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 speak from experience!
Animal Health Certificate
Prior to Brexit, your first port of call was to get an EU Pet Passport from your vet for your dog. EU Pet Passports issued in an EU country are still valid, but those from England, Wales, and Scotland are no longer usable. To travel from Great Britain to an EU country, your dog needs to have:
An Animal Health Certificate, obtained by visiting an "Official Veterinarian" within 10 days of travel. Bring proof of your dog's micro-chipping date and vaccination history. The certificate gives you 4 months of travel within the EU and 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain. You need a new certificate for every trip from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland.
Received the primary rabies vaccination at least 21 days before travel to the EU or Northern Ireland.
Had a microchip implanted, which must be done at the same time, or before, your dog had their rabies vaccination.
Be at least 15 weeks old at the time of travelling.
Been treated for tapeworm if travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland, or Norway.
It is safest to bring as much documentation as possible, including the animal health certificate, proof of microchip, rabies vaccination documentation, and if required, proof of tapeworm treatment.
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 animal health certificate. For trips abroad shorter than five days, you could have the tapeworm treatment done in Great Britain. For full and informative details, Vets for Pets have some great advice.
For the most updated information on leaving Great Britain with your dog, please check the government website.
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 Prieuré (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 the cost of 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 their 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 O.K. In fact, on a 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 Prieuré is 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, 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.