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Travelling to France with Pets

Relocating your pets abroad

Real-life experiences recounted

We feel it's always worth hearing about real-life experiences of situations, as the more aware you are of what possibly could happen to you, the more prepared you are and hopefully the more smooth your "ride" will be. Here we have accounts of two families who both travelled to France with their assorted pets... oh, the lessons they have learned!

Joanna Simm and family:

Joanna Simm moved to the Languedoc area of South West France in October 2004, taking with her two horses, three dogs, five cats, three guinea pigs and a rabbit.

Taking your pets abroad - a nightmare?

For anyone planning to take pets to France, the following three words may be helpful: "Don't do it!" No, seriously, there is much conflicting advice around regarding the relocation abroad of animals, and I suffered numerous headaches trying to sort the truth from the fiction.

Making your pet's transition easier

But, if like me, you cannot contemplate leaving your pets behind when you decide to relocate to France, there are certain things that you need to do, and preparations that you should make to make your pet's transition easier.

Pets' health requirements

First and foremost are the animals' health requirements. It is advisable to make sure that they are in good health (whatever type of animals they may be), so arrange an appointment with your veterinary surgeon well in advance of travel, so there is plenty of time to get the necessary vaccinations. Your vet should be able to advise, but the latest requirements should also be accessible from DEFRA on www.defra.gov.uk. Currently all dogs and cats should have rabies vaccinations and micro chips before entering France. They also now need EU Pet Passports. Once in France, make sure that you update the details of the micro chip with the French database. It is also necessary to arrange for blood tests to be done within a certain period before the date of travel, so make certain you time things correctly or you could end up having to reschedule the move! Horses require official passports and more recently, micro chips in France, and it is advisable although not strictly necessary to have their vaccinations up to date, especially if they are travelling as a part load with other horses.

Returning to the UK

It is, of course, a totally different story should you wish to return to the UK with your pets, in which case you will need to obtain full passports. This entails full vaccination programmes including against rabies, blood testing for immunity, and treatment for tics, fleas and worms. In this instance, consult DEFRA and your local Veterinary surgeon for the latest advice (see below for update).

Practical advice for dogs and cats

I had my dogs and cats brought up to date on all their normal vaccinations (Parvo, lepto, distemper, feline enteritis etc) and also vaccinated against rabies. The rabies jabs were not, at the time of our move, required for most parts of France, but you do need to check with a local vet before you decide to pass on such options, as just after we arrived here there was a rabies scare in Bordeaux and parts of the Dordogne, due to an infected animal having been brought in from Spain. I chose to vaccinate mine, as the part of France where we live is not far from the Spanish border.

Guinea pigs, rabbits and horses

The "Guinea Bits" (a rabbit and three guinea pigs) did not require vaccination, so far as we could ascertain, but we treated them for mites before travelling to be sure they were in the best possible condition to withstand the journey. The horses are required to have a current equine passport, as are all horses in the UK now, regardless of whether or not they are to travel overseas. This is the only legal requirement, but as with the dogs and cats, I had all their vaccinations brought up to date prior to travelling and also administered routine worming. The horses were also given a probiotic supplement in their feed, to minimise the trauma of travel, change of diet and surroundings.

Planning the actual journey

If you are undertaking any long journey with animals you need to prepare suitable accommodation for the journey, giving careful thought to requirements for food and drink, toilet facilities, and prevention of escape at all times... I can hardly imagine a worse scenario than losing a loved pet at an auto route stop!

Planning the actual method of transport

If you are going to use a professional transporter, as I did for our horses, be sure to arrange this well in advance. (Theirs was a five-day journey, with overnight stabling provided along the way. Professional horse carriers such as J Parker, whom we used, have a huge advantage over the individual in this respect, and I would strongly recommend their use unless you are experienced in the long distance transportation of horses.) Be aware too, that transporters, if taking your animals as a part load (the economical way to do it), they are subject to other peoples timing and difficulties, so the times and dates may change significantly and without too much notice. If you are travelling to a rigid schedule yourself it is a good idea to have a friend on stand by to care for any animals that may not have left Britain before you do!

