Traveling with your pet: dog training


Air – tick. Sea – tick. All that’s left for us to do is discuss trains, with a few buses for good measure. The railways are an excellent mode of transportation suitable for dogs in the Balearic Islands. The overwhelming majority of European rail operators welcome four-legged travelers with open arms – and they’re often darned cheaper than other modes of transport.

What if we eliminated the negatives. First of all, the most European of trains – so European that it has “Euro” in its title – is unfortunately downright uncooperative when it comes to dogs. While it would be the easiest thing to get from London to Paris in just 2 hours 16 minutes, Eurostar says a definite ‘no’ to animals – with the exception of guide and assistance dogs. Their website kindly directs you to more accommodating methods such as cross-channel and Eurotunnel ferries. Second, dogs are banned on most long-distance bus services in Western Europe, so you can rule that idea out.

On the right, on the positive. There’s hardly a train service in Europe that will turn your dog away – certainly if they’re on the far end of the spectrum. Granted, Great Dane owners may have to read the fine print, but the majority of puppy owners will be pleasantly surprised at the hospitable nature of the European rail.

From the UK, the national railway makes it very clear that customers can bring up to two small animals free of charge on all rail services – provided they do not endanger or annoy customers or staff. They must be in a basket, or on a leash/in a harness, at all times. Animals cannot occupy the seats (at an additional cost) or board the dining cars. If they are in the way, you may be asked to get off at the next station. Oh, and when they say “all rail services” that includes the London Underground, where all “harmless” animals are welcome. The only condition is that you have to transport your four-legged friend on a moving escalator – if it’s a tall one, go down to the gym.

The French SNCF website carries equally good news. Pets can get off on any train in L’Hexagone (except Eurostar, see above) – two per passenger. If they are compact (less than 6 kg) the fare is a reasonable seven euros and they must travel in a carrier, but if they are heavier they must be leashed and muzzled and pay 50% of the full fare in second class. . Guide dogs do not pay a penny and can give up the muzzle. Mutts must bring ID. Incidentally, the Paris metro is also dog friendly.
He is a big ja from Germany when it comes to der Hund. Deutsche Bahn measures dogs in terms of cats (which is confusing, isn’t it?) and advises that small “harmless” animals up to the size of a house cat can ride the train for free – at inside a closed carrier – one animal per passenger. If your furry pet is bigger than said domestic cat, it will need its own ticket, and it will cost the same as a child fare (half price). Apart from the carrier, they must be muzzled and kept on a leash. Companion dogs are, as seems to be the norm, free and muzzled. Puppies cannot sit and must stay at your feet. One German quirk to be aware of is that they rarely issue e-tickets online for pets, so you can book ahead and have them mailed to you, or show up at the train station.

Spain also says yes to animals. On AVE (Alta Velocidad Española) and other long-distance high-speed trains, regulations allow one pet per person, up to 10 kg, but they must always remain inside a carrier. Again, they cannot sit down. On a premium ticket, the pet is free. Basic ticket holders will have to pay 20 euros. Short and medium distance Avant trains have much the same policy but charge 25% of the price of a general fare for your pet. Guide and assistance dogs are free and can break the maximum size rules inside a carrier. For your information, Madrid and Barcelona will gladly invite your dog on their metro, but not during rush hour.
Now that you have your European rail timetables nailed down, all that’s left is that obvious stretch of water that separates us from mainland Spain. Feel free to dive into our previous Paws Friendly missives on planes and ferries and you’ll quickly solve this problem.

Alright, so you have arrived in Mallorca. Can the public transport party continue? It’s partly a “yes”, but mostly a “no”. train side, BIT (TIB – Transports de les Illes Balears) operates a limited air network, linking Palma to Inca, Sa Pobla and Manacor, as well as a metro service, linking Palma to the University – but neither accepts dogs ( except service dog). Unfortunately, the same goes for the beautiful historic railway that crosses the countryside to Sóller. Buses, on the other hand, are slightly more accommodating. Since January 2022, bus services operated by EMT-Palma (i.e. within the City walls) allow passengers to travel with their dog – either on a leash/with a muzzle or outside. inside a basket. If inside a carrier they are free, if on foot they pay 30 cents. Aggressive or dangerous beasts will be removed. Conversely, bus services operated by TIB covering the north, south, east and west of the island have so far resisted calls to allow pets on board. Petitions have been submitted to the TIB, but they monitor the EMT “experiment” before making dog-friendly decisions.

If you fancy letting the train take the strain off you and your pooches’ European travel plans, be sure to dive into the details of the country animal health regulations Before leaving. If crossing borders, it’s likely your dog will need an ID chip, some vaccinations, a European pet passport and possibly a health certificate from the vet – plan ahead ahead of time so you don’t get caught. Also, keep in mind how many meals you will need to pack and where/when you can take a potty break. Then sit back, relax, and watch the world go by as fellow passengers coo at the friendliness of your four-legged travel companion.

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