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Taking dogs on the ferry to France

(38 Posts)
MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 17:15:39

Hi all.

Next week we are taking the ferry from the south of england to Normandy. The ferry will take 3.5 hours. We are taking our two dogs with us, but the ferry company say the dogs must remain in the car for the duration of the ferry trip. We are not allowed down to the car deck to go check on them, or to stay with them sad.

The dogs have to be muzzled, but I do not know if this is required for the whole journey, or just so the customs people can check the dogs over etc?

So, my questions are:

has anyone here done this before with their dog/s? how did you find it?
do the dogs have to be muzzled for the whole trip?
I am also concerned that muzzling them whilst unsupervised may be dangerous for them, but otoh, leaving them in the boot of the car, unmuzzled if they are frightened may result in a fight? (we are getting DAP collars for them for the journey though).

Does anyone have any advice? Thanks.

Lizcat Sun 29-Jul-12 18:51:43

Who are you travelling with? As I have to admit the muzzling is a new one on me.
The dogs should be fine for the three and half hours as they will probably sleep particularly if you have them out for a wee and a walk in the port.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:23:10

We're travelling with Brittany Ferries. They say on their info, dogs must be muzzled, but it is not clear whether this is for the whole journey, or just for customs at the ports. For longer journeys the ferries have kennels (e.g. to southern france/spain), but for the normandy ones, they say pets must stay in the car.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:26:14

Ah, sorry, I think I just found the answer regarding the muzzles, they say, "Please note that dogs are now required to wear muzzles (all routes) at all times they are outside the owner's vehicle, either during the check-in process or during transfer on board if occupying a kennel. Owners must provide the muzzles and remain responsible for their pet's behaviour at all times."

So presumably since they remain in the car for the journey, the muzzles can come off.

JUbilympiX Sun 29-Jul-12 19:38:30

Presumably if one of you goes as a foot passenger, they could take the dogs with them so they couldn't be left in the (apparently non-existent car). Then you could keep them with you anyway, and there'd be no need for muzzles at all?

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:41:51

They don't accept dogs travelling with foot passengers, only with cars.

slalomsuki Sun 29-Jul-12 19:42:10

I do this journey quite frequently although not with a dig and I can honestly say I have never seen a muzzled dog being left in the car. When you check in they will give you a different coloured or numbered boarding pass and will board all the cars with digs in them in positions that they know usually the dogs are fine and sleep as its warming in the car deck. Make sure there is plenty of water that can't easily be knocked over and take your dog for a quick walk before you board but after the check in.

Depending which port you are going in to you can stop just the other side of customs to let the dog out.

dilbertina Sun 29-Jul-12 19:44:45

We took our dog on the ferry once. I spent the whole journey imagining I could hear him barking and working out who was going to get him if ferry started sinking...Needless to say, he was absolutely fine and didn't seem stressed by the experience at all.

We have crossed the channel several times since then with him but have always gone via eurotunnel - 30 mins crossing and you and the dog stay in the car the whole time. I'm sure your dogs will be absolutely fine on the ferry but if you do the crossing again it might be worth looking at eurotunnel for your own benefit!

Fourlotsoftrouble Sun 29-Jul-12 19:50:23

Oh for goodness sake just leave dogs in kennels at home I hate people who have to take there dogs on holiday, all travel plans would be simpler, dogs should be kept muzzled & in car as nobody else on ferry wants your dogs round them.

MirandaGoshawk Sun 29-Jul-12 19:51:52

OP - why aren't you allowed down to the car deck to check on them? From what I remember (haven't been on a ferry for ages) the cars are packed tightly together so it's hard to open doors etc, but it's not impossible to go & have a look. Is it a security regulation?

Do you have to leave the windows open a bit too, for the dogs?

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:53:28

That is interesting slalomsuki. I am thinking muzzles are just needed for check-in. I am hoping they will just sleep (they are sighthounds after all and sleeping is what they do best), but if they get stressed and they are confined in a small space... well, I guess we'll see.

We looked at the eurotunnel, dilbertina, as it did look preferable, but it added quite significantly to the journey time and with 2 small dc's, it was a case of weighing up leaving the dogs on the ferry or whining dc's in the car...

