Dog Travel Blog

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

Dog travels 2013


Yet another fabulous trip.

Arrived at Eurotunnel in the mother of all thunderstorms which seemed to follow us around France for the first five days of our travels. Eventually, we hid out in the cooler forests of the Morvan National Park until the super heat passed.

This year we’d had plans to travel into Italy but, as usual, France captivated us as we discovered new places to explore. The dogs had several telecabine adventures and were surprisingly chilled about dangling in a glass and metal box hundreds of feet up in the air. They coped better than I did! The longest climb we did in a telecabine was up to the glacier at Les Deux Alpes – what an experience tramping about in the snow in the middle of August!

We did lots of swimming in lovely warm lakes, and some wonderful mountain walks. The mountain ski resorts tend to be very dog friendly. The navettes which run in the winter often run in the summer too to get up to the higher levels and are also dog friendly.

Walking at the Col de Vars with the dogs

Walking at the Col de Vars with the dogs (marmottes in hiding!)

For the motorhomers among you, here’s a tip: don’t try to drive the Gorges du Verdon in the summer holidays. “It’s fine,” said the French “perfectly do-able in your van – plenty of room for all the holiday traffic. You mustn’t miss it”. So we did it. And it was 2.5 hours of white knuckled gripping of the steering wheel! And nowhere to pull over for a breather or to try to see the view! We weren’t the only idiots in a motorhome to be driving along the gorge – and by the look of the white of their eyes, they also were regretting the decision! There were buses and coaches too, all fighting for the same bit of road! Next time we’ll stay down at the lake and just look up at the gorge!

Hymer somewhere above Barcelonnette

Van with a view

Every year we plan to travel across France into bordering countries and every year France just seems to spin its web of loveliness and keep us in its folds. It has so much to offer and so many wonderful places to investigate. We feel very much at home in France now and can’t wait for our next travels.

Could do this forever …..

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35 Responses to “Dog travels 2013”

  1. Sue says:

    I was wondering if there are any regulations about having a dog guard in place travelling through France or through the chanel tunnel? Ours is a normal saloon car and we have a dog that stays put in the boot, but i don’t want to fall foul of any actual requirements to have a fitted guard. Thank you – Sue

  2. Sue Jackson says:

    Hi I have been viewing your website for three years and it has helped plan all our holidays abroad to date with our Collie. We are contemplating going to Spain in Jan/Feb nest year using the 24hour ferry to Santander. There are Pet friendly cabins for hire on the ferry, so our dog would be with us for the whole crossing. I just wondered if anyone had experienced this and could let me know how good an experience they had had or not!

  3. Ken says:

    Have you come across UK campers with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in France?
    We have a current Pet Passpoert for our five year old Staffie bitch but we have not used it yet.She was an RSPCA rescue and so has no KC papers but the P.P. States that she is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and not a cross breed.
    I know that French Law exempts Staffordshire Bull Terriers from their Cat.2 requirements.Even so I have a nagging concern at the back of my mind that we may run into problems if we meet an over zealous official.
    We have been to France lots of times in our motorhome but Rita has always stayed behind in the UK.having read your blog I feel,sod it!,why should we leave her behind?
    We would be grateful for any experience/ advice which you may have to offer.
    She is,like most Staffies, a sweetheart who looks tough but would not hurt a fly in reality.We love her to bits and want to take her with us to France next year.

    • Editor says:

      I’m hoping that someone might read this who has experience of this and will reply to help you. I do sympathise – I’ve known many staffies over the years who have been nothing but delightful dogs. They get an unfair press.

      • Ken says:

        Thanks for the prompt response.A motor homing acquaintance of mine who regularly takes his Jack Russell to France and Spain tells me that the French have never shown any interest in the dog upon entry to France.So I might be worrying about nothing but then again…
        It would be very helpful if anyone who has taken a Staffie to French campsites had any comments.I did email a photo of Rita to a site which we use regularly Camping Monplaisir in St Remy De Provence to ask if they would accept her.Their response was that of course they would but that it might be too hot for her in high summer,so we should go early season..A pleasantly positive response but then again I do know the site owners well;a helpful family business.

