In an ideal world, dog lovers would be free to bring their pooches with them wherever they go. But running an errand or taking a trip with your pup is not always straightforward, particularly if you don’t have a car, can’t drive or prefer to avoid the hassle of navigating traffic and parking. From navigating regulations to preparing your pooch for crowds, travelling with your pet on public transport isn’t quite as straightforward as your regular ‘walkies’, or loading them into the car for that matter. 

That said, if you rely on public transport to get around, there’s no need to despair! The UK is becoming more dog-friendly every day, and navigating public transport with your dog in tow is far from impossible. To ensure a smooth journey for all, it’s important to know the relevant policies and make sure you and your pooch are prepared before you travel. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know. 

a dog standing by a red london bus

Preparing Your Dog for Public Transport

Even for us humans, public transport can be overwhelming at times! You and your pooch must be prepped ahead of time to make sure you’re both as safe, calm, and comfortable as possible during the journey. 

As you would for any journey, be sure to pack a travel kit with everything your dog needs when they’re away from home. You’ll want all your usual bits and pieces to hand – water and a collapsible bowl, poo bags and wipes to clean up any messes, plenty of treats to reinforce your good pup’s excellent behaviour, and any creature comforts that will keep them calm, like a favourite toy or blanket.

Skills Dogs Need for Public Transport

Alongside packing the basics, you’ll also need to equip your dog with the skills to succeed in the busy and often unpredictable transport environment. 

Your dog will first and foremost need great social skills. You’re sure to come up against busy crowds of people and you might find yourself in close proximity to other dogs too, all in a confined space. Give your dog plenty of exposure to different people and dogs and make sure they’re comfortable in a range of changing settings before you make your first public transport journey.

Your dog will also need basic obedience training. You should be confident that they will listen and respond to your commands, even in high-pressure situations. Your dog should be a pro at basic commands like sit, stay and lie down, as well as the more advanced but highly necessary skill of dropping any unsavoury (or unsafe) items they might come across on the floor. Depending on how you’re travelling, your dog will either need to be on a lead or carrier trained.

Finally, if you’re taking a train or tube, you’ll need to prepare your dog for steps and lifts, keeping in mind that dogs should never travel on escalators (more on that below).

How to Train Your Dog to Travel on Public Transport

As we’ve discussed, you must set your dog up for success by going through the basics of obedience and socialisation training before travelling with them on public transport. If your dog is not accustomed to being around crowds of people, you should start with some general crowd training – at your local pub, for example – to build up your dog’s broad social skills. This will ensure they have the skills and etiquette required to ensure a comfortable journey for all.

Your key focus when training your dog to travel on public transport should be building up positive associations with the transport environment. Start by going to the bus stop or train station without actually getting into the vehicle. Bring plenty of treats (or whatever else is motivating and comforting for your dog) and give them to your dog at regular intervals. This shows them that the bus stop or train station is a good, fun place to be!

Once you’ve nailed the familiarisation step, try taking a short bus, train or tram journey on a quiet day. Again, have plenty of treats to hand and give them to your dog periodically, to continue to build up positive associations with the journey. From there, it’s simply a matter of building up to longer and busier trips, as your dog adjusts and becomes more and more comfortable with the environment.

If your dog exhibits distress at any stage, or they have a bad experience on public transport, don’t panic. Just go back to the stages before and build up those positive associations again, until they’re happy to move up to more challenging journeys once more.

Edinburgh tram

Factors to Consider When Taking Your Dog on Public Transport

Ticket barriers

When entering a station or platform, you should always take your dog through the wide or accessible ticket barriers. This ensures they have enough time and space to follow you in without risk of injury or separation.  

Time of day

Wherever possible, avoid peak hours and aim to travel at the quietest times of the day. This will not only make the trip more pleasant for you and your dog; it will also ensure that you’re not inadvertently tripping up or getting in the way of other rushing passengers. 


You should be confident that your dog is well-trained to manage crowds and tight spaces before travelling on public transport together, keeping in mind your dog’s level of noise sensitivity – most dogs are a lot more sensitive to sounds than we humans are! Trains, buses, trams, platforms and stations can all be very noisy places. Getting your dog accustomed to the sounds of the station and platform before boarding is a good idea. Again, choose quieter times to travel wherever possible.

Escalators, stairs and lifts (elevators)

Escalators and dogs don’t mix (unless they’re a specially trained assistance super-dog). A moving staircase is not only a scary and foreign prospect for most dogs; they also pose a serious safety risk to your pooch, as hair, paws and claws can easily become trapped in the moving parts that are not designed to accommodate our furry friends. 

Some transport providers, such as TFL, prohibit dogs from using escalators in their policies. Instead, you must either carry your dog or opt to use an elevator or staircase. If your dog has mobility issues and struggles with stairs, be sure to check ahead to see whether the platform you need to access has a functioning lift. Otherwise, you might need to make other arrangements.

The weather

Sweating on a packed bus in the middle of summer isn’t just uncomfortable for your pooch; it can be dangerous, leading to panic, breathing difficulties or dehydration. Choose to travel on cool days (with plenty of water on hand).

