Essential Information To Know

Pets in Savoie Mont-Blanc

The French love pets, but pets, like children are expected to

follow the rules.

images-7Your pet must:

– behave well,

– be clean and well groomed,

– wear the correct accessories, (even if that involves lace or leather)*

– not bark and not be old, fat, hairy, bald or too big*,

– or, in fact, your pet cannot be 2 pets*

*optional 🙂


Dogs are pretty much allowed anywhere in France, but check signs as

you walk in the door. However, even when the sign says no dogs, there

still seems to be a dog. Restaurants, supermarkets, clothes shops,

furniture shops, bars, cafes. I guess the alternative to dogs ‘in’, is

dogs ‘out’ and consequently lots of dead dogs in hot cars.

Your dog can go into a restaurant and are expected to lie down under

the table. Don’t tie your dog to the table leg, have you seen the film

Marley and Me? I’ve seen dogs sitting behind ladies on the chair, and

seen dogs sitting on laps, in between ladies and their food. These

obviously aren’t bloodhounds, but the most acceptable thing is for the

dog to lie on the floor and you get on with your meal as if it’s not

there. Don’t go slipping tit bits under the table…there’s nothing

worse than watching a Chihuahua scrap over an olive.


Dogs on leads or leashes

One golden rule to ensure your dog is accepted anywhere is to make

sure that your lead matches your outfit. (Endless expensive shops

offer a range of leads in a rainbow of colours, prints and patterns.)

Also, in winter to fit in with its French ‘copains’ your dog must

sport a coat… Nothing practical, preferably something with fluff or

fur around the neck and a hood, some even have chains, feathers and

quilting. I suggest buying a coat in the UK or on eBay and paying

delivery as I was amazed at the prices of even the tiniest dog coats

in France.

Another strange thing is that large numbers of people in France tend

to use harnesses instead of collars and leads. I think it’s a fashion



So, well behaved, dogs on a lead are allowed pretty much anywhere. But

not two dogs, or more. As soon as you go over the one dog rule, you

are regarded as a crazy mad dog woman.

Also the same applies if you have an excessively hairy, smelly, old or

noisy dog.

Forgot to mention the size. If you have an enormous dog, forget taking

it out, unless you’re going for a long walk in the mountains. Lots of

people in the Savoie Mont Blanc area have a Bernese mountain dog, border collie or

French working sheep dog type, but they aren’t seen in the shops. Best

left at home in a well fenced garden.

When we first arrived to the Savoie my daughter was attacked by a

large dog (on a lead, owner couldn’t hold it) which grabbed her arm

and scratched her back, resulting in serious muscle damage and the

need for surgery (all ok now…). We presumed the dog would be

destroyed (put down) immediately as it had previously bitten 3 others. But

firstly,  we needed to prove it didn’t have rabies and so prove my

daughter didn’t. We had to wait 3 weeks for the all clear, with the

dog living next door and after that begin the process of proving that

it was aggressive and had to be put to sleep. A total palaver.



France is now recognized as a rabies free country. Dogs entering back

into the UK still have to be inoculated against rabies, they must be

micro-chipped and hold a passport.

However, there have been a few occurrences of an African rabies strain

in illegally imported pets in France. The last French originated

strain of rabies occurred in 1998, and that was a fox.

So follow your vets advice, inoculate annually in France (bi-annually

in the UK) and your pet will be well protected.


Ticks (tiques)

Ticks can be a problem in France, especially if you hike, climb or

camp in the mountains a lot. Ticks in the Savoie Mont Blanc region are

not the same as sheep ticks in the UK and can make you and your dog

very ill with Piroplasmosis (Piroplasmose) and Lyme’s Disease


So, after a walk in the mountains do a check of your dog (and

yourself) for even the tiniest blood suckers. They make a bee-line for

the hot spots on your dog; ears, head, groin, armpits and bum, so

don’t be surprised where you could find one. You can buy a tick

twister from most supermarkets (I’ve found the Decathlon one to be

very effective). You put the plastic arm in between the skin and under

the tick’s body and twist until the whole animal comes away. Don’t be

tempted to just pull, as the body and mouth will separate and your dog

will have the mouth part buried under its skin, causing sore bits for

some time to come. After you’ve taken it off the skin, wrap it in

tissue and hit it hard with something heavy… They can run and may

disappear if you leave them! I’ve heard of people using odd ways to

kill ticks; hairspray (suffocated?), burning (singed hair?) and

squishing (doesn’t work). If you can’t face removing the tick with the

twister, then get the vet to do it… They’re used to it and can do it

quickly and easily without leaving body parts behind.

