Whether you want to take your dog(s) on board trains in your home country, make an international journey or will have taken your dog to a different country by car (ahem) and now want to make a scenic train journey, what's good to know is that the 'rules' around taking dogs on trains can vary widely across Europe.
Tickets may or not be required; and they can be surprisingly expensive.
The rules also vary around the size of dogs; particularly whether they can or can't be transported into a pet carrier / basket
They also vary around whether dogs need to be muzzled when they are on the trains.
Though one thing which is universal is that no tickets or other special restrictions ever apply to guide dogs.
Other common-sense rules which are implied if they're not specifically stipulated are that dogs cannot travel in seats, they need to be in a carrier/ basket, or on a traveller's lap, or on the floor.
If you can transport a small dog in a pet carrier it is will be classed as hand luggage and no ticket will be required.
If your dog is too large to be taken in a pet carrier it will need to be muzzled and you will need to book a ticket.
The ticket price will vary according to distance travelled; Wien/Vienna ↔ Innsbruck = €6.80, Wien/Vienna ↔ Linz = €3.30
If you want to travel at the cheapest possible price, it's best to book tickets in advance on the OBB booking service, OBB is the national rail operator in Austria.
The booking process is similar to booking travel with a bike, you need to add a dog to your ticket
You can't retrospectively add a dog ticket online to your booking, so if you decide to take a dog after you have booked a ticket online, you can buy a ticket for the dog at a station ticket counter.
The 'rules' set by the Belgian national rail operator set by SNCB are that if a dog can be fitted in a pet carrier / container measuring no more than 30x55x30cm, no ticket will be required for the dog.
If it is too large for the container a 'pet supplement' ticket is required which has a flat rate of €3 for any journey within Belgium.
Dogs not in the containers do not have to be muzzled, but the conductor on the train apparently may request it.
The 'rules' set by the Czech national rail operator CD are that if a dog can be fitted in a pet carrier / container measuring no more than 90x60x40cm, no ticket will be required for the dog.
If it is too large for the container an ticket will be required, but you and the dog will only be able to travel in second class on trains operated by CD.
The ticket prices for the dog vary according to distance, with the prices ranging from CZK 15 to CZK 50.
The dog prices aren't discounted so if you want to save by booking in advance online for yourself, you can then buy the dog ticket from a ticket desk prior to boarding, or from the conductor on the train.
Dogs must also be muzzled on the train.
The 'rules' set by the Danish national rail operator DSB are that if a dog can be fitted in a pet carrier / container measuring no more than 100x60x30cm, no ticket will be required for the dog.
if the dog is too large for the pet carrier, or if you don't want to put the dog in it, you will need to buy a child ticket for the dog; only one dog can be taken by each traveller.
Child tickets for those aged 12-15 typically cost around 50% of the adult rate for a journey, so the cheapest method of travelling long-distance is to add a child aged 12-15 when booking with DSB.
Also good to know is that dogs:
The travel info on the DSB also suggests that if you will be travelling long-distance on a Lyn or IC express service that you should make a seat reservation for your dog, it won't be able to sit in it, but it is so that you can ensure that there will be a space in front of the seat on the floor of the train, for the dog to occupy.
On journeys by TGV and Intercités trains a flat rate fare of €7 is charged regardless of whether a dog is placed in a bag or basket, measuring 45 cm x 30 cm x 25 cm maximum, or is on a leash.
Though when looking up journeys on SNCF Connect, the nationally managed train booking service, on a few journeys the price was €11 for dogs on leashes.
This £7 fee also applies to the regional TER trains, except for journeys within these regions; Normandy, New Aquitaine, Pays de la Loire and South Region.
In Normandy if you haven't reserved, which isn't possible on most TER services, a dog weighing less than 6kg is charged at the €7 flat rate, but a dog weighing more than 6kg will be charged at half the adult rate. Unless a ticket with reservations has been booked for the 'Krono' services to/from Paris, because on these trains the dog can travel free of charge regardless of its size.
