Dog Travel Blog

Real life experience of travel with dogs and Pet Passports in France

Thinking of taking your dog(s) abroad?


Taking your dog to France? Then this is the site for you! We’ve written this blog because, in preparing for our first time abroad with our three dogs (two greyhounds and a lurcher), we found it very difficult to find any decent information on what it actually is like to be away in a foreign country with your pets. There’s plenty to read about how to arrange the pet passports, but what about heartworm, lungworm, processionary caterpillars ….. The worries during the six months after arranging the passports grew and grew as we wondered whether we should just stick to the good old UK for our pet holidays!

Dogs ready to travel

All aboard!

This blog is about our first trip abroad with the dogs – five weeks in France during May and June 2009. It has the highs and lows with information about what we did to prepare our furry friends for their big adventure. Please feel free to leave your comments – it may help others who are thinking of going abroad. And do please follow us on Twitter.  The more followers we have, the more encouraged we will be to tweet when we are on our travels.  You can find us @dogtravelblog

In January 2012, the Pet Passport rules changed and became much simpler. For the up to date rules, see our page New DEFRA Pet Passport Travel Rules from 2012.

Please also be aware that this blog is based on our experiences. We won’t accept any liability arising from anything we’ve written here.  Remember that it’s your responsibility to ensure you have everything in order for your pet’s travel.  If you are unsure about anything, check with DEFRA before you travel or with the country to which you are travelling for country specific queries.

Incidentally, the University of Bristol is conducting a survey into dog travel trends and the perception of risk to those dogs from parasites found abroad.  As many responses as possible are needed so click on this link to take part.  The survey is running from Nov 2012 until further notice.

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404 Responses to “Thinking of taking your dog(s) abroad?”

  1. Paul says:

    I have traveled many times to France and back with dogs. No one has ever seemed to look at the name in the passport, the only thing they seem to worry about is that the dog is chipped, has had the rabies vaccine and that if you are coming back to uk they have been dewormed.

    • tim says:

      do they ever check the chip and passport going in to France Paul? We are going one way with 2 cats. TY

      • Colin says:

        The passport checks are done at the port of departure for chips and rabies injections. On the way back they check the chips and worming treatment at he port of departure. Don’t know whether cats have to have the rabies?? Vet will know or the defra web site. Hope this helps.

      • Paul says:

        As Colin says. The other thing you’ve u might do for advice is to call the advice line. If you look on the govt website which gives all the details you need regarding cats and dogs, there is a number you can call.

        I have called them a couple of times and they have been fab, really helpful both times.


      • tim says:

        thanks guys – appreciated – got them chipped plus rabies shots today

    • Clare says:

      I am about to travel to France on Le Shuttle. My Spaniel has had the necessary pre-treatments but I am nervous about finding a Pet Passport friendly vet near La Rochelle for the Praziquantil tapeworm treatment before we return home. Is there anyone out there who has been to that particular area and visited a vet for this reason? If so, can you walk in or do you have to make an appointment?

  2. Hi, has anyone traveled from Bulgaria to the UK ? If so, have you had any problems with passports etc, and where is best place before leaving France, to get the worming done ? Thank you.

    • Lorraine Benson says:

      Hi Jackie did you find a vet ,we use one near Eurotunnel i can send details of a good one if you still need them ..if you get the wormer done in Bulgaria you have 120 hours before entry to UK so could do it before you leave ,just ensure the chip scans and is correct in the passport,rabies vaccination was given after chip inserted and dates completed in the passport ,chip page and rabies details are laminated and wormer also has the time given written in underneath the date …

      • Hi Lorraine Benson, we are expecting to make the journey with our cats and dogs with in the next few days from Calais to Dover. I would be very appreciative if you could share the vet details in Calais please just in case we encounter any problems? Thanks in advance

      • Helen says:

        Could you please let me know the name and address of vet near euro tunnel for worming prior to return from Europe for our dog thabjs

  3. Christine Smith says:

    We are taking 2 Labradors to France both dogs very placid and calm but am unclear about wearing muzzles they don’t usually but could you please clarify if they need one for customs clearance we are travelling by car on the ferry
    Thank you

  4. Lorraine Benson says:

    Hi ,no muzzles required,they will have to remain in the car for the ferry journey as well.

  5. Colin says:

    Hi Christine,
    You will need to use a muzzle for the ferry if they are leaving the vehicle (ferry company rule) and they should be ‘restrained’ within the vehicle in France and Spain. In a crate or doggy car harness. We have a soft muzzle for our weimerarner but it only stays on for the necessary time to clear through officialdom. In our motorhome she stays in a crate and sleeps, in the car it’s a doggy harness and she sleeps on the back seat most of the time. You will love France as they are very dog friendly.
    Have fun its not as stressful as it seems, just make sure you get the worming treatment noted by a vet in their doggy passports before return.

