Are you planning to move to Germany with your beloved pet or adopt a friendly Teutonic pooch? Between taxes, insurance, compulsory outings … follow the guide to find out all about what that implies!
Steps to follow before moving
When expatriating, your pooch requires a good dose of organization and consideration. There are indeed many elements to assess before moving. First, you need to check that your dog is insured and in possession of a pet passport, or take the necessary steps if necessary. Yes, you read that right ! This is the « Heimtierausweis ». This document is essential so that the four-legged family member can travel from one country of the European Union to another. Every dog entering German territory must also be vaccinated against rabies.
In addition, when you arrive in Germany, in addition to declaring all members of your family during the « Anmeldung » (registration in town hall), you must absolutely declare your dog to the town hall of the place of residence. . It is also compulsory to be in possession of a « Hundemarke », the license for keeping dogs in Germany.
A « Hundehaftpflichtversicherung », meaning dog liability insurance and « Hundekrankenversicherung », dog health insurance, may also be required according to the Länder. Find out when you arrive at the town hall!
Dog tax: an important part of your budget
In Germany, anyone who owns a dog as a pet must pay tax on the pet, which can range from € 5 to € 200 per dog per year, depending on the state. For example, its amount is € 90 per year in Frankfurt and Hamburg, € 100 in Munich and € 800 for fighting dogs, € 108 in Heidelberg and Mannheim and € 156 in Cologne! This tax is applicable in all cases: it does not matter if the dog was imported from another country or if the dog was adopted or purchased locally. The tax varies depending on the dog’s weight and size, as well as where they live, ie the tax on dogs is higher in the city than in the countryside.
If owning a dog comes at a cost, owning two or more is only more expensive, especially when you know that the dog tax is higher for the number of dogs you have. For example, the first dog costs in Berlin 120 € and the second 180 € per year!
But the dog tax in Germany is not new. It has a long history dating back to the 15th century when their owners had to pay the « Hundekorn », the ancestor of the tax that we know today. Over time, this tradition has continued and owners in 2020 will not be able to deviate from the rule or face being forced to pay a fine. In France, a tax on dogs also existed, it was put in place in 1885 but in 1971 it was abolished.
In 2020, mandatory outings for owners?
But that’s not all ! To ensure a better quality of life for dogs, the German government recently decided that dog owners should walk them twice a day for at least an hour. German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner’s bill, which aims to protect dogs, is not unanimous among owners, however. If this law comes into effect, keeping your dog on a leash or chain for an extended period should also soon be banned. By way of comparison, in France it is compulsory to keep your dog on a leash or even have him wear a muzzle depending on the breed, the dangerousness and in certain places.
But what wouldn’t we do for our faithful furry companions?