If you have a pet in India, you already know that almost nothing is pet friendly. This includes transport. However, I just traveled with my pupper from Bangalore to Kerala. And while the entirety of that experience was unnecessarily tiresome and confusing, I did figure out the process. For starters, here are your options – Flights (only air India allows pets aboard), trains and cabs.
For flights – I recommend you speak to the group crew about it. While only Air India is the only pet-friendly flight in the country, it also comes with it’s terms and conditions. If your pet is 5kgs and below – you can travel with your pet (in a crate), you will be allocated the very last seat if the pilot driving the aircraft is cool with it. (Yes, you are to pray that the pilot is a pet lover). If you’re unable to get the pilot’s validation or if your pet is heavier, you can opt for cargo.
Things you need –
- The right kind of crate
- Fit to travel certificate
- Weigh your pet
- Pay as per the weight of the pet
- And your pet will get to nap in the baggage storage area
I’d recommend you reach the airport early for the same. Cargo takes time.
Travel by Train
This is the option I opted for as the Air India from Bangalore to Kerala does not (I’m not sure why) have the pet travel facilities. While traveling via train with our pet was stressful at first (due to lack of information) I would definitely recommend it. Here’s what you do.
- Download ISRCTC app from playstore/appstore.
2. Book either two or four first A/C tickets. This is because you get a cabin exclusively for yourself. Inability to do so may lead to your co-passengers having an issue with your pet which is honestly, not a headache I would recommend. Choose the option ‘couple’ when you are booking ticket.
3. Make sure you give the correct email address and phone number
4. Wait for the ticket to get confirmed (we got confirmation immediately).
5. Once you get confirmation, 24 hours before departure date, take your dog to a vet and get a ‘fit to travel certificate’ (if your dog is not vaccinated with all necessary vaccines, you might not get the certificate).
6. Then take 1 photocopy of all the passengers’ aadhar cards, dog’s fit to travel certificate, a hand written letter requesting for coupe mentioning that you will be travelling with a pet (ensure that you mention your PNR number, train name and number , date of travel, names of passengers in the letter).
7. You need to submit all these forms pinned together at the district railway manager’s office (usually there will be a box where the security sits, you can submit all these documents there).
8. Time to get religious. Hope that you get coupe (which is a cabin for two that can be closed so your pet gets to actually stretch.
On the day of journey, make sure you reach at least 4 hours in advance with your dog. You can board ONLY from the railway station that’s mentioned in your ticket.
You need to reach the railway station to check if your got coupe- confirm it at the enquiry or by meeting station master (we got a text message about 3 hours before departure via the app). Confirmation of coupe can be checked only 3-4 hours before departure. There is no way we can know beforehand.
Carry a file with photocopy of passengers’ aadhar card, fit to travel certificate of the dog and the original.
Once you reach the railway station, take your dog to the parcel office. They asked us to show our Aadhar card copies, fit to travel certificate of the dog and photocopy of train ticket. They looked at our dog and inquired if we have a crate (ours was a puppy, I don’t think you need to have a crate if it’s a full grown dog but do get a muzzle and leash to be safe).
They looked at our dog (they no longer weigh the dogs) and asked us to pay Rs 300/- in cash. They gave us a ticket for the dog – this one is important, keep it safe.
We made the payment and we were allowed to sit in the first A/C waiting lounge.
We kept our luggage there (pro