Taking your dog on holiday to France is really straightforward, provided you follow a few golden rules of the Pet Travel Scheme and prepare in advance.
We find that there are no restrictions and only brief microchip checks when leaving the UK to travel to France; however officials are super-switched on when it comes to checking animals back into the UK.
When you return to the UK staff from the travel company will scan your pet’s microchip and check your documents.
If you don’t have the correct documents or your pet hasn’t been properly prepared it will be put into quarantine or sent back to the country it travelled from and you will have to pay the costs for this.
On one return trip we were held up by officials in France because our dog’s date of birth hadn’t been completed by the vet in his passport. We explained that he was a rescue dog and we didn’t know his birth date, and were only let through because all our other documents were in order. For future trips, we decided it was easier to make up a date of birth rather than run the risk of being turned back.
So when returning to the UK from France your pet needs:
- a microchip (given by a UK vet)
- a rabies vaccination (make sure your pet is micro chipped first or the vaccination won’t count)
- a pet passport (completed by your UK vet and costing between £150 to £250, depending on the size of your dog)
- tapeworm treatment from a vet (for dogs only)
In 2011 the UK government changed the Pet Passport scheme to make it easier for pet owners by allowing dogs to travel just 21 days after having a rabies vaccination rather than wait for six months, and removing the need for a blood test which cost around £100.
After the first vaccination and waiting period, you can enter the UK whenever you like as long as booster rabies vaccinations are given on time.
Visit the French vet before you return home
Once the rabies injection is out the way, and you’ve purchased your pet passport, then you’re on your way. However, there is one vital function you must remember before you return to the UK. You must have your dog treated for tapeworm by a vet, and have this recorded in the pet passport.
The treatment must be given between 1 and 5 days (24 to 120 hours) before you’re scheduled to arrive in the UK. Your vet must record the following details in your dog’s pet passport or certificate:
- the name and manufacturer of the product used to treat your dog
- the date and time they treated your dog
- their stamp and signature
We’ve had this done twice now before coming back to the UK, and it’s all been very easy and straightforward – the vets that we have used know exactly what needs to be done, and how it needs to be recorded. The cost for this is around 35 – 40 Euros and we recommend that you get your appointment booked at the start of your holiday so you have no last minute panics trying to find an available vet!
Best operator experience
We’ve used Eurotunnel to travel with our dog, and have been impressed with their service. There are enclosed dog exercise areas on both the UK and French sides so your mutt can stretch his legs before travel, and during the journey he simply stays in the car with you, so no need to leave him on his own at any time.
P&O and Brittany Ferries also offer dog ferrying services, which we’ve also used on several occasions.
Depending on the crossing you can book your dog into an onboard kennel where you have some time at the start of the journey to walk your pet around the deck. The alternative is to leave your pooch in your car, which was fine for our dog but might not work so well if you have pets with a nervous disposition.
For more information: