Dog Travel Blog

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

Dogs in France 2011


Aire with a view

Off we went once again to France at the end of July.  This time, we travelled down through the east of the country, through Alsace and Lorraine, the Vosges, the Jura and then into the Alpes.  Wonderful walking with the dogs and, once again, we were made to feel very welcome by the French.  Eventually, we ended up in the Alpes de Haute Provence where we enjoyed over three weeks of cloudless blue skies and glorious temperatures.  Just fantastic.  Once again, we stayed at combination of aires, France Passions and campsites.  The only difference we noticed this year is that the municipal campsites (ie those run by the towns themselves) are getting quite expensive and some were charging up to 2.50 euros per dog which , for us with four dogs, is a no no.  Instead, we stayed in a number of privately owned campsites which proved to be much cheaper and didn’t charge for dogs (or, if they did, they only charged 1.00 euro or less per dog).  That’s interesting for us to note as, up until now, we have considered the municipals to be the cheaper sites. I guess it opens up more options as to where to stay which can only be a good thing but it’s a bit of a shame because we have liked supporting the municipal sites.

Relaxing in the vines

Relaxing in the vines

We had a fantastic time.  The dogs loved the mountain walking and even had a trip in a telecabine!  They especially liked seeing the marmottes – good thing they were all on the lead (marmottes have a nasty bite which can be fatal to dogs so don’t let your dog get too close to one or stick its nose down into a marmotte hole)!  One of our highlights was staying on a vineyard just north of Lyon, having freshly cut grapes (the harvest was being cut for winemaking as we stayed) for breakfast and being able to clearly see Mont Blanc towering over the rest of the Alpes in the far distance, so much bigger than anything around it.  Magical.

The vet visit, as always, was uncomplicated and professional.  What a shame we’re back in the UK.  We’ve been back a week and haven’t even been able to see to the bottom of the garden because we’ve more or less had constant fog and ‘mizzle’!  Yuk.  I must start on a serious campaign to convince the husband to go permanently travelling in the van with the dogs!

Anyhow, if you haven’t yet ventured abroad with your canine friend(s) please do consider it.  The whole pet passport procedure is due to become simplified from 1st January 2012 – keep checking the DEFRA website for updated information.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Walking in the Vosges

Walking in the Vosges


posted under | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “Dogs in France 2011”

  1. stevie says:

    Just wanted to say – what a great blog. I found it when looking for info about taking dogs to France, and laughed when I saw that your dogs are greyhounds; mine too. The info about vets especially has been really helpful. Thank you for such great information

    Happy travels


  2. Heather says:

    We’re thinking about going to France this summer with 2 dogs, we have spent many, many holidays there with our children who have now “flown the nest”!! This blog, and the change in regulations might just encourage us to do it!! Thank you!

  3. maureen says:

    we are going to France this year. I am having all the worries you wrote about and am reassured by your blog. Thanks

  4. janice says:

    Do dogs need to be strapped in with canine seat belts when travelling in a car in France?

    Great website by the way!

    • Editor says:

      We don’t know! We don’t strap ours in but we’ve been travelling in a motorhome the past couple of years rather than a car. Perhaps someone else knows the answer to this.

  5. Lorraine says:

    do you have your dogs vaccinated yearly against rabies or will France let you through to the UK on a 3year. We travel on the Tunnel since the 1st year of the passport but were always told to have our dogs done yearly. Please help as I dont want to get stopped at the French border and not be able to return to UK, but would like to stop pumping my two dogs full of unwanted vaccine.
    Thank you

    • Editor says:

      It is only the law on mainland Europe to have dogs vaccinated against rabies every year. There is no such requirement in the UK. Therefore, our rabies vaccinations will last as long as the manufacturer’s expiry date (2 or 3 years). You simply need to have a current rabies vaccination showing in your pet passport.

  6. Kerry says:

    We’re off to the Alps this year with our springer spaniel (first timer) and I’ve found your website really useful. Can the tapeworm treatment be administered by any vet in france or do they need to be with a certain registered body? I was hoping to get him treated in the Annecy region before we travel back to Calais. Can we purchase the treatment in the UK and ask a vet to administer and stamp the book to ensure that the right vaccination has been given?
    Thank you

    • Editor says:

      Any vet can administer the treatment and stamp the passport. Just make sure you double check that all the relevant pages have been signed, dated, timed and stamped (as they might be less familiar with the passport than vets near ports). By all means, you can take some UK bought treatment with you and ask the vet if he/she is happy to administer it but you may find that they prefer to administer (and charge for!) the treatment they are familiar with. We worm our dogs with Milbemax in the UK and that is what they’ve also been treated with in France. To be honest, I think we’re charged less in France for the tablets than we are in the UK so we tend to be relaxed with paying for the tablets at the French vet. Hope you have a wonderful trip – the Alps are just so beautiful and I’m sure your springer will have the most brilliant time!