  6. Lorraine Benson says:

    Colin which ferry company allows the dogs to leave the vehicle please?,I know P&O dont ,the animals must remain in the vehicles …

    • Colin says:

      Hi Lorraine
      We usually go on the Le Havre route overnight and get a dog friendly cabin and the dogs are obviously allowed out of the vehicle and there are doggy walking areas as well. The Santander ferry is similarly equipped. If we go from Dover/Folkstone we let the train take the strain and use the Chunnel as we stay with the car/motorhome and dog all the way and it’s only half an hour (longer to queue than to travel). The Dover Calais ferry we have never used but understand that the dogs aren’t allowed out so we avoid it. Don’t think it’s a terribly long journey though so would probably be OK for Lucy. Might investigate in October when we take the Motorhome over for the winter.

      • Julia Harrison says:

        Hi I am taking my dog to the poitou charente area of France. We have had the Rabies jab he has monthly advocate. Does anyone know if my dog needs to wear a scallabor collar for ticks in tjis part of France and secondly can it be used alongside ADVOCATE spot on treatment ? Any advice come first time out of uk with pet.

  7. Lorraine Benson says:

    ah right yes the overnight one ,we used the Dover /Calais about 1.5 hour journey where they have to stay in the vehicle ….we always use the tunnel now i must admit ,much faster and yes the dogs stay with you ….thanks #

  8. Thank you so much for the information.
    No, we will not be traveling for a long while yet, but I thought it would be goodo know before in advance, so I knew what to expect.
    Once again, thank you,and will keep this in mind. Be good to still have the address for vet in France though, as may be a while traveling across Europe :-).
    Kind regards,

  9. J Coles says:

    We are just back from a trip to Alicante from the NW of UK via Eurotunnel.
    We have two well behaved Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
    Positives – the tunnel was easy and the dogs were fine with staying in the car and using their new harnesses, with two people in the car, the toll booths were easy to manage, the French in particular are fine over dogs in restaurants
    Negatives – we had to stop frequently for the dogs which extended the drive, the charge for dogs in hotels and also on the tunnel out from UK seems a bit disappointing, the older dog got quite hot in the car despite AC
    Next time, I might try the ferry to Bilbao but am not prepared to leave the dogs alone in the rather grim looking kennels
    Anyone got any idea if it is ok to stay near to the dogs on a seat in the kennel area rather than leave them alone during their journey onboard or if two dogs might be allowed in a cabin please?

    • Colin says:

      You can book dog friendly cabins on certain ferries to and from Le Havre, Santander and Bilbao with Brittany ferries. You have to get in early as these cabins are very popular. As we are retired we can afford to take the ferry as and when a cabin is available but even then they can be hard to find. I always book via the camping and caravan club as they do all the enquiries with the agents which can take forever online. We can also give them a wide range of dates to choose from.
      You can only ‘visit’ the dogs in kennels on board and aren’t allowed to stay with them, the dog friendly cabin is great and we have used one on several occasions now. The only alternative for us is the Chunnel which we use when touring on the way down to Murcia in our motorhome. In the car we do it in two days from LeHavre stopping for one night just short of Spanish border near Bayonne.
      Hope this helps,

  10. Hi Lorraine,

    You will need to book well ahead to take your dog to Santander as kennels and dog friendly cabins sell out well in advance.

    I would also advise caution with the Scalinoe collars. They seem to work okay with bigger dogs but it made my little dog very poorly and it wasn’t an isolated case when I read reviews on the collar.

    Our Spanish vet recommended an oral medicine which we have used with no adverse reaction.

    Good luck enjoy your holiday!

  11. Colin says:

    Scalibor collar strongly recommended, always check the size of collar for size of dog as the strength varies from size to size. Some dogs have had a reaction to the collar but ours does not. It should make no difference if Advantix is used as well, we always do Advantix as her normal treatment (which reminds me to check now as it’s probably due).
    One tip that we had was to take the scalibor collar out of its packaging the night before putting it on to the dog that way the initial strength is diminished slightly. Don’t forget to visit a vet between one and five days before returning to get the pet passport signed for the worming treatment.
    Hope that you enjoy your trip away, you will find the process is fairly painless and will wonder what you were worried about.

