You may well be leaving your friends and family behind in the UK but there’s no question about leaving your most precious possession – whether in the form of dog, cat or ferret! If you’re anxious about how to navigate the process and how to bring your pets to France, especially in the current political climate, this is for you.

Firstly, let’s give thanks to Sir John Fretwell (a diplomat) and his wife Lady Mary for the abolition of the draconian quarantine process when travelling with pets around Europe. Following his return from his last post in Paris, their beloved Basset Hound Bertie was “never the same dog again and died shortly afterwards” following a quarantine stay. They vowed to change the system so that never again would pets go through separation from their owners and in 2000 the first version of the Pet Travel Scheme was introduced.

However, since Brexit, the rules surrounding taking your pets to the EU have changed. Make sure you are up to date with the latest information regarding taking your pets abroad.

Pet passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid in France.

Post-Brexit rules and regulations

Pet passports issued in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) are no longer accepted in the EU. Instead, your pet will need:

  • a microchip
  • a valid rabies vaccination
  • an animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to (pet passports issued in Northern Ireland, other EU countries and several other countries are still accepted in the EU).
  • tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta

These rules apply to dogs (including assistance dogs), cats and ferrets.

How to get an animal health certificate

If you are making regular trips to the EU from Great Britain, you will need a new animal health certificate for every trip. If you have multiple pets, the good news is that you can add up to five pets to an animal health certificate.

You can get an animal health certificate from your vet; the certificate must be signed by an ‘official veterinarian’ (OV). This must be done no more than 10 days before you travel.

Make sure to bring the following documentation with you to your vet:

  • microchipping date
  • vaccination history

Your animal health certificate will then be valid for 10 days for entry into the EU and Northern Ireland. Once in the EU, it will be valid for four months for onward travel within the EU and four months for re-entry into Great Britain.

Ways to travel here with your pet

Pets can travel via some airlines but the most popular method used to bring your pets to France is in the comfort of your own car via ferry or the Channel Tunnel. Some ferry companies stipulate pets must remain in the car at all times during the crossing, although more recently a few companies (on certain routes) have introduced pet-friendly cabins. Please remember that the journey from UK to France can be long (and often hot) and it is therefore very important to ensure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh water and bedding and toys, to ensure their comfort.

Upon arrival in France

France is a nation of cat and dog lovers. You do see the occasional strays, but there is an organisation called the Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) which is the equivalent of the UK’s RSPCA, who do a great job to help these animals. The SPA is also a great place to adopt animals and they are able to advise on treatment, microchipping and anything else you are concerned about.

France is a nation of animal lovers (possibly even ferrets!). Vet costs are significantly lower in France than in the UK (along with wine so if you drink and have pets that’s a double win). For that reason animal insurance does not seem quite as common place as in the UK but is still worth considering based on individual circumstance. Dogs are allowed access to most places including cafes and bars. With the spectacular countryside and plentiful “chemins” (footpaths) here, France is a dog/dog lover’s paradise. Cats roam freely under less threat from traffic than in the UK (outside big towns of course). There are many rescue centres in France from which you can adopt, foster or even volunteer so if your dog or cat is searching a French “copine” or “beau mec” please spare a thought for the many animals in rescue.

Buying a House in France Guide.

Buying a property in France is extremely exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking: in what ways is the process different to the UK, how do you cope with the language difference, what fees should you expect and just who is the notaire? That’s why we’ve put together our France Buying Guide, to help you through the process, step by step.

Written by experts, it covers every stage of buying, from viewing to contracts and fees. Get your copy of the French Property Guide by simply filling in the form below.


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