Pets become family to any pet owner. We want them with us all the time. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with pet-friendly transit (yes, those exist!), you’ll no doubt jump at the opportunity to really take your furry friend with you when you’re out and about. Here are a few guidelines to ensure that you, your pet, and other passengers have good experience.
Read the Rules
Public transit systems, even pet-friendly ones, generally have very specific rules about how you can transport your pet. Take the time to thoroughly read and learn these rules. Follow them to the letter. Some places allow dogs to be leashed, but others only allow dogs contained in a crate or bag. Obeying these rules will protect your pet and keep you from a fine or getting kicked off or banned.
Cats and dogs are not created equal. Every single one is different, and some have a far shorter attention span than others. If your individual pet tends to get bored, bring entertainment. This will keep him from trying to create his own amusement—by defacing public property or annoying other passengers. Treats, chew toys, and anything else you can think of (within reason) should help keep your pet busy the entire ride.
Don’t leave Unpleasant Surprises Behind
No matter how well-trained your pet is, accidents happen. It’s fine when they do, but just make sure you clean it up. Carry plastic bags, paper towels and a small bottle of enzyme cleaner to take care of any accidental messes. It’s pet owners who leave these surprises behind for others to find that give us all a bad name.
Be Prepared In Case of Emergency
Trains, cars and buses sometimes have accidents. It’s far from ideal, but it happens. This can create a scary and stressful situation for your pet—not to mention yourself. Prepare for these kinds of public transit accidents ahead of time. If your pet is particularly skittish, make sure he always travels in a crate. Be prepared to work fast to calm your pet down, if necessary, and give him lots of treats to distract him from whatever’s happening.
Don’t Be Social
Your dog may be really friendly, and that’s something you adore about him or her, but remember that public transportation is not the place to socialize. Other passengers might be afraid of dogs, even if their fear seems illogical to you. Some passengers may even be allergic to animals, and you don’t want someone going into anaphylactic shock because they inhaled your dog’s dander. Train your dog to stay away from strangers while riding public transit, and also try to keep him away from other pets, to avoid the possibility of a fight.
A little common courtesy from you and your furry friend go a long way toward ensuring your city’s public transport will continue to be available to your pet, and all other pets, in the future. Think of yourselves as ambassadors for all the four-legged pets. Let all the non-pet owners know that pets can be respectful.