Choosing a horse transporter

If you are trying to choose a horse transporter (there are plenty of adverts for them in the back of Horse and Hound) , ring around and speak to them all to get a feel for their attitudes to their charges. Make sure that their distances per day are realistic too, and that they have overnight accommodation arranged for the horses en-route if the journey is likely to be a long one.

Travelling with small animals

In the case of small animals, that is, dogs (even though ours are very large!), cats, rabbits etc., forward planning is the key to a comfortable and safe journey. Dogs should be acclimatised to the car in the weeks before the journey, so that when it comes to it they are happy and settled. If you are travelling with animals in your vehicle, you will find that it is best to travel by Eurostar, as in this case you can spend the crossing in your vehicle and do not have to leave your animals. However, should this not be an option, for instance if you have an LPG vehicle that is prohibited on the train, speak to the ferry companies in advance and arrange for a member of their crew to check on the animals during the voyage. Design cages for cats and other small pets carefully. Bear in mind ease of cleaning out when necessary (they may not be able top hold on for fifteen hours, no matter how much you may want them to!), comfort, allowing a facility for accessing non spill drinking water and perhaps above all, safety.

Ferry ports which allow pets through

All the main ferry ports in France will allow pets through, though you should confirm the rules and regulations of travelling with pets with the ferry company you use. The main ferry ports used to travel between the UK and France are:

Dunkerque
Calais
Boulogne
Dieppe
Le Havre
Ouistreham/Caen
Cherbourg
Roscoff

And in Spain:

Santander
Bilbao

Settling into a new life

Give some thought to the best ways to settle your pets into their new surroundings on arrival. You may be hot, tired and stressed after the journey, but your first attention should be for the animals who will be feeling all those things and probably terrified as well. Have their accommodation ready, in the case of horses and caged animals, keep cats in the house for the first few weeks to prevent the possibility of them making a desperate bid to return to Blighty, and spend plenty of time with your dogs, talking to them and walking them to get them used to their new territory. Introduce yourself to a vet... there are usually two or three in any decent sized town... and get out and about with your dogs or horses. There is no better way to meet people and make friends!

Travelling's a stressful business - even more for animals

Don't underestimate the amount of stress that a move will cause to your animals. Without exception, my pets showed signs (in varying degrees of severity) of stress in the days and even weeks following the move, so be prepared, be understanding, and give it time. Different animals show stress in different ways… but you can try to alleviate the worst effects by making any changes of diet gradual rather than immediate, establishing a routine as close as possible to the one they knew before, and perhaps using alternative therapies such as the probiotic additives, and Bach flower remedies to calm and relax.

One final piece of advice...

Oh… and if you are travelling in an animal filled car as we did, invest in an air freshener!

Angela Allen and family:

We also travelled with numerous animals from Devon to Monesties. We had sixteen cats and one dog. They all had their anti-rabies injections and were micro chipped (we were lucky and got discounts for both due to the large numbers). My husband made two cages for the cats which we put on the back bench seats of our camper van. In went the cats and their bowls of food and water inside the cages.

Travelling by ferry and car

We travelled from Plymouth to Roscoff over-night with the dog on the floor by my feet. The ferry trip was eight hours and the animals slept all night in the van. I was worried in case the boat sank and I couldn't get to them… always the pessimist! But no worries, they were fine in the morning. We then faced a 12-hour drive to our house. We had a spray of water for the cats as they were getting a bit warm but they seemed quite happy and slept most of the time. We stopped several times for the dog… though we only needed the fresh-air spray once! When we finally arrived and undid the cages they all scattered and it took a day before they emerged from their hide-outs.

Keeping an eye on the horses

Our horses also travelled with John Parker and as we had ten they had the box to themselves. My daughter travelled with them to keep and eye on our old pony of 36 years, and they all arrived in good health. (They stopped over-night and then caught the early ferry from Dover) When they got over the channel they didn't stop as they couldn't find anywhere to put up all ten but it wasn't a problem. They arrived at 5am at the house and all was well. We just had to rush about putting up the fences at 6am as they weren't expected until mid-day!

Settled in France

All the animals have now settled down brilliantly and the horses love the fact that there's no MUD!!

