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Taking the train with your dog: advice and good practices

Traveling by train with your dog must not disturb the passengers or the animal. It is therefore recommended to find out about the dog owner's obligations before ordering tickets and to take them into account so that the outward and return journeys can take place in the best possible conditions. Let's take a look at what you need to do to travel with your dog on the SCNF network.

Travelling with your dog: respecting SNCF regulations


The SNCF regulations are one of the first things to consider before organizing a trip by train if you have to take your dog with you. Here is a reminder of the main rules to keep in mind, knowing that the SNCF offers various solutions to travel by train, whether it is by TGV, TER or Intercity train. As for the Eurostar, it is strictly forbidden to dogs but is authorized to any guide dog.

The Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) makes every effort to ensure that its customers can be accompanied by their dogs or certain other pets during train travel. As far as dogs are concerned, the following are authorized
  • Guide dogs: the ticket is no longer eligible, but in order for the dog to travel as an assistance animal, it is necessary to be able to produce any type of document that can prove its education as an accompanying or guide dog.
  • Small dogs, i.e. weighing less than 6 kg. They must travel on the lap of the master or at his feet and must imperatively be held in a carrying device of dimensions 45 x 30 x 25 cm. It can be:
    • Either a bag,
    • Or a closed basket.
  • Dogs weighing 6 kg or more must be muzzled and kept on a leash.
Attack dogs (Mastiff, Tosa, Pitbull) are strictly forbidden on trains.

How much does it cost to take the train with your dog?


A single passenger is authorized to travel with one or two dogs at most, provided that all obligations are respected. As an indication, the fare applied under these conditions for a traveling dog weighing less than 6 kg is approximately 7 € and the trip is free for a guide dog.

For a dog weighing 6 kg or more, the fare is calculated on a kilometre basis. For dogs that cannot be transported in a cage measuring 55 x 35 x 25 cm, the owner must pay a pet fee of approximately 30 €. This option is mandatory for all dogs over 6 kg and applies to many other pets.

Please note, however, that if a dog weighing less than 6 kg travels outside a bag or crate, its owner is obliged to pay the price of a full-fare ticket for his pet. In some cases, a supplement of €15 may be required.

It is clear that it is very difficult to find your way around because the SNCF applies many different rates depending on the length of the journey, the destination, the composition of the train and the period. It is better to go to the ticket office of a station a few days before leaving or to reserve your SNCF tickets beforehand via the Internet. This will avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of departure.

Which carrier should I choose to travel with my dog?


This cage must be comfortable while meeting the obligations imposed by the SNCF to its customers. You should therefore make sure that your pet has a sufficiently ventilated cage so that it can breathe properly throughout the journey and benefit from a renewal of the ambient air. It is also necessary to think of installing his traveling dog in a cage big enough so that he can change his position at leisure and in any case turn around.

At the same time, the owner must think of hanging a plate or a label inside the transport cage which must specify :
  • Information about the dog: its name, its identification number (tattoo or transponder, i.e. microchip), possibly the age of the dog and the telephone number of its veterinarian,
  • Information on the owner of the animal: his name, first name, postal address and telephone number, even his e-mail address,
  • Information about the destination: the address of the place where the owner and his pet will stay, and if possible a telephone number.

Traveling by train from France to another country with your dog: drastic conditions


In addition to the other documents mentioned above, it is better to have specific documents if you have to travel by train from France to a foreign country with your dog. For example, you must be able to show :
  • The dog's vaccination record, which must of course be up to date, bearing in mind that some countries require dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and even other diseases. It is useful to ask the veterinarian for more details before leaving.
  • A European passport that the dog's owner can obtain from the veterinarian and have it completed by this professional.
It is also important to find out in advance about the conditions imposed, country by country, as each country applies its own policy. For example, Italy only accepts guide dogs with a vaccination certificate and identified in accordance with the European standard in force at the time of departure.

Finally, it should be noted that the law differs depending on whether the dog is a European Union citizen or not. SNCF regulations also differ according to the company's programs, promotional offers and especially the trains (OUIGO, Thalys, IZY, Eurostar, TER, Intercités, TGV Lyria).

Traveling with your dog is an excellent idea, and it is undoubtedly more comfortable by train than by car, for the master as well as for his pet. However, it is important to respect the peace and quiet of the other passengers. For this, the owner of the animal must be sure that his dog will not pose any problem in terms of risks of contamination, noise or unpleasant odors.