The best thing is to get your dog injected against ticks. It lasts 3

months and the tick will die pretty quickly and just drop off

somewhere (a good reason for not having shag-pile carpets). It’s not

expensive, is very effective and much easier than sprays and drops on

the back of the neck.

Also available is an injection which can protect your dog against

piroplasmosis, one of the diseases passed on by these ticks. This is

an annual injection (2 jabs to start, one month apart, then annual

boosters). It isn’t cheap and is only 85% effective, but that’s more

than 0. I’m terrible at feeing guilty so I go for everything that’s on

offer, after all, I made my dogs move to France.


Fleas on pets in France

If you’ve got pets then you know about fleas. No difference between UK

and French fleas, they all jump high and bite. Best to keep them at

bay with the 3 monthly injections (same as the tick one) rather than

with powders and sprays. Wash bedding, hoover regularly and check

their coats.


Dehydration for your dog in France

Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. When out

the lake water is perfectly safe for doggy drinking. Many villages

will have a water pump or trough and taps, so make sure you know what

to look out for, as these are often quite discrete. Don’t let your dog

drink directly out of a water trough in the centre of a village…

Scoop! And leave it clean for others.


Dogs in Cars in France

Dogs die in hot cars. That’s not a new one. But with temperatures

heading up to 30-32°C in summer, your car can be “El scorchio” very

quickly. Summer 2015 temperatures reached 35°C regularly, and one

particular day in my car the temperature gauge showed 52°C in the car

park… No chance for a dog to survive even if you’re only popping

into Intermarche. Cars are like conservatories in that the glass helps

the car heat up very quickly…

But it also can help the car cool very quickly. So, don’t make the

opposite mistake in winter and leave your dog whilst you go skiing for

the day. If I have to leave my dogs in the car in Winter I make sure

they both have padded coats on, that there’s a big blanket or fleece

to bury themselves in and I have a pyramid cat bed (it’s got a roof

and sides) for my Jack Russel who’s got no body fat. Temperatures in

winter can drop to below zero just as quickly as they can go above 30°C

in summer. That’s why we love the Savoie Mont-Blanc Region, it’s just

so varied.


Dog poo in France

It’s unbelievable that on the face of it, it isn’t considered the norm

to pick up your dog’s poo. In the park, outside schools, hospitals,

pavements, you name it there’ll be a pile of dog poop somewhere for

you to step in. It amazes me that anyone can leave dog poop behind.

The probability of stepping in a poop is considerably high in France,

at some point in the week you are likely to step in some.

So, I pick my dog poop up all the time. I have had people clap, cheer

and shake my hand (a risky affair for them…) after I’ve picked up a

dog poo. It’s so rare to see people pick it up, that I get stared at.

People think I’m strange.


One time I had an almighty row in a town park after an old lady let

her bichon frisé poop in the park near the children’s play zone. The

poop happened to be particularly disgusting. I felt enraged and,

despite my very poor French, I accosted the old dear, gave her one of

my poop bags, and said “vous, SVP, mettez le caca dans la poubelle”.

She tried to ignore me at first and was incredibly insulted as this

mad woman created a scene. Then she tried to use the defence “c’est

liquide!” The ruckus gathered a small crowd, as I walked backwards in

front of her, repeating “SVP, la poubelle, ton chien, le caca”. I then

progressed to “les enfants, les chaussures, les pieds, it’s

disgusting” then ran after her crying “but why? Why would you leave it

there… Do you like it on your shoes?” I was dumbfounded. The

interesting thing was that the crowd support went to the old lady, not

me, despite everyone’s full understanding of the poop situation.

Perhaps it’s because I didn’t say ‘bonjour’ first?


So the simple rule is, take your one dog anywhere in France if it’s well

behaved, on a lead or leash, young, clean, short-haired, non aggressive and….



Still to come:

Ideal walking and swimming spots with your dogs (recommendations please!)

Choosing a vet (give us your friendly vet contacts)

Best places to hang out with your dog (Who’s really cool in doggy acceptance)




Disclaimer : « » was developed to help, to inform, to advise, to find support, to assist in settling down in the Savoies, France. It should be used as a guideline nothing else. I don’t know everything there is to know or to do in  the Savoies and in France. Here I am trying my to give it my best shot. Recent changes may not have been taken into account. I endeavour to keep the information as current as possible but some of the procedures can be amended with short notice and the site may not reflect these changes. Really I just want assist you and give direction navigating the minefields of living in France. Don’t be afraid!  Different departments and different assistants can give varying advise – with the same ultimate goal just a different way of getting there – stick with it! – Yes, it may take a while!  Your personal situation may require a different approach.  Please don’t hesitate in contacting me if you have any questions. Again I’m here to help, support you as you adjust and settle down to Your French adventure.




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