Can I Take My Dog to France?

With its dog-friendly attitude, it’s no wonder that many people take their dogs to France. Luckily then it’s fairly easy to take a dog to France, no matter where in the world you may be  located. Whether you’re travelling to France with your dog from the UK, the USA or elsewhere in Europe, I cover the regulations that you need to know, plus the best transport options. So if you’re wondering what the answer is to “can I take my dog to France”, the answer is yes!

To find out further tips for your time in France, read my guide to travelling in France with a dog. Also note that France has restrictions on some breeds of dogs they regard as dangerous – check the full details in my guide.

Taking a Dog to France from the UK

taking my dog to france from uk
You’ll soon be exploring Paris with your dog

The rules to take a dog to France from the UK are fairly straightforward, although it may be a little harder to organise your transport, unless you are taking your own car. Your dog will require a pet passport, a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination, from at least 21 days before your date of travel.

This will likely still apply after Brexit, although read my post about what Brexit means for pet travel in the case of a no deal, in which case you may need a rabies titre test, as a technicality, and an EU health certificate. In particular, the rabies titre test would need to be done 3 months before your date of travel. But fingers crossed this doesn’t happen!

If you are travelling to France from England in your own car, there are two main options available that allow you to take your dog: either a cross channel ferry or the Eurotunnel. Let the company know at the time of booking that you will be travelling with a pet.

It’s best to choose the shorter ferries during summer, as dogs generally need to stay in your car when taking a dog to France by ferry. If taking the Eurotunnel, it costs an extra £19 per pet, with most ferries also charging a similar price. For more information, check my full guide on travelling with a dog from the UK to Europe.

It’s slightly trickier travelling with a dog to France from the UK, if you aren’t taking your car across the channel. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed on the Eurostar to Paris. However, there is one ferry crossing from the UK to France that that allows foot passengers to transport dogs, from Newhaven to Dieppe.

The departure dock in Newhaven is accessible by train from London, while Dieppe is only a couple of hours on regional trains from Paris, after a short taxi ride to the train station. Read my review of taking the DFDS Seaways ferry from Dieppe to Newhaven with my dog.

can you take your dog to france from uk
In the elegant city of Nancy

There are two other alternatives. Firstly, while no airlines allow dogs to fly in the cabin or as check-in baggage into the UK, there are some airlines that allow this when leaving the UK. Air France aren’t clear in their pet policy, so it might be worthwhile checking. (Iberia Express and Air Malta allow this, but neither fly direct from the UK to France.)

The other option is to use a taxi service, such as Folkestone Taxis or Pet Moves. This involves taking a taxi between Folkestone Central station and either Calais Ville or Calais Fréthun station. Expect to be charged about £100 in addition to the Eurotunnel cost.

Also remember that when you return to the UK, you will need to have your dog wormed by a vet, with this recorded in their pet passport. This needs to be done between 5 days (120 hours) and 24 hours before returning to the UK, based on your arrival time in the UK.

Taking a Dog to France from the USA

On the waterfront in St Tropez

A popular destination for Americans heading to Europe with their dogs is Paris. No wonder, as in addition to the attractions of this beautiful city, it’s one of the shortest flights from the East Coast of the USA, meaning that it’s possible to fly with your dog in the cabin, as long as you choose the right airline. And from there you have the whole of the rest of France to explore with your dog.

The same rules apply for dogs heading to France as for dogs travelling to the rest of the EU. Before you make any other travel plans, make sure you have your dog microchipped and then vaccinated for rabies. The rabies vaccine needs to be done at least 21 days before you arrive in Europe. Luckily, dogs travelling from the USA to France don’t require a rabies titre test, they are exempt.

You’ll also need to have an EU health certificate completed within 10 days of your trip, then endorsed by a USDA APHIS Veterinary Services office. Some offices required appointments, while other offices operated a drop-in service or it’s possible to have it done by express mail. For more information, check out my full post on vaccines and paperwork.

taking dogs to france
Posing on the red carpet in Cannes

So, what airlines allow dogs to fly in the cabin from the USA to France? These are some of the options available:

Air France: One of the top recommended airlines for flying with your dog. Dogs up to a maximum weight of 8kg, including carrier, are permitted, with a fee equivalent to €125 charged. It’s possible to buy a travel container directly off Air France for delivery to the USA. Read their full pet policy.