Your dog’s temperament

Many dogs are as happy as Larry to accompany their best human friend wherever they go, and won’t bat an eyelid hopping onto a bus or train. But, as disappointing as it can be, public transport isn’t for every dog. If your dog is still learning to be safe around other people or dogs, gets anxious in crowds, is unpredictable around strangers or suffers from travel sickness, you may need to consider whether it’s worth the stress. If you need to travel with your dog but don’t have access to your own car, a car rental, pet-friendly rideshare or pet taxi service might be the way to go.

Other passengers

It’s important to be considerate of other passengers’ needs whenever you’re travelling on public transport. Not everyone loves your pooch as much as you do! Others are allergic to dog hair. If you’re asked to move away from a particular passenger, it’s in everyone’s best interest – dog lovers included – to do so promptly and calmly so that the rest of the journey can remain safe and enjoyable for all.

cardiff bus

Are Dogs Allowed on Buses?

Most buses in the UK are dog-friendly, but there is some variation depending on where you’re travelling, so it pays to check with your specific bus provider ahead of time. In some cases, it comes down to the driver’s discretion. Of course, registered assistance animals can travel with you wherever you go. 

Stagecoach buses

Well-behaved dogs are welcome on most Stagecoach services, at the driver’s discretion. They must be kept on a leash (or in a carrier) and kept off the seats. Fares for animals vary depending on the service location. You can see the full policy on the Stagecoach Bus site.

Brighton and Hove buses

Brighton and Hove buses have a very dog-friendly policy. You can travel with two well-behaved dogs on any service. If you have more than two dogs in your pack, or if there’s already another dog on the service, boarding depends on the driver’s discretion. You can find a full list of ‘doggy dos and don’ts’ on their site.

Arriva buses

You can travel with one dog per person on most Arriva buses, at the driver’s discretion. You’ll need to keep your pooch restrained or secured, out of the way of other passengers and off the seats.

UK First buses

Dogs travel free of charge on UK First buses. Keep them off the seats, and you’re good to go. See their service FAQs online for more.

North East buses

Dogs can travel on North East buses at the driver’s discretion. Usually, each service will permit a maximum of two dogs on board at any one time. There’s no fare charged for your furry friends.

Citylink is, unfortunately, somewhat less dog-friendly than most bus services. Dogs are not usually allowed, unless they are small enough to be carried in a travel carrier that can be stowed at your feet, at a charge of £1 per animal. Of course, assistance animals are exempt from these restrictions.


Megabus takes a strict approach to animals travelling on their services, with all animals firmly prohibited in their policy. Again, assistance dogs are exempt from this prohibition.

Go Cornwall

Go Cornwall adopts a relatively dog-friendly policy, allowing a maximum of two dogs on their buses at any one time, at the driver’s discretion. Dogs must be kept off seats and may be asked to leave if they are deemed a risk to passengers. You can find out more on the Go Cornwall website.

Liverpool Buses

Buses in Liverpool, operated by Arriva, allow one dog on board at any given time, with additional pets in carriers allowed to board at the driver’s discretion. All dogs must be secured on a leash (or in a carrier), and must not be on the seats.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on the Bus

As we’ve detailed above, every bus company has its own policy on dog travel, so be sure to check with the relevant provider company before planning your route with your pup.

Ensure your dog is prepared for the trip with proper training, so they’re comfortable and confident about travelling in a potentially busy, confined environment.

While on board, be respectful of your fellow passengers by keeping your dog under control, quiet and off the seats. Most bus providers also require you to keep your dog on a leash or in a carrier at all times. You should always follow driver instructions, for the safety of all on board.

train at brighton station

Are Dogs Allowed on Trains?

Dog lovers in the UK are welcome to bring their furry friends on board when they travel by train. Of course, dogs can’t travel if they’re causing disruption or posing a danger to fellow passengers. Dogs must be kept off seats. You can travel with two dogs free of charge, after which there may be a fare for additional pets.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on the Train

Before taking your dog on the train, you’ll need to be sure that they’re well trained and equipped with all the social skills and coping strategies they’ll need to tackle the loud, busy, changing environment. Make sure to build up their familiarity with trains, stations and platforms, starting with visits to the station and building up to short train trips, then longer ones. 

When you’re ready to take your first trip, come prepared with a bag packed with the creature comforts your dog will need on the journey – plenty of water, food (for longer trips), treats and any familiar toys or blankets that will keep them content on the journey. 

If your dog is small, you may choose to use a travel carrier. Otherwise, you’ll need a secure leash and harness. 

Many train stations in the UK have escalators to get you from the concourse to the platform, which poses a challenge for pups. Only trained assistance dogs should use escalators. Instead, opt for stairs or lifts to keep your pup safe.

Once you’ve boarded the train, be respectful of fellow passengers by keeping your dog off the seats and cleaning up any accidents that may occur. If your trip is long, you might consider making a stopover halfway so your pup can relieve themself and stretch their legs.