  12. Gosia says:

    Hi, I am about to bring my three dogs to the UK from Poland. The vet has provided us with the new style EU passports for all of them but the stamps are all in black ink and I read somewhere this is not allowed, can anyone comment on this ? Has anyone experienced any problems with this ? I also heard that the passport must not be completed in black ink, I can’t see any of these guidelines on the DEFRA website so hoping this is not the case, we are travelling in 4 days time and I am in a panic we will not be let into the UK. I also noticed one of the stamps is quite light and slips of the page a tiny bit.

    • Colin says:

      Just looked at Lucy’s passport that the vet issued to her. It is filled out in black ink and the rabies jabs (she has had two now) are in both blue and black, one of each. The worming treatments (4 times) are also a mixture of blue and black. We travel fairly regularly to France and Spain and have never encountered any problems with this. The main things they are looking for are that the chips match the passport, that they have had a rabies injection and have been wormed in accordance with DEFRAs rules (between one and five days of crossing into the UK).
      Hope you have a good trip with no problems.

  13. Gosia says:

    Thanks so much Colin!

  14. Claire Goulding says:


    I am taking my dog to Pontos in northern Spain. I’ll be there for a week before driving back through France to catch the ferry. I’m trying to find vets around the area as he needs to have the tapeworm vaccination at least 24 hours before entering the UK.

    Can any one recommend a website to find a vets or happen to know any in that area of Spain?

    Thanks very much!

    • Colin says:

      Hi Claire,
      Vets are quite easy to find in Spain and in France. We are currently residing on our verandah in southern Spain as our dog Lucy was poorly yesterday and had to visit a vet for an emergency consultation. She was examined had two jabs, one for a tummy bug and the other for a sore throat, was proscribed a course of pills and we are feeding her an intestinal dinner that the vet sold us for the next three days. The bill? 35 euros….. In the UK I would have expected it to be nearer if not over a hundred pounds. It ain’t all bad.
      Vets in France. I would highly recommend a vet in Surgeres (on the high street) coffee shop opposite, but it’s best to visit, book for the next day and return. They seem to be a bit like doctors do the vets in France, and don’t like ‘drop ins’. There is another nice vet in Tours as well, but I expect that you will find one close to where you are anyway, just ask a friendly waiter. It doesn’t need to be a vaccination by the way, Lucy has always had a pill (she thinks it’s a treat), it’s called Milbemax and contains Praziquantel that DEFRA insist on
      Hope you have a lovely trip,

  15. Abi says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog and hearing of the skinnies adventures! We are taking our rescue saluki lurcher to Annecy this summer, and will be getting her pet passport sorted out this week.

    If anyone would be able to advise me on the exact process that should be followed in terms of worming before travel (she is regularly wormed but I know that the rules are quite date specific) that would be lovely. When visiting vets in Callais before returning back, do people tend to book appointments, or are there walk in centres designed for this specific reason? Sorry for the novice questions!

    If anyone has been to Annecy with a pup I’d love to hear your stories!

    • Colin says:

      Hi Abi,
      As Paul says below really. We steer clear of the vets in Calais, they know you must get this treatment and charge accordingly. I would advise the use of a Scalibor collar as well, although some dogs do have a reaction to them. We tend to leave it out of its packet overnight before putting it onto Lucy, she has the odd scratch at it but nothing more. Look them up on the net for the pros and cons and make your decisions then, or alternatively, ask your vet. If you look above at my answer to Claire’s question you will see the type of wormer Lucy has.
      France is very dog friendly (apart from the beaches) and a puppy Saluki cross will get you mobbed by potential patters and strokers. The only French we learnt on our first trip was ‘ Je suis desolate, mon chien jaunty, pardon’ or ‘so sorry my dog is very playful, excuse us’.
      Hope you have fun,

  16. Paul says:

    Hi Abi
    If you are travelling from UK your dogs won’t need deworming before they travel, however on the way back it’s a minimum of 1 day and a maximum of 5 days before travel that you need to deworm.

    The deworming has to be certified by a vet (which it appears you already know from your question). I haven’t been to a vet in Calais since I usually arrive there only for the ferry. I have been to vets in several small towns in Europe and they do seem to be everywhere. Ask the locals there will no doubt be one near you. It may be more convenient to do it just before (1day min) you head to Calais.

    Most vets will allow both appointment and drop in services. Check with your local vet. Better to take an appointment if you can. Don’t forget to have the passport stamped, signed with date and time.

    Hope this helps

  17. Paul says:

    Hi Clare
    Probably the best thing to do is check the local phone book or ask a local when you get there. There are usually vets pretty much everywhere.