  7. Steve Marmion says:

    What a great site with loads of information to assist the new travellers to France with dogs. Good information and kept up to date.

  8. Madeline says:

    We are taking our whippet to the Haute Savoie region and wondered if you thought we would need to use a scalibor collar in this area as well as or instead of tick spot treatment. Our vet has advised Advantage rather than Frontline as he thought it better prevention for heartworm. Can anyone offer an opinion on which to use?
    Many thanks

    • Editor says:

      Yes Advantage is probably a good call. We just tend to use Frontline Combi for the ticks/fleas (as well as the Scalibor collar) and Milbemax against the heartworm. It may be that we’ll swap to Advantage at some point in the future.

  9. Madeline Brabbs says:

    Thank you for that.
    My vet has given us Frontline Combo but I do not know if we also need a collar in that region. A local resident has said that she just uses Frontline and has never heard of the collars.
    Do you give Milbemax before you go? How often do you give it? Would you give it on top of whatever the Local French vet gives for the return to UK ?
    I understand it is good practise to worm again 4 weeks after returning to UK to kill of any newly hatched ones.

    • Editor says:

      There are leaflets about Scalibor collars in vet clinics in France. The French are advised to put them on their dogs when travelling to southern regions, including the Southern Alps. If you visit the French Intervet site (the company who makes the collars), there is a map of the French regions where the sandflies are most prevalent. That should help you make a decision. Re Milbemax, we give a dose a week before we go, then 7 days after we get there, then the dose at the vet’s before the travel back into the UK – this is based on us being abroad for six weeks. Once we’re back in the UK we don’t give another dose until the normal interval has passed. Hope that helps!

  10. Madeline Brabbs says:

    Thank you so much for all that. Now I know exactly what to do. Vets seem a bit vague as in reality I feel they think dogs should not travel and have not been through the travel process themselves.

    If I use a Scalibor collar for just the 10 days whilst away can it then be stored in its bag for a later use? If effective for 5-6 months does that mean 5-6 months of wearing it or once opened it has a useful life of 5-6 months?

    • Editor says:

      I agree with your comment about the vets. I think they are just aware that there are many nasties abroad that we don’t have here which can affect our dogs. Our vet is very supportive but has given us clear advice on the precautions we should take to protect our dogs and we stick to it rigidly. Re the collars, I honestly don’t know. I tend to put the collars on my dogs a month before we go and they tend to wear them then right to the end of September even when we’re back in the UK. Happy travels!

  11. Chris endersby says:

    Enjoyed the blog. Just trying to arrange a visit to the vet in Ardres, but the address is different on the web to the one you gave in an earlier blog. Do you still use the same one, and if so do you know if they have moved?

    Your info has been a great help. We have had 8 weeks on our first doggie trip around Europe!
    Chris Endersbly

    • Editor says:

      I think they were originally at a different location in Ardres but now they are on the square – at the top in a row of businesses. There’s quite a big car park in front of them. Be warned – Thursday is market day on the square and it’s tricky to park. All other days are fine.

  12. Anna says:

    Very interesting blog with lots of information. We wnt to the south of France last year and are planning to go again in August. I have not heard of the special collars and will try to source a pair for my yorkies.
    Changing the subject, I am very interested in your Hymer 544 as it is the one we have been contemplating changing to from the McLouis Lagan251 we have at present. can you say how you got on with it and are you pleased with your choice. aslo how did you find the bed, is it comfortable.
    What year is your van and anything you do not like about it?

  13. Lyndsey says:

    Great Blog, we are thinking about going to spain via car with our two cocker spaniels next year, this blog is great full of all the type of information ive been wondering about! I’m not sure if you will know the answer but in terms of getting to a vet before travelling back to the UK, could the vet be in spain before we set off back to the UK or does it have to be in france? Hope you can help, and thanks again for your fantastic blog are you going anywhere this year?

    • Editor says:

      Thanks for your comments! The vet can be anywhere in Europe, as long as you get the Pet Passport paperwork completed within the 1 to 5 day window before you travel back into the UK. The further away you are from your point of travel back into the UK, the more confident you need to be that you can complete that journey within that window. Have wonderful travels! After the non-summer we’re having, I think we’ll all be heading to warmer, sunnier places! Who could blame us!

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