Traveling with your dog: using public transport together

Author picture Pawshake

True dog lovers find it difficult to leave their four-legged friends behind. Yet, those of you wishing to travel with your dog will quickly come across some limitations: indeed public transport is not always geared towards pets. However, for the more adventurous among you, there are still plenty of opportunities to take your dog on the road: at both home and abroad. Enjoying amazing adventures with your dog is a fantastic experience, but you must be well prepared. With that in mind, please read our tips on travelling with your dog by train, tram, bus or airplane

In your local area: bus, tram and underground

Dogs and other pets are generally permitted to travel on the bus, tram or underground for free. Small dogs may sit on your lap without problem, whilst larger, well-behaved dogs that are kept on a short leash are also allowed to board a bus or tram. If your dog is a nuisance, however, then the driver has the right to refuse him transport. Of course, your dog is the very model of good behaviour, isn't he?

Domestic trips: by train

The majority of train companies allow two dogs to travel free of charge per passenger. Always check with your rail carrier before purchasing your ticket though. Special arrangements can be made for guide dogs.

Photo: Annie Mole

International travel: trains within Europe

Dogs are allowed on the Thalys, TGV, ICE International and Brussels Intercity under certain conditions. Small dogs can travel on the Thalys, TGV and ICE International either on your lap or in a dog basket free of charge. For the TGV, however, you'll need to purchase a ticket, even for small pets. Large dogs are permitted on all trains providing that they are leashed and muzzled, and that you have purchased a valid pet ticket. No dogs are allowed on the Eurostar, Ski and Zonthalys, except for guide and assistance dogs.

By plane

Although it's not ideal for either dog or owner, it is possible to take your dog on a plane. In general small dogs that can fit into a travel basket as hand luggage may travel with you in the cabin. Larger dogs must travel in special travel crates in the baggage compartment: with the luggage, in other words. Different terms and conditions apply per airline, so check thoroughly in advance.  Mention that you'll be bringing your dog with you when booking your flight and check carefully which vaccinations your dog will require in order to travel. On the day of departure make sure you arrive at the airport promptly in order to allow sufficient time to check in both you and your dog.

Photo: Paul Schultz

Always check your respective carrier's website in order to determine which specific rules regarding pets apply, before setting off on your journey. The information in this article is intended as a guideline only, and the exact costs and regulations may vary. Special arrangements can usually be made for guide dogs.

Of course, it's great that your dog can travel with you, but the welfare of your pet should always come first. Does your dog dislike traveling? Then preferably leave him at home (under the care of a good pet sitter). In the following blog, we'll explain how to optimally maintain the health and wellbeing of your dog whilst traveling.