Yes, you can take your dog from the UK to France. Just make sure your dog has a microchip and a rabies vaccination. You must have an Animal Health Certificate and it must be treated for tapeworm before you return.
France is a popular holiday destination for many in the UK, especially in summer, and isa great place if you intend to take a road trip and absorb the country’s stunning natural beauty. If you’re a dog lover like me, though, you don’t want to leave your pooch behind.
Luckily, it’s simple enough for you to bring your furry friend along.
Here, you’ll find all you need to know about taking your dog to France from the UK, including what the new rules for taking a dog to France are, so you and your canine companion will soon be ready to hit the road — or indeed board a ferry.
Taking my dog to France
Travelling from the UK to France with your dog is usually straightforward. Before 1st January 2021, dogs, cats, and ferrets in the UK could be issued with an EU pet passport which let you and your pet move freely within the EU. That’s changed since Brexit. Now they need to be microchipped and have a valid rabies vaccination to get an Animal Health Certificate (this is the document that allows your pets to travel). Dogs will also need a tapeworm treatment.
If you already have a pet passport that was issued in an EU country, you’re good to go. Similarly, you can return to the UK on an EU pet passport that was issued before January 2021
Traveling in a car on a ferry or through the Eurotunnel are the easier options if you’re with your dog, but it’s also possible to fly.
Forgetting France for a minute if you have a very young dog or puppy, you should consider whether it's wise to take them on a long road trip. On the Bean Blog, there is a very good article I think you should read called "When Can Puppies Travel by Car?"
Now, let’s look at what you should do when you plan to travel to France with your dog.
What are the new rules for taking a dog to France?
As I’ve already mentioned the rules around visiting France with your dog have since we left the EU
Here are 6 essential things to do if you want to travel with your pooch without a hitch.
Make an appointment for a rabies vaccination.
If you’re from the UK, all dogs travelling to the France must be issued with an Animal Health Certificate. For that he or she must have a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination. Their vaccination must be done a minimum of 3 weeks before you go and see a vet about a certificate. I’d recommend booking your dog in for the vaccine early so you can avoid any potential delays. The good news is, most such vaccinations last for 3 years. Costs for one of these are typically between £50 - £90. When the vaccine has been given, you should get a card or certificate proving your dog has received it.
Make sure the certificate has:
- Your dog’s details, and their microchip number (this should be 15 digits long).
- The date of the vaccination.
- The vaccine batch number needs to be recorded so they can see who manufactured it.
- The vet has stamped and signed it, to say they've done it.
All these details are essential if you want to get an Animal Health Certificate.
Organise your travel
Travelling by car, either through the Eurotunnel or by ferry is the easiest option because flying can get complicated. Bear in mind you’ll need to enter France through a designated travellers' point of entry (TPE) when you have your dog with you.
Three of the most popular routes are:
- Dover to Calais by ferry.
- The Eurotunnel from Folkstone to Calais.
- Folkestone to Calais via the Eurotunnel.
Get an Animal Health Certificate
You will need to book in for an Animal Health Certificate appointment with a vet who has taken the course that allows them to issue pet travel documents. These vets are called Official Veterinarians.
The certificate must be issued within a week and a half (10 days) of your departure date to be valid.
Animal Health Certificates should cost around £180 per pet. Your dog’s microchip must be scanned before you can get a certificate.
Apart from sorting things out for your dog you may require a Crit Air Sticker for your car.
Take your trip
You can now travel with your pooch. Your Animal Health Certificate is valid for up to 4 months (or until the rabies vaccination expires), provided you only travel across the EU (and Norway and Switzerland), and you leave the UK within 10 days of the date of issue.
Different ports have different procedures for checking pets, but authorities will need to scan your dog's microchip. They will also check your Animal Health Certificate to make sure everything is correct.
Take your pet for tapeworm treatment before returning to the UK
All dogs entering the UK need to have tapeworm treatment administered by a vet with a period of between 1 and 5 days before you return.
The treatment date and time must be recorded on your Animal Health Certificate. I know this sounds really harsh but they could refuse to let your dog into the country or insist it goes into qurantine.
Arrival in the UK
The Animal Health Certificate will be checked at the border, and if the tapeworm treatment has not been done with the 5-day period, you’ll have to wait a day, or take your dog to get tapeworm treatment from a vet.
Here are some other things you should be aware of:
- Meat or dairy-based food for your dog is prohibited, unless you have written evidence from a vet that you’re pooch needs a special diet.
- Your dog will need to have a muzzle on if you’re a travelling on some ferries and your dog isn’t staying in the car for the crossing. Be sure to check company policy on this issue.
- You should make sure you have pet insurance that covers you (just in case).
- Do what you can to ensure your dog’s comfort when travelling.
What else do I need to to Drive in France?
You can buy all the items you need in our all in one kit.
Can I take my dog to France on the ferry?
Yes, but unless your dog is an assistance or guide dog, they will not be allowed in public areas of the ship. They will have to either stay in the car, in a pet-friendly cabin, the pet relief and exercise area, or in an onboard kennel.
For more information read here about the, Ferry to France.
Do I need a pet passport to take my dog to France?
No, but you will need to get an animal health certificate issued by your vet within 10 days of your departure date and ensure that your dog has a microchip and has been vaccinated against rabies. This is the equivalent of the old EU pet passport.
Summary: Can I Take my Dog to France?
So, there you have it. You can take your beloved dog to France, with only a little extra preparation and effort. What’s more, doing so isn’t prohibitively expensive. Just take time to prepare, follow the tips I’ve given here, and you’ll soon be on your way to France for a trip neither you nor your pup, is likely to forget.
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