Moving With Your Pets To France


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Moving With Your Pets To France

If you’re moving to France, you’ll undoubtedly want to bring your pets with you. Moving overseas with pets can seem like a huge task, but actually the biggest hurdle is the first one – making the trip. Once your pet is safely on French soil, it’s likely that the transition to their new life will be an easy one, especially if you can maintain a similar routine to the one you had before. Here are some things to consider when moving to France with your pets.

Bringing Your Pet to France: Entry Requirements

To bring your dog to France, they must be:

  • Over 12 weeks/three months old (the age at which dogs may be vaccinated for rabies).
  • Be microchipped, and have been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days prior to travel.
  • You will need to present either an EU pet passport or a valid Animal Health Certificate along with your pet’s vaccination record.
  • If you are travelling from an unlisted country, you will also need to carry out a rabies antibody titration test (a blood test carried out by an authorised lab) to confirm that your dog has been successfully vaccinated. This is not required if you are travelling from a listed countries, including the UK, US, and Australia – you can see the full list here

You cannot travel with more than five pets unless you are travelling for a competition, show, or sporting event.

You can read the official rules here.

How Can I Move to France With My Pet? Your Travel Options

Our pets are part of the family, and the prospect of moving them to France can be overwhelming. It’s not just the logistics and costs that can be worrying, but also how your pet will cope with the journey.

Depending on where you are travelling from to France, your travel options will vary. While UK owners may have already travelled to France with their dog or cat, American travellers may never have taken their pet overseas. Whichever travel options are available to you and your pet, it is crucial to consider their temperament and put their wellbeing first.

Driving with your pet to France

Whichever route you decide to take to France, inevitably there will be an element of driving with them in your car unless you use a specialist pet transporter company.

When driving with your pets in your car, it’s recommended to use a purpose-made carrier that can be secured within the vehicle, reducing the risk of a distraction for you as the driver whilst also protecting your pet in the event of an accident.

When planning your journey, consider what you will do if you need to stop. It is not advisable to leave your pets alone in the car, so it may be best to take a relative or friend with you for the journey so that one of you can remain in the vehicle at all times.

Using a Pet transporter Company

Alternatively, if driving with your pet in the car concerns you, how about using a specialist pet transporter business? Such businesses make scheduled trips to France in vehicles designed to accommodate several pets in safe and comfortable accommodation.

Driving the entire journey is not possible for many of us, meaning an additional method of transport will be required at some stage, for example, a flight or a ferry.

Travelling on the Eurotunnel with your pet

If you live in the UK, the Eurotunnel is a preferred option by many travellers for taking their pets over to France. The nature of the Eurotunnel means that your pet and you can stay in your car for the entire duration of the 35–40-minute train ride.

Flying with your pet

For some of you, flying may be the only option available, in which case it’s important to research the pet services available by all airlines flying to your destination. Pet services on offer can differ substantially from company to company. You may find some airlines allow your pets to travel in the cabin with you, whilst others insist they stay in the cargo area of the plane. Pick the option that suits your pet and their personality best.

Taking a ferry to France with your pet

Pets are allowed on many ferries, and some companies even have designated private cabins where you can stay with your pet for the trip. Others have kennel facilities onboard, giving your pet a safe place to stay during the journey and giving you the option to visit as often as you wish.

See our article Travelling by Ferry With Your Dog Between France and the UK

Taking a train to France with your pet

Selected trains allow pets to travel with their owners. Check with the rail operator in your area what their terms are before making your journey. If they allow pets to travel, you may wish to pick an off-peak train that is less busy and quieter than some of the busier trains, reducing stress and anxiety not only for you but also for your pet.

Whatever travel methods you decide upon, we wish you and your furry friends a pleasant and safe journey.

On Arrival in France: Registering Your Pet

When you arrive in France, you’ll want to book a visit to your local vets as soon as possible. Your French vet is not only a good point-of-call for any pet-related queries you have, but they will also be able to legally register your pet in France. You must register your pet on the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques(I-CAD) (France’s national pet register) within nine days of arrival in France. This can be done by your French vet and will also enable you get your pet an EU pet passport.

To Qualify for an EU Passport Your Pet Must:

  • Be microchipped with an ISO standard microchip prior to receiving its rabies vaccination.
  • Be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Registered on the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques(I-CAD) (France’s national pet register).

See our guides to How to Get an EU Pet Passport for Your Dog or Cat in France and Owning a Pet in France: Vets, Vaccinations, and Responsibilities. You can also read the official rules for importing a dog or cat from abroad into France here.

Local Life in France

From shopping at the supermarket to sending a parcel at Post Office, finding your local dechetterie to who to call in an emergency—FrenchEntrée is here to help with every aspect of day-to-day living in France. Read our Essential Reading guides for advice on living in France, visit our Shopping zone or Pets zone, or brush up your language skills with our handy learning French resources.

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