** IMPORTANT UPDATE - 5 JUNE 2007 **

Since this article was originally written, there have been a few changes to the procedures involved in taking pets to France, which makes some of the advice given in our question and answer section below incorrect.

It is now illegal to bring pets into France without a rabies vaccination. For details of the animals that are subject to this requirement, please see the French Embassy site, www.ambafrance-uk.org, which gives clear guidelines to follow. In short, animals such as dogs, cats, ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies and micro chipped or tattooed at least 21 days before travelling to live in France on a permanent basis.

Another difference is that modern micro chips and tattoos can now be re-registered and recognised by the French system, BUT you must visit your vet with the relevant paperwork to complete the re-registration process.

Further information regarding these changes and regulations can be obtained by visiting:

www.agriculture.gouv.fr

It is important to keep up-to-date with these changes as they can be hugely significant and you may not hear of them through everyday sources.

** TAKING DOGS BACK TO THE UK - UPDATE ADDED 19 MARCH 2008 **

If you should wish to take a dog back to the UK, be sure that you follow the rules totally. Have all the usual vaccinations done and kept up-to-date... the French authorities are sticklers for timing so don't let the due date pass by. The rules for obtaining a Pet Passport and being able to travel to the UK with your dog are as follows - firstly ( the initial vaccination) the dog needs to have an up-to-date rabies jab and then a blood test which shows the rabies antibodies in the blood stream. The animal is only permitted to travel six months after this positive blood test. The animal needs to be vaccinated annually in France (in the UK there are vaccines which last three years but these are not accepted in France for this period) and if the re-vaccination is not administered within the correct period the animal will once again have to have the blood test (and consequently another six month wait before travel after a positive result). The vet will issue a Pet Passport with a record of the vaccinations and blood tests on request.

The second thing you need to do is to take your animal to the vet between 24 and 48 hours before travel to have anti-parasite treatment administered (usually an injection for intestinal parasites and a Frontline type treatment for external parasites). Be sure that the vet enters the time of the administration of these correctly as a mistake will result in you being unable to travel. If you are delayed travelling to the ferry ports and the time goes over the limit, the port authorities should be able to direct you to a vet who can re-administer the treatments.

Finally, be aware that a European Pet Passport is not valid for the UK. There have been cases where people who regularly travel with their dogs between say, France and Spain, using a European passport, have tried to enter the UK using the same passport... to no avail.

** NEW RULES FROM JANUARY 2012 **


Further to the updates added above, please see the following article:

Taking Pets to France - New Rules from 2012

*** FOR CURRENT INFORMATION ON PET TRAVEL ***


For the latest information on travelling with pets, please see the following:

EU pet travel scheme: changes from 29 December 2014

Information provided here may supersede some of the information given in this article.

your questions...

1. Sandra Bell from Australia writes about owning dogs in France (added 6/9/06)...

Firstly, congratulations on your various articles regarding moving to France. We are moving to France from Perth, Western Australia with West Highland Terriers in tow. We have been discussing the in's and out's with our Vet so that is OK but what is the story with regard to owning dogs in France. For example, most local councils in Australia only permit the ownership of two dogs per household. Can you shed any light on how the French authorities view dog ownership?

Joanna Simm, co-author of this article and owner of three dogs, replies...

We have had no problems at all regarding authorities and numbers of dogs. We have three here, and have friends who also have three or more. I have certainly never heard of any restriction. I think dogs are better tolerated here than they were in the UK. Don't know about Australia! Dogs here are even welcomed in restaurants and cafés, perhaps not in the very poshest, but they are a common sight sitting by tables in local bistro type places! There are supposedly fines for allowing your dog to foul public streets, but in general dogs are a very popular part of life - in our part of France anyway! Vets seem to be very good, and we have found that the dogs have been a good ice breaker with people we meet for instance, if we take them swimming in a lake, people stop to talk to us more than if we go 'sans chiens!' Dog showing is also popular here, and agility (classes) too. Anyway, best wishes to you and your dogs!

2. A visitor to the site asks about ticks (added 8/12/06)...

My daughter is moving to France with her one-year old fox terrier. She will be living in the countryside, and has been told there is a problem with ticks. She was told that there is some sort of instrument you can buy that will remove them. Do you know anything about this instrument, and where you can buy it?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links, replies...

