Dog Travel Blog

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

What we were worried about


Generally, we (well, I really … my husband doesn’t really worry about anything!) worried about how people would react to our big dogs, where we would be able to take them, would they settle, would I be able to get dog food for them that wouldn’t upset their stomachs (greyounds have notoriously sensitive tummies), what if they were to get sick …. It went on and on. We were going to be in France for 5 weeks so, as far as I was concerned, there was lots to worry about! I was extremely worried about some creatures called processionary caterpillars. These are what the name suggests – caterpillars who follow each other in lines, forming long processions. These naughty little critters apparently smell and taste very nice to dogs but, if sniffed, tasted or eaten, will cause allergic reactions including massive swelling to the dog’s nasal tract and windpipe which can cause death. Yikes.

However, a friend of ours who lives in Portugal, had assured us before we left that these caterpillars cause problems over the winter months. By May, they have made nests in the ground for pupation into moths. But, not really knowing what to expect, I did keep worrying! By the way, apparently, these creatures have now been seen in Kent and Essex … probably due to the warmer climate there.

And finally, I was worried about the fact that once we had crossed the Channel then we were in the hands of the Pet Passports – that they were correct and that we had done everything right and that we wouldn’t be refused entry back into the UK. Otherwise, we’d be spending more time in France than originally planned!

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17 Responses to “What we were worried about”

  1. dawn spurs says:

    iam going to take my dog to spain but we r going to go my ferry i was thinking if we r on the ferry for 2 days where will she go to the loo i no u mite think iam daft but its the first time ive traveled with her this far do u no what ferry takes dogs to thanks for yr help dawn and lady

  2. Sarah O says:

    What a brilliant blog!!!!!!!! I have fretted for ages about taking our Shih Tzu to France..and its not ’til July!! You have so put my mind at rest – graet to have so much real detail from a ‘normal’ person (i.e. not a professional!).

    Thank you soo much

  3. Lynne Kane says:

    We found this website really useful. The information about the dog collars was particularly good because we hadn’t thought about this previously. On reading through your information again, we noticed that you say a dog cannot be brought back to the UK until 6 months after RECEIPT of the blood test result. We were working around the day the blood test was actually taken! Our vet had told us that this was the case so we’re gonna have to double check things. Thanks for all your great advice, we’ve read every page.

  4. Raquel says:

    I am portuguese and I don’t understand what your portuguese friend told you… processionary caterpillars don’t exist during winter, it’s too cold for them to be crawling around! In portuguese we call them “bichas da Coresma”, because they usually appear during Easter time, when the weather starts getting warmer. The worst month usually is May, it’s when you see them the most. But I’ve never seen a processionary caterpillars in December or January!

  5. Lynn Norton says:

    This website is brilliant, we are going to Beaulieu Sur Dordogne next June for 12 nights camping and taking our Bichon with us. I particularly noted the advice about the collars, never thought of animals being bitten by mossies!! It is horrible for humans, so much, much worse for a dog! Thank you so much.

  6. kate says:

    thank you for a great blog and thank you here to Raquel – just for two minutes I was worrying there about processionary caterpillars! I am leaving in mid December to drive down through France with my two dogs – oh no, maybe they will eat caterpillars although it’s winter – ahhhhh – oh no they won’t!!!!! thanks Raquel.

  7. Peter says:

    We are takeing our German Shepard to portugal for 7 months and we are worried about Mozie bites for him any advice please.

  8. peggy harris says:

    hi, we’re taking our 4 yr old bichon to france in june & wondered if dog collars were essential? we always use a harness in the uk, it’ll have his name disc & chip plaque on

    • Martin says:

      I would just be safe and put a collar on him with the ID tag – what if he just happened to go off on an adventure while not wearing the harness? Why take the risk I guess is what I’m saying!

  9. Annie says:

    Hi thanks so much for this brilliant website – my partner and I are planning a 10 day trip to France with Charlie Farlie our gorgeous Springer Spaniel and this website has given me loads of information and advise. One thing is worrying my partner he has heard that some dogs react very badly to the rabies shot – has anyone known of such a thing?

    • Martin says:

      Our dogs have all had several rabies jabs now with no reactions. Remember that every domestic dog in western european countries will have a rabies jab every year so if dreadful reactions were commomplace then we’d know about it.

  10. Claire Gosling says:

    Just wanted to say what an absolutey wonderful blog, thankyou so much. So glad I stumbled across it, am hoping to take our westies to France next year and this has been an absolutely fantastic source of information. Sure I will be referring back to it time and time again.

  11. Lynda Plant-Wells says:

    Excellent website. I have been going to France for the past 10 years but not with a dog until this year. I was worried about certain issues with my Cavalier, who will be 9 months old (the heat for a start) during my forthcoming camping/ B&B/visiting friends trip in June/July and any other unforeseen situations.

  12. Shirley okeeffe says:

    We are hoping to travel to france with our dog and taking our car. We live In northern Ireland. We want a short crossing to the UK, then we will use the eurotunnel. For the ferry crossing to the UK, is there a ferry I can stay with my dog? Love the site

  13. Rex says:

    If you travel with your dog/dogs in the rearmost compartment(luggage space) of you vehicle be careful when travelling in sunny weather especially if you have the rear seat piled high with luggage etc. The rear compartment can get really hot EVEN if you have air conditioning. We knew of a dog that had to be put down after suffering heat exhaustion on a five hour journey. This is even more important in hot countries and don’t assume opening a window a bit solves the problem. We always travel with our dogs in the rear seat compartment when doing a journey and that way the air con does benefit them and also you can see how they are coping.

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