How to bring your pets on trips to France

Your dog is part of your family, so why not take him along on the trip? With quarantine regulations eased and provided you start the process far enough ahead for the necessary injections, blood test and paperwork you will find it all works easily.

First though, you should consider what sort of holiday you are taking. If you are going to stay in your maison secondaire or are taking a self-catering holiday in a rented gîte, then taking your dog along is essential – you won’t be paying kennel fees in the UK and you will enjoy your holiday all the more as you won’t be missing and worrying about your beloved pet.

If you are taking a beach holiday, particularly in the south of France, then consider whether or not he’d enjoy the heat – indeed some beaches in France don’t allow dogs. You may also find that Fido won’t be allowed into some public buildings, for instance, museums. Mostly, though, dogs are welcome in hotels and restaurants, provided they are well behaved and sit quietly under the table.

The best way to travel is by ferry, as then your dog will have the comfort and reassurance of your car for the trip over the channel. Of course you can fly but then you need to be sure your dog will not be too daunted by being enclosed in a travelling box for the duration of the flight.

However you travel, your dog will need the relevant paperwork and for this you to need to think 7 months in advance – you can’t hurry the process.

For a dog resident in the UK, but simply travelling to France on holiday, you will be concerned with:

• The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) provides for qualifying domestic pets to travel to and from the UK without undergoing quarantine.

You will need an EU Pet Passport, which will be provided to you by your vet once the process is complete. Click on the links below for full details and photographs of the Procedures to be followed.

Have your pet microchipped

Before any of the other procedures for PETS are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so that it can be properly identified.

Have your pet vaccinated

After the microchip has been fitted your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination.

Arrange a blood test

After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure that the vaccine has given it a satisfactory level of protection against rabies.

Get PETS documentation

Your vet will endorse your EU Pet Passport showing your dog has been microchipped, vaccinated and blood tested against rabies before you can enter France and if necessary will attach the relevant DEFRA documentation.

Before your pet re-enters the UK, it must be treated against ticks and a tapeworm.

The tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis can cause a serious or fatal liver disease in humans. The tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus can carry diseases that are harmful to humans. Neither of these parasites is thought to be currently present in the UK. The treatment needs to be given not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before your pet is checked in to travel to the UK, to ensure that the tapeworm eggs are not shed in the UK. The French vet will endorse your EU Pet Passport showing this has been done and that your pet is in good health

Timing is important for the tick and tapeworm treatment and for the documentation, as you need to travel back to the UK within that 24 – 48 hour timeframe. (You can get this done by a vet in the vicinity of your holiday in France). It can be rather daunting especially if you are travelling from the south of France and are worried you’ll make the ferry in time. But don’t worry – should you miss your ferry on the return journey you will easily find an English-speaking vet in Calais or any other French port who will be more than familiar with the procedure…

…and you can fit in one more fabulous French déjeuner whilst waiting for the next crossing.

Bon voyage!

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