The best tick removers I have come across are those called O'Tom Hooks (known as Tick Twisters in the US), which certainly work very well for us and our labrador. Details of these small plastic devices can be found at www.otom.com.

We bought ours from our Vet, but you can also find them at pet shops. I'm not sure what part of the country you are from, but if you are having problems finding them, you could contact the Downland Veterinary Group (www.downlandvets.co.uk.). We got ours from the Barnham Surgery.

I hope this information is of use.

3. Another visitor to the site asks a few questions (added 8/12/06)...

We have a boxer whom we wish to take to Brittany just after Xmas. To get her microchipped, two rabies injections and a passport would, it appears, take us the best part of eight months. She is now ten years old. What I need to know is:

a) Since we are moving to live in France would it not be best to see the local vet about any injections that she might need and do the requirements for a passport in Brittany?
b) Are the French vets more or less expensive than the UK?

Joanna Simm, co-author of the above article, replies...

There is no need to have any of that done in the UK. I would advise being up to date on basic injections, but in Brittany I wouldn't worry about rabies at all, unless you find out that there has been an outbreak in the region, which I very much doubt up there.

Vets here seem to charge roughly the same as in the UK, with the same variance of price from vet to vet too.

DONT micro chip in the UK... the chip is useless in France and cannot be read. It is only worthwhile if you are returning to UK with the dog.

This is the same with rabies jabs. Yes, you will need a rabies jab if you are returning, but as they only last one year (French regulations) and the animal must be blood tested for immunity within so many days of travel (check with local vet), it is pointless to do it in the UK except if your stay in France is short term.

We didn't have to show any papers for our dogs at all on the way out there. We travelled through the tunnel in our car and they only asked what animals we had, that was it.

** SEE ABOVE UPDATE, ADDED 5 JUNE 2007 **

The visitor is still unclear...

Thanks for your advice. Two things I am still not sure of:

a) If I got her micro chipped in France to allow for a holiday in the UK, would the authorities accept it here?
b If I wanted to get her a passport for the UK, could I get it in France?

Joanna's reply...

I am not sure if French micro chips can be read in England... I would ask an English vet on that one. It certainly DOESN'T work the other way round. French vets cannot read English micro chips.

And I think that you can get a passport for a dog in France for trips to the UK... it will just be a French passport. It stands to reason that you can, or French people wouldn't be able to bring their dogs from France to the UK either. And I would see a French vet on that to see what is involved. It will involve rabies jabs and tests. This is all absolutely necessary if you are travelling from France to the UK... just not the other way round. So - you can take a dog from England to France without passports and checks, but NOT from France to England... rabies laws prevail.

** SEE ABOVE UPDATE, ADDED 5 JUNE 2007 **

4. Josie Copeman asks about moving to France with cats (added 8/12/06)...

We are planning to move to France in the next few weeks and I have just found out that you cannot now take your cats with you unless they have been micro chipped, rabbies jabbed and have pet passports. Can anyone confirm this is now the case, and if so, how long before I can now take them out to France near (Montauban) once these things have been done?

Joanna Simm replies...

Montauban is not all that far from me, so I wouldn't expect it to be any different. So, unless things have changed massively since I came (October 2004), cats do not need anything to come to France. (But they do if you want to return to the UK with them.) If you travel by car/train/tunnel with your car, all you have to do is declare at customs how many animals you have. You don't have to show anything else.

My advice would be to have the cats vaccinations brought up to date (and I did have mine vaccinated against rabies though I haven't repeated it yet as there is no rabies here).

Micro chips, if you are going to live in France permanently, are a waste of money if you get your cats micro chipped in the UK. They cannot be read here in France. It would be better to wait until you get here and get French ones. They are advisable as if your cat is lost you have a good chance of having it returned.

If however you will be returning to the UK with your cats, you will need a micro chip. And it would probably be best to check with your English vet whether a French chip will be recognised in the UK, or whether you would need an English one ie: whether you would need to get one before you leave the UK.

