Looking After Your Pet in France: Resources

Beau resting 2010 Photo: Denise Foston

Beau resting 2010
Photo: Denise Foston

Looking after your pet in France is basically no different to elsewhere.  We nurture and care for them – it’s a simple as that.  I am not going to discuss day to day training, feeding and care.  There are plenty of sites, books and videos for those – I am not qualified enough to give advice on that.  I will though provide some discussion and links on where to find the right materials and resources.


I realise not every pet is trained to the extent on which we train say, our dogs.  I have yet to find a training programme for tortoises.  No doubt someone, somewhere will know of one and will correct me.  However there are lots of training schools/clubs and private business for dogs.

Although the training is probably considered for the rider I’ve included Riding schools in this section.  There are a multitude of riding clubs throughout France and particularly in this area.

Just by driving through France between our 2 properties we know there is a club in the Pays de Gex and one just outside of St Etienne.  Close to us there are countless stables and riding clubs here in the Pays de Gex and over the border in Switzerland.

So wherever you are in France a good starting point would be these websites

Useful websites:

Other animal sites


Clinique Le Colomby, Cessy

Clinique Le Colomby, Cessy

We can’t avoid going to the vets.  Vets in France aren’t cheap but there are ways to reduce the fees to a degree.

The vets we have used have all been very good.  Our Golden Retriever, Beau has had his share of problems throughout his life.  As a young dog we had continual intestinal problems until we started him on a Hills Prescription diet.  It was at the suggestion of our vets at Clinique Le Colomby in Cessy.  The food is of course quite expensive but they run a fidelity card system on large sacks with one being given free after each 10th one is purchased.

Satévet: helping look after your pet in FranceIt was thanks to one of the vets at Le Colomby that we purchased health insurance for Beau.  So ever since we have used Santévet who are based in Lyon.  Their service to date has been excellent.  We took out the highest possible option so just about everything medical is covered.  Even to the point that they cover €113 preventative treatment per year (such as worming tablets & anti-parasite medication).  Each bill other than that is covered except for €24 administration charge.  Click here to check out their website.

At 3 years old we noticed he was quickly tiring on our walks.  The vets checked him over and discovered a heart problem.  With regular ultra-sound check ups and daily medication we are able to keep this in check at least for the moment.

The other vet we have used with Beau is in Cahors at Clinique Vétérinaire des Arches

To find a vet in your area try either the Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages) or this website http://www.veterinaire.fr/


Although we have never wanted to leave our dog there were times before he had enough rabies anti-bodies in his blood that we had to leave him in a kennel.  Luckily our vet had a list of possibilities including a couple in Switzerland.  As we live near  the border we did use one.

There seems to be no national register but I suggest doing a Google search for your area.  One I came up with can be found for the Île de France at ‘allo Marie‘.

Travelling with Your Pet Around Europe

Travelling with your pet is now easier than ever certainly to Britain and Ireland from mainland Europe.  There are however strict regulations to which you must adhere.

Your pet must be:

  • more than 3 months old
  • vaccinated against rabies (anti-rabique):
    • this must be more than 21 days from the initial vaccination
    • but less than one year
    • you must always have your pet revaccinated before the due date

They must have:

  • A valid Pet Passport (supplied by a vet)
  • An electronic identification chip inserted just under the skin (une identification par puce électronique)

Prior to Travel

Between 24 hours and 5 days you must go to a vets and have your pet checked.  They must be wormed (Vermifuge) and their passport must be stamped by the vet.  I suggest you check the passport carefully as a missed procedure can cause some difficulties.

Arrival at the Port

Follow this sign on arrival for the Eurotunnel

Follow this sign on arrival for the Eurotunnel

When travelling from France to Britain or Ireland you will need to have your pet’s details checked at the port.  You will need to follow the pet registration sign before passing through your registration.  The pet passport is checked against the identification chip and against your booking reference.  This is generally straight forward but things can go wrong

Worst case scenarios

Should you turn up without a passport or you have inadvertently allowed the rabies inoculation to lapse you simply won’t be able to travel with your pet.  You might be able to find a kennel that would take your pet but you would indeed be very lucky.  However most kennels demand that a kennel cough inoculation is given through the nose 48 hours before leaving your pet.

Lesser problems

  • Forgotten to see the vet:  This would mean a visit to a vet in the area and an extra night in a hotel.  You must go through the process of preparation a minimum of 24 hours in advance!
  • Vet incorrectly stamped passport: This happened to us once.  We had to phone the vet to request a fax sent immediately to the registration office.  We then had to rush to a local vet for this to be endorsed and then return to the pet registration office.  The vet in Calais was excellent and had seen this many times.  We even caught our original booking as we had originally arrived in plenty of time!

For further information please see the following sites

Flying with your Pet

We have never flown with our dog so I can’t advise you on that but here are some links you may find useful:

All in all looking after your pet in France should be a great pleasure and there is a lot of support here.

I hope you found this useful.  Please feel free to make comments and suggest additions to the post.

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