • Canine malaria (babesiosis)

Forbidden Breeds

When it comes to puppies, you need to remember that Customs keeps a list of dog breeds (and their crossbreeds) that are considered dangerous. This does not mean that adoption of this breed is impossible. However, the adoption process of a dog breed classified as dangerous is significantly more complicated and involves many more legal requirements, which further complicate the process.

These breeds include:


  • Pit bull terrier


  • American Staffordshire Terrier


  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier


  • bull terrier

Depending on which state you live in, other dog breeds may be excluded if dangerous behavior is suspected. If you have any doubts as to whether the dog you are adopting belongs to a dangerous breed, you can inquire at the regulatory office or at the customs information office.


Luckily, that doesn't apply to cats, so you can adopt any cat. (Or all...)


Animal welfare organizations like TASSO usually make sure their animals are vaccinated, microchipped and disease free before they are released for adoption. It is also desirable that the future owner and the animal to be adopted get to know each other personally beforehand. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, which is why it is important to clarify in advance whether animal and human are compatible or not. Some animals have a history of abuse and trauma that leads to behavioral problems. So be prepared for consultations and even a preliminary INSPECTION of your housing and living situation by an employee to prevent the animal from being returned to the animal shelter. If you want to see potential pets, you can visit TASSO's online shelter ] ( https://shelta.tasso.net/ .

In summary, adopting a pet from another EU country involves some effort. Therefore you should be 100% sure of the responsibility that comes your way. BUT it also has its advantages. Not only is it a wonderful thing - adopt, don't shop, it provides an animal with a home, lots of love and a safe environment. In return, you'll receive all the unconditional love your new pet has to offer - so it's a win-win situation.

If you haven't already, read our blog post on registering a dog once it arrives in Germany. (yes, there are actually more laws and regulations, but it's all less complicated than it sounds.)

Until next time, stay happy and healthy 😊

Reading next

Alles, was du über mobile Tierärzte wissen solltest
Warum Aktivitäts-Tracking bei deinem Haustier wichtig ist