And as with dogs, you will also need a passport if you will be returning to the UK with your cats. This can be obtained in France, it would just be a French passport. I would see a French vet to see what is involved there. It will involve rabies jabs and tests. This is all absolutely necessary if you are travelling from France to the UK... just not the other way round. So, to recap, you can take a cat from England to France without passports and checks, but NOT from France to England. This is of course unless there is a rabies outbreak and emergency regulations come into play.

I hope this helps, though I realise it may be confusing as there are rules and regulations that state that you do need these things. I can only offer advice based on past experience.

** SEE ABOVE UPDATE, ADDED 5 JUNE 2007 **

5. Max Kennett asks about moving dogs from South Africa to France (added 11/5/07)...

We are hoping to relocate from South Africa to France in late 2007, early 2008, we are both British. We have two Bordeaux Mastiffs and want to bring them with us when we move. We have found lots of info on dogs travelling within EU countries, but not from countries like South Africa. Can anyone guide us to the legislation for bringing our dogs into France from South Africa and what we would need to do?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links, replies...

I can only suggest that you contact the French equivalent of DEFRA (the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who regulate the movement of pets to/from the UK) to find out more information. Their contact details are as follows:

Ministere d' Agriculture
Direction generale de l'alimentation
Bureau de la Pharmacie Veterinaire
175 rue du Cheveralet
F-75646 Paris Codex 13
France

Tel + 33 1 49 55 49 55/49 55 84 67
Fax + 33 1 49 55 43 98

6. Caroline Roberts asks if Stronghold treatment can be used on pregnant pets (added 11/5/07)...

I have a property in France and travel back and fro from Jersey to St Malo on a regular basis, at least once a month. I have a three-year old border terrier and she travels with me or my husband all the time. My question if anybody can help is this. We are looking to breed Bronte this year and during one of my planned visits to the house I wanted to take the dog and she might be pregnant. Can I still have Bronte injected and treated with Stronghold? Will this affect the unborn puppies? If anybody has had this experience or can recommend another treatment for this situation can you please let me know.

Extra information you may find useful:

Bronte needed to be vaccinated against Rabies and this process actually took nine months not six months so be prepared for a wait and a non-travel period with your pet. (It's worth the wait.)

Each time we leave Jersey we need to ensure we have the pet passport on us but rarely do the port control staff check Bronte's digital reader. When we arrive in St Malo nobody is there to check the dog. We then have a four to five-hour drive to our house in the Poitou-Charentes region.

We have an excellent rapport with our vet who also happens to be our Maire (mayor). Bronte has to have her Stronghold applied and Tick treatment Drontil (I think) which is injected into the back of her neck (not her favourite visit to the vet). This has to happen 24 hours before we depart and you must have left France before the 48 hours is up, other wise you need to have the injections done again. (Thankfully the ferry companies are very understanding and if there are issues with room on a ferry or a problem with the ferry due to bad weather they will try and get you and the pet on first.)  

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links, replies...

Thanks for contacting us about the use of Stronghold. I'm afraid we are not qualified to answer this question, so I can only advise that you ask your vet, either in Jersey or in France. Or you may want to contact the RCVS who may be able to help:

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Belgravia House
62-64 Horseferry Road
London SW1P 2AF

Tel: 020 7202 0729
Fax: 020 7202 0740
Web: www.rcvs.org.uk/

I'm sorry I can't be of more help.

7. Sato Hiroko asks about travelling from the UK to Italy with his dog (added 11/5/07)...

I am currently planning to take my dog, a ten-year old Cocker Spaniel from the UK to Italy by car this summer. I have not decided on the route as I do not know which is the best way from the UK to Italy, but I have to take the easiest way for my dog. I am worried about how my dog will be checked when crossing the border in France and Italy and what the requirements are to pass the border safely.

According to your website, is it true that PET passport and health certificates will not be checked at the border in France and Italy? I am currently contacting with Italian ambassy in Tokyo and also trying to get hold of someone in the French Embassy in Tokyo to get more accurate information on these requirements, but I am strictly told by DEFRA in the UK that my dog has to have an updated PET passport, health certificate, and all other documents required in France and Italy in the local language.