  18. Annette Millea says:

    We found a great vet in La Fleche who spoke English and only charged €35 for two Labradors. This is his name and address:
    Clinique Vétérinaire Chaligné et Béduneau
    29 Av de Verdun
    Tel : 02 43 45 22 22
    Incidentally, there is great campsite within easy walking distance to the vets and the town and some beautiful river walks.

  19. Emily ~Johnson says:

    We are taking our dog to spain for the first time in September and are a bit baffled by the things you need to do to get back into UK! Has anyone done the Bilbao to Portsmouth route and can recommend a vet in the Bilbao area who would worm and certify to say it has been done? Thanks in advance! :)

    • Colin says:

      Hi Emily,
      we are currently in Spain and will be travelling back soon via the same route. Most continental vets are now aware of the pets passport scheme and will happily treat the dog with the worming treatment and sign and date the passport. Vets are abundant in Spain so you just need to find one between one and five days before you travel back. We use one in Aguilas that knows Lucy then travel up via the Madrid ring road to Bilbao with one overnight stop. If you want to seek a vet out where you are staying just contact a local dog rescue centre, most are run by English or English speaking people, they will happily point you in the right direction. When you return via Bilbao it will be much like leaving the UK, passport control will ask for the passport and ask you to scan for the chip with the scanometer(or whatever the name is) then you are through and in the queue. Don’t forget to take a muzzle for the boat, they can get quite sniffy about it sometimes. Most people discard the muzzle afterwards for deck walkies as long as the dog is friendly.
      It really is a simple process, but, like you we were very nervous the first time until we found this site. The doggy cabins are excellent aboard the ferry and although a bit nerve wracking the first time to the vets, it’s all over in a flash and you are left wondering what you were worried about. Enjoy your holiday, if you are motor homing or caravaning there will be people on site who will have done this and will advise on vets in the local areas
      Adios Amiga, Colin.

      • carol says:

        Hi Colin i am so glad i found this site as we are contemplating a trip to France then from France to Spain with our little Yorkie in January but really scared if anything happens and they wont let my little one back in it will be our first time but feel a little bit more at ease after reading the post on here

  20. Tony says:

    I am traveling to Poland with my Stafforshire Bull Terrier. We are traveling by car and go through France, Belgium, Holland & Germany. From the web site “” I read that France & Germany have a ban on the import of this breed. However we are not importing the dog but traveling through the country. Does anyone know if it is safe/legal for us to travel through these countries?

  21. Paul says:

    I found this link:

    Which says the following:

    “France restricts the import of the following breeds without pedigree certification: Pitt Bull Terriers, Rottweiler, and Staff Terriers. These breeds must be a registered pedigree. Crossbreeds are not permitted: Mastiff and Japanese Tose Inu. Staffordshire, AmericanStaffordshire, Rottweiler and Japanese Tosa can be imported to France as guard dogs with pedrigee papers. Owners must conform to regulations above. Owners must have insurance to protect against liability. Your dog must be registered with the local town council and leashed and muzzled when in public.Mastiffs and Boerboels are not permitted.”

    I also found this:
    Germany restricts the import of the following breeds and their mixes: Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bandogs and Tosa Inu. Transit or export of these breeds is permitted. Additionally, the following dogs can enter Germany only with prior authorization from local customs officials and must be evaluated at the owner’s expense: Alano, American Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Cane Corso, Dogo Argintino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Mastiff, Mastino Napolitano, Mastin Espanol, Dogo Canerio, Rottweiler, and Perro de Presa Mallorquin.

    It seems that transit may be allowed but check out the link above for the different countries you plan to transit through.

  22. carol says:


  23. Adele says:

    I am returning to the UK from South America with my dog next week… we are flying into Paris and then driving home from there.
    I will have all the necessary paperwork for entering Europe completed here in Chile before we leave (dog is chipped, her rabies vax is in date, and she will have her anti-tapeworm in the few days before we leave).
    I am confident that I have done everything necessary to get her OUT of Chile, IN to France, and IN to the UK… but is there anything I need to get her OUT of France? If that makes sense?
    Here in Chile she has to be cleared by customs and her paperwork authorised before we even get to the airport, or they won’t let her travel. I know people get their dogs tapeworm treatment before leaving France but I assume this is because it has to be done in the few days before departure,otherwise they would just have it done at home in advance? My dog will have a vet certificate from Chile (in Spanish and English) confirming that she has had this… do we need anything else?
    Sorry for the ramble, it’s stressful enough moving halfway round the world without a dog but this is a whole different level of stress!!

