Pets in Paris- An Update
Back by popular demand! We’re here with an update of our most popular blog post- Pets in Paris. How to care for a pet in Paris is one of the most common, yet under-publicized issues of expats moving here, so here is everything you need to know about travel, the laws, and life in Paris with your pooch!
The good news is that France is a country without quarantines for imported animals, unless you’re coming from a country that is not rabies-free. Each airline has their own rules for transporting animals, so make sure to call the airline before booking to find out their animal transport policy. You should also keep in mind the time of year you intend to fly. Many airlines refuse to transport animals during the hot summer months, as this could be dangerous for the animals below the cabin. If you’re willing to put in some extra cash to ship your furry friend, we recommend Animal Couriers. Not only will they personally handle the management and shipping of your companion, but they will also walk you through the process of getting the necessary documents, help you set up your Pet Passport (which needs to be done before arrival), and collect Spot from the airport to deliver him to your loving arms.
If you’re more of a go-getter and want to take matters into your own hands, we recommend The Pet Travel Store for all your travelling needs and advice! They sell passports, the documents needed to transport your pet without hassle, as well as the crates and bags that meet airline standards.
The passport is one of the most important administrative documents you’ll need. Your vet can provide you with one, but in order to receive one your pet needs to be micro-chipped and have all of their vaccinations up to date. Your dog or cat must be over three months old to enter the EU.
Dogs and cats are allowed on all trains throughout France. Small dogs and cats need to be in a travel bag or crate and you are required to purchase a ticket (around 10€ each way, depending on the size of the dog) in advance for any SNCF train. Larger dogs require a ticket for 1/2 the price of an economy ticket (even if you will be traveling first class) and should wear a muzzle. The ticket and travel bag are pretty strongly enforced, whereas the muzzle less so, unless you’re travelling with a bully breed.
Similar rules apply for the metro, although no tickets need to be purchased. Small dogs should be in bags, and large dogs should be muzzled, but they are rarely used and I have yet to be told off for it. A reprimanding or even a fine could be given, however, so be warned.
Unfortunately, the concept of the “dog park” has not quite made its way to Paris. In fact, most parks do not allow dogs, even on the leash, to enter. You’ll see a sign like the one in the picture below, and even though Jack doesn’t seem to care he’s not allowed même tenu en laisse, most parks strongly enforce their no dog rules. Here are a few known spots to let your pup free and get some exercise throughout the city (be advised that none of these are fully fenced in!):
Champs de Mars, 7ème – the eastern side by Ecole Militaire has a space where dogs run off the leash. Around 4-6pm most days it is very much like a dog park. Dogs are allowed off-leash throughout the entire park
Tuileries, 1ère – the south end of the park only, near the Carrousel du Louvre and the Porte des Lions (see picture above). After work hours this area is also usually busy with dogs running around off-leash. But don’t try to cut through the north end of the park! You will be stopped by security and asked to go around
Jardin du Luxembourg, 6ème – dogs are allowed on-leash in the southern part of the gardens.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, 19ème– along the pathways but not on the grass.
Parc Montsouris, 14ème– everywhere as long as they are on leash.
Next to Parc de Bercy, 12ème– along the large grassy area between the park and the stadium. Off-leash is ok (and great as there are no cars around).
Bois de Boulogne & Bois de Vincennes– the two largest parks on either side of Paris offer lots of space for a long walk or a jog. The Bois de Boulogne is my personal favorite. Any given day there are at least 10 dogs in the park ready to play and run around. There is a large grassy area, away from the cars (see picture below) that has upwards of 50 dogs on nice summer weekends, and is a great place to set up a picnic in the grass and watch your furry best friend have the time of their life!
A new addition: there is a small, fenced in park at Denfert-Rochereau in the 14ème that has been turned into Paris’ first official dog park! Totally fenced in (albeit in the middle of a busy boulevard), the park is tiny and is practically bursting at the seams with dogs, but they don’t seem to mind.
Daily Life and Laws
You may be surprised to see Parisian pups accompanying their owners almost everywhere in the city. It is true that dogs in France are allowed into many more shops and businesses than you might be used to, however, it is good to know where they are allowed and what errands should be sans Rover.