Since I have not planned any route (either by ferry or car through the tunnel), it may be difficult for you to answer, but please let me know if you have any suggestions or information.

Thank you very much for your time in this matter. Look forward to hearing from you.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links, replies...

Thanks for your email about taking your dog from the UK to Italy. I understand your concerns, as different people say different things. It is true that DEFRA specify that you have a PET passport and pet vaccinations/certificates when travelling to France with a pet, but in our experience, these aren't asked for. But if you want to be sure and be on the safe side, it is better to get them. I'm afraid we have no knowledge of what is asked for when crossing to Italy. I would suggest that you contact the French equivalent of DEFRA to find out more information. Their contact details are as follows:

Ministere d' Agriculture
Direction generale de l'alimentation
Bureau de la Pharmacie Veterinaire
175 rue du Cheveralet
F-75646 Paris Codex 13
France

Tel + 33 1 49 55 49 55/49 55 84 67
Fax + 33 1 49 55 43 98

I'm sorry I cannot be of more help in this matter.

With regard to the best route to use, it would seem that the best way would be to use the Eurotunnel car train which leaves from Folkestone and arrives at Calais after a remarkably quick journey. This will allow you to remain with your dog at all times, as you stay in your car throughout the journey. (It would be wise to check that you car is suitable to take on the Eurotunnel train first.) Going by ferry, you would have to leave your dog in the car on its own throughout the whole trip, while you leave the car deck. (Though many people do this and it doesn't seem to be a problem.)

My colleague, Joanna Simm, also says that all they were asked using the Eurotunnel was what animals they had, and then a sticker was put on the car to say the number. Nothing else was checked.

As for a route through France... the auto routes are significantly faster and have frequent services and areas where you can get out and walk your dog, get it a drink etc. So maybe it would be best to travel along these where possible.

I hope this information helps.

** SEE ABOVE UPDATE, ADDED 5 JUNE 2007 **

8. A question about the number of pets you are able to take to France (added 30/10/08)...

Hi - I have been reading up on taking pets to France, and I notice one website says you are only allowed to take three pets per family and another says five, but a lot of people on your website have taken a lot more pets than this. I have two dogs, one cat, one parrot and a horse to bring over so I would be grateful if anyone has any information.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I have been in touch with my colleague Joanna who lives in France and who wrote our articles on taking pets to France, and she has the following to say:

"I was told this by a few people but it is something I have never heard of anyone getting any problems with... and I know many who have brought lots more than the allotted number. Never heard of anyone being stopped or even asked. You can bring them over on separate trips if you are really worried. But I would say ignore it and go ahead... I don't think it will be any problem."

However, if you would prefer a more expert opinion or ruling, I would suggest you perhaps contact the French equivalent of DEFRA (the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who regulate the movement of pets to/from the UK) to find out more information. Their contact details are as follows:

Ministere d' Agriculture
Direction generale de l'alimentation
Bureau de la Pharmacie Veterinaire
175 rue du Cheveralet
F-75646 Paris Codex 13
France

Tel + 33 1 49 55 49 55/49 55 84 67
Fax + 33 1 49 55 43 98

Or have a look at the following websites:

www.ambafrance-uk.org (the French Embassy site for Britain)
www.agriculture.gouv.fr (the French Ministry for Agriculture site)

I hope this information has been of some use.

9. A question about pet passports (added 22/7/11)...

My name is Alessandro, I live in England and I will leave the country for good to move to France with my wife and we are going to take our American Bulldog with us. Knowing that I will never get back to the country with my dog, do I still need to get him a passport to leave the UK?

Our dog is up to date with all the vaccinations and is micro chipped, would this be enough? Thank you very much for your help, really appreciated.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I think if you are moving to France before January 2012, you will still need a EU pet passport, and possibly even after this date. However, the passport I think is just a record of vaccinations given by your Vet (rabies is the important one), together with a record of your dog's micro chip, so you may already have this, or it should be easy enough to obtain. I would check with your Vet in case.

