WHEN IN FRANCE
Veterinary clinics in France are easily identified, in a similar manner to French pharmacies, by a big sign above the door with a blue cross on a white background.
Many pet owners register their animal with a local vet and receive a ‘ carnet de santé’ which keeps a record of vaccinations and treatments. This is the French pet passport (part of the European pet passport system), and you’ll need it if you’re planning to take your pet in and out of the country.
It’s advisable to contact two or three veterinary clinics to compare their offer and prices as vets in France are free to determine their own fee structure, and prices can vary significantly. For help or advice, you could contact the Fédération des Syndicats Vétérinaires de France or the Ordre National des Vétérinaires which together represent the interests of French vets.
According to the French comparison website Que Choisir, the average veterinary costs for cats and dogs are as follows: • Consultation fee: €35 - €50 • Vaccinations: dogs €50 - €70,
cats €60 - €80 • Castration/sterilisation: male dog €120 - €200, male cat €70, female dog €180 - €250, female cat €120 - €150 • Identification chip: €50 • Worm treatment: €20 per year As for pet health products, such as flea control or shampoos, you will often find them sold at cheaper prices in pharmacies or pet shops than in veterinary surgeries.
The Société Protectrice des Animaux (SPA) was set up more than 150 years ago and now has around 60 animal shelter centres across the country. A state-approved and assisted organisation, it offers subsidised veterinary care for pet owners who are low earners and can’t afford standard vet fees. For example, it offers vaccinations for around €15 and sterilisation for €40.
The SPA also plays a key role in the protection of animals, handling over 700 complaints about cruelty per year. If you are concerned about the mistreatment of an animal in France, you can either contact the local police or the SPA directly.
The one downside cited by those surveyed is the difficulty finding someone to take care of their pets whenever they go away. Some kennels and catteries exist in France, but not that many. However there are various sites where you can find a pet sitter. If enquiring about kennels, don’t use the word kennel as this refers to breeding kennels in France – the word you want is a pension d’animaux.
Pet health insurance ( assurance santé animal) is available in France, as in the UK, through a number of insurance companies, some specialising in the sector. It is also a good idea to add any animal that could inadvertently cause an accident to a third party to your assurance de responsabilité civile (civil liability insurance).
As stated above, this is mandatory for ownership of category 2 dogs.