        Now there is a decent site management for you.

    • Editor says:

      I’ve found this link which might help – you can contact them for advice: I think the key to taking a stafford to France is having KC paperwork to prove the dog is pure breed and not a cross.

  4. maureen says:

    It’s been facinating reading about your travels. We were thinking about taking our dog down to the south of France in January, however we have all the same worries that you started with and when i visited our vet yesterday, he didn’t seem all that keen either and said that all the problems with ticks, lungworm heartworm etc are becoming more prevellent. He advised that we give milbemax one month before we leave and also advantix when we are leaving which seems to be normal, but when I asked him if he’d take his dog he said “probably not” you can imagine that this hasn’t helped us at all. I do know that some of these diseases have incubation periods of up to 2 years so wonder if he’s now seeing more problems than he used to do. We live in the lake district and have terrible problems with ticks in the summer and they are still around now and they love Milly, so I’m sure there must be areas of France where they are more of a problem than others, have you found this, we’d appreciate more info on it if possible.

    • Editor says:

      The way I look at it is that, as with all things in life, there are risks. But if you take sensible precautions as advised by your vet, you can minimise those risks. My vet has been very supportive but also admitted that she wouldn’t take her dogs abroad but, on the other hand, mine could just as easily get ill or have an accident here in the UK. We haven’t experienced problems with ticks in France but this could be because French farmers often prohibit dogs walking through fields with sheep or cows in so the dogs are probably less exposed to ticks because of that. Make sure you use a wormer which protects against lung, heart and tape worm and worm just before travelling. Scalibor collars protect against sandflies and ticks for up to 6 months. 🙂

  5. Ylande says:

    Fab site…..

    We had our old dog pet passported back in 2002 and made many journeys through France and Spain with him. France is especially dog friendly, Spain less so but we always managed to find somewhere to stay with him. After the first year he got the hand of sleeping through the hottest part of the day and coming alive at night and he loved it.

    He was pts in 2011 and we now have a big, black lurcher and a podenco Andaluz. We took them over to France for the first time this year, we stayed in a gite in a beautiful village in the Minervois region. Like your beautiful hounds, they attracted a lot of attention, the French love their dogs.

    We are currently planning a journey down to Spain next September, we are taking our podenco back to not far from where he was found and we’ll be visiting the rescue that took him, I help out with rehoming these beautiful dogs. We are so looking forward to it, can’t imagine travelling without my hounds…….even if our lurcher wakes us up by trying to climb in bed with us! Would love to do it in a motorhome but need a lottery win to buy one 😉 We always use the Eurotunnel too, we used Speedferries a couple of times with our old boy but don’t like the idea of leaving them in the car on a noisy car deck.

    PS, Narbonne Plage has a beautiful dog friendly beach at the far end, great for the dogs to have a run and cool off.

  6. Beth says:

    Love your site!
    We have taken our Bichon/Shitzu cross to the USA with us twice already and are going again in a couple of weeks. When we go we stay for 90 days so it makes sense to have Max make the journey with us. He travels really well.
    We travel to France on the Shuttle before flying from Paris. This may seem a strange thing to do, rather than flying from Heathrow. However the difference in cost is amazing!!! If you are considering traveling by air with your pet check out the difference in prices. We travelled from Heathrow with Virgin and it cost us more for Max than for me!!! Travelling from Paris with American Airlines is SO much cheaper!

    • Fiona says:

      Hello, love this blog, I’m finding it very helpful.
      Off to the Avignon area for 2 weeks in September with my young cockapoo, really looking forward to it.
      I’m very interested to hear of someone taking their dog to the States on holiday, which I would love to do.
      Can you give me a rough idea of how much it costs to fly a dog with Virgin, and with Air France for comparison?
      Do you go through a pet transport company, or organise it yourself?
      Many thanks.

  7. David Faux says:

    I am much encouraged by your site and experiences.
    I lived near Pau for 3 years and want to go back this year to see friends. I am planing to take my 2 labs and wife , but can’t decide whether to tow my car – on it’s ‘A frame’ behind my 8.6m Motorhome, or just take thr Motorhome and hire a car to go and visit friends when we arrive. Do you or anyone you know if it’s possible to hire a car that will allow dogs to travel with you?