Dogs are allowed in most clothing shops and department stores as well as pharmacies, banks (although most likely not for a rendez-vous with your banker) and most restaurants. I say “most” because the general rule is, if your dog is well behaved and if there is no sign on the door stating that dogs are not allowed, it should not be a problem to have your dog accompany you inside. Many shops and restaurants even have a “house dog” (see: the yellow lab at La Mandigotte restaurant on rue Lepic; the black cocker spaniel at Kosak ice cream and candy on rue Caulaincourt).
Dogs are not allowed in food shops such as grocery stores and most boulangeries. Usually it is ok to tie up your pup just inside the front doors of the store. (**a quick warning on this: NEVER tie up your dog out of view on the street in Paris, especially if it is a purebred or expensive breed. 60,000 dogs are stolen each year in France and are most frequently stolen after they have been tied up on the street while their owner ran inside for a baguette). Dogs are supposedly not allowed in the open air food markets, however, they are always there and no one seems to say anything.
I know it is hard to believe, but the puppy merde on the streets of Paris has actually lessened greatly in the past 10 years. Still, 600 Parisians are hospitalized each year after slipping in doggy caca on the street. In spite of the tonnes of crottin that is left on the street daily, not picking up after your dog has done his/her business is illegal and you can be fined up to 450 euro if caught.
A common question for Americans that have moved to Paris is where to find the right dog food. This can be tricky as there is such a huge variety of dog foods in the US, whereas there are a lot fewer options in France. A great resource is Zoo Plus, a European online pet supply retailer that carries most brands available in the US, as well as toys, bully sticks, bowls, anything you might need for your furbaby! If you prefer to shop in person head to the Bercy Village to Animalis, a large Petco-like store. For boutique animal shops, I recommend Le Paris Canin at 123 rue des Dames, 75017, the pet store at BHV at 42 rue de la Verrerie, 75004, and Moustaches at 32 rue des Archives, 75004.
Day Care/Overnight Care
The doggie day care world in Paris has evolved in recent years. Doggie day cares have gone from small, expensive facilities, only for those “silly Americans” who think their dog needs a babysitter, to a flourishing market, full of affordable walkers, trainers, and boarders, available in and around Paris. Here are a few we recommend:
–Doggies & Compagnie: a full service animal care company, Doggies & Compagnie is known for their awesome forest walks and excellent boarders. If you have long work hours and want your pup to get some fresh air during the day, Doggies & Compagnie will come to your house and pick up your dog (with their specially equipped vans, so your dog is safe!) and take him for a walk in the forest with a group of dogs. Or, if your doggy isn’t the most social, they can stop by for a solo walk around the neighborhood. D&C also have their personal trainers as overnight boarders. While you’re off on vacation enjoying Piña Coladas around the pool, you can truly relax knowing Fido is being cared for by trained professionals and is getting daily walks and love.
–ChaPacha: your cat might think he’s a strong, independent cat who don’t need no master, but when it comes down to it, he needs you more than he’s willing to admit! If you’re leaving town, leave your kitty in the hands of one of the professionals at ChaPacha. This group of awesome girls who have been trained by professionals can handle even the most difficult of personalities! Generally, the cat-sitter will stay at your apartment so Tiger can be comfortable in his own territory.
–Holidog: the newcomer to the market, Holidog is the European equivalent of the popular Rover.com in the US. Various pet sitters in Paris post their profiles on the website and you can choose the sitter that suits you. Whether you’d prefer to have your furbaby hosted chez vous or at the sitter’s place, with other animals or alone, the choice is yours to make, and Holidog makes the choice easy.
In France, there are a number of insurance companies like SantéVet where you can purchase medical insurance for your dog, cat, even chinchilla. Pricing varies but starts at about 120 euro/year for an indoor cat and 200 euro/year for a dog. Coverage plans vary as well but they can reimburse up to 100% as well as a portion of special therapeutic food if needed.
If you’re new to France and your only friend is four-legged, Dogfidelity will help you immensely! The first social media for the dog community, post your profile, join a few groups dedicated to specific breeds or locations (i.e. Jack Russell walkers in Paris) and meet like-minded dog lovers wherever you are located.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about your pet, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are experienced animal owners and have spent years navigating our way through the ins and outs of pet life in Paris. Also, if any of you have any pointers for us, please share! The old Pets in France post can be found here.
December 11, 2017
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