Yes, dogs are allowed on most trains—your small dog, anyway—but not all trains. And there are a lot of rules about dogs on trains. First and foremost, your dog must be clean (not smelly) and not disruptive, so he should not be a barker.
Remember that the most important consideration to any passenger train company is the comfort and safety of its customers, and rules are designed to ensure that. That’s why dogs and cats are the only pets allowed on trains—your bearded dragon will need to stay home.
Small dogs are allowed on Amtrak, the country’s largest passenger train, but the maximum combined weight of the dog and carrier is 20 pounds. You must provide the carrier, which must fit under your seat or the floor in front of you in some cases (ask when you make the reservation). The carrier can be a maximum of 19” long, 14” wide, and 10.5” high. It can be soft or hard but must be leakproof and well-ventilated. The dog must be able to sit and lie down without touching the sides of the carrier.
Your dog must be in the carrier at all times on the train and in the station. Dogs are only allowed on trips that are seven hours or less, and the dog cannot need attention during that time (meaning primarily feeding or a potty break).
Only five dogs are allowed on each train (not including certified service pets), and the Amtrak website recommends making a reservation for your dog. Amtrak can refuse any pet, and only one pet is allowed per customer. The fee is generally $29 to $39.
Your dog must be at least 8 weeks old, you will need to sign a release form certifying he’s fully vaccinated. Always have your dog’s picture, microchip information, and full vaccination records from your veterinarian with you.
Dogs are not allowed in some trains—and not at all on the Auto Train that runs from Virginia to Florida—and they are not allowed on trains going outside the United States.
While these are the most important regulations, there are others, and the rules can change. For Amtrak, call 800-USA-RAIL or go to Amtrak.com/home to find out more before you plan a train ride with your dog.