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Are Dogs Allowed On the Bus? • Full Details

Are Dogs Allowed On the Bus? • Full Details

Here, we will tackle a form of public transport, the bus. So, are dogs allowed on the bus, or is this an option that does not apply to you?

Moving around with your dog in tow you can involve some preparatory work on your behalf. This need for planning becomes even more important when you do not have your own transport. At that point, you rely on public transport to get around.

But first, you may wonder why we need to discuss this point. Well, even though we would like to venture anywhere we want with our dog, that’s just not the case.

Instead, you face so many restrictions, and trying to move around with your dog in tow with you is one of those areas.

You need to know how you can potentially get from point A to point B with your dog. So, for anybody wishing to travel via public transport, then this is for you.

dogs in a bus

The Answer

As with most things, the actual answer here has a tendency to come with a number of complications. So, there is not one single answer that can apply to every eventuality across the country.

Instead, what you have here are bus companies, managers, and all sorts of people effectively doing what they want to do. That makes your life difficult as everything can chop and change in an instant. It’s hardly conducive to an enjoyable journey.

Companies, distances, and even the size of your dog is often taken into consideration. Also, you could travel one part of your journey with no problems but then run into an issue later on.

So, what we need to do is to attempt to unpick what is going on to provide you with something as close to a definitive answer as possible. However, we do accept that this is not easy thanks to the sheer number of companies out there.

There is No National Legislation

Part of the problem is that no national legislation exists when it comes to allowing dogs onto a bus. That means companies have no real guidance on the issue, and that leads to some confusion.

So, what does this mean for you as a dog owner? Well, it turns out that a number of bus services have opted to allow dogs on board. However, they do include a range of restrictions, and that just complicates matters.

Also, your location can play a role in what happens when it comes to dogs on buses. 

If national legislation existed then it would make life so much easier in this respect. As such, it makes life harder to know what is going on.

But Let’s Get One Thing Sorted

The only thing that we can say with any certainty is the rules surrounding service dogs on buses. If you have a service dog, then you will face no restrictions when it comes to your dog. You can easily go on any bus service anywhere in the country.

Also, you can generally include therapy dogs, and also often emotional support dogs. You will usually discover that any of these dogs will have no other real restrictions placed upon them while on the bus. 

But we must point out one additional thing. The idea of bringing your emotional support dog with you is not as universal as a service dog. You may find that some companies do not allow them, so this is certainly something to check in advance.

In addition, some bus companies will also tend to ask more about your service dog, including the training they have had. However, this will not always happen, but we cannot rule it out as a possibility.

dog waiting for bus

But What About Pets?

So it’s easy to understand why service dogs can go on any form of public transport, and do so without restrictions, but what about your pet? Well, this is where we end up having one or two problems.

Often It’s Only Small Dogs

For most bus companies across the United States, the main policy focuses more on small dogs with larger dogs effectively banned. 

To enforce this, most bus operators will ask that you place your dog in a dog carrier. That does mean you have limitations as to the size of the dog simply because of this requirement.

Also, the carrier must sit either on your lap or under your legs. You cannot have a carrier where it is blocking the ability of other passengers to move around the bus. Once again, that explains why restrictions on size need to be put into place.

Typically, it covers small dogs due to different bus companies having restrictions on the size of the carrier allowed on their vehicles. 

dog in pet carrier

Additional Rules

As you would perhaps expect, your dog needs to behave itself while traveling on a bus. They cannot make an excessive amount of noise, so if you know your dog does not like being in a carrier, then it may mean you should not travel on a bus.

Also, the bus companies tend to enforce the rule as to where the carrier should sit. Do not put it on the aisle at any point.

Your dog must also not deprive an individual of a seat. That is why they enforce the need for a carrier to either sit on your lap or below another seat. 

Do not think that you can travel on a bus with your dog on its leash. That is something they do not generally allow, and it is often due to the need to keep the dog under control.

Also, keeping them in a holder does contain them, and that allows you to comply with the rules and laws.

Large Dogs are Just Not Allowed

Due to this size restriction, it does mean you will often find that large dogs cannot travel on a bus. This applies even for short journeys, but it’s still worth double checking things before you need to travel.

As we said earlier, there is not one solitary rule that covers every bus company in the country. That does mean you may find one bus company that allows you to travel before switching to a different company and you run into problems.

The best approach is to go ahead and check with each travel company. That way, you will not find yourself caught out at any point.

Also, do make sure you know the maximum size of the carrier. Different companies do provide you with maximum size requirements, and it’s important to follow them. 

And another thing, some bus companies will even restrict what we would refer to as medium-sized dogs. It all comes back to their carrier size restrictions as to whether or not you can venture onto the bus with your dog.

They Can Stop You From Boarding

You should also understand that bus companies do have the right to stop you from boarding at any point. This does make life harder for you, but this does not always happen. 

The key to stopping this from happening is to make sure you follow the rules listed above. If your dog remains well behaved and sits in their transport crate, then you would be rather unlucky to have someone stop you from boarding.

But that is why we do stress you need to make sure you know your rights for that particular company before you travel. It does help when you know what you can and cannot do when you wish to travel with your dog. 

Is There a Cost?

Finally, you may wish to know if a cost is involved with taking your dog on the bus. Once again, this varies depending on the company and route you plan to travel on.

Some companies allow you to bring your dog with you without any additional charge. For others, there may be a small fee.

You certainly need to check on this ahead of booking your ticket, and the companies are happy to help.

But do realize that you may run into costs if your journey involves needing to change bus or companies. Planning ahead stops this from becoming an issue, and it will help you avoid running into issues.

Overall Conclusion

Trying to travel on a bus with your dog does come with a number of difficulties that need to be tackled. It does become easier if you have a small dog.

If you own a large dog, then it’s best to just conclude you cannot travel by bus anywhere in the country.

With a small dog, you need to keep your dog in a carrier that can either sit on your lap or below the seat in front. The only exception is clearly a service dog, but they are so well trained that they never cause a problem.

Finally, if your dog causes too much noise, then do expect to run into problems. However, you should already know if that could potentially occur ahead of departing. 

Overall, it’s tough trying to travel on a bus with your dog. However, it’s not impossible depending on the dog in question. 

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