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What you need to know about travelling between the UK and France with your dog

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What you need to know about travelling between the UK and France with your dog
Photo: damedeeso/Depositphotos
13:12 CEST+02:00
Pets are part of the family and whether they're joining you as you embark on a new life in France or you travel back and forth a fair amount, it's important to know the rules for travelling with your beloved dog, cat (or ferret).

Travelling in and out of France with pets can be stressful if you haven't got to grips with the rules. 

Read on to find out more about the regulations that govern travelling between France and the UK with your pet dog, cat and - for the eccentrics out there - pet ferret.

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A family arrive with their pet dog at Folkstone through the Channel Tunnel on 28 February 2000 on the first day of the pet passport scheme. Photo: AFP

There are some basic rules you have to follow before your furry friend can come on holiday with you to France and if you don't you're both in for a pretty miserable time of it. 
 
To travel with your pet dog, cat or ferret between the UK from France it must be microchipped, have a pet passport and have been vaccinated against rabies. 
 
Your pet is free to travel 21 days after the rabies injection. 
 
On top of that dogs have to have a tapeworm treatment before travelling into the UK from France, and a vet must record the treatment in the pet passport before the trip.
 
The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter the UK. You can read more about the treatment here.
 
If you don't follow these rules your pet could be put into quarantine for up to four months or they might be refused entry if you travelled by sea, and you will be held responsible for any fees or charges.
 
So, if you don't want to see little Rover or Fluffy stuck behind bars for a few months, make sure you get organised before heading off on your travels together. 
 
It's also important to remember that your pet must arrive in the UK within five days of your own arrival (either before or after) and if this isn't possible there's a different set of rules you have to follow. Find them here.
 
Photo: AFP
 
You will also need to travel using an “authorised carrier and an approved route”, which by sea includes Brittany Ferries, as well as most of the other big ferry companies and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle also allows you to transport your pets. 
 
The full list of sea and rail companies that allows pets is available here and if you're someone who prefers air travel, you can check the list of airlines that carry animals here
 
Most companies have their own rules and regulations for transporting a pet - for example some airlines demand that they are checked within five days of the flight to ensure that they are fit and healthy - so be sure to check these out well in advance of travel. 
 
If you are not accompanying your pet, you need to sign a “declaration of owner not accompanying pet during its journey” form (available here). 
 
As a final note, it's likely Brexit is likely to change how the system works. 
 
Back in September, a warning notice about the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the lives of British citizens (and their dogs) concerned holidaymakers who want to take their pets to France.
 
The British government warned that holidaymakers who want to take their pets on a trip to France and other EU countries will have to start preparing months in advance if there's no amicable divorce settlement between London and Brussels.
 
The paper warned that the current EU Pet Passport program which allows owners to take dogs, cats and ferrets to another EU country as long as it has a microchip and a rabies vaccination would end.
 
Watch this space for more information on the impact Brexit will have on travelling between France and the UK with a pet. 
 
When it comes to travelling between the USA and France with a pet, the rules are, unsurprisingly, a bit more complicated. 
 
You can find out the regulations on the United States Department of Agriculture page for pet travel here
 
Photo: belchonock/ Depositphotos
 
Tips for travelling long distances with a pet 
 
Of course it's not just important to get your beloved pet to its destination but to make sure they feel safe and comfortable while they are travelling. 
 
If you need advice on how to do this, the RSPCA has recommendations for how to maximise your pet's wellbeing while travelling, which can be found here.
 
We also asked our readers who have experience of transporting pets to and from France from the UK for their advice on the matter. 
 
One reader said: "We travel to the south of France two or three times a year from Scotland to our house near Beziers, we spread the journey over two to three days, depending on the weather and traffic.
 
"We like to stop (for tea/ coffee and a comfort break) at the same rest areas and allow a good hour at the Eurotunnel doggy area for our dog Brodie to stretch his legs.
 
"I guess we are really spoiled that our dog is a good traveller (il parle bien le Francais aussi)."
 
Meanwhile a cat owner advised caution when it comes to taking your mog on a ferry. 
 
"Be cautious when traveling by ferry with a cat. I brought my girl over in July and ordered a pet friendly cabin only to realise that the area was filled with dogs who barked and  everywhere, obviously quite upsetting for her and as they were often very loosely leashed I was terrified for her safety when getting off as you leave your cabin before docking and line up in a corridor filled with overly excited canines." 
 
She recommended Feliway sprays, which are designed to reduce anxiety and stress for your cat. 
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