Dogs on public transport

New research undertaken by us showed that 30% of owners go on public transport with their dog every year. With this in mind, it is important that travel is safe and comfortable for all passengers and dogs. Trains, buses, taxis, and ferries are just some of the modes of transport that allow owners to travel around the UK and beyond with their dog. Whether you work at a transport company or are a dog owner considering travelling with your dog on public transport, we have put together some key information and advice to help.

Owners

Those who live in bigger cities can find public transport a convenient way to travel to work or to visit restaurants, cafes and pubs without leaving their dog at home. It is shown that 45% of dog owners are more likely to travel on public transport because of dog friendly policies. Here are some top tips to help you navigate public transport with your dog.

Things to consider before going
  • Research if your chosen mode of public transport has a dog policy
  • Consider travelling during quieter periods of the day and avoid rush hours when possible
  • Make sure to travel during cooler times, especially in the summer months, to prevent hot weather dangers like heatstroke
  • Do you need to pre-book for your dog?
  • Is your dog well-trained and socialised, and happy and comfortable in new and potentially busy environments, and around lots of people with new smells, sights and sounds?
Ferry
  • If kennels are available, why not pre-book a stay for your dog? While your dog can travel in your car, kennels are a good idea on warm days so your dog does not overheat. Read further information from Stena Line about the services available for pets on the Irish sea
  • If your dog travels with you in the car, keep the air conditioning on or windows open. Make sure lots of water is available for your dog to drink
Bus
  • Be aware that it is the bus driver’s decision whether you can travel with your dog
  • Make sure you check how many dogs you can travel with before you leave
  • Look on the company’s website to see if there are additional charges for dog travel
  • Check if your dog can sit on the seats as you could be charged extra for this
Train/underground
  • Make sure you check how many dogs you can travel with before you leave. National Rail permits the travel of two domestic animals per passenger for free on most National Rail network trains in England, Wales and Scotland
  • Check if your dog can sit on the seats as you could be charged extra for this
  • Look if the platforms at your station have step-free access
Taxi
  • Taxi companies have different policies for pet travel – it is always best to contact the company before travelling
  • Look on the company’s website to see if there are additional charges for dog travel
  • Check if your dog can sit on the seats as you could be charged extra for this
Preparing for travelling

Top tips when travelling on public transport

Take a look at our top tips for travelling on public transport below. Follow these to help ensure you and your dog have a safe and enjoyable journey.

Trains/underground
  • Use lifts when possible
  • Carry your dog when on escalators to ensure their fur and paws do not get injured by moving panels or ridges in the steps
  • Go through wide access ticket gates to allow your dog space and time to walk through
  • Carry small dogs when walking to the carriage if the station or platform is busy
  • Always keep your dog on a short lead
Coaches/buses/taxis
  • Look out for traffic
  • Carry small dogs when stepping onto the vehicle to ensure they do not get injured
  • Always keep your dog on a short lead

Be mindful on all modes of public transport that some people may not want to interact with your dog. You should always have lots of ideas on how to keep your dog occupied especially on a long trip. If you are unsure on how your dog may respond, always start off with a short journey first to get them used to it. 

Businesses

With 12 million dog owners in the UK, it can make life difficult not being able to take them on public transport. For those living in bigger cities where driving may not be possible or accessible, it can be a huge benefit to ensure public transport is available for all dog owners. New research undertaken by us shows 63% of dog owners agree that dog friendly public transport makes their commute to work easier. With this in mind, we have put some tips and advice together on how to make public transport in the UK more accessible to owners and their dogs.

Preparing to make your transport ‘open for dogs’

Ferry
  • Consider setting up a kennel service for dogs to stay in on longer journeys. Advertise the service to customers on your website and on ticket information
  • Make sure there is an area available for dogs to go to the toilet when on board
  • Have water bowls available in an outdoor area
Bus
  • Use our 'Open for Dogs' sticker on bus windows and timetables at stations so you can show which buses are dog friendly
  • Consider having a ramp available so that dogs can get onto the bus with ease
Train
  • Use our 'Open for Dogs' sticker on train windows and timetables at stations to show which trains are dog friendly
  • Consider having dog friendly carriages, where dog owners can sit together
Taxi
  • If passengers use an app to order your taxis, you could give dog owners the option to select a dog friendly car
  • Consider having a ramp available so that dogs can get into the car with ease