Keeping a pet on a leash is a must in urban areas except when inside special pens and the wilder open spaces along the river banks or open countryside. Surprisingly for some, dogs are also allowed on public transport and inside restaurants unless otherwise stated.
Locals mostly love pets and are very friendly towards dogs. Within the European Union, pets may move freely if they have been microchipped, had the necessary vaccine against rabies and their owners are in possession of a valid EU pet passport. When taking up residency in the Rhine Ruhr region, pets, normally cats or dogs will need to be registered.
Dog ownership is regulated and taxed through a compulsory licence fee. Registration is possible in person at a local municipal tax office (Steueramt) or citizen’s office (Bürgerbüro). With some language skills it is also relatively simple by phone, in writing and online. Personal details are required as well as information about the pet, following which a dog tag will be sent.