Advice from our customers
Our customers advise about taking your pet abroad
Read our customers advice about taking your pets abroad and on holiday to France and Spain.
Before contemplating taking your pet to France or Spain, please make sure your pet is happy to travel in your car, potentially for long periods and in hot conditions especially if you are travelling in the summer.
Before you go
Allow at least 1 month before travel to start the PETS Travel Scheme process.
Purchase a tag for your dog's collar with your telephone contact details including your international dialling code.
Consider the needs of the pet and not just your own! Pets don't enjoy hot weather and some don't enjoy strange surroundings. Travelling can be stressful for animals.
Find out about beaches where dogs are allowed as a lot of French beaches are out of bounds for dogs, particularly in the summer.
Think about where you're going and what you're planning to do, particularly in the summer as sightseeing can be difficult - you can't leave them in the car because of the heat.
Before contemplating taking your pet on holiday, make sure they are happy to travel in your car, potentially for long periods and in hot conditions
Do research before you go, like making sure of the vets and their accessibility for pet treatments before returning to UK. Also, ensure the local area is safe for your pets, thinking of snakes and other creatures which may be of danger to your pets, and also the local Hunting seasons.
Lots of forward planning - work with your vet. Don't forget to organise booster vaccinations in time. One day late and you are back to square one!! Think about your destination - you might want it roasting hot - but what about your pet. That it is why Brittany is an ideal destination - not too different in climate to UK.
When choosing your holiday resort, do your homework and locate a good vet in the area that will be able to arrange a consultation for the necessary treatments on whichever day you wish to return back to the UK.
Follow and keep up to date with DEFRA guidelines.
Buy a muzzle as its now compulsory on all Brittany Ferries routes.
Preparing for the trip
If your pet is to stay in the car during the crossing - make sure you have left them reasonable space, food & water and some toys! Give your pet plenty of space in the vehicle, and for dogs in particular, exercise them well prior to travel, leave the vehicle windows sufficiently open to give them some air, and provide some water.
Don't give them to much to eat or drink before the ferry sails and allow adequate time to enable your pet to toilet before boarding.
Arrive at the port in good time to give your dog time to settle down prior to boarding
Make sure that they have a long walk before boarding the ferry. Leave water for them and an item of your clothing to cuddle up to.
Carry nappy sacks and tissue in case of toilet accidents and sickness.
Limit feeding on the day of travel, to prevent accidents.
On the day of travel give plenty of exercise before you get to the port.
Take their usual bedding and a few toys. Leave a non-spill water bowl for them in the car (which they can reach but not upset).
Watch our video about travelling with your pet
Upon arrival in France or Spain
Look out for the nearest "aire" or stopping place upon arrival in France so that your pet can have a run around
Check the opening times of the vet local to your stay as soon as you arrive. It is easier to organise the required visit before you return that way.
Always check the date and signature on your pets passport before you leave the vet's surgery.
If you are going to the south of France or to Spain, check with your vet about possible diseases they can catch. Ticks, for example in southern France and Spain in Spring are particularly nasty and you will need to use Frontline more frequently/ regularly than you probably do in the UK
Check and re-check the documentation.
Returning to the UK
Be aware that at some of the French ports you need to get out of the car and check the pet in, in the terminal - this can take time and be an upheaval if you are travelling alone and also have small children.
Many vets are closed on Sunday and Monday - please remember this when complying with the "between 120 and 24 hours" rule for tapeworm treatment for dogs.
Find the name of a vet in France and visit to make an appointment, at the start of your holiday then everything is arranged and you can enjoy your stay.
At our French ports, you need to take your pet into our terminal buildings to get your pet scanned so allow adequate time
Make sure there is a reliable vet where you intend to stay.
Remember to check if it is a Bank Holiday in the country you are visiting when you want to return, as this will affect the opening times of vets. Also book your vet appointment as soon as you can for the return journey treatment as they can get quiet full and you don't want to be refused a sailing because your pet has not got the correct paperwork.