Taking Your Dog on Holiday to France

Although a good number of British holidaymakers think that they will need to book their beloved pet into a boarding kennel while they enjoy the delights of a French gite getaway, this is simply not the case. Of course, in the past government regulations meant that it was nigh on impossible to take your dog to France or to return with it. This is because the respective authorities in both countries were worried about the potential risk of diseases being transported back and forth. As such concerns have receded, so the regulations have been relaxed and a holiday in France with a dog is now certainly easier than it ever has been before. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors you need to consider in advance of your trip. Don't expect to be able to turn up at the ferry terminal with your pet in the back of the car without the correct paperwork, for instance. Nor should you rely on being able to turn up to an accommodation in France. Although France, like the UK, is well-known for being a nation of dog lovers, dog friendly villas in France are not ubiquitous. Let's take a closer look at the steps you will need to put in place in advance of your travel in order to take your dog to France on holiday successfully. 

The Paperwork Needed

The government introduced the so-called pet passport scheme years ago. However, the regulations surrounding it have been updated in recent years. The latest changes were put together by the European Union and – since France will continue to be an EU member for the foreseeable future – it is reasonable to think that these regulations will need to be complied with even after the UK's withdrawal from the EU's full host of rules. Essentially, the EU's pet passport rules changed in December 2014 to state that any pet travelling across national borders must carry a passport in the 576/2013 format. Don't worry if you have no idea about the specifics of the regulations currently in place. Your vet will be able to issue you with the correct documentation. What you do need to know, however, is that this must be applied for three weeks ahead of your intended departure. If you apply for a pet passport after that, then you will probably not be able to comply with the rules needed to get the necessary paperwork. Your vet will charge you for producing a pet passport. Costs for doing so will vary from vet to vet. If they deem it necessary, then your dog will need to undergo an inoculation or a booster jab for certain diseases, such as rabies, for example. Any tapeworm treatment that might be needed will also be issued. Again, your vet will charge you for this, too. Finally, your pet passport must include the date your dog was microchipped and the location of the chip. Once all that has been completed, your pooch is ready to go.

Booking Accommodation

Dog friendly villas in France are relatively easy to find. Indeed, these days, gite owners are obliged to accept pet under French law. However, just because of the legal framework, you cannot assume that dog friendly gites are located in every French town and village. Not all have gardens, for example, and some owners make it known they don't really want business from holidaymakers with pets even if this is not exactly compliant with French law. For the avoidance of confusion and to ensure that your pet is properly accommodated in a gite or villa which is suited to a dog, just use the search function at gites.co.uk. The 'popular searches' option will give you a range of choices, including the crucial one for dog lovers, 'Pets Welcome'. You can then refine your choice to the area of France you are interested in or by the number of bedrooms, whatever suits your needs.

Crossing the Channel

Ferry operators will charge you to take your dog on board, so you need to inform them when you book that your pet will be coming, too. Brittany Ferries operate the PETS Travel Scheme which means that they offer pet-friendly cabins for dog owners. Le Shuttle services also allow dogs to travel so long as your pet remains in the car for the entire journey.