Taking your dog on holiday can seem completely daunting when you first start to investigate how to go about it, but in fact once the preliminary work has been done, travelling with a dog becomes doddle. And I have now done it lots of times, so I can speak from experience! At least by the end of 2020, the rules for taking your dog to France will not change, so dog-friendly holidays won't be any more difficult this year than last.
Your first port of call is to get a pet passport (EU Pet Passport) from your vet for your dog. Book the appointment at least a month before you travel and check when booking the appointment with your vet that they are qualified to issue the pet passport, as not all are.
Your dog must have a rabies vaccination.
Your dog must have a microchip implanted, which must be done at the same time, or before, your dog has a rabies vaccination.
Your dog must be at least 15 weeks old at the time of travelling.
He or she must have been treated for tapeworm.
When returning to the UK, your dog must have been treated for tapeworm between 24 hours and 120 hours (five days) before travel, by a vet and duly written up in the pet passport. For full and informative details, Vets for Pets have some great advice.
Dog-friendly holidays: getting from UK to France
Deciding on the route, ferry or tunnel is, of course, paramount. Brittany Ferries, who operate to the ports closest to Le Prieure (where we hope your pooch will enjoy one of the best dog friendly accommodations in France!) has a number of options depending on the route.
It's worth checking out Brittany Ferries pet-friendly cabins cost at the moment, as they often advertise special offers. Some routes offer dog-friendly cabins, whilst other routes have kennels and still others require that your dog stays in the car.
On the route I regularly travel, where it's about a five hour crossing, Ella stays in the car. The first time we made the crossing I was worried she would be nervous and anxious and so I asked the vet for a tranquilizer. The result was awful, I had a dog who couldn't stand and looked terrible for hours after the crossing. Never again. She now travels regularly, having started at nine years old, and simply sleeps the voyage away. I've been worried about her being too hot in summer and too cold in winter, but the cool through breeze and the windows left partly open mean that she has never been too hot.
Brittany Ferries recommend that you travel overnight or early morning in summer if your dog is likely to be affected by the heat. And you will need to have a muzzle in the car if you are travelling by ferry. They have lots of info on the website.
Half way through the voyage, owners are accompanied down to the car deck where they can check on their pets. Ella is usually fast asleep, but I can refill her water bowl and give her some food and be assured she is ok. In fact, on the last trip in early January it was quite rough and I, a seasoned sailor, was embarrassed to be quite sea sick. I struggled down to the car deck expecting an unpleasant mess to greet me, only to find a happily sleeping dog! So when I get back on a yacht again, she might fare better than me!
Other visitors prefer travelling through the Eurotunnel. No problems about seasickness on that route! It's only 35 minutes through the tunnel, but the trip to Le Prieure longer than going some of the Brittany Ferries routes.
Finding a dog-friendly property for your holiday
Once in France there are lots of options for your holiday. There is everything from dog-friendly holiday parks to chateaux, gites and B&B offering dog boarding. Eurocamp offer dog-friendly holidays all over Europe.
But if it's more of an elegant but friendly stone house you are looking for, the tall honey-coloured walls of the ancient 14th-century Priory and Tower will offer your pooch a safe place to enjoy a great holiday in France. From dog bowls to poo bags and homemade dog biscuits as well as a luxurious bed, your dog is on holiday from the moment they arrive! With dog walk maps on our website and special out of season offers, we love to pamper your dog from the word go in the completely secure garden at The Priory.
Pet sitter at Le Prieuré
We have a great pet sitter who is extremely experienced at looking after all kinds of animals. Her service can be booked via our website. She has been pet sitting for many years, is English and will treat your pooches like royalty.
If you would like a night out at that smart restaurant or a day to visit a chateau that doesn't welcome dogs in the heat of the summer, Wendy is the person to contact. Finding pet sitters in France isn't always that easy, so we are so delighted to be able to recommend Wendy for pet sitting unreservedly.
So, from finding your way through the EU pet travel scheme to finding a dog buddy, we hope that this can help you with the planning when taking your pets abroad.
Dog-friendly stay in France in 2021
From 2021 the rules for travelling with pets may change. By looking up DEFRA pet travel on the internet, you will be taken to various sites detailing the changes. The bad news is that they recommend you start planning four months before your journey. Not too helpful if you regularly pop backwards and forwards across the channel! But it’s great to know if you are planning to book your stay with us in 2021.