You’ve got somewhere to be, and you want to take the train. The problem is, you’ve got your dog with you, too. Or is it a problem? Can you hop on a train with them? Alternatively, maybe your currently sitting on a train and notice another passenger has a dog with them; is it even allowed? Well, here is what you are going to want to know.
So, are dogs allowed on trains? Dogs are generally allowed on trains by most train operators (free of charge), though you must abide by certain rules for passenger safety and hygiene. For instance, harnesses/leads must be worn (or they must be in a closed pet carrier), and dogs cannot occupy seats.
Note: Not all train companies may permit dogs. Certain routes may also have restrictions. Contacting the operator ahead of time or ticket booking is advised.
Good news, I assume.
Unless you are that person checking up on another passenger and you’re not particularly fond of dogs.
Nevertheless, let’s assume you are the former and you intend on taking that trip.
Whether it’s a couple of stops or a longer journey.
Whether you are nipping into town or heading to the coast!
But there are some rules you will need to follow to ensure a safe and successful journey.
So let’s look at them, shall we?
Rules When Travelling With A Dog On The Train
The following rules are typically shared with the major train operators that allow dogs. Still, some may have their own independent rules, so do consider checking before traveling:
- You can travel with a maximum of 2 dogs (or pets) per passenger.
- Dogs do not endanger or inconvenience other passengers or staff.
- Dogs are kept on a short lead at all times unless they are kept in an enclosed carrier/basket
- Dogs must be kept off seats, even if kept in a pet carrier.
- Pet carriers must be secure and closed shut.
- Dogs must be able to stand or even lie down (the train should be sufficiently empty).
- Dogs are not allowed in carriages that serve food.
- Dogs must be well-socialized and behaved; train staff is permitted to refuse entry if they are considered a nuisance or potentially dangerous to other passengers.
- Train staff is permitted the right to ask you to get off at the next stop should a dog be inconveniencing others, acting aggressively, or being a general concern to other passengers.
Train Operators That Allow Dogs
- Avanti West Coast
- Caledonian Sleeper
- Chiltern Railways
- East Midlands Railway
- Elizabeth line
- Gatwick Express
- Grand Central
- Great Northern
- Great Western Railway
- Greater Anglia
- Heathrow Express
- Hull Trains
- Island Line
- London Northwestern Railway
- London Overground
- London Underground
- National Rail
- South Western Railway
- Stansted Express
- TransPennine Express
- Transport for Greater Manchester
- Transport for Wales
- West Midlands Railway
Suggestions When Traveling With A Dog On Trains
The following suggestions will help ensure you have smooth train journeys where chances of mishaps and minimized and your dog remains calm, collected, and comfortable at all times.
Firstly, it’s always a good idea to contact the station/train operator you intend to travel on.
Ask them firstly if dogs are permitted on their services for the duration of your journey and ask them for any tips and suggestions – such as where to stand on the platform, quieter periods, or what carriages are typically less busy.
If you need to get on multiple trains from different operators, it’s a good idea to check them all ahead of time.
If you need to get on a bus, coach, or tram, this is especially important as dogs may not be permitted.
Prepare Your Dog
If your dog is well-behaved and does well with people, this may not be a concern.
Though, you want to ensure your dog is physically fit and capable of the journey.
You may need to check in with your vet or dog trainer here.
It’s also a good idea to test any new lead/harness or get them used to a carrier ahead of any potential journey.
This is not the time to try out new things for the first time.
Ensure they are comfortable and that everything has been adjusted and tested first.
Short Journeys First
Before you set off for a day trip and extended journey, get your dog used to trains first.
Train stations and trains are typically busy places with a lot of sights, sounds, smells, and stimulation.
So, if you can, take your dog on a train for just one or two stops first.
Get your dog used to it.
If you can do this from the time that they are a young puppy, you’ll find it’s generally easier.
This is particularly true if they are well-socialized and are exposed to different experiences and settings from a young age.
Leave Sufficient Time
It will likely take you longer to navigate the station, get through ticket barriers, walk to the end of the platform, etc.
Plus, running with your dog will get them all excited – not what you want ahead of a train journey!
