Since the Eurostar started running train services connecting London, Paris and Brussels via the Eurotunnel in 1994, it’s been easier than ever to travel between the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. But what about if you’re travelling with your dog or other pet?
Can You Take Dogs on the Eurostar?
While pet dogs are allowed on trains in both the United Kingdom and France, surprisingly (and frustratingly) pets dogs are not allowed on the Eurostar trains.
Why might you wonder? Unfortunately, no specific reason is supplied. Reading between the lines about the rules for guide dogs, it’s possible that it’s for the vague idea of “safety reasons”.
Then again, it might simply be due to the Eurostar styling itself as a transport option for business people, who wouldn’t be travelling with their pet dogs.
The Only Dogs Allowed on Eurostar
While pet dogs are not allowed to travel on the Eurostar, there is one category of dogs that is allowed on the Eurostar: guide or assistance dogs.
To travel on the Eurostar, guide or assistance dogs must be registered, including having been trained by an organisation affiliated to or a member of Assistance Dogs (UK), The International Guide Dog Federation, or Assistance Dogs International.
It’s required to book a ticket in advance for your guide or assistance dog, with a maximum of four guide or assistance dogs permitted on each Eurostar train, for “safety reasons”.
Unfortunately, emotional support dogs are not permitted to travel on the Eurostar.
Are There Plans for this to Change?
Over the years there have been a number of campaigns and petitions to have the laws relating to the carriage of pets on the Eurostar changed.
The most recent petition was launched in June 2014 by Pet Pyjamas, a UK dog-friendly holiday company. In their petition, they specifically campaigned for the introduction of a designated pet carriage on the Eurostar.
However, so far such attempts have not gotten anywhere. There are no plans for the ban on pets travelling on the Eurostar to change anytime in the future.
Alternatives to Taking Your Dog on the Eurostar
So, if you’re travelling from the UK to France, or vice versa, how do you travel with your pet?
The easiest alternative is if you have the option to travel by car. If you travel with your car through the Eurotunnel on a shuttle train, you are allowed to take your pet with you. Additionally, the majority of cross-channel ferries also allow those travelling with a car to bring their pets with them.
If you’re not travelling with a car, things are a little more difficult. There are only a small number of ferries that allow foot passengers to bring a pet. One of these is the DFDS Seaways ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe.
When departing the UK, a handful of airlines will permit pets to fly in the cabin, but when flying into the UK all pets must travel as cargo. Alternatively, some people turn to a pet taxi service, whether just for the channel crossing or the entire journey between Paris and London.
For more information on the all the options available, check out my guide to travelling with a dog between the UK and Continental Europe.