Owning Pet Animals in France

Make sure you have all the information you need to have a healthy pet animal in France...

Identification and Registration

Since 3 July 2011 it is compulsory that dogs, cats and ferrets entering France from any EU country have identification in the form of an electronic chip. Animals identified by tattoo before this date may travel within the EU provided it is clearly legible. This is also compulsory for cats born after 1 January 2012.

Dogs

  • All dogs entering France from within or outside the EU must be identified by tattoo (made before 3 July 2011) or microchip
  • All dogs in départements declared as having rabies must be identified (consult a vet)
  • All dogs being bought or sold must be identified
  • Note: The only exemption is in the case of a dog born before 6 January 1999 that has remained in France all it's life with the same owner

Cats

  • All cats entering France from within or outside the EU must be identified by microchip
  • All cats in départements declared as having rabies must be identified (consult a vet)
  • All cats being bought or sold must be identified (kittens can be sold under the registration number of their mother)
  • All cats born after 1 January 2012 must be identified before the age of 7 months

Ferrets

  • All ferrets entering France from within or outside the EU must be identified by microchip
  • All ferrets in départements declared as having rabies must be identified (consult a vet)

Veterinarians and Animal Health

The laws of the Ordre des Vétérinaires prohibit publication of a list of English speaking vets. The website of the Ordre des Vétérinaires of France has many useful links to animal nutritional suppliers, dog, cat and horse breeders and much more (in French).

Vaccination

Resident dogs must be vaccinated against rabies and receive an annual booster. Vaccination is compulsory for a dog living in France but they are strongly recommended. If the dog is travelling to a foreign country, it must be vaccinated against rabies. The majority of France is rabies free, however, there have been cases of rabies since November 2007 and restrictions on the movement of dogs and cats not vaccinated against rabies may apply.   Ticks are a problem in many parts of France and can be lethal. You should invest in a tick-remover (around €3.50 from vets) and treat your pets regularly with a preventive such as Frontline.   Vaccination is often required for animals left in pension. Vets recommend that all owners vaccinate their dogs. They should be vaccinated annually for the following:
  • C - Carré (Distemper)
  • H - Hépatite de Rubarth or hépatite contagieuse canine (infectious hepatitis)
  • P - La Parvovirose (Parvovirus)
  • L - La Leptospirose (Leptospirosis)
  • R - La Rage (Rabies). Essential if travelling across EU borders with a dog
  • PI - La toux de chenil Para-Influenza (Kennel Cough). Dogs moving to France from the UK may not have been injected against Kennel Cough. If a dog is to go into boarding accommodation in France, it would be wise to vaccinate against this
Note: The Piroplasmose parasite carried on certain ticks can kill a dog in as little as three days. The vaccination protects against this dangerous tick found in certain parts of France. If travelling in France with a dog, consult a vet about the need for this vaccine. For cats, vets recommend the following vaccines:
  • La Rage
  • La Leucose
  • Le Typhus
  • La Chlamydiose
  • Le Coryza

Animal Organisations

  • 30 Millions d'Amis is a French website with useful information on laws and tips on animal ownership (in French)
  • The SPA France website (The Animal Protection Society) has further useful information and general contacts (in French)

Other contacts

Travelling with a Pet

All pet owners travelling with a dog, cat or ferret in the European Union must carry the European Pet Passport. This records up-to-date vaccinations, identification and a certificate of good health issued by a vet. This is compulsory when entering another country (including Corsica), and for visiting most French campsites, holiday resorts and hotels. Please consult a vet for full details.

Public transport

  • Train: A supplement should be paid for an animal to travel in a basket, and half-fare if on a lead
  • Air: An animal may travel in a basket as hand-baggage (if small enough) or in the baggage hold on some airlines
  • Ship: The animal has to stay in the kennels or the hold. Brittany Ferries are approved carriers for pets travelling under the PETS Travel Scheme. They have onboard kennels and pet-friendly cabins.

Boarding kennels and cateries

  • Check with the Préfecture that the kennel/boarding facility is licensed
  • Pay a visit to make sure it is satisfactory
  • Get a written agreement on dates and details from the kennel
  • Provide instructions with any special medication or food the pet may need
  • Provide copies of identification and health certificate

Beaches

Some beaches allow dogs, and some have restrictions on when they are allowed on a beach. All syndicats d'initiative and Tourist Offices (offices du tourisme) make this information available. If information is needed about a specific location, contact either of them. The SPA also publishes dog beaches on its website but be aware, that the list may be incomplete - if a town has not responded to their request for information it does not feature on the page.

Buying, Selling and Giving Away a Pet

All dogs and cats being bought, sold or given away must be identified by microchip. Puppies and kittens may be advertised for sale or give away under the identification number of their mother but must be issued with their own identification number before changing hands. The person giving/selling the animal provides:
  • Microchip details with the ID card
  • Contract or sales certificate with the full names and address of the seller and buyer, the date of sale, price and the consulting vet
In addition, for a pedigree animal:
  • Birth certificate or pedigree
  • Vaccination book (not compulsory)
  • Information booklet detailing tips on needs, features and training recommendations of the animal

Animals Lost and Found

If an animal is lost, take action as quickly as possible. If it is a dog, cat or ferret and can be identified by tattoo or microchip contact, it can be identified and reported through the Fichier National d'Identification des Carnivores Domestiques (I-CAD):
  • I-CAD Tel: 08 10 77 87 78
A found animal declaration can be made online with a tattoo or microchip number. Veterinarians and animal shelters have equipment that can read the microchip number.

Lost animal

  • Act as quickly as possible
  • Notify the local police, mairie, the gendarme, animal shelters and vets in the area the animal was lost
  • Put up notices (with a photograph of the pet, if possible) in the vets, Mairie and shops of the area it went missing
  • Contact the local animal shelters in the area
  • If the animal has identification, contact the National Pet Register (I-CAD)

Animal found

  • Notify the local police, mairie, animal shelters and vets in the area the animal was found, supplying a full description and the tattoo number if the animal has one (usually stamped inside the ear or on the inner thigh)
  • If the animal has identification, contact the National Pet Register (I-CAD) and declare it found
These organisations have records of the owner and will contact them.
  • If the animal has no identification, or the finder is unable to look after it while the owner is located, take it to an animal shelter
  • Make sure that the police, fire service (pompiers) and vets know where it has been taken
Chien Perdu is a website where dog owners can post a free-of-charge advertisement if they have lost their dog.

Abused Animal, What to do

Assault, ill-treatment, abandonment, torture and neglect all constitute mistreatment and are punishable by fine or imprisonment under French law. Conviction and sentencing is the jurisdiction of the Courts.
  • Report what has been seen to the local police, court authorities, or if there is one, the local animal protection organisation
  • The complaint will be taken to the State prosecutor who will decide whether to lay charges
  • If the police are unhelpful, you are entitled to write (giving full details) to the State prosecutor at the Tribunal de Grande Instance (Regional Court) in the area where the events took place. They may decide whether to order an investigation

Animal welfare regulations

  • There are heavy penalties for cruelty and mistreatment of an animal
  • The sale of puppies and kittens under eight weeks old is prohibited
  • Public inspectors may enter business premises and animal transport vehicles if they feel that an animal may be in distress
  • Public inspectors may also break into a vehicle parked in full sun if an animal's life is endangered, and in an emergency, they may order that an animal is removed to a shelter

Further Information