In Pays De La Loire if you place a dog weighing less than 6kg in a bag or basket there will be no charge, but dogs weighing more than 6kg will be charged at half the adult rate.
In New Aquitaine, the rate payable for travelling with a dog, regardless of whether it is in a bag/basket or on a leash, depends on the distance of the journey: from 0 to 43 kms = €2; from 44 to 80 kms = €4; for 81km and beyond = €7.
In Occitanie a dog weighing less than 6kg and placed in a bag/basket is charged at the €7 flat rate, but a dog weighing more than 6kg will be charged at half the adult rate.
General rules regardless of the train and region:
Small dogs which can be placed in pet-carriers can be taken on board any train as hand luggage and there is no charge for doing so.
Dogs which can't be fitted in carrier/container, because they are larger than a typical domestic cat, require a child ticket for any journey.
So when booking online for a journey by ICE or IC trains with DB, the German national rail operator choose the type of ticket required for children aged 6 - 14.
It seems as though you will need to book the dog ticket separately to your booking, as when booking certain types of ticket and journey in Germany, children aged 6-14 can travel for free if accompanied by an adult ticket holder, but this does not apply to traveling with dogs; hence the need to specifically select 'unaccompanied child'.
Note that unaccompanied children aged 6-14 are charged 50% of the adult rate
If you want to travel 1st class you will need a 1st class ticket for the dog.
However, most journeys by Regio trains are not available on the DB booking service, so if you will be taking these trains, you can book the ticket for you and the dog at a station ticket counter.
All dogs travelling on leashes must be muzzled.
Up to two dogs can be taken on board by each passenger on any national train, no tickets are required and they don't need to be muzzled.
However, dogs cannot be taken at all on the international Eurostar services.
If you can take your dog in a container or basket measuring 70x30x50cm no ticket will be required, but tickets are required for larger dogs.
On the express, Frecce and Intercity trains operated by Trenitalia, the tickets cost 50% of the Adult 'Base' rate, which is the non-discounted rate for train journeys, but as the cheapest adult Super-Economy tickets can be discounted by more than 50%, the ticket for the dog may cost more than your ticket!
Dogs can be taken in any class on the trains as long as you and the dog both have the appropriate ticket.
Because the dog tickets can't be booked in online and aren't discounted, you can buy your ticket in advance in order to save money, but can then buy the ticket for the dog at the station; or you can buy a ticket from the conductor when you are on the train.
On the Regionale (R and RV) trains a dog not in a basket will be charged at 50% of the adult rate.
On an all trains the dog must be muzzled.
On the trains operated by Vy (most regional trains and the Oslo <> Bergen and Oslo <> Swedish border routes) tickets are required for dogs that are more than 40cm tall at the shoulder and the charge is half of the adult rate; there is no charge for smaller dogs.
However, all dogs regardless of height, have to travel with their owners in designated areas on the trains and spaces are limited.
On the standard long distance express trains, the AVE, Alvia, Euromed and IC services, you can add a dog as an extra when making booking:
The flat rate prices, irrespective of distance and departure are:
Basic (second class) = €20
Comfort XL or Elige + Comfort tickets (first class) = €10
Premium Class = no charge
However, dogs can only be taken on board these larga-distancia services if they can travel in a container measuring no more than 60x35x35 cm and do not weigh more than 10kg.
On the other trains operated by Renfe, including the Avant, MD and Regional-Express services, it looks as though the charge will be 25% of the Adult rate.
On these trains the dog can weigh more than 10kg and it doesn't have to be placed in a container.
On the trains provided by the national rail operator, SJ, up two dogs can be taken on board for no additional cost, but on the express Snabbtag and IC trains, you and the dog(s) will need to travel in specific spaces on the train, which must be reserved in advance.
These spaces are in Second Class, you cannot travel with dogs in first class on any SJ train.
Though if you want more space, because your animals is large, you can purchase a ticket at the equivalent of the youth rate.
When booking the ticket for yourself you will need to select the 'Animals Allowed' option on the seating plan.