Delta: While many American airlines don’t allow pets in the cabin on Trans-Atlantic flights, such as American Airlines and United, Delta does permit pets in the cabin on this route. There is no maximum weight, just a maximum kennel size that depends on the flight (check at the time of booking). A charge of $200 applies and only up to 4 pets are allowed in the cabin. Read their full pet policy.

To find more options if you want to fly with your pet in the cabin, read my posts about the pet policies of flag-carrier airlines in Europe, plus which European budget airlines allow pets in the cabin. Alternatively, if you have a larger dog or are fine with your pet travelling in the hold, there is a longer list of airlines that permit dogs in the hold on Trans-Atlantic flights.

If flying with your pet in the hold, try and avoid the summer months (it can get hot in France!) or choose an overnight flight that departs late in the day then arrives early in the morning in France.

Taking a Dog to France from Elsewhere in the EU

can i take my dog to france
Visiting Moet in Champagne

It’s very simple for dogs to travel to France from the rest of the EU. As for travelling anywhere in the EU, your dog requires a microchip, pet passport and a vaccination for rabies, that is only valid 21 days after the injection. However, usually this isn’t checked when crossing the border into France from the rest of the EU.

As well as driving into France from the many surrounding countries, dogs are allowed on the trains from adjacent countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain). See the notes in my French guide on the tickets required for dogs on long-distance trains in France, if the train is run by the French transport authority.

Many of the airlines flying into France allow small dogs to travel in the cabin, while larger dogs can be checked into the hold.

Getting a French Pet Passport

French pet passport
My French pet passport

If you regularly travel to France or elsewhere in the EU with your pet, it is worthwhile considering getting an EU pet passport for your pet, such as a French pet passport. This will make it easier for you to travel around the EU with your pet, as all your pet’s vaccination and other information is stored in one place, plus you won’t need to have a health certificate completed each time and endorsed by the government veterinarian.

You don’t need to be a resident of the EU to get one of these passports for your vet, just visit an official veterinarian in the EU. Read more about getting an EU pet passport for your dog.

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Taking a Dog to France

27 thoughts on “Can I Take My Dog to France?”

  1. I have a pet passport for my 4kg dog who had her rabies vaccination but though Air France accepts dogs in cabin from England to France, the return is another story as even in hold, dogs are not accepted back to England. They don’t make things easy for travelling with your pets.

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  2. I have a question where I cannot find details online regarding our situation. We are from the Uk, we have a small dog that has a Uk pet passport with up to date rabies vaccine and microchip. We travelled to Canada 6 months ago with her in the cabin on a pet health certificate. We are now due to return to the Uk, via Paris as she is again travelling in the cabin. My question is, will her Uk pet passport be sufficient to access France, or will we need a pet health certificate from Canada as she’s been here for 6 months? Also can we have her tapeworm pill for the Uk completed by a vet in Canada for her Uk entry? Thank you so much your website is other wise extremely helpful and informative.

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    • Stuart – As the UK is still part of the EU, her UK pet passport will be fine to return to France, unless she’s had a rabies vaccine meanwhile done in Canada. (It still should be fine after Brexit too, but the legislation will need to be updated.)

      The worming treatment will be fine to be done in Canada. I’ve heard two different opinions about vets from outside of the EU writing in an EU pet passport – that they just can’t add a rabies vaccine, or that they shouldn’t record anything at all. To be on the safe side, have it certified separately, clearly stating the time and time zone. Your airline might also require a health certificate, so have this done at the same time.

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    • I’ve written more about the French laws for dangerous dog breeds in this post: https://travelnuity.com/travel-with-dangerous-dog-breed/. Based on the French rules for mastiffs and mastiff-crosses, I would leave your dog behind. It’s not worth the potential issues that may arise. My only caveat is that if the dog doesn’t look like a mastiff-cross (just a labrador-cross), you may be okay. I’m really sorry about this.

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  3. Hello!
    Maybe a weird question, but do they actually check the dates of the vaccination for rabbies? I’ll be travelling within the EU but my cat was too young to be vaccinated before, and now we are leaving less than 21 days after her vaccination… Knowing that they don’t even do passport checks within EU, I’m wondering about cat’s passport checks… Were your dog’s vaccination controlled?

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    • Within the EU, I didn’t have my dogs passport checked when crossing borders, except for when arriving in the UK and Malta. I doubt that your cat’s passport will be checked, although there is a slight chance if you’re flying, very unlikely if you’re taking a train or driving.