  24. Paul says:

    Maybe check out this link. When entering Europe from a non EU country there may be a requirement for blood titres which do not apply if traveling within the EU

    Good luck with the move :)


  25. Julie says:

    Can anyone recommend vet/s near to Mont Blanc? We are travelling there in July. Last year we were recommended to use a lovely vets in Bourg d’Osian so would love to receive recommendations rather than try and find one ourselves.
    Many thanks

  26. Denise Taylor says:

    Hello.I am emigrating to France in September.No intention of coming back.I have rescued a 2 year old dog (Jack Russell)called Dexter,and he will come with me.Also not returning to the UK. What do I need for him?He is vaccinated and microchipped already.Many thanks. Denise.

    • Paul says:

      Hi Denise,
      just your EU pet passport. The details of the rabies vaccination will need to be added (signed, stamped & dated by your vet). I think thats all.

      You can change the details of the chip for your new contact details wherever the local official office or authorised vet is able to do so when you have settled in France.


  27. Denise Taylor says:

    Thanks Paul. That’s kind of you to get back to me and help.


    Thanks so much for the time in providing this information – we are considering our first trip to France this year with our 18 month Wheaten and this has all really helped. Much appreciated.

  29. Mike says:

    Hello, does any one know how long last dog rabies vactination for travel abroad? Is it need to be renewed yearly or every 3 years. Had one last year done.

    • Colin says:

      The passport entry should have a ‘valid until’ section filled in by the vet, this tells you when the rabies jab is good till. The rules have just changed with regard to the rabies jab, new ones are valid for three years and the old ones were only for two. The customs official will only look at the date as filled in by the vet and will refuse entry if not valid.
      Hope this helps,

  30. Rebekah Slater says:

    Hi I am going on holiday to Morgny in Normandy in August with my 2 dogs and need to find a vet that can administer the worming treatment before they come back, does anybody know of a English speaking vet nearby or can anyone recommend one in Calais, thanks, Rebekah.

    • Colin says:

      Hi Rebekah,
      You will find vets in all reasonable size towns all over France. They prefer you to make an appointment 24 hours in advance (although they will generally see you anyway, usually accompanied by a large sigh and rolling of the eyes from the receptionist). You will be able to ask someone to ring for you at hotels or campsites if you don’t want to go looking. Best not to wait until Calais as they know they are your last chance and charge accordingly.
      Hope you have fun France is very dog friendly.

  31. Vivien Townill says:

    Hi, has anyone had problems at Bilbao with new pet passports? My UK vet has not stamped rabies section as said its not required just signature and address etc. Brittany ferries website also confirms this. Have heard such horror stories.

    • Colin says:

      Errrrrr, Vivian,
      The passport must be stamped with ‘Official Veterinarian United Kingdom and include their SP number’ and signed and dated with both the date given and valid until date filled out. Also the manufacturer of the vaccine and type number must be completed. And I really do mean ‘must be’…… If Bilbao let you through the UK won’t. You can get it done in France as well. I would suggest that you revisit your vet and insist on a stamp etc being placed in the passport or go to another vet.
      Hope this helps,

    • Colin says:

      Just came back via Bilbao last week, no problems at port at all. Just a bit hard to find the place.

  32. Vivien Townill says:

    Hi Colin, was your passport the new or old style and was it stamped at the rabies section?

  33. Vivien Townill says:

    Hi Colin
    If you read Brittanies new style passport instructions it does say only required for old style passports that the stamp and signature was necessary. New style passports say the vet must sign and also state name address tel no etc . Stamp not asked for on that page. Has anyone gone through with the new passport signed and not stamped?

    • Colin says:

      Hi Vivien,
      Sorry didn’t even know there was a new passport. Mine (well Lucy’s) is the old style. Had a look at the Defra site and it states that signature etc required alongside their SP number but that stamp no longer needed. Sorry for duff info. If you are worried about Bilbao also not knowing about new rules try printing out the form on the Defra site and take it along. The people at Bilbao couldn’t have been more helpful, looked at Lucy’s passport and handed over the scanny thing for me to wave over the chip and through we went. Nice big area to walk round as well, bit like Portsmouth but with a better cafe. Ask for bacon egg and chips, there’s no menu but it’s available.

  34. Izzh says:


    We are taking our dog travelling across Europe with us, for at least 2 years. Does anyone know of any pet insurance companies that do long term pet insurance cover for europe? I have seen in several places that some do, but I haven’t been able to find them!

