Transporting animals

Information about traveling with animals

You want to travel with your pet? Whether dog, cat, ferret, bird or rabbit – there are rules for all animals. The rules on transport of pets vary from airline to airline. So you should find out at an early stage whether and how you can take your pet with you on your flight.

Every airline has its own rules

In principle, dogs and cats weighing up to 6 kg may be carried in the cabin. Like in the case of hand luggage, every airline has its own rules when it comes to the dimensions and weight of transport cages. Certain animals, such as birds and rodents, are often not accepted as companions in the cabin and have to be carried in the aircraft’s cargo hold. If your pet is being carried in the cargo hold, it needs a stable wooden or plastic cage with water bowl and absorbent material. The cage must offer the animal as much space as it needs in its natural position to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in it.

If you want to take an animal with you on a flight, it is essential that you get information directly from your airline at an early stage. As a rule, you’ll find all the information you need on the airlines’ websites.

The following applies to all animals being carried:

Notify the airline that you will be taking your pet with you at an early stage.

Dogs and cats traveling within the EU must be at least 4 months old. Animals traveling into the EU from unlisted third states must be at least 7 months old.

Sick, injured animals and animals that might give birth while being transported, as well as animals that have given birth less than 48 hours beforehand, are excluded from transport.

Animals weighing up to 5 or 6 kg (depending on the airline) can be carried in the cabin in a suitable cage. Animals exceeding that weight have to be carried in the cargo hold.

Even animals need travel documents

To ease your pet’s journey, you must carry a standard pet passport based on an EU directive for every type of animal. Any registered vet can issue such a document as long as he holds a permit from the Veterinary Office. The pet passport contains information about the health status of the animal and confirmation that it has been vaccinated against rabies.

You’ll find more information about the pet passport and a checklist on traveling with dogs and cats at the Federal Ministry for Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer Protection under www.bmelv.de.

Should your airline not be listed here, please see our list of all airlines.