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  4. Hello,

    I just recently came into France from the US with my dog 4 days ago and none of her paperwork was checked when we entered CDG. I had my passport checked and stamped as usual and was just ushered through. Does this mean my dog is considered undeclared? I’m leaving CDG tomorrow morning and was nervous about there being an issue in case her certificate needed to be stamped. Please let me know if you are aware whether or not those travel certificates get stamped by Customs.

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    • Shawn – It’s quite common that the paperwork isn’t checked at CDG. I’ve only heard of the lack of a stamp being an issue for someone travelling on to the UK with their dog (UK border control is quite strict) but they were able to explain their situation and pass through. Generally it is no issue and isn’t checked again.

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  5. Hi! We need to move to France from the UK very soon for work and the day we need to be there is going to be exactly 21 days from her rabies vaccine. We are driving there and we are thinking about crossing the border two days before that on the eurotunnel, I know ideally you have to wait 21 days but do you think we have chances of crossing two days before?

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    • Rocio – Usually when crossing from the UK to France the passport is not checked (or at least closely checked), unlike when crossing the opposite way. I think you’ve got a good chance! The situation will change once Brexit is finalised, but luckily that hasn’t happened yet.

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      • Also interested to know about this as we’ve just realised our dog’s rabies vaccine has expired (his booster appointment was cancelled due to Covid) and we’re due to arrive in France in 2 weeks time. I’ve never known them to check documents going to France, only on returning, by which time it will be over 21 days. What could happen if they realise the vaccine wasn’t given before 21 days?

        Reply
        • If they checked the passport and rabies vaccine at the border, they could deny entry to your dog, and then you’d need to change your plans. If it isn’t checked at the border, I don’t think anything would happen in France, as there’s not record of when your dog entered France (no passport stamp) and the 21 day rule only applies for border crossings.

          Although I have heard from a friend living in France that they check for the rabies vaccine on the ferry to Corsica, despite still being in France, but they have a special rule that treats it like a border crossing.

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  6. Hi, I am in Greece with my dog at the moment – when we return to the uk we usually travel through – Italy,Swizzerland, Luemburg, Belgium and France – I have been told that after Brexit I will no longer be able to travel through France to get back, I will have to go through Holland, I cannot find anything to back this up

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  7. hi there! I ve already travelled with my dog from uk to France like 2 years ago..and we are planning to travel again in the end of the month. she had already rabies vaccine and passport done! just one question how many days before the travel she needs health check and the authorization from the vet on the passport? because che did health check on 26 June and we are leaving UK on the 26 of July. she will need another health check?

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    • There’s no health check required to travel from the UK to France, at least until the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of the year. All that you need is the pet passport and the rabies vaccine, at least 21 days before travel. Don’t also forget the worming treatment to return to the UK.

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  8. Hi I’m a little unclear if we travel to France for a short stay! I have a 5 month puppy and already have his passport and rabies injections and he was wormed around 3 weeks ago – can we have a short trip In August without any vet requirements on either side?

    Reply
    • Lisa – There’s nothing extra needed to take your dog to France, but when coming back to the UK you’ll need to visit the vet to have a worming treatment done. This needs to be done between 24 hours and 5 days before returning to the UK. If your trip to France is short enough, you can even do it in the UK before you leave. The worming treatment specifically needs to contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm – not all worming tables that you administer at home have this ingredient or similar. (Vets will know which one to use.)

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  9. Hi, I’m intrigued that more people do not ask about how easy/ difficult it is to book your dog in to a French vet for worming before returning to the UK. I would have thought this was quite diffcult to book and plan when on holiday and due to not being regular attendees at whichever vet you select to visit in France.

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    • I think it is easier than you would expect, as vets are familiar with the process and happy with the one-off appointments. However, I’ve heard that the vets around Calais tend to charge more for the worming, so it’s better to have it done earlier.

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  10. Hiya,
    Can I please check something. As I will be travelling with my dog from UK to France this year. Can I please check health certificate from vet is not necessary? As long dog is vaccinated for rabbis, have passport and it’s microchipped ?
    As some websites mention health certificates ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • There’s no need to get a health certificate from the vet this year, prior to the end of Brexit transition. It’s still to be finalised what is happening next year.

      Reply

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