Further information can be found on the following websites:

www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/

www.ambafrance-uk.org/Importation-of-animals-into-France,2780

10. A question about insurance for horses (added 8/9/11)...

We are planning to take my horse to France this year to live. Do we need to take out travel insurance and can you recommend a good company for this?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I have been in contact with my colleague Joanna in France who says:

"I don't know for sure about whether travel insurance is legally required, but I would say if you are travelling with the horse yourself it is a very good idea. When something goes wrong with a horse it can quickly become expensive and dangerous to third parties as well as the horse! If taking the horse out to France with a reputable firm I would imagine insurance is part of the deal, so you should perhaps ask them. Otherwise Horse and Hound has several insurance companies advertising with them."

You could also try asking on FORUM sites such as Total France, to see if anyone has good references for an insurance company.

11. A question about number of pets allowed (8/9/11)...

We are looking to buy a house in France, to live six months in France, six months in the UK. We have five dogs and three cats, is there any restriction on bringing this number of pets to France?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I am not aware of there being any restrictions regarding the number of pets you may travel with between the UK and France, but for expert advice you may like to contact the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who regulate the movement of pets to/from the UK, DEFRA (www.defra.gov.uk), and also perhaps the French equivalent of DEFRA (www.agriculture.gouv.fr).

Good luck with your house purchase.

12. Bringing pets from Jamaica (16/03/2012)

A. Green asks: We currently live in Jamaica, but have a house in France near Poitiers - how can we bring our black labrador (acquired in Jamaica i.e.no rabies vaccine given) over to France? Is it better to go via the UK?
Do you have any experience of bring pets into France from Jamaica? If you know the best way please help by adding your comments...

13. A question about travelling with hens (added 30/5/12)...

Hi - I am emigrating to France in July and would like to take some of my bantam hens with me. Could you advise me on what procedures I should follow? Thanks.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I would suggest you contact DEFRA (www.defra.gov.uk). Usually, you can export animals to France without any hassle, but it may be different with poultry as there was a problem with bird flu some years ago, and there may be restrictions in place. Your vet in the UK may also be able to advise on the current procedures.

14. A question about travelling between France and Italy (added 7/6/12)...

We take our labrador dog between the UK and France on his PET passport with no real issues. However, this time we intend to travel to visit friends in Italy as well. Do you have any updated information on whether we will have any problems going from France to Italy and back?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I have been in touch with my colleague who says:

"I would say you shouldn't have any problems, European passports are European passports, but it would probably best to check with your French vet."

15. Questions about pet passports and rabies treatment (added 13/6/12)...

We have a holiday home in France -we are English. I would like to buy a dog in France this summer. Can my dog have a French passport rather than an English passport and how long does current rabies treatment take and is there an age limit for puppies please?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies (added 13/6/12)...

Thanks for contacting us. I have been in contact with my colleague Joanna who lived in France who says:

"It really doesn't matter what kind of passport your dog has as long as it is valid for European travel ie: has all the rabies vacs and worming treatments done at the right time, noted correctly etc. If you buy a dog in France, or acquire one in France, it will have a French passport anyway, whatever your nationality. Rabies jabs need re-doing every year in France to be valid. Other countries like UK say once every two years, but if you are in France then you have to go with the French rules. Pups will have to be about four months old before they have the first jab, but as this changes all the time according to new research and vaccines, you should talk to a French vet to establish their rules."

16. A question about travelling to France with pets from South Africa (added 16/8/12)...

I am planning to move to France in January 2013 to Burgundy. I am taking my two dogs and three cats. Has anyone from South Africa had recent experience moving their pets from South Africa to France? Any advice or information would be appreciated.

17. A question about travelling to France with five cats (added 27/11/12)...

I am moving to France at the end of the year and have five cats. What do I now need to do? I will not be bring them back to the UK.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I would suggest you go and see your Vet, as they should be able to advise on what you need to do in order to take your cats to France. I understand you will need the cats to have all the required vaccinations (including rabies), micro chips and EU Pet passports. You could also check with DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) who have issued clear and concise guidelines for travelling with pets, and these can be seen on their website (www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/).

You could also contact their Pet Travel Scheme helpline:

Email: pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)870 241 1710 ? Monday to Friday ? 8am to 6pm UK time (closed Bank Holidays).