    Cheers in advance,


    • Paul says:

      Hi Izzy,
      sorry for seeing this late…. Try LV insurance… it is a bit pricey but it covers your dog anywhere in europe.. we pay about £250 per dog per year

  35. Lisa says:

    Hi, I’m probably worrying uneccesarily here but I’m collecting a dog from Holland and will be bringing him back to England on the tunnel. I’m ok with the whole Calais thing but is there anything I need to do (I’m thinking border wise) between Holland and Belgium and then Belgium to France? I’ve been told that I just carry on driving and have nothing to worry about but worrying I am!
    Thanks, Lisa

    • Editor says:

      Hi. Countries within Schengen are borderless. In these days of heightened security, we’ve come across some ‘spot check’ manned borders but they’ve been few and far between and we’ve just been waved through. We’ve been in and out of five different countries on this trip with no issues. So don’t worry. Have a great trip.

      • Lisa says:

        Hi, we got back safely today with him-we had an uninterrupted trip. Really grateful for your reply-I was much more confident once it came through. Thanks again, Lisa

  36. Paul says:

    Absolutely agree with the last response. I have been stopped a few times for spot checks at borders but this has almost exclusively been the Swiss border, and then only to check on the payment of the vehicle tax. There has never been any problem in Belgium or France and never a problem anywhere in Europe with transporting my 2 dogs.

  37. Lisa says:

    Hi, thanks for your reply. We got home tonight and the only trouble we had was the heat! Super speedy response was very gratefully received so many thanks, Lisa.

  38. pam saveall says:

    Hi there
    I am going to retire to Spain at the end of November. I have had my four dogs pas sported, they are already micro chipped from puppies. I intend to go Tunnel with them as I think this is less stressful. Travel through France and then on into Spain. I know they have to be injected again once there, Just worried to death about border crossings. All in good health two elderly 11 and 12 and the other two comparative youngsters at 3 and 5 any information on do’s and don’ts .

    • Editor says:

      Hi. Countries within Schengen are borderless. In these days of heightened security, we’ve come across some ‘spot check’ manned borders but they’ve been few and far between and we’ve just been waved through. We’ve been in and out of five different countries on this trip with no issues. So don’t worry.

  39. Hi Pam, lucky you. That time of year the weather will be cooler so easier travelling for the dogs. If you’re travelling by car and using hotels then France is very dog friendly. Not sure how far down you are going in Spain but that is a lot better than it used to be, we always manage to find a hotel that will accept our two, a lurcher and a podenco. You just drive off the tunnel at Calais and straight through the French/Spanish border. In Spain it is a legal requirement to have your dogs boosted for rabies annually. Make sure your dogs are protected from all the med diseases and watch out for the processionary caterpillars in the Spring. Different provinces have different regs and you may be required to register your dogs. And enjoy!

  40. Hi Pam,

    This is a trip we do regularly with our 8 year old dog. For the first time this year we drove through France to Spain. I must say I find the Pirtsmouth/Santander ferry crossing less stressful and less tiring! We drive down to the South West near Portugal, but I guess if you’re just dipping your toe inside Spain it’s not such a bad journey. On the ferry you can get Pet friendly cabins and then wherever you are going it’s not so far to drive and therefore less time our furry friends have to spend in the car.

  41. Paul says:

    If you are going to spend a long time there then consider buying decent window shades for the car… (Some companies innUK do custom made window shades for all makes.. Well worth the effort). Recharge your AC and change the filter if you haven’t done it in a while… Your pooches will thank you when the weather gets warmer.

    Get advice regarding the local diseases when you register with a vet. Some brands of deworming tablets and medications for ticks may be more effective than others one might use in UK.

    Don’t worry at all about the border crossings… Once out of Blighty it is plain sailing.

    Don’t forget to change your dogs’ microchip details when you arrive and register.

  42. marius sena says:

    We was in Madeira, Portugal for our holidays. We was there for 3 weeks, towards end of our 1st week someone dumped a 8 week old pup on our road. Woke up to her barking at 7am. She’s stayed with us for 2 weeks till our departure. We decided to keep her and take her back to UK. Shes had her first set of vaccine, but we have to wait till she’s 3 months to recieve the rabies vaccine, then 21 days after that before final set of med for flight such as tapeworm. Only two airlines fly dogs to uk from madiera and both are around £700. Have just found out that a flight Madiera to france is around €100. With this information would it be possible to fly her from Madiera to France, I drive to France and pick her up from airport then tunnel back to uk? All this would be done in less than a day. Would she need tapeworm treatment? Or will her tapeworm treatment be sufficient enough from Madeira?

  43. Ylande says:

    You have a window of between 1 and 5 days following worming to bring the dog into the UK, so yes, as long as the dates are OK that will work. Make sure the wormer contains prazantiquel, droncit, drontal and profender are common ones used.
    Well done for helping, that’s one lucky pup!