So, give yourself more time than you need; purchasing tickets ahead of time is also recommended.
Toilet Before You Go
You’ll want to ensure your dog does his business before leaving, or at least as late as possible before setting foot on the train.
If they were to go, you would need to clean up after them, so take plenty of poop bags and be prompt were they are to go.
Find An Empty Carriage
Whether you take the advice of the staff or make an assessment call yourself, find a carriage that is as empty as possible.
This is usually the last carriage or the one that pulls into the destination station last.
Remember, a carriage that is empty, to begin with, may not be by the end of the journey and as you go through other stops.
Be Mindful Of Your Dog Throughout The Journey
You will need to keep a close eye on your dog while you travel.
They may start off calm and composed and get irritated or agitated halfway through.
Something may disturb them.
So, ensure you have some treats to hand and reassure them.
If you need to change carriages or take a break during your journey, then so be it.
Ensure You Have Insurance
It’s a good idea that if you intend to travel or take your dog to a busy, public setting you have insurance.
You want to ensure that you are protected and covered should an incident with another passenger occur.
There are a lot of dangers and risks at train stations and on trains.
Whether it’s pass-through trains, those large, inconvenient, and treacherous gaps from the platform to the train, or those loud and obnoxious teenagers – you need to be aware of the risks.
So, stay behind the yellow line, help your dog onto the train (carry them if at all possible), and generally keep to yourself with your dog on a short lead.
It goes without saying but also stay well away from the tracks and closed-off areas.
It is also advised to use lifts instead of stairs and escalators, if possible.
Consider Booking A Seat
For you and not your dog here. That way, you can guarantee a spot for your dog to sit by your side.
It’s generally best to get an aisle seat here too.
Keep Away From Other Dogs
Even if your dog is well-socialized with other dogs, it’s best to keep away.
Besides, you do not know how well-behaved or socialized other dogs are.
Plus, in a stressful and new environment, even the best-behaved dogs can act differently.
Not all people like dogs.
Some even have allergies to them.
So, be mindful of other people and look out for responses and reactions.
Be able and willing to move should it be required.
At the same time, it’s usually a good idea to ask others not to stroke or fuss your dog should they start receiving attention.
Be Willing To Wait For The Next Train
If your train arrives and you notice it looks especially busy, it’s usually best not to get on and wait for the next one (unless you have a pre-booked reservation and seat, of course).
Sometimes squeezing on can make for an uncomfortable journey – for both you and your dog alike!
When Not To Travel With Your Dog On The Train
Sometimes there will be instances when it’s not advisable to travel on a train with your dog.
Of course, some journeys will be necessary, but consider the following circumstances when finding alternate arrangements or postponing your journey altogether are advised.
Extremely Hot Days
Dogs do not do particularly well in the heat.
Especially larger, longer-haired breeds.
So if it’s an especially hot day or forecasted day, consider not traveling.
Alternatively, try to leave earlier in the day before the carriages warm up.
It is also a good idea to bring some water with you and a collapsible or travel-friendly dog bowl with you to keep your dog well-hydrated.
When Your Dog Is Sick Or Injured
If your dog is sick or injured, the last thing they need is to be on a busy train surrounded by lots of people.
Navigating train stations can also be a considerable challenge for dogs with injuries – especially if they do not have facilities such as lifts easily accessible.
At Busy, Peak Times
I’ve kind of alluded to this already, but it’s best to travel on trains that are typically much quieter.
Off-peak is generally the best time to travel or outside of normally busy times.
The good news is you will likely save on your ticket, too, as these are coincidentally cheaper tomes to travel.
The good news is that dogs are generally allowed on trains. Even the underground!
That being said, there’s a lot that goes into ensuring you have a safe and incident-free journey.
Just remember – trains and stations are typically crowded, busy places.
Plan in advance, take your time, and remain mindful of your dog and others around.
Dogs are generally allowed in First Class, though it may vary by train operator. The same rules for other carriages still apply, such as the need to keep a dog on a leash/harness and off the seats.
Dogs are allowed on the underground, so long as you keep them on a leash/harness or enclosed pet carrier.
Dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar, unless they are a certified assistance or guide dog.
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I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.