18. A question about bringing non-pedigree Staffies to France (added 5/2/13)...

Thinking of moving to France with two Staffies neither of whom are pedigree. The elder of the two is recognizable as a Staff but the younger bitch (only three) is a long way from any pedigree breed. At first we thought it was not going to be possible as they would come under Category 2 of dogs classed as "attack dogs" in France but now looking at French Consulate site it seems that what are known as Staffies here are Staffordshire Bull Terriers as opposed to "American Staffordshire Terriers" which they say used to be known as "Staffordshire Terriers" and they are one of the three breeds in Category 2. Does anyone have any experience of trying and succeeding to bring a non-pedigree Staff into France?

19. A question about the checks made when entering France with dogs (added 5/2/13)...

I am extremely worried. When we crossed the Eurotunnel into France with our dogs, it was early hours in the morning, with no one working there to direct us to where we had to declare our doggies, so after driving around we eventually gave up. Will it be a problem to re-enter back into the UK? Did they stamp the dogs passports or anything as you entered into France?

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. I have been in touch with my colleague who says:

"As far as I know, there's no problem entering France. No need for anything paperwork wise. But when returning you need to follow the passport rules and have everything prepared by a vet... stamped, signed, dated and even the hour of the worming tablets filled in. When we've arrived in France with animals nothing has ever been required or done... you drive straight off."

So it seems you just need to have everything in place when you return.

20. A question about finding a vet in France (added 25/3/13)...

I am taking my dog to France for the first time. She has a passport and is up to date with her jabs etc. How do I go about finding a vet prior to departure back to the UK? I have a camper van so will find it difficult driving through streets in big towns. Thank you for your help.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. Finding a vet in France really depends on where you are. If you are travelling around, looking at Pages Jaunes or personal recommendations on forums such as Hobos in France or Total France might be a way to go, using internet cafes if necessary. Though my colleague Joanna says that if you are in Calais, the port has vet details. She had to use one when she had a minor pet passport problem, and she was sent to one outside of the centre of town, which was easy to drive to and park at.

21. Questions about travelling with two elderly cats (added 7/11/13)...

I will be travelling to France soon with two elderly cats. I am aware of the legalities but would like to know about the practicalities. What style of cage is good? How is it best to manage the journey for them! Food, breaks and exercise. I am traveling to the Charente region. Is there a better way to take the cats, by car or airplane? Please may I have any ideas to help make the journey comfortable for us all.

Jo Rhodes, editor of French Property Links replies...

Thanks for contacting us. Though other than the advice and information offered in this article, there is not much else to add. It would seem cats can last quite a long time with limited movement. Perhaps talk to your Vet about what sort of cage to use, or indeed a pet supplier. You could also contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline:

Pet Travel Scheme helpline
pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk
0870 241 1710 - Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)

Should anyone reading this be able to offer further advice, please do get in touch.

22. A question about pet insurance (added 27/3/14)...

My retirement for the time being is divided between UK and France. I have rescued a Jack Russell Terrier and now am looking to get some pet insurance for her. Are there any insurance companies that could cope and offer cover for long stays in both countries? Thanks.

Our reply...

Thanks for contacting us. I am afraid I am unable to recommend a pet insurance company, though there are no doubt many pet insurance companies that would be able to provide cover for your dog, with each having their own rules and regulations which would need looking into.

Should anyone reading this be able to offer any recommendation, please do get in touch.

23. A question about how to take a puppy to France and back (added 3/2/15)...

We have a puppy who will have all his necessary paperwork, plus being chipped and having a passport. Can you tell me how we can get him from Derby to Limoges and back to the UK, either by train, road or preferably by plane? Many thanks.

Our reply...

Thanks for contacting us. I'm afraid we are unable to help you research how best to take your puppy to France and back. If you would prefer to go by plane, perhaps you could start by finding out which airlines fly to Limoges and from where, and then contact the relevant ones.

Should anyone reading this have any ideas on the best way for them to travel, please do get in touch.

your comments...

1. A comment about travelling with dogs (added 30/5/12)...

I travel several times a year between the UK and France where we have a home. It has been my experience that French Vets can read my dogs UK micro chip as they always check against the Pet Passport when we go for the worm treatment prior to returning to the UK.

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