    • marius sena says:

      Thanks for reply. Looks like a drive to france it is. Dont even know her breed. She’ll be 4 months next time we see her.

  44. Neat says:

    Great site, it has really put my mind at ease as I am just planning my first trip abroad with our dog. Do you have any suggestions for dog friendly sites/destinations in the Bergerac/La Rochelle/Dordogne areas? We have to travel in August but don’t have children so don’t need kids clubs etc. My main consideration is making sure our dog is happy e.g. access to a stream/lake to cool off, some shade on the pitch, good walks nearby and dog friendly town/village. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    • Colin says:

      Hi Neat,
      If you can get hold of the ASCII camping sites book you will see loads of info about campsites in the areas you are visiting. You won’t be able to use the ascii card for the reduced prices as it is only active in the ‘off peak’ dates but it will give you all the details you require. I’m assuming you are camping but if you are hoteling it then you will find most hotels etc are dog friendly. France is a very dog friendly place, apart from the beaches during the holiday period.
      I think you can get an online version of the ASCII sites as well if you are an IT literate person (unlike me who can never get a signal when I need it). A nice site within reach of La Rochelle is at Surgeres, it has a lovely walk behind the site through a park to the town. The vet in the town is good too. Right opposite a coffee shop just up the road from a cave (wine place) and within distance for making it back to the ferry post worming pill!
      Hope you have fun,

  45. Rebecca says:

    We are planning a short trip to France with our precious Lab. First time to see how it goes! We want to visit some battlefields & wonder how it works if you travel with a dog from France to Belgium too? Any requirements etc? Thank you!

    • Colin says:

      Hi Rebecca,,
      Once you are over the channel then Europe is your oyster. The pet passport clears the dog the same as your own. In fact you may not even realise you have crossed the border in most countries. When we did five countries in a day the only thing that reminded us was our phones which welcomed us into Germany, Holland, Belgium, etc via text messages.
      If your lab is anything like our weimerarner keep him/her away from the doors of patisseries, as I had to replace three baguettes that were hanging out of shopping bags and were licked/bitten/chomped on while the owners fussed her. All very dog friendly although small dog owners (that is owners of small dogs) will cross the road to avoid bigger dogs.

  46. Yvonne hassan says:

    Hi I am travelling to Grimesnil in La Manche, Normandy in October. Can anyone recommend a vet to get the tapeworm treatment required for the-entry to UK please? Any ideas on cost?

    • Colin says:

      Hi Yvonne,
      Vets in France are very easy to find. They are in most towns, usually on the high street, just ask at the hotel or campsite, ours have even made the appointment for us. Most vets receptionists will ask you to make an appointment 24 hours in advance or they may treat it as an emergency visit and charge accordingly. The cost should be between 25 and 35 euros. Must admit it was one of our worries first time away but wondered why afterwards.
      Have a fun time,

  47. Gill Russell says:

    I am so confused. Going to Portugal November for five months with my two dogs, a chihuahua weighing 3 1/2 kg and another weighing 6 kg. Have been reading that scalibor is not so good on small dogs, and as you can see one of mine is more tiny than small. What could I use instead ?

  48. Colin says:

    Hi Gill,
    Can only suggest visiting a vet and let them give advice. Our dog weighs 25 kilos and we use a medium collar on her. (They come in large medium and small for different dog sizes). She is a smooth coated Weimerarner and has never had a problem with the collar. I always take it out of the packet 24 hours before putting it on so that it has had a chance to dissipate a bit. You seem to be right to be concerned though as some dogs do seem to have a reaction to them. Hope that the vet can help. Be aware of processionary caterpillars as well. They seem to make an appearance end of Feb time, especially around pine forests. Look them up online for more info.

    • Gill Russell says:

      I did speak to one of the vets and it is only since looking at various forums that has scared me a little. I think I will put their collars on two weeks before we go, after having them open for a week, then if there is a problem I’ve got time to do something about it. I know about the caterpillars, seen the nests but never the caterpillars. We avoid anywhere we see nests ! Thanks for your advice.

      • Linda Shelton says:

        Hi Gill,

        We have been using Scalibor collars on our two Parson Russell Terriers (7 kg each) for the past three years on our frequent visits to the Charente and can say that we haven’t had a reaction from either of the girls and have put the collars on straight from the packets, leaving them on for the Summer season. Relieved to report have never found a tick on them, despite their spending a fair amount of time digging and rummaging through long grass. Happy travels!

  49. Yvonne hassan says:

    Great thanks Colin.

