Read time: 5 mins
02 Jun 2023
The London Underground has repeatedly been hailed as the world’s most dog-friendly subway. You know you’re going to have a good day when you see a dog on the tube, an essential pick-me-up for the morning commute some would say.
As a pet parent, the tube can be a great way to get around London with your best buddy, but there are a few regulations and safety precautions that you should be aware of before starting your journey.
Yes, dogs are allowed on the London Underground, also known as the tube.
That being said, this only applies if you are fully in-control of your dog. If your dog shows any signs of misbehaving whilst using the underground, TfL staff may deny you entry to the tube and ask you to leave the station. Dogs must also not sit on the seats.
Yes, dogs are allowed on the London Overground.
The same rules apply to the London Overground as the tube, as outlined by TfL.
Dogs must be carried when using the escalator. Unless they are a service dog that has been trained to use a moving escalator.
This is because their tails, fur or nails can become trapped in the gaps of the escalator.
If your dog is too heavy to carry, you should use the lift or stairs instead.
Yes, it is free to bring dogs on the tube.
That means more money to spend on their favourite treats and toys.
Avoid peak times
If you can help it, avoid travelling on the tube with your dog during peak times as the trains and stations get really congested.
Peak travel times are Monday-Friday between 6:30 am and 9:00 am, and between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Bank holidays are not regarded as peak travel days.
Steering clear of these hours will make the journey a lot more pleasant for both you and your pooch. You don’t have to worry about them becoming too overwhelmed by the crowds, or people stepping on their tail.
The tube can get really hot, especially in summer. We’re talking the inside of a sauna kind of hot. You should always bring a bottle of water and a bowl with you so that you can hydrate your pooch throughout the journey, no matter how short it may be.
Try some shorter practice runs
If you’re going to regularly use the tube with your dog, you should try to desensitise them as early as possible. This could be by carrying out shorter trips on the tube, or simply playing ‘tube noises’ at home. Reward them for good behaviour with praise and treats.
Pack a blanket
Seasoned tube-travellers will most likely have learnt to take up residence on the floor, but some pooches struggle to get comfortable, which we understand. It’s also not the cleanest of napping spots. It might be useful to bring a blanket along that you can lay on the floor for them instead.
Don’t forget the poo bags
Trust us, your dog wouldn’t be the first one to take a squat whilst on the tube. Nobody wants a carriage full of strangers staring at them in disgust, but poop happens. A moment of thought for those pup parents who gone through this insufferable experience…
Use a lead, bag or crate
Your pup must be on a lead, in a bag or crate, at all times when using the tube. They must never freely roam around.
Use a muzzle if required
If your dog is reactive or copes badly with strangers and new social situations, it might be best to put a muzzle on them whilst travelling on the tube. This protects not only other passengers, but also you and your dog.
Keep those paws behind the yellow safety line
Remember that your pup’s hearing is super-sonic compared to ours. The noises of the tube will likely hurt their ears if they’re right near the edge. They are also much less likely to get a shock from the approaching train if they are standing further back.
Use the wider accessibility gates
If there is no wide-opening gate, you can ask a staff member to help keep the barrier open for a longer period of time so your dog can come through. You can also carry your dog through these gates if it is easier.
Make sure that they have an identity tag
In the extremely rare event that your dog gets separated from you, people will rely on an identity tag to contact you if they find your pooch. This should include your phone number, address is optional too. Your dog is also required to be microchipped by law.
Not everyone is consumed by their love for dogs (can’t relate), so you should be mindful of this when using public transport. Other passengers, especially children, may be fearful of dogs so ensure that your dog is kept well away from them. Do not encourage your dog to seek attention from other passengers.
Communication is also key. If someone looks uncomfortable or asks you to move, you should try to respect this. This will help to avoid any miscommunications or conflict and let’s be honest, nobody can be bothered with that.
Similarly, if your dog is approached by children or other dogs and this makes you uncomfortable, politely let them know that you’d rather they left your dog alone for their own safety.
Public transport in the UK is generally dog-friendly. Buses, trams and trains all have their own policies for dogs, so it’s worth checking well in-advance of travel.
London was declared the world’s first National Park City in 2019. It is joined by only one other city, Adelaide in Australia.
With almost 15,000 species living alongside us humans and around 50% green and blue space, made-up of acres of public parks, green belt, front gardens, canals, ponds and pockets of nature and wildlife, London has plenty of walking destinations for you and your pooch.