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Travelling with Pets on Ferries

Thinking of taking your dog or another pet to France? We put together this essential guide for travelling to France from the UK with pets, including the documents you need and what to expect with different ferry operators.

Dog being taken to France in a vehicle

The rules for travelling with your pet to France & other EU destinations

The EU has requirements for taking pets (such as cats and dogs) to any country within the EU. Your pet must:

  • be microchipped
  • have a valid pet passport or animal health certificate
  • have a valid rabbies vaccination

On arrival at the French port you will need to declare your pet to customs so that they can check the pet passport. This document provides proof that your pet has got a microchip and has had a rabies vaccination.

Travelling with a pet on the different ferry operators

P&O Ferries

P&O Ferries allows pets to travel on its fleet from just £15 each way. All pets are required to stay within the vehicle for the duration of the crossing, except for those travelling in the Pet Lounge. This was launched exclusively on the Dover to Calais route in 2022 and is suitable solely for dogs. It includes an exercise area, complimentary refreshments for your furry friend and plenty of space for dog beds.

DFDS

DFDS allows pets over 16 weeks old on all routes and like with P&O Ferries, pets must remain in the vehicle throughout the sailing. Costs start at £18 per pet each way with DFDS. Foot passengers can also travel with a pet, but need to book a kennel for any dogs/cats (if in a carrier) on the Newhaven to Dieppe route.

Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries offer a few options for travelling with your pet to France:

  • Pets can remain in the car on all routes
  • Pets can stay in kennels if you’re travelling on the Bretagne ship (Portsmouth-St Malo route)
  • Pets can join you in a pet-friendly cabin if travelling on the Normandie ship (Portsmouth-Caen route) or Pont-Aven ship (Plymouth-Roscoff route)

Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries charges £15 each way to take a pet with you on the Dover to Calais crossing. They must remain in the vehicle during the sailing and check-in with pets is 60 minutes before the scheduled departure to allow enough time for the documentation and microchip to be checked.

Condor Ferries

Condor Ferries allow pets to be kept in vehicles during the sea journey and permit visits to the car deck during the sailing (you’ll need to be accompanies by a member of staff).

Dover to Calais Ferries

Crossings from £43

Newhaven to Dieppe Ferries

Crossings from £49

Portsmouth to Le Havre Ferries

Crossings from £180

Advice for taking your pet on a ferry crossing

All ferry operators advise the following when travelling with pets on their ferries:

Food and drink

  • Feed your pet a few hours before the sailing departure time to minimise the chance of them being sick during the crossing
  • Ensure you provide sufficient water in a non-spill bowl/container to cover the duration of the crossing
  • Use absorbent bedding in the vehicle to soak up any accidents your pet may have

Ventilation and comfort

  • Leave a window cracked open (even during the cooler months) to provide adequate ventilation during the crossing
  • Bring some familiar toys with you in the vehicle to keep them occupied and help reduce stress during the voyage

Prior to arrival at the ferry

  • If your pet isn’t used to extended car journeys it’s a good idea to do a few longer journeys in the weeks prior to your sailing to help them get used to being in the vehicle for longer periods of time
  • Park near the ferry terminal to allow your dog to stretch their legs before entering the boarding area
  • Take advantage of the dedicated pet areas provided at some ports (such as Dover and Calais) to enjoy a last minute walk or exercise and some outdoor playtime

Common questions on pet-friendly travel on ferries

What pets are allowed on ferries?

Generally ferry operators allow cats, dogs and ferries on their ships (subject to them remaining in the vehicle on shorter routes).

Can I take a dog on the ferry from Calais to Dover?

Yes – you’ll even find dedicated pet areas at both ports.

How much does it cost to take a dog on the ferry?

Prices start at £15 to take your dog (or other pet) with you on a ferry to France. It’ll cost more on longer routes and if you upgrade to a pet-friendly cabin or kennel.

Can I visit my pet on the ferry?

Some operators (such as Brittany Ferries) permit you to visit your pet in the vehicle during the crossing. However, you’ll need to get a ticket from the information desk and visits are usually limited to one person per vehicle and for 15 minutes only.

FERRY DEALS FROM

£43

  • Up to 15 sailings daily on some routes
  • Special early bird booking offers & free wine deals