  50. Giuseppe says:

    Hi guys,
    I’m driving to Italy from UK with a Van with my chihuahua Turbo, 18 months old. I will be getting the boat to France,later driving through France, Switzerland and finally Italy. Can anybody confirm whether in all those places dog passport with microchip + rabies vaccination + normal booster would be the required documentation ? Do we need to stop and get off from the van for spot checks at each border ?
    Please any clarification would be very helpful

  51. Paul says:

    Hi Giuseppe,
    The documentation requirement is a Europe wide requirement for pet travel in Europe. The only real checks you will encounter will be at the UK border leaving UK and on re-entry. I do this same trip 2-3 times a year and have never been subjected to spot checks related to animals. You will be stopped at the Swiss border to pay the road tax but they are not concerned about dogs.

    You will need to deworm the dog prior to return to the UK (1-5 days before return). Otherwise it is plain sailing. Have a great trip.


    • Giuseppe says:

      Thanks Paul, appreciated. Anyway I will make sure our pet passport is good to go for the UK border. It’s very reassuring ! It’s great to have this blog, I will update you with my experience when I will reach Italy !

      • Paul says:

        Just an afterthought…

        It is still quite hot at the moment, if you are travelling before the end of September you might want to consider window shades in the back for your pooches and make sure your AC is working well :)

        Have a safe trip. Cheers

  52. barbara says:

    Hi Guiseppe

    We moved from England to here in Italy last year with 3 dogs and 2 cats. We had all full documentation for all the animals. We were not asked to show these once in all the journey! Of course it may be different if we were to ever go back!

    Have a good trip


    • Giuseppe says:

      Thanks a lot Barbara ! I hope everything will be fine, first time I travel around 24 hours by car with my Turbo/. i’m planning many stops

  53. Giuseppe says:

    Hi guys,
    sorry again, another question: can anyone confirm that with the last PET Travel scheme is fine to have microchip and rabies done in the same day ?


  54. Paul says:

    Hi Giuseppe
    It depends on the local procedure. If your bet is able to place the microchip, issue a passport and give the rabies jab then yes. In UK many vets can issue passports but do check.

    However, in Italy for example the vet must place the microchip after you have paid ASL (the regulating agency) and this and the issuance of a health certificate to travel must be done before the rabies jab is given.

    I hope this helps.

  55. Giuseppe says:

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for bringing your point. I went to my local vet that is preparing the passport for my dog and we did both microchip and rabies on the same… I’m just worried to get troubles when I’m going to be at the border control with a dog passport having both microchip and rabies with the same date. Many UK vets are doing both things at the same day so I was just unsure.. do I need to call defra and ask?


  56. Paul says:

    Hi Giuseppe,
    Don’t worry it’s not a problem. What matters is that you have the dog microchipped, the required paperwork and the rabies jabs.

    Have a fun trip :)


  57. Natalie says:

    Hello..does anyone know anything about taking dogs as a foot passenger on the Santander-uk ferry crossing?
    I’ve seen it doesn’t seem possible but not sure why if a pet friendly cabin could be booked as well as the foot passenger ticket.
    Failing that… Does anyone know of a “buddy up” type system? Splitting costs and sharing car space, just to be able to board the ferry with a dog in tow?
    I’m moving back to England with my dog and losing hope in finding a way which doesn’t involve driving my own car out and back again!!

  58. Paul says:


    Please see this link. This appears to confirm your suspicions. Foot passengers may not take dogs (except assistance dogs).

    I googled the problem and it seems there are some websites that might be of some use in finding a car share….these were just a couple…. I’m sure you will be able to find others

    Good luck with your search

  59. Ylande says:

    Hiya, not sure about taking dogs as foot passengers but there are a lot of rescues in Spain that transport dogs to the UK and often have room to take dogs over. Try our rescue, on facebook or website. Ibizan Hound rescue. Brian and Diane are experienced transporters and if they aren’t doing a trip at the time you want they will know someone who can,

  60. Alan Woods says:

    Hi, new to the site but can’t seem to find definitive answer to my question. We have taken our Bracco Italiano to France for a few days earlier this year since getting his passport. We had him wormed before we left etc as it was a short trip, no problems all went well. My query is with regards to day trips. I remember our vet saying that these are exempt from worming requirements but can’t seem to confirm or deny this anywhere. Help really appreciated, thanks Alan and Pallino.

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  • Answers to frequently asked questions about the Pet Passport scheme
  • New DEFRA pet passport travel rules from 2012
  • Is France dog friendly?
  • Thinking of taking your dog(s) abroad?
  • Dog travels 2010
  • Dogs in France 2011
  • Dog travels abroad 2012
  • Dog travels 2013