Are dogs allowed on buses?
20th January, 2023
If you want to take a trip with your dog, can you travel by bus? The answer is - maybe. Bus companies typically let drivers decide whether to allow dogs onto the bus or not. What factors influence their decision and what can you do to make a bus trip with your pooch less stressful?
Taking your dog out and about is a great thing to do. It helps their socialisation skills and lets them experience different people and environments. But it also exposes them to certain risks. Do you need pet insurance in the UK? Purely Pets can help.
What are the benefits of bus travel with a dog?
Taking a dog on the bus can be a wonderful experience. Many dogs find it exciting and stimulating, and it means you can get to different places and parks to explore with your pet.
This can be particularly important if you don’t have a car – when you need to pay for pet insurance, food, vet bills, toys, holiday kennels and all the other costs that come with having a dog, taking the bus might be a good way to save money.
Leaving your dog at home for more than around four hours is not advisable, so it makes sense to take them out and about with you where you can. If taking the bus is your usual choice, why not bring your pet along, too?
Bus companies can make their own rules about carrying dogs
Although there are laws about allowing Assistance Dogs such as Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs on buses, this doesn’t extend to ordinary pets. Bus companies have their own policies on whether canines can board the bus.
The largest bus companies such as First Group, Arriva, Stagecoach and London Buses permit dogs at the discretion of the driver. You will need to check smaller bus companies in your area before trying to travel. Key factors to look out for include:
- Do dogs need to be on a lead? Most companies insist on this.
- How many dogs can you have per passenger? This is often limited to one per customer.
- Is there a maximum number of dogs permitted on the bus? Some companies allow a maximum of two dogs at any one time.
- Do you need to pay for a doggy ticket? Some companies charge a small fee for pets to travel.
- Are dogs allowed to sit on seats? Dogs are often banned from seats unless sitting on your lap.
- Does your dog need to wear a muzzle while they’re on the bus? Some transport companies insist on this as a blanket policy to reduce the risk of dog bites.
Most coach companies do not accept dogs unless they are Assistance Dogs.
Do you need pet insurance in the UK? If so, Purely Pets can provide a quick quote.
How much does it cost to take a dog on the bus in the UK?
If you're a dog owner in the UK, you might be wondering about the cost to take a dog on the bus in the UK.
Most bus companies, such as National Express and First Group, don't charge any extra fare for bringing your pet along. However, it's important to note that it's usually at the driver's discretion or availability to allow dogs on board. Also, dogs must be well-behaved and not pose a threat or nuisance to other passengers.
So, next time you plan a day out, you don't have to leave your furry friend behind or worry about extra costs. Just remember to keep them on a lead and ensure they behave themselves, and you both can enjoy a pleasant journey!
Are dogs allowed on the trains UK?
The answer is, yes! In fact, train travel can be an excellent option for you and your fur-baby. UK train companies do permit dogs on board. This means you can bring along your four-legged friend on your train journey across the beautiful landscapes of the UK, making your travel experience even more enjoyable.
However, it's important to remember that while dogs are allowed, there are certain rules and guidelines that must be adhered to. For instance, usually, only two dogs are allowed per passenger and they must be kept on a lead or in a pet carrier. It is also expected that your dog does not occupy a seat. These rules are in place to ensure that all passengers have a comfortable journey.
So next time you plan a trip, don't hesitate to bring your canine companion along for the ride!
What does it mean to leave it up to a driver’s discretion?
Basically, most bus companies are happy to carry dogs because it increases their number of customers, but they do not want the dogs to inconvenience or cause upset to any other passengers.
If a driver is worried about how a dog will behaveon the bus, for example if it is restless, barks a lot or is snarling, then the company reserves the right to refuse to allow the dog to travel.
Unfortunately, leaving it up to individual bus drivers will produce inconsistent results. Some drivers might simply not like dogs, or dislike particular breeds.
Drivers only have a small window of time to make a decision when a passenger presents with a dog. They might not always make a fully rounded or even a fair decision.
What can you do to increase the chances of being allowed to board with your dog?
Top tips for travelling with your dog on a bus
Here are some things to consider that might make you more likely to be accepted on board a bus with your dog and help to ensure a pleasant journey once you are on the road.
Managing your dog’s behaviour
Consider whether a bus trip is right for your pet
For some dogs, it will never be a good option to travel by bus. Dogs who are nervous or easily stressed could find buses frightening.
Trying to force them onto a bus could result in aggressive behaviour, particularly when a bus is cramped and busy.
Train your dog well
This isn’t exactly something you can achieve at the bus stop, but a well-trained dog will be easier to take anywhere, including on board a bus.
If you know your dog will sit or lie on command and they can be trusted to obey an order, it’ll make the task much easier.
Take your dog for a walk before travelling
A good walk before boarding the bus can help to ensure your dog is relaxed and calm at the start of the journey. If your dog is energetic, you might want to tire them out a bit before getting on a bus.
Read your dog’s signals and respond
You want your pet to feel secure and comfortable during the journey. It’s important to read your pet’s signals and react appropriately.
For example, drooling and licking lips can be a sign that a pet is becoming anxious. It’s better to break your journey up than risk your pet becoming stressed out.
