Taking your canine companion on a train journey may seem daunting. It’s a form of travel Fido may not be used to, so you’ll need to ease your dog in gently. The combination of lots of people, strange noises and a lack of space may be a challenge, but don’t let that put you off going on train-based adventures with your pack. Here’s all you need to know about taking your dog on trains and some tips on how to make things go smoothly.
What are the rules?
According to the National Rail website, you are allowed to take up to two dogs per person on the train with you as long as they are well behaved and do not endanger any other passengers.
Your dog(s) must be kept on their lead at all times, or put in a carry case where they have room to lay down and stand comfortably.
Your dog can’t sit on any of the train seats, so you’ll have to make sure they stay sitting at your feet and out of the walkway or you may receive a fine.
The rail company also reserves the right to refuse entry to any animal if they are being a nuisance or inconveniencing other passengers. Should any passengers object to your dog being present – whether due to a fear of dogs, allergies, or any other reason – you are obligated to move to another area of the train.
Visit the National Rail website for the full list of rules and regulations regarding animals on trains. Also, note that there are additional/alternative rules for service dogs.
Making the trip stress free for your dog
Train journeys can be stressful at the best of times, but for your dog – especially if this is a new experience for them – it is tenfold. So, in order to make your train journey run as smoothly as possible for both you and your pooch, here are some easy to implement tips you can try…
Avoid rush hour & break up the journey where possible – taking multiple trains even when a direct route is available will give your dog the chance to stretch their legs and go for a wee. Try and find a quiet area to sit so you don’t overwhelm your dog, and keep an eye out for other animals on the train. Even if your dog is animal-friendly, others might not be, so keeping some distance between multiple animals on the train is the safest bet for everyone involved.
Finally, take care when getting on or off the train, especially if you have a smaller or more nervous dog. You should wait until any other passengers have gotten on or off the train, and be prepared to have to carry your dog on and off to be safe. And remember, mind the gap when stepping off the train!
How can you prep for a train trip with your dog?
The RSPCA advises that you should bring a doggy bag with the essentials; water, water bowl, vet information, and any medications they need. It’s not recommended you feed your dog(s) on the train, but bringing treats to give them after the trip can be a nice idea.
It’s also a good idea to take your dog for a decent walk beforehand to let them go to the bathroom as much as possible and stretch their legs before the journey. If your dog is known to get travel sick when you use other modes of transportation, or even if they’re usually fine, you should avoid feeding them for 3-4 hours before the train ride, and as mentioned before, try to break up the journey as much as possible to avoid travel sickness.
A well-socialised dog is going to have an easier time with train travel. Dog lovers may approach you on the train and ask about your furry companion, or even want to give them some fuss. You should be socialising your dog(s) from a young age regardless of your intent to travel with them, but it’s also a good idea to do trial runs with your dog. Take the train for just a couple of stops from your nearest station and back so they can get used to the process and aren’t entirely unfamiliar with the experience when it comes to longer trips.