  8. Phil Ronan says:

    We are hurriedly looking to book a mobile home or gite for 2 humans and 2 dogs on coast between Cherbourg and BreWe have recently both havest in Normandie during June that will be close to beach as one dog (sweetpea)has
    three legs and carrying a little holiday weight.
    Close to a town as we have no car but will be dropped off there by friends. Crazy request but
    they who dare… Please let us know if you can direct us to a holiday let of any kind and what beaches are good. We have both had heart transplants in the last few years and have not had a chance to travel and this offer of a lift from Ireland to Normandie for us and the dogs is precious. Thanks, Phil. +35353894169715

    • Phil Ronan says:

      Sorry – typing bad. Traveling to Normandie and staying somewhere between Cherbourg and Brest in June. Apologies for weird typing

      • Fiona says:

        Hi, the dogs trust have a website of dog friendly gites, I have also found a beautiful place that we are going to in september in Provence, near Avignon, that is on 8 hectares with lots of lovely rural walks about. That is the provence website. They have a number of filters, so you just tick the pet friendly one and away you go. Most of them are, to my surprise.

  9. Lottie says:

    Thank you for this excellent site – it has helped enormously.

    We are taking our labrador across to France next week and think we’re just about prepared! I understand all the legal requirements for her passport etc, but I would just really like some advice on her flea/worming regime whilst we’re away.

    – She will be wearing a scalibor collar – just in case we venture into areas with Sandfly. We will be putting that on her tomorrow (the Vet gave us a Seresto collar and I’ve just checked and that doesn’t protect against leishmaniasis!) I’m assuming the scalibor protects against ticks too.
    – She had her last worming table (Milbemax) 3 weeks ago – I normally give these every 3 months, but I was going to give her one in a weeks time and then once a month for 2 more months (covering the time we’re away and a month when we’re back).
    – She had her usual topical flea treatment Advocate – 4 weeks ago and she is due another dose the day we leave, I give this treatment monthly. However, I wanted to check if I should change to Frontline? Are there flea treatments that react with the Scalibor collar? We’re away for three weeks, should I give her another treatment when we’re away?

    Any advice of the right combination of worm/flea/tick treatment would be very helpful.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Editor says:

      Hi. I really think you should have a chat with your vet about flea treatments. We use Frontline Combi only because our dogs are settled on it and we’ve had no trouble. If I were you, I’d probably stick with what you normally use. Re worming, on our vet’s advice, we worm a week before we go and then 2 weeks or so into the trip to give an extra boost. Then we just worm at the vet visit prior to re-entry to the UK. And just to confirm, I’m looking at a Scalibor box right now and it tells me that it protects against ticks, sandflies and mosquitoes. So, you’re ready to go! Have a wonderful time! 🙂

    • Sue Herman says:

      Just to say, probably too late, that we took our lab to France last year with no probs at all. Usual flea treatment before we left and he wore a Scalibor collar for the whole holiday. Interestingly, this year we have had awful tick problems where we live and have bought a Scalibor collar which seems to have totally done the trick. P.S. we had a great time in France and Oscar soon learnt to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day!

  10. Sue Herman says:

    Does anyone know of a ferry crossing (other than the long one to Santander) which has facilities for dogs, other than leaving them in your car? Do we have to use the Chunnel every time, which is a long drive for us?

  11. Julie says:

    Can anyone help. We are using the kennels on cap finstere Portsmouth to Santander. How big is the small kennel. We have a tibeten terrier. It says it will accommodate a beagle, terrier or poodle

  12. aoife says:

    HiI am thinking of taking my dogs to spain via france in a camper later this year .Do you know if we have to stop at the border with the dogs ? I cant find any info about crossing into other countries .all the info i see is just bringing a dog into france but not going further a field .we are planing to be away for between 3-6 months and would love to know what the rules are about traveling into other countries .i even inequire with department of argicultre and they didnt know!
    Love this site

    • Editor says:

      Look up the countries within the Schengen Agreement. There are no border controls between these countries and travel is unrestricted. Have a wonderful trip. 🙂

  13. David Jones says:

    Hi………. we are off to Switzerland via France at the start of July. Taking our dog with us in a motorhome and was wondering what the law is regarding how they travel? will he need to be in a crate while on the road.


