How to travel with your pet dog in a train in India?


Parting with your dog hurts? Did you know that you can actually travel on a long-distance train in India with your pet dog? Find out the rules and the dos and don'ts of traveling with your pet dog in the Indian Railways.

Often, only the people who keep pets will understand how essential they are to our lives. Although we have to call them pets, they eventually become our family members and parting with them seems quite painful. Often, we need to go outstation, leaving our pets at some friend's or neighbor's house or at the mercy of pet care centers. However, it is actually possible to take your pet dog along with you onboard a train in the Indian Railways. Unfortunately, most of us do not know about this provision, nor are we aware of the rules and regulations of taking a pet dog on a train in India. Whether it is an emergency trip during the lockdown, or whether you are planning a trip after the pandemic subsides and things return to normalcy, here is a handy list of dos and don'ts of carrying your pet dog on an Indian train.

Dos and Don'ts of traveling with your pet dog on an Indian train


Before we go into the details of the rules and regulations, please note that there are two ways you can take your dog from one place to another. If you feel it is hard to part with your pet even for the duration of the journey, and if you can afford it, it is advisable to travel in AC First Class (Code: 1A). Traveling with your pet dog is only permitted in the AC First Class (or First Class, wherever applicable) only and not in any other class. However, passengers of lower classes (2A, 3A, SL, etc.) are allowed to book the dog as a piece of luggage from the originating station and arrange for its travel in the Luggage or Brake Van. There are specially designed dog boxes in the Brake Van for carrying your canine companion. However, please note that this facility may not be available on all long-distance trains. It is advisable to check well in advance whether such arrangements can actually be made. Now, let us discuss the Dos and Don'ts of traveling with a dog on a train in India.

Dos


  • Contact the Parcel Office well in advance for making arrangements for booking.

  • Make your own arrangements for the food and water for your dog. Sadly, since dogs are considered luggage by the Indian Railways, no meal is catered to them. Do boxes eat, after all?

  • If you are just one or two people, try to book the AC First Class Coupe. That will give you more privacy and your dog will not feel uncomfortable in the presence of strangers. If you happen to end up traveling with strangers in an AC First Class Cabin, you should ask for your fellow passengers' permission before taking your dog there. If they disagree, the dog should travel in the brake van./li>
  • If for some reason, you feel your dog is not feeling comfortable traveling with the strangers in the AC First Class Cabin, you should make the decision whether to keep it in your cabin or send it away for the break van by informing the TTE duly. Sometimes, distressed and discomforted dogs may become violent in the presence of strangers and attack them. In case of any such incident, you shall be legally responsible for any harm to your co-passengers arising thereof.


Don'ts


  • Never travel with unbooked dogs. This is like traveling without a valid ticket. If you get detected, you will be charged as per the rules.
  • Break any rules, even if advertently. The same applies to your dog too. If the owner or the pet is found breaking any rules, the pet shall immediately be transferred to the luggage van and a six-times tariff shall be charged as penalty.


Conclusion: Should you travel with your pet dog on an Indian train


The one-line answer is: only if absolutely necessary. In most trains, there is no AC First Class, and the few that have those luxurious coaches also have a handful of them. If you are looking for an AC First Class Coupe, mostly the number of coupes per train is just one or two. It is therefore really difficult – you can say next to impossible – to successfully book a coupe for you and your pet. In all other scenarios, your dog will be made to travel in the luggage or brake van, which is quite claustrophobic. Those coaches have no air-conditioning facility, so they are really hot and your dog can become dehydrated. Also, the cramped iron boxes (read 'cages') can make your dog really frightened.

Your pet does not understand all the nitty-gritties of Indian Railway – he or she might end up thinking you are permanently leaving, putting him or her in those tiny cages, with a cruel world outside. The sad truth is that many dogs may not endure the entire journey because of the heat, fear, and anxiety. I repeat, make your dog travel in the brake van only if absolutely necessary – like you are permanently shifting your residence and there is absolutely no other way to transport the dog.


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