And remember, if you’re asked to move by a fellow passenger or staff member, it’s best to do so promptly to avoid any uncomfortable situations. While most people will love seeing your pooch on their commute, not everyone is a ‘dog person’. If moving to another space helps someone feel comfortable, you might as well oblige. Transit staff also retain the right to request that dogs leave the train if they are posing a risk to other passengers.

Are Dogs Allowed on Coaches?

Whether or not your dog is allowed to travel on a coach service depends on the company policy. Unfortunately, many coach providers in the UK are not dog-friendly (with the exception of assistance animals, which are of course permitted to travel). You should check with the service provider you’re planning to use before travelling.

Are Dogs Allowed on National Express Coaches?

Unfortunately, National Express Coaches do not permit pets of any kind, including dogs, to travel on their services. Assistance dogs are, of course, exempt from this rule..

Tips for Taking Your Dog on a Coach

If you do find a coach provider that will allow your dog to travel with you, you’ll need to prepare your dog for the long-distance journey. Pack plenty of food and water, along with a collapsible bowl, and any other creature comforts, like a blanket or soft toy, that will help your dog to feel at ease in their new environment. You’ll also need poo bags for pit stops and wet wipes for clean-ups, in case of accidents.

Alongside packing a travel bag, you’ll need to ensure your pooch is socialised and ready with the social skills needed to travel with other passengers. Follow our training tips above, and consider taking shorter bus and coach journeys to get your dog prepared before undertaking any longer cross-country adventures.

husky on the tube

Are Dogs Allowed on the Tube?

City-slicking dog-lovers will be pleased to hear that your dog is very welcome to travel on the London Tube, provided they are well behaved, kept under control on a leash or inside a travel carrier, and kept off the seats. You can find TFL’s full dog-friendly policy online, in their conditions of carriage.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on the Tube

The tube and tube stations are notoriously busy places, so ensuring your dog is prepared for a busy environment is vital. Follow our tips for training and building up to tube travel above. Even if your dog is great in crowds, it’s a good idea to travel outside of peak hours for safety and comfort all round.

It’s also important to note that dogs are not allowed on escalators. This ban is for their own safety – moving metal stairs were not designed with furry paws and claws in mind! Opt for regular staircases or lifts instead when accessing platforms.   

Tram approaching the Addiscombe stop Croydon

Are Dogs Allowed on Trams?

Dogs are allowed to travel on most trams in the UK, but the service provider for each location has its own dog transit policy, so you should check your local rules before you travel. Most services require dogs to be kept on-leash and off seats at all times.

The Manchester Metrolink has a very dog-friendly policy, allowing well-behaved dogs to travel on their trams. They must be kept off seats and on lead at all times. View their full policy online.

Nottingham Trams

Unfortunately, Nottingham does not allow dogs to board its trams, citing safety concerns due to the network’s busyness. They may allow small dogs to board if kept in a secure travel container, but this is at the discretion of the driver. Of course, assistance dogs are exempt from this policy and can travel free of charge.

Edinburgh Trams

Edinburgh trams allow dogs to travel free of charge, provided they are kept off seats and on a lead at all times. Find their dog-friendly policy on their website.

Blackpool Trams

Dogs are welcome to travel on Blackpool trams. They may be subject to a fare, depending on your journey route. You’ll need to keep your pooch off the seats and either on a leash or in a carrier at all times. View their policy here.

Sheffield Trams

Sheffield trams, operated by Travel South Yorkshire, unfortunately don’t allow dogs onboard at this point in time, with the exception of assistance dogs. There are plenty of petitions online from Sheffield dog-lovers who’d like to see this change, so if you’re a dog-loving local, feel free to join the chorus!

Croydon Trams

Croydon trams, like all services operated by TFL, are dog-friendly. You can bring your dog with you, provided you keep them on a leash or in a travel container and you don’t let them hop onto the seats. Check out TFL’s full dog-friendly policy.

Tips for Taking Your Dog on Trams

Trams can be busy environments, so it’s important that your dog is well-trained and confident around crowds, and has built up some exposure to public transport before you throw them in the deep end by boarding a busy service. Follow our training and familiarisation tips above, and practise taking shorter trips outside of rush hour until you and your dog are feeling comfortable to progress to longer, busier routes. 

As always, be respectful of your fellow passengers, and be prepared to move away from neighbours who might not be so keen on sharing their space with your pup. Being a courteous dog parent will help to ensure that dogs can continue to enjoy the freedom to travel with you across the UK’s tram networks into the future. 

people getting off a train including two teenage boys on bikes and one has a black dog on a lead

Navigating public transport with your pooch in tow can open up a world of possibilities for dog lovers who don’t have, or choose not to rely on, a car to get around. And if your dog is amenable to crowds and enjoys exploring new places with you, there’s no reason to be daunted by introducing them to public transport. There are some regulations and restrictions to be aware of throughout the UK and it can be a challenging environment to get your pooch accustomed to at first, but with some patient training and gradual building of exposure, you and your pup will be on your way to enjoying a day out via train, bus, tram or tube in no time.