Traveling by train can be much safer and less stressful than flying. Air travel can put your pet at risk due to changes in air quality, air circulation, temperature, cabin pressure, and other environmental issues that could be harmful to your pet’s health. In fact, select short-nosed breeds are not allowed to travel on certain airlines because of respiratory issues that may make it especially difficult for them to breathe properly under the stress and environment of flying.
Traveling with your pet by train can also be a much cheaper alternative than flying or even driving. In addition, you won’t have to worry about having to produce proof of vaccinations, a health certificate, or any other type of paperwork. In fact, most trains only require that your pet be able to travel in a pet carrier that can fit on your lap, or underneath your seat.
In the United States, Amtrak, a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities, welcomes dogs and cats up to 20 pounds for trips up to seven hours on most routes. Pets are permitted in Coach Class, but are not allowed in Sleeping cars, Business Class or other accommodations. Amtrak does not ship pets or allow them to travel as checked baggage — a pet must travel with a human.
In Canada, Via Rail operates 475 trains per week in eight Canadian provinces (exceptions are Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island). VIA Rail allows dogs and cats to travel in cars with their owners as long as the animals are small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier that meets our carrier standards. This policy applies only on Corridor trains (Québec City to Windsor). Travelling with pets as a checked item in the bagagge car: dogs, cats and small rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.) are the only animals allowed in baggage cars. Birds cannot be checked.
In Europe, the general rule is that small pets are allowed to travel on European trains for free if they are in a carrier. Larger pets need to be muzzled and kept on a leash and usually travel for a reduced rate. However, the rules for travelling with a pet on a train vary from train company to company, country to country. For instance, some countries do not allow large dogs to travel on trains, only small dogs in a container. Always check the details for the specific train company before planning your trip.
The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Pets on Trains within the U.S.
Plan for your trip and find the pet policies for each train operator listed by individual state.
Pups Onboard: Why Trains Are a Great Way to Travel With Your Dog(s)
The pugs Rufus and Hamilton have tried every mode of transportation but nothing beats a ride on the rails.
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Are Dogs Allowed on Trains in Europe?
Find out which trains in Europe allow dogs and what are the rules for dogs on trains.
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