Travelling By Train with your Pet

Summer is coming and we all like a change of scene and train travel is an increasingly popular option for those wishing to avoid the likely motorway congestion, but how easy is it to take your pet with you?  We have taken a look at some of the rules and advice available for you :

travelling with your dogRed Spotted Hanky have highlighted the following good advice for travelling with your pet dog, and most of this applies generally to any pet:

  • Avoid rush hour: Consider the time of day you are travelling and ensure you arrive for your train in plenty of time. Rushing for your train and travelling at busy time periods, such as during the morning commute, will only result in your dog becoming anxious and stressed.
  • Pack a bag: If you are travelling a great distance, the RSPCA recommend you pack a bag for your pet containing a water bowl, a bottle of water, vet details and any medication required.
  • Go for a walk: Take your dog for a walk or run before you travel and bring them a rug to sit on, hopefully this should encourage them to sleep during the journey.
  • Find a quiet seat: Try and find an area to sit where you will not be surrounded by a lot of people, as this will help your pet to settle. Encourage them to sit under your seat or table and remember to be aware of where your dog’s tail is…you don’t want anyone to stand on it!
  • Prepare for travel sickness: If your pet suffers from travel sickness, the RSPCA recommend you not to feed them less than 3 to 4 hours before their trip. Planning breaks into you journey allowing them to stretch their legs may also help.
  • Be aware of other pets: Remain aware of other animals that may also be travelling to avoid any potential disagreements that could arise.
  • Be careful leaving the train: When you reach your destination, take care when stepping off the train. If your pet seems nervous or hesitant, gently lift them over the gap between the train and the platform.

The National Rail website has the following information:

Transporting Animals by Train

travelling dog

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.
Caledonian Sleeper allows dogs to accompany able-bodied passengers subject to a charge for a heavy duty clean.
Booking for all dogs travelling in Sleepers should be made at least 48 hours in advance.
Byelaw 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.

Virgin East Coast offers the following:

Up to two dogs, cats or other small domestic animals can jump, hop and bound on board without having to pay a penny. Good job really, they never carry cash.  For each additional pet, you’ll have to stick your paw in your pocket. It’s half the adult fare for the type of ticket you’ve got, up to a maximum of £5 for a single and £10 for a return.  If you’re travelling with your assistance dog and need help, let us know by calling our Assisted Travel team on 03457 225 225 (lines open every day from 8am – 10pm).  Assistance dogs, and well-behaved dogs, on leads are welcome to catch forty winks or chill out (with their owners) in our First Class Lounges.


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