Thanks all for your replies.

MirandaGoshawk Sun 29-Jul-12 19:53:41

Four shock you don't know their plans. They might be emigrating! Doesn't sound as if the dogs will be 'around' anyone as they are confined to the car.

and it's their dogs, not there

Toughasoldboots Sun 29-Jul-12 19:55:11

Do you take your children with you fourlotsoftrouble?

Some people hate children, some (like you) hate dogs.

We can't all dictate what other people do and as long as you don't bother anyone else, what harm is it?

I have had more ferry crossings ruined by unruly drunk people than dogs, I would quite like them not to use the ferry too.

Lizcat Sun 29-Jul-12 19:55:44

The reason for not going down to car deck is that cars can move. This regulation is due to a close friends father being killed on the Zeebrugee ferry in 1982. He was the captain of the ship, a car rolled and trapped him between the two bumpers. He did not live for the helicopter to arrive.
Left with the windows open the dogs will be fine car decks are very cold.

Fourlotsoftrouble Sun 29-Jul-12 19:56:46

Who are you Miranda the spelling police. Your going to busy correcting all the spellings, punctuation, etc wrong on here!

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:57:08

Useful response fourlotsoftrouble hmm. I don't believe it is any of your concern why we are taking our dogs with us - sometimes dogs do need to travel between countries you know.

Fourlotsoftrouble Sun 29-Jul-12 19:57:27

Be busy!! Beat you!!

slalomsuki Sun 29-Jul-12 19:57:40

After the ferry disaster at Zebrugge they changed the rules about people accessing the car deck once it a left port.

It's not a problem with the dogs on a ferry and they are certainly not running around on board. To be honest I think the staff would check if you were really worried or would put out a call for you if the dig was stressed. Have you thought about a sedative for the dog from the vet so it's calm once left. You won't hear any barking unless you have parked at the stairwell and you sit at the stairwell.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 19:59:01

Lizcat, sorry to hear that sad. It is awful.

slalomsuki Sun 29-Jul-12 20:00:40

I am assuming you are doing the fast craft at 3.5 hours. The car decks will be warm not cold.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Jul-12 20:10:47

Yes, we're doing the fast craft.

Thanks again to those who gave useful replies.

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 29-Jul-12 20:15:46

fourlotsoftrouble what a completely unhelpful response - why bother saying anything at all? People make a commitment to having dogs in the same way as having children and if travel plans can be arranged to involve the dog too, surely that's a good thing. A lot of dog kennels are hideous and not a good experience for the dog at all, being parted from their owner. The good kennels are very very expensive - not everybody can afford that. So long as dogs are kept controlled and with the owner at all times, how is this different than dogs in any other public place. OP - to second the post about Eurotunnel, that's what we are doing too - because I don't particularly think its fair to put the dog through trauma of being locked in a small space, rocking about on the sea and left alone with nobody for reassurance. It is a bit more expensive: but nothing like the cost of kennelling!!

Stoney666 Sun 29-Jul-12 20:17:34

We are booked to take ( will be 7 month old) dog on euro tunnel. We aren't having a proper holiday this year as I couldn't face putting him in a kennel this young. I also think it would be unfair to ask friends or elderly family to have him as he is still very (very) lively and I want to keep his training up. We did look into the sea crossings but it's only an hour from Calais so euro seemed easier. I am sure it will be fine I know a few people who have done sea crossings with pets grin

Fourlotsoftrouble Sun 29-Jul-12 21:02:58

"people make a commitment to having dogs the same way as they do children"hmm Boy Meets World, your not being serious are you? Comparing getting an animal to having a childhmm

BoyMeetsWorld Sun 29-Jul-12 21:16:14

I'm not equating a dog to a child. What I am likening is the conscious decision to bring into your family something / someone that is living, breathing, has emotions, cares whether you are there or not (the big difference between having a pet like a fish) and depends on you entirely to look after them and make decisions about their well being. In that respect, yes I am being serious. What you will do with a dog when you go abroad is something a conscientious owner would consider way before getting one, not afterwards as an inconvenience.

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