Planning your bus trip
Travel at quieter times
At busy times, a bus driver is more likely to deny boarding to a dog - either because the bus is full or there are already other dogs onboard. Travelling outside peak hours can be a much better experience.
Travel on quieter routes
Some bus routes go round the long way and are less busy as a result. The laid-back pace of a slow route might be much better for your dog than a route that is popular with commuters.
Do a bit of research to find the quietest route to get to your destination.
Check the forecast
It’s a good idea to know what the weather will be like if you’re planning to go by bus. On hot days, buses can be very warm, even if they have air conditioning.
You might need extra water or to avoid the hottest part of the day. Equally, in heavy rain nobody wants a wet dog shaking water all over the bus!
Have a plan B
Taking a dog on the bus is a bit of an unpredictable adventure, not least because there’s no guarantee that the driver will let you onboard. It makes sense to start with short trips or have a back-up plan, for example someone who could collect you by car if needed.
Taking a bus to the middle of nowhere where there are only a few services a day might not be a good way to get started.
Helping to ensure a pleasant journey
Be considerate of other passengers
You might find your dog adorable, but other passengers might not welcome his or her attempts to make friends. Keep your dog under control to ensure they do not annoy or frighten other bus travellers.
Some dogs also find it overwhelming to be petted in the busy atmosphere of a bus, so be prepared to say no if people want to stroke your pet.
Do you need pet insurance in the UK? If you want to protect yourself from third party liability claims, it might be a good idea.
Give your dog a chance to go to the toilet before boarding
It’s wise to give your dog a chance to do their business before getting a bus, especially if it’s a long journey or getting stuck in traffic is likely.
If your dog will go to the toilet on command, this could help save a soggy situation.
If your dog does have an accident, take responsibility
Cleaning up after a dog is not a nice job, but it’s part and parcel of being a dog owner. Take some poo bags, wipes or other cleaning supplies to clean up if your pet toilets on the bus.
Make sure your dog isn’t smelly
We all know dogs can be a bit whiffy sometimes. In the confined space of a bus, canine fragrance is not always welcome, so be sure to give your pet a good wash and spruce up before going on public transport.
Bring essential doggy supplies
You should bring everything your dog might need for the journey and beyond. This includes water and a portable bowl, dog poo bags, treats and some food.
You might also want a toy to keep your pet occupied during the journey.
Where would you go with your dog?
Using the bus could open up a whole world of exciting trips and adventures for you and your pet. You’ve probably got lots of ideas for local parks, riverside walks and forest trails you could explore.
Have you thought a bit further afield for other places to visit by bus? Consider these top trips with a pooch:
Dog-friendly pubs, cafés and restaurants
You probably know all the dog-friendly eateries in your local area, but venture a little further on a bus and you might find even more places to enjoy.
Combine a bus trip with a country walk and a slap-up pub lunch or tea and cake at a café for an enjoyable day out.
A secure dog field
Search around and you might find a dog owner’s paradise – a field where your dog can be let off the lead without worrying about other park users. You might even be able to have exclusive use of a field.
A doggy swimming pool
There are plenty of canine hydrotherapy pools around now. See if there is one near you that lets you visit just for fun. Most dogs love to splash around and it’s great for building their strength and stamina, too.
Indoor museums understandably usually refuse entry to pet dogs, but you might be able to find an outdoor museum that is happy for your pet to visit.
Festivals and outdoor events
You might be surprised how many outdoor events welcome well-behaved dogs. The atmosphere can be something really special for you both.
Ask a few questions and you might find that outdoor events are more than happy to have your four-legged friend along. Car boot sales are often dog-friendly too.
You might find that a bus trip to the seaside is possible in your area. Most dogs love to run around on a beach, chasing balls and skipping in and out of the waves.
If you live too far from the coast, there might be a lake or riverside park you haven’t explored before. Beware of beach hazards for dogs and make sure to check whether the beach you want to travel to has any restrictions on dogs.
From sharp rocks and water and dead fish, they all carry risks for our pets. Do you need pet insurance in the UK?
It’s recommended so you can get your dog the care they need without the financial worry, if they fall ill after a beach trip.
Castles and ruins
Many heritage sites are accessible by bus and are open to dogs. Journey back in time with your pooch by visiting a fascinating historic site by bus.
Thinking of taking your dog on the train? We’ve got some top tips for that, too.
Do you need pet insurance? Purely Pets can help
Going out with your pet on the bus is a fun thing to do, but it’s not without risk. Your dog will be by busy roads and may encounter unfamiliar sights, smells and sounds.
There will be people and other dogs and animals to see. This is very exciting for most dogs, but there is also a higher chance of your pup being injured, for example by running into the road, or being bitten by another dog.
It’s also possible that your dog could become angry and attack another dog or person.
Do you need pet insurance in the UK? In the blink of an eye, your pet could have an accident that could not only be devastating, but also hit you in the wallet.
For example, vet bills if your dog is run over could run into thousands, or if your pet bites a passenger on the bus you could face legal costs as well as having to pay compensation.
Purely Pets is there when you need pet insurance in the UK - just get in touch for a quote that will provide financial support should a range of risks arise.
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