On other trains you will need to board the train into the specific marked areas.
If your dog is under 30 cm in height (up to their shoulder blades) and you travel with it in a basket or other suitable container, your dog may travel free of charge as hand luggage.
SBB is the national rail operator in Switzerland an it sells a Day Card for Dogs which costs CHF 25 and is valid for travel on any Swiss train and most public transport, which can be used if you will be travelling with larger dogs on Swiss trains.
If you will be travelling with a first class tickets, the same Day Card for dogs can be used for first class travel,
If you will be visiting Switzerland and therefore won't have a Half-Fare Card which can be used to obtain a discount for rail tickets, this Day Card for Dogs, may be the only option?
There are instructions on the SBB website for purchasing dog tickets for individual journeys, but they include the use of a Half-Fare Card; and I couldn't get them to work despite multiple attempts.
Or you could by a ticket for the dog at the station, whether you will be traveling first or second class, the price for the dog will be 50% of the 2nd class rate, but if the Day Card for Dogs is cheaper, you will automatically be offered that as an alternative.
If a dog is small enough to travel in a bag, basket or on your lap, there will be no charge for it.
For larger dogs you need to purchase a Dog Day Ticket regardless of the train you will be taking and the distance you will be travelling, but they cost a reasonable €3.30.
How dogs can taken on Europe's international trains can be an information vacuum, but one golden rule is that it must be micro-chipped; and this also applies to taking dogs from non E.U countries across internal and external E.U. borders.
The always excellent Seat 61 has a detailed guide to the requirements for taking a dog from the UK to the E.U, and back again.
The info on the national rail operator websites is referring to taking dogs on trains on journeys within those countries; though a logical conclusion is that the rules and tickets etc for the national journey will apply if the national operator is providing the international service; and if this service doesn't have any specific branding such as Thalys or Lyria (see below).
For example, German ICE trains operated by DB link Germany to Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherlands, so if you want to take a dog on an international journey to and from Germany, you can book on DB as though you were making a national journey.
On the Railjet trains from Austria to Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Italy, book tickets on OBB, as though you were taking a national journey within Austria.
Or ask at the station and the station and book accordingly, most specific dog tickets aren't cheaper if you book them in advance, so often the most sensible approach is to buy your ticket in advance to save yourself money; and then buy the ticket for the dog at a station.
You'll be given advice and the necessary tickets to take you to your destination, but there are two key exceptions:
1: Dogs can't be taken at all on Eurostar services
2: Dogs weighing more than 10kg can't be taken on Spanish high speed trains, and that includes the RENF-SNCF services from France to Spain.
Also keep in mind the rules in each country if you will be crossing a border on a regional train, for example dogs must be muzzled on Italian train journeys, but not in Switzerland, so after the trains has crossed the border into Italy, you'll need to apply a muzzle, if you didn't do so when boarding.
Though the European international trains with specific branding do have their own rules for dogs on their trains, so these have been included below:
Dogs cannot be taken at all on Eurostar services.
Seat 61 has provided a wealth of detail on the alternative options, which in summary include travelling with dogs on the cross-channel ferry crossings which allow them (most don't) and taking taxis from Folkestone to Calais, by using 'Le Shuttle' services.
On the Lyria trains which travel between Paris and Switzerland, if you can contain your dog in a bag or closed basket no bigger than the maximum dimensions of 45 x 30 x 25 cm, tickets are price at a flat rate of €7.
For larger dogs travelling on a leash and which also must be muzzled for the entire journey and sat at your feet, tickets are a flat rate price of €20.
Tickets can be purchased from station travel desks or added to your booking if you use SNCF Connect.
On the Thalys services which link Paris and Bruxelles with The Netherlands and north-west Germany, there is no charge for dogs which travel in containers no larger than 45 x 30 x 25 cm.
For other dogs tickets must be purchased on board from the Train Manager / conductor and they have a flat rate price of €30, the dog must be muzzled and travel on the floor or in your lap.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.