Knowing your four-legged friend's crazed reaction to the dusting we get here, you can imagine how berserk they'll go over the white mounds in the alps. Who let the dogs out? These chalets.
Heading off to the hills doesn't have to mean Fido stays cooped up at home. When lots of chalets charge you less to bring your pooch along than a kennel, why leave one of the family behind?
You’ll be surprised how many properties are happy to have furry guests for a small additional fee (usually €10 - €20 a night), because taking pets on holiday isn't that big a deal across the Channel. Hotels can be more restrictive - but, more often than not, apartments, “residences” and chalets, some even shared, will have room in the inn for one more.
Look for a place with a chalet host to keep tails wagging until you get back from the slopes, or a property all to yourselves if your pooch prefers privacy.
All of the properties in our search bar are mostly happy to leave you to your own devices, but always ask our experts to check if your favourite has an allowance of one animal per chalet, or requires someone to stay in with your pooch at all times, if you’re a group of keen skiers and that’s going to be an issue.
The Pet Travel Scheme, initiated in 2004, saves us from having to jump through too many hoops to take our pets abroad. As long as your dog's been:
(2) up to date with rabies vaccines (boosters every 2 to 3 years)
(3) and hasn't left his Pet Passport back in the treat drawer
he’ll be able to travel freely between listed EU (France, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria) and non-EU countries (Switzerland).
Sounds like a walk in the park, and it is, provided you carry out the list in that order. Microchips need to be fitted first, because they have a special code required for your vaccine records (sadly, if your pet was vaccinated before being microchipped, it’ll need to be re-vaccinated after the microchip’s inserted). Passport comes last, as vets can only issue them after an animal’s been fitted with a microchip and rabies vaccinated.
As for vaccines, there are 2 things to keep in mind - the pet must be at least 12 weeks old at the time a valid vaccine’s administered, and any booster shots need to be administered at least 21 days before departure.
To apply for passports, simply ask your vet and they should be able to set you up with the proper documents, valid for your pet’s lifetime (or until all treatment spaces have been filled), where all treatments are recorded.
For 100% peace of mind, consider investing in a GPS tracking collar while you’re away. Lots of companies will allow you to rent one for around £30 for a 30 days, letting you follow their movements, speed and direction of travel from an app on your smartphone.
Unfortunately, dogs are the only animals required to undergo an EM tapeworm treatment 120-24 hours before they return to the UK. This can be a deal breaker for some, but is easy enough to arrange as long as your resort has a registered vet - and you book an appointment with them in good time. Most, especially if they’re year-round towns like Chamonix will have a resident vet. While they’re taking care of the procedure, make sure that they fill out the sections in your passport correctly – or you’ll run into issues at Calais.
They need to provide:
1) their signature and the date
2) their stamp
3) the date and time of the treatment and
4) the manufacturer and name of the product used (which must contain praziquantel or be a treatment proven as effective against “Echinoccocus multilocularis”)
We recommend consulting your vet about your pooch's health before packing his suitcase, as they should be able to confirm whether yours is fit for travel or needs booster shots, as well as advise you on preventative treatments.
Don't put your pup through the ordeal of a flight and then a transfer. If you take the Eurotunnel or the ferry, you can sit with them throughout the journey, administering reassuring strokes, plus have designated pet exercise areas on either side of the crossing. The Eurotunnel’s just 35 minutes, costs around £35 return and you stay in your car throughout (you just have to stop at the Pet Reception building before the check-in lanes). Ferries like P & O and Brittany Ferries to France will also let you cross with pets in your car (rather than an on-board kennel), and can be a bit cheaper.
While, for us, no ski trip would be complete without a few gallons of fondue and as much apfelstrudel as we can wolf down - new surroundings and a new diet won’t do your canine's stomach much good. Pack the boot with their usual grub - and try to keep sharing your dinner to a minimum (even when presented with those puppy dog eyes).
Snuggling up by the fire may be half the charm of bringing your pup to your chalet, but don’t be tempted to spend all your free time indoors. Besides beautiful morning walks through the trees, restaurants and cafes across the Channel always seem a lot happier about having animals on their premises, so as soon as you're back from the slopes, pick up your pooch and take them out for après - it’s sure to get tails wagging.
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