Are you planning to take your dog with you when you travel? Before you start on your to-do list, make sure you ask yourself if travelling is something your dog will enjoy. If your dog isn’t a fan of new places and adventures, he may prefer to stay back with someone who takes care of him in the comfort of his own home. If new adventures aren’t fun for both of you, and if your dog has a stressful time on your trip, neither of you will enjoy the experience.
Here’s what you’ll need to know when your dog is your travel buddy.
Are Dogs Allowed on Trains?
While you can’t take your dog on the Eurostar, you can take up to two dogs with you on all British trains free of charge. From National Rail Enquiries:
- Passengers may take with them, free of charge and subject to conditions below, dogs, cats and other small animals (maximum two per passenger) provided they do not endanger or inconvenience passengers or staff.
- Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless contained in a basket.
- Dogs without leads, cats, birds and small animals must be carried in an enclosed basket, cage or pet carrier. It must be rigid and not open (to prevent escape) and the animal able to stand and lie down in comfort.
- Animals and containers must not occupy seats, otherwise, a charge will be made.
- Animals are not allowed in restaurant cars except for blind persons’ guide dogs or deaf persons’ assistance dogs, which may be allowed into the restaurant car at the steward’s discretion. However, every effort is made to serve meals at blind or deaf persons’ seats within the normal seated accommodation.
- Blind persons’ guide dogs or deaf persons’ assistance dogs are allowed on Sleeper services provided the blind or deaf person and dog are booked into single-cabin accommodation. The guide or assistance dog is conveyed free and no cleaning charge applied.
- The Caledonian Sleeper allows dogs to accompany able-bodied passengers subject to a charge for a heavy duty clean (£30). Booking for all dogs travelling in Sleepers should be made at least 48 hours in advance.
- Bylaw 16 allows the train company to refuse carriage or entry to any animal. If your dog or other animal causes a nuisance or inconvenience to other passengers you may be asked to remove it from the train or railway premises by the Train Company or Rail Service Company staff.
- When dogs are carried in the guard’s van/luggage van (other than those in a container) they must be secured with collar and chain and properly muzzled.
You can take one small dogs with you on trains in Northern Ireland free of charge after 9:30am. From Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) Conditions of Carriage:
- Dog and animals will not be permitted on trains prior to 0930 hours, from Monday to Sunday (with the exception of assistance animals).
- Dogs and animals may travel free of charge after 0930 hours, at the discretion of an authorised member of staff (maximum 1 per person).
- Dogs and animals should be of a size that they can be kept under a seat or around the feet of the owner without causing an obstruction.
- Dogs and animals must be clean, adequately controlled and kept on a lead at all times, unless contained in an appropriate container.
- Dogs and animal must travel on the floor throughout the journey, and if found to occupy a seat/table, the owner will be liable to a penalty charge.
- Dogs and animals deemed as dangerous by an authorised member of staff will not be carried on any train service.
Are Dogs Allowed on Subway Systems?
Transport for London (TfL): Dogs are allowed to travel on the Tube, but they must be carried on escalators to prevent damage to their paws. Guide and assistance dogs are exempt from this requirement as long as they have been issued with a pass that demonstrates they have been trained to use them.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT): Animals are not allowed on the Subway with the exception of assistance dogs and small animals in secure containers due to the small small size of the trains and relatively narrow platforms.
Tyne & Wear Metro: Dogs can travel free on the Metro but they must be kept on a lead and be taken on the lifts or stairs, not the escalators.
Mersey Rail: Dogs are allowed on the underground but must be kept on a lead at all times unless they are in a pet carrier.
How to Get Your Dog Ready for Public Transportation
Practice beforehand for any situations your pet may encounter. For example, if you will be using a harness, muzzle or pet carrier, do a few shorter practice runs and provide lots of treats and affection so it’s something familiar and positive. If you’re planning to introduce your dog to forms of public transport, consider these final tips to help make it go as smoothly as possible:
- Socialise your pet: Ensure your dog is well socialised in other settings first, like the dog park. Making certain they’re comfortable around strangers—human and animal—will go a long way towards making sure there isn’t a disturbance in an enclosed train carriage.
- Check out whether you’ll have to use a hard carrier or muzzle. Some forms of transport won’t be satisfied with a soft carrier and require a hard case. Purchase one so you’re not caught unequipped at the last minute, and while you’re at it, consider getting a muzzle and a backup lead.
- Bring plenty of treats. You know what makes your dog docile and well-behaved so bring along their favourite treats, a jumper, or whatever helps them keep calm and occupied. If riding comes complete with rewards for them, you’ll both have a great experience.
Pet Packing List
Once you’re confident your dog will feel comfortable and behave nicely on public transport, you’re ready to pack!
- Food. Changing your dog’s food on the road could lead to a very upset digestive tract, ruining your plans for the day so pack their regular food with you. If you can’t fit your pet’s food in your limited luggage space, check that a few pet shops at your destination have it in stock—even in large chains, it’s amazing how dog food brands can vary by location.
- Treats. Because he’s a good boy. Why else?
- Collapsible bowls. Bring at least two, one for water and one for food. These are great to keep in a bag if you’re out and about, too. If your little mate becomes thirsty or the weather gets warm, you’re prepared.
- Poop bags. So easy to pack: just throw a few rolls in your backpack, handbag, suitcase, or pocket.
- An extra lead. This may sound odd at first, but it’s a good idea to pack an extra lead in your suitcase. Who hasn’t left something in a hotel room?
- List of vaccinations and microchip info. Print out a hard copy or two, and also take a photo and keep it on your phone. You might need this for a hotel or dog daycare or emergency vet visit (let’s hope it’s not the latter).
- Microchip your pet! If your pet isn’t microchipped, make sure to do so before you leave.
Good luck, and happy travels! And remember, if you can’t manage to take your dog with you or she’s not up for the trip, Rover has a loving network of dog sitters at the ready to take care of your best friend in the comfort of your own home.