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Take with you seven pairs of every animal

Take with you seven pairs of every animal

21 May 2013 BY Tim Wells 1

When planning your villa holiday, one of your first concerns will be what to do with your pets. Kennels are expensive, and no matter how much you assure your friends or relatives that “A dog is not for life, it’s only for a fortnight”, you know that they, your pets, and you would really prefer they came along – ménagerie is a lovely French word, after all, and around half of Dominique’s villas are happy to welcome your pets. Why not give Phideau the chance to rip through the long grass without looking over his shoulder for where the next Pitbull is going to appear from, or let Moggie drag something different into the house – although it may be bigger than her! It has now become even easier to bring your furred friends with you to your villa in France.

From 1 January 2012 UK regulations regarding bringing pets into the country have relaxed somewhat, bringing them more into line with the prevailing European laws. Now all pet dogs, cats and ferrets (!) can enter or re-enter the UK without having to be licensed  into quarantine, provided they meet the rules of the scheme. These rules will be different depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from; the information below relates to pets entering the UK from France.

There are five basic steps involved:

1) Your pets must be microchipped,  - and it is essential that this is done BEFORE any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out - in order for it to be properly identified and to assist in recovering it in the unlikely event it should go AWOL while on holiday. This microchip should ideally conform to ISO norms, as this is the standard in Europe and vets and travel companies are likely only to have ISO-compatible scanners. If your pet’s microchip does not conform to ISO norms it may not be readable at your French vet and/or the travel company,  you may have to provide your own scanner at your expense, and it is not something you would be likely to find at Argos. An exception is made for pets that have been tattooed before 3 July 2011; in this case the tattoo must be clearly identifiable and the information entered in the pet’s passport.

2) Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. The UK has been free of this nasty disease since 1922, and we want to keep it that way. Your vet can administer an approved vaccine, and make sure that all subsequent rabies boosters are kept up to date. There is a minimum waiting period of 21 days from the date of the first vaccination until your pet will be allowed to enter the UK. Note that if the vaccination requires more than one treatment the waiting period will apply from the date of the last vaccination. Provided the boosters are kept current this waiting period is not required for subsequent entries. The previously enforced six months’ waiting period from a blood test to confirm the vaccine has worked is no longer required. It is essential that your vet records the following details in your pet’s vaccination record and passport: date of birth/age; microchip date of insertion, number, and location; date of the vaccination, vaccine product name and batch number; and date the booster vaccination is due.

3) Get your pet an EU Pet Passport. This will be issued by an authorized veterinarian. Make sure sections I-V are filled out; this will show your pet’s microchip number and date inserted, vaccination record and blood test result, and will also show the record of its tapeworm treatment (see below). The transport company you use may also require certification from a vet that the animal is fit and able to travel (and in some cases insist on a minimum age); you should check with the transport company in advance to see if this is necessary, and if so have the vet fill out section IX, or issue a signed statement to that effect.

4) Before each entry into the UK all dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. This is the dread fox tapeworm echinococcus multilocularis, which makes its way, if permitted, via dogs through rodent and fox populations, and if it winds up in humans we’re in big trouble – serious or fatal liver and other diseases can result - fortunately the UK is currently considered tapeworm free. The treatment must contain Praziquantel or an equivalent product, and must be administered by a veterinarian one to five days (not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK, and the result recorded in the Pet Passport in section VII. There is no longer a mandatory requirement for tick treatment.

5) You and your pets must travel with an approved transport company on an authorized route. This is the easy part; all the usual routes to and from France by air, sea, and rail comply. Check with your carrier for individual requirements and regulations for transporting your pet.

All towns and even villages in France will have a “cabinet vétérinaire”; these can easily be found in the French yellow pages or we will be happy to assist you in finding one on request, and can help with making your appointment if need be. The French veterinarian will be quite up to speed on the latest treatments and documentation required; they do it all the time. Your kids’ smaller pets, of course – mice, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs -  can travel to and from the UK without a passport or vaccinations – just don’t forget the straw.

DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme
Helpline: 08702 411 710 Monday – Friday 8 am – 6 pm

Over 50% of Dominique’s Villas’ property owners accept pets.


  • Claudia

    03:35PM 09 Jul 2013 Reply

    Very useful information, thank you!