Your dog or cat is not an obstacle to the success of your summer vacation? As long as you are informed about the rules to respect so that he can accompany you.
In transportation, accommodations, recreational areas, on the beach or in parks, four-legged animals are not always welcome. If you want to take your dog or cat on vacation, you’ll have to get organized.
When you book your ticket, find out whether or not you can take your pet with you (usually no more than two pets per passenger) and under what conditions. For example, in France, on a TGV, TER or Intercity train, your pet is accepted, provided you buy a ticket for it, regardless of its size (even for a canary or a hamster). Please note that it is not possible to reserve a ticket for your pet online. You will have to buy it at the station or in an SNCF store. On international lines (Eurostar, Lyria, Thalys, etc.), admission criteria vary from one company to another.
In principle, animals weighing less than 6 kg must be placed in a bag, a closed basket or a cage measuring 45 × 30 × 25 cm maximum. But the dimensions vary, for example in Ouigo (55 × 35 × 25 cm) and in Thalys (55 × 30 × 30 cm).
Dogs must be kept on a leash, muzzled and placed on your lap or at your feet. They do not occupy a seat, unless the train is not full.
Please note that assistance dogs (especially guide dogs) travel free of charge with their owners on all trains (even on the Eurostar), but with their passport or health booklet.
Dangerous dogs (1st and 2nd categories) are not always authorized, nor are birds (parakeets, canaries, etc.), especially abroad.
Our advice: if a passenger does not tolerate the presence of your pet near him (he has the right to do so), ask the controller to find you a seat elsewhere.
IN THE PLANE
In the cabin, in the hold, or even as cargo, airlines – with the exception of low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair, which do not carry pets – will take your dog or cat into the air (one or two per passenger). If your pet weighs less than 7 or 8 kg (including the bag), depending on the airline, you will place it in a soft bag under the seat in front of you. Your pet is considered as an additional piece of luggage for which you have to pay. If it weighs more, it will travel in the hold in a rigid, bolted, International Air Transport Association (IATA)-approved cage provided by you. If your pet weighs more than 75 kg (including the crate), it will travel as cargo with the bulky items. It is not always possible to book tickets for pets online. In this case, you have to go through a travel agency.
Please note that snub-nosed dogs and cats (e.g., pugs, bulldogs, boxers, Pekingese, shih tsu, Persian cats, and burmese) can suffer from breathing difficulties under stress and are not always accepted, even in the cabin. As for dangerous dogs, they are not always allowed to travel. On the other hand, guide dogs are admitted free of charge in the cabin (reservations must be made in advance), but they do not occupy a seat and must be kept on a leash or even muzzled.
Our advice: always prefer direct flights and, if you have a connection, make sure that you do not have to re-register your pet on the next flight and present its papers again.
BY BUS, BY BOAT
Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus do not allow dogs, cats and other animals on their coaches, except for assistance dogs. Only Isilines allows pets weighing less than 5 kg to be transported free of charge on board, provided they travel in a bag or cage measuring no more than 45 × 30 × 25 cm and within the limits of available seats. An agent of the company or the driver may require that you muzzle your pet during the trip.
As for the ferries, ask the companies for information on the travel conditions reserved for your pet: in the kennel (cage in the hold near the engines and in the noise), on the deck, in your car, with the windows ajar (forbidden on Corsica Linea, authorized on La Méridionale and allowed for cats only on Brittany Ferries). For a place in the kennel with Corsica Linea, it will cost you 17 euros, with Brittany Ferries 31 euros between France and Great Britain and 47 euros for Ireland. It is free with La Méridionale.
Our advice: if you are traveling with several people on a cruise, book a cabin that you will share with your family or friends and… your pet, as long as the company authorizes its presence by your side (note that La Méridionale, for example, prohibits this).
ACCOMMODATION, RESTAURANTS, BARS, BEACHES…
Whether you are renting, camping or staying in a hotel, to avoid being refused when you arrive, find out the rules for welcoming your pet when you make your reservation. If the website or the classified ad of the hotel, the campsite manager or the rental owner does not specify anything, make sure to ask if pets are welcome, before paying a deposit. A daily surcharge of, for example, 10 to 20 euros in a hotel and 3 to 5 euros in a campsite, may be charged.
“If the settling of a dog in a house other than his own does not pose a problem as long as he stays with his master, that of a cat is more complicated, says Nathalie Belin. You have to lock him up in one of the rooms of his new home for a few hours, then open the house gradually and keep him inside for 2 or 3 days. After this period of time, he will have found the place, and we can then let him out with the assurance that he will find his new home.
Before entering a restaurant or bar, ask if you can bring your dog. Sometimes, you will only be tolerated on the terrace, and if your table neighbors protest, you will not be able to impose the presence of your pet on them. As for public gardens, beaches and amusement parks, managed by private or public structures, they display the color by a sign that prohibits access to animals.
You will have to comply with the rules under penalty of a fine (in public places).
Remember to have your pet looked after when it cannot be brought in with you.
Before leaving, make sure that your pet (dog, cat, ferret…) has the proper vaccinations. In France, you will have to present its health record (with its up-to-date vaccinations and its identification by tattoo or, since a few years, by microchip), its passport for the foreign country, with in addition its rabies vaccine, which is mandatory, and, sometimes, a certificate of good health issued by a veterinarian 5 days before the trip. Each country and each transport company have their own requirements, more or less severe. Before your departure, it is better to get information from the carrier, the embassy or the consulate of the country concerned, in order to avoid the quarantine of the animal.