Taking your pet on public transport

Public transport is a quick and easy way for us to get around and it is likely that your furry friend will have to join you at some point for the commute. But do you know the rules for travelling with your pet on public transport? Here are some guidelines and tips to ensure your pet’s journey is as smooth and comfortable as possible…

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BY TRAIN

If your public transport of choice is train, then your first point of call is to find out if the rail carrier will accept pets before you purchase your ticket. National Rail allows two animals per passenger to travel free of charge – however dogs must be kept on a lead at all times unless travelling in a pet carrier, and pets must not occupy passenger seats otherwise you will be charged. If you’re planning to travel on a Sleeper service, you must book at least 48 hours in advance to have your canine join you.

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BY TUBE

Like the train, animals are allowed to travel on the tube free of charge, however they do advise that pets be carried on escalators to prevent their paws from getting stuck and through ticket barriers – this is probably a lot easier said than done of larger breeds of dogs, such as Neapolitan Mastiffs and St. Bernards! You can alternatively walk through the large side barriers designed for passengers with luggage, buggies and wheelchairs.

BY BUS OR TAXI

Similar to the tube and train (and at the drivers discretion) animals can travel free of charge but must be kept either in a carrier or – in the case of dogs – on a lead, and they must not occupy passenger seats. Again, always double check before you travel if you’re unsure.

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BY FERRY

Most ferries will take animals provided they accompany travellers with a car but always double check with the company on their policy towards pets prior to booking. Often animals are not allowed on the passenger deck and will be required to remain in the car throughout the journey or – in the case of dogs – in the kennels on the car deck. Unlike the train, tube and bus, there is usually a fee for having your pet accompany you and this differs from each company.

TOP TRAVEL TIPS

  • To avoid any embarrassing moments, make sure your pooch has relieved him/herself before you board any form of public transport. And always carry some doggie bags just in case!
  • Always take fresh water and food for your pet, especially if it’s a long journey.
  • On very warm days (if you can) try to travel early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler.
  • If your dog or cat is a nervous or restless traveller, a pet travel anxiety supplement may be a good idea.
  • And if travelling with a dog by car, take regular breaks to let your pooch stretch his/her legs and to relieve him/herself.  
  • When travelling on public transport, always be considerate of other passengers. Keep your pet as calm as possible and – in the case of dogs – don’t let them infringe on other peoples space, particularly if a passenger is nervous or has allergies. 
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