Traveling To Paris With Your Dog: Everything You Need To Know Now
[ Updated March 2022. ]
Traveling To Paris With Your Dog
Okay, guys. This post is a big one. Months before I left for Paris, I was online doing SO much research on how to bring your dog to Europe. The one thing I noticed is that a lot of the info on traveling to Paris with your dog is scattered and sometimes hard to read, boring or complicated. I’ve heard a lot of people say that dogs must be in quarantine when traveling internationally. That is not the case — as long as you follow the steps and paperwork then you’re good. Go ahead, bring your dog to Paris and c’est la vie!
Getting the correct paperwork to travel to Europe with your dog can be a stressful and lengthy process, but follow these steps below (and don’t forget your own passport!) and you’ll be well on your way.
For official instructions for each country, the United States Department of Agriculture is the best place to go to print out forms and more.
1. Bring a microchip scanner in order to bring your dog to Europe
Your pet’s microchip must be 15 digits long in order to travel to Paris with your dog. If you have something different, then you must get your dog microchipped with a 15-digit microchip OR bring your own scanner. Personally, I think bringing your own scanner is the best bet, so your dog doesn’t need to have 2 microchips implanted in their body.
If you do decide to get a separate microchip implanted, then your pup must get a new rabies vaccine at least 21 days before travel. Hold onto the signed certificate.
If your original microchip is good, or you’re bringing a scanner and the rabies vaccine is up to date, then just make sure to bring their signed rabies certificate.
2. Obtain a health certificate signed by your dog’s vet
Visit your USDA-accredited vet within 10 days of travel to get a health certificate and forms signed.
What is a health certificate?
It’s a signed paper stating that your pet is healthy to fly and current on all their vaccinations. It must be issued and signed by your vet and can cost anywhere from $25-70. It is like a normal check-up and should take less than 20 minutes.
Health certificates are valid for 30 days.
The vet will know what to do and fill out the correct paperwork in blue ink. For France, it was a 7-page document and the signed rabies certificate.
3. Get paperwork stamped by USDA Office
The next step in traveling to Paris with your dog involves having all your paperwork stamped at your local USDA office. You can find a list of offices on the USDA page. Note: no dogs are allowed in the office.
It’s basically like waiting at the DMV. You get a ticket and wait. And wait. I waited 1.5 hours at the Los Angeles office and it wasn’t even busy (around 4-5 people total), so make sure you schedule some time.
It cost $38, and you get a fancy embossed stamp on all the paperwork.
This used to be in walk-in only, but now it is appointment only!
4. Time to fly to Paris with your dog!
Are you ready to jet set off to Europe with your dog? It’s a good idea to keep all your paperwork in one place and stay organized. I used my laptop sleeve and it kept everything nice and neat.
We flew from LAX to NYC and stayed one night to break up the journey. I think that’s a must, as LA to Paris is 11 hours, compared to NYC to Paris, which is just 7 hours. It really helps with jet lag too. Here is a list of airlines that go to Paris and allow dogs in-cabin.
Flight wasn’t bad at all, and Fira slept right through. When we landed in Paris though, that was a different story.
Going through customs at the Charles de Gaulle Airport took about half an hour, and I was so worried for Fira. She was trembling because she had to pee so bad. Then, when we got up to baggage claim I found out you can’t actually LEAVE the airport until you have your luggage.
Once you go outside, you can’t come back in.
WHAT. So, we waited and finally got my luggage, ran out the door and there was no dirt/grass patch in sight. None. Everything was cement.
I didn’t want to get yelled at for Fira peeing on cement so I got an Uber as fast as I could. The driver, of course, spoke no English and I had to signal him to pull over the second I saw some grass. Imagine the scene: we’re on the highway and I start flailing my arms around and pointing “PEE PEE” — finally we pull over and Fira probably took the best pee of her life.
(Optional) Pet Passport for Europe
If you’re thinking of traveling to Europe with your dog more often, consider getting a pet passport. You can only get it issued while you’re currently in Europe, so we visited a vet in Paris and got Fira a France passport. There’s an EU Passport too, but I think they only had the France ones at the time.
Plus, next year we’re coming back to France and going to England from Paris so I’m fine with that. Now with a pet passport, I don’t have to do the paperwork all over again each time I travel to Paris with my pup.
So, that’s it! You’re ready to travel to Paris with your dog.
It’s really pretty straightforward — doing it for the first time does ensue some anxiety but now I feel pretty confident for our next trip. I will also be doing London from Paris so that will be an adventure.
England is so much more complicated, as it’s considered an island. There are stricter rules and you cannot fly directly into the country (unless your dog is in cargo, BUT French Bulldogs are not allowed in cargo).
Overall, Paris is surprisingly a dog-friendly city. If you’re traveling to Paris with your dog, you’ll find the French are very relaxed about dogs in general. We were even able to bring dogs inside a few restaurants and there are dog-friendly areas of the big parks (Tuileries, Palais Royal Gardens, Luxembourg etc) — perfect. You can read my dog-friendly Paris guide here.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. It was pretty daunting for me in the beginning but I knew I wanted to create a guide that was written in you know, normal human sentences that were easy to understand. Also, here’s a free step-by-step checklist!