Public transport and pets

It’s likely that at some point as a dog owner, you’ll need to travel with your four-legged friend. But for those who don’t have a car, navigating public transport can be slightly tricky if you’re not sure of the rules. So, what are the rules of travelling on public transport with your dog? Will you have to pay more? Are dogs allowed on public transport at all?

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The short answer is yes; dogs are permitted on public transport, provided they don’t cause a safety concern. Usually, rules regarding animals (particularly dogs) are quite straightforward, with a few restrictions in place – although assistance and guide dogs are typically allowed anywhere, including buffet and restaurant carriages. For normal pets, most transport operators have their own rules and regulations, which owners must follow.

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The National Rail policy on animals on the trains states that, although up to two animals can travel free of charge, dogs must be kept on a lead and must not occupy passenger seats. According to TFL guidelines on animals on the tube and bus, pets should be carried on escalators to prevent their little paws from getting stuck whilst getting on or off the steps. Pets should also be carried through ticket barriers, or alternatively walked through the extra-large side barriers designed for people with luggage, buggies and wheelchairs.

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Some travel operators that run sleeper services, such as First Great Western, prefer you to obtain permission to carry pets aboard at least 48 hours prior to travel, whilst South West Trains requires larger dogs to be muzzled. In addition, some transport operators – such as P&O ferries, on the Dover-Calais route – may require owners to take small animals in a lockable pet carry case. However, you should always ensure that your pet carry case is big enough to accommodate your dog comfortably.

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If you’re going to be travelling long-distance with your doggy companion, you may want to consider a pet travel anxiety supplement – particularly if your dog is prone to becoming hyper-active, restless or anxious when kept in confinement for stretches of time. Another smart item to take with you on trips is a dog travel bag for transporting everything your furry friend might need whilst on a long journey, such as a fleece, grooming brush, water bowl and ball.

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Finally, always remember to be considerate to other passengers. Whilst your pooch may be the love of your life, other passengers may not feel the same, so try to keep your dog calm and settled, and make sure they don’t infringe on the space of other passengers.

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With a pet carry case, dog travel bag and pet travel anxiety supplement, you should have everything you need for a smooth trip – all you need to do now is book your tickets!

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