  14. Fiona says:

    Hello, went through France last year, I don’t think there are any requirements for them to be crated. However an emergency stop in a motor home would not do an unrestrained dog any good at all. You might regularly use a harness with seat belt attachment here anyway, but if not, I can’t recommend it strongly enough. My Cockapoo always wears an eziharness, and I had cause to be thankful several times in France.

  15. Fiona says:

    In unrelated news, I discovered this week that you can take your dog with you to the U.S. on the transatlantic crossings of QM2. Amazing. Google it for more info. It got me thinking, having read recent reports about the number of pet deaths rising in the holds of planes, and U.S. airlines have the worst record. Still, not likely for me any time soon unless I have a winning lottery ticket.

  16. Maxine says:

    We have just returned from a France and Italy road trip with our Airedale and Collie Staffie cross. Lots of the Italian and French service stations are ok with the dogs going in with you. Our accommodation was 7 Hotels and a villa in Italy. It is worth checking the small print on the hotel comparison sites as lots of hotels limit the size or number of dogs that they will take and some charge per dog but lots don’t. I made sure that I added a note to each booking stating I was travelling with the dogs so that there were no surprises and we had absolutely no problems other then a couple of the rooms being a bit short on space for all of the dogs beds bowls and stuff. We were also able to leave the dogs in the hotel rooms whilst we had dinner in the hotel. The Italians adore dogs and in Florence my Airedale was photographed so much by tourists we thought about charging. The return vet check period has been extended so we were able to visit the vet in Chamonix 21/10 on our way to the hotel, she did the worming using her product(they aren’t supposed to use yours)and updated the passports ready for our return via Eurotunnel 24/10. This was our time with the dogs abroad with our dogs but we will definitely do it again. Hope this is useful

  17. Emma says:

    Hello Hello
    I am about to travel to france with my Jack Russell – Mister Malinki.
    I was fascinated and excited to read that you had visited the Alps and trekked with the dogs. I want to walk in the Alps but I thought dogs were not allowed in the Parcs at all. I am struggling to find where to go that does allow in the Alps region. Any information would be wonderful. I leave Saturday.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Emma
      Don’t worry too much. The dog restricted zones are generally pretty high so you have to walk a fair way up to find them. Just above the top of the skilift is common. Some resorts have no restrictions as they are not in a nature zone.
      Bad spots are Ecrins near the col de lauteret as the protected zone is huge and close to the road and villages.
      Long distance paths like Santiago de Compostela are also a no-no because they dip in and out.

      You will see crazy things like a sign telling you dogs are banned to protect the pristine nature, right next to a bulldozer smashing up an alpine meadow to put in a new restaurant!

      Check the resort’s tourist office and you should be fine. It is certainly easier than taking the dog to the beach in France!

  18. Fiona says:

    Hi Emma, I’m off to the Alps in 2 week and we are going to Annecy/Clusaz and Samoens. Both have lots of dog friendly info on their sites, and they seem to be allowed in most areas. Hope you have a brilliant time. Come back and tell us about it.

  19. Jean says:

    Hi we are travelling to Germany can you tell me if any vet can give tapeworm treatment or do they need to be passport cleared as I’m trying to find a vet in Rudesheim that I can go to for the tapeworm treatment, thanks in advance

  20. Rowan says:

    Great website btw.
    I was wondering if you could tell me the best way to take a dog over to as south of France as possible?
    I also live in Cornwall so thought of going from plymouth to Roscoff on the ferry, but after doing a little research, my boyfriend and I aren’t happy to leave the dog in the car for 8 hours 🙁 so eurotunnel sounds best from your experience.

    • Editor says:

      Yep, it’s Eurotunnel every time for us. It’s a long drive up from Cornwall but cheaper than the long sea crossings, more flexible and just a 30 min journey unaffected by weather. Nice drive down through France too. We’ve done this so many times & it’s the best option in our opinion despite the miles to Kent.

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