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Taking Your Pets to France

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 31 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pets Pet Dogs Cats Journey Petrol

Although the UK is said to be a nation of dog lovers, the French will happily take their dogs into shops, restaurants and hairdressers.

You will often see people going round the supermarket with a little dog under their arm, or find a sleeping pet under the table at a restaurant, so your family dog is likely to have just as much as an adventure in their new life in France as you will in yours.

There are a number of practicalities to think about first, though, as those lazy days in the sunshine are a little way away for you all.

Pet Passport

You will need to make an appointment with your vet to insure that your pet has the correct injections to allow them to make the journey. You will need to arrange a pet passport, too and perhaps have them micro chipped for safety. This can take a few weeks and it is worth allowing plenty of time.

The Journey

Think about the actual journey - if you are planning to drive in your own car and make plenty of stops at animal friendly aires, then the journey may not be too traumatic for a well-travelled animal. You will know how your pet has coped with previous trips - do they cry or bark throughout, or sleep peacefully? Are they stressed in new surroundings or not like the confines of a travel cage? There are a number of excellent paces to stop along French motorways, with water for dogs and plenty of areas for you to all stretch your legs.


Some hotels in France will allow pets, with many of the cheaper chain hotels offering pet friendlyrooms at little or no extra charge. However, just because your pet can be in your room, it does not mean this will be a pleasant experience for any of you, or indeed your hotel neighbours. You will need to make plenty of fuss of your pet, with food treats and toys. Make sure you bring their favourite blanket or bed, if possible, to try to replicate surroundings they are comfortable with.

Your New Home

Once you have arrived at your new home, your pet will need to get acquainted with their surroundings, just as you will. Try to make an area that will remind them of their old home - don't wash blankets for a while and bring a supply of their favourite food, rather than having to go straight to a new brand.

Keep your pet under control in the new area - do not allow cats to wander until they know their home. You can take you dog out for walks in the local area. Be prepared that many French people do not have their dogs on leads, preferring to walk alongside them. This means that inquisitive dogs can come and sniff around you, so you may want to make sure that you have your dog on a lead.

Kennels and Catteries

Do think about the circumstances your move will change - if you are going to be doing lots of renovation work, you will have to keep a close eye on your pets. Also, try to find a reputable kennels or cattery as soon as possible, so if you have to return to the UK at short notice, you will be able to leave your pet in confidence. Other local expats and forums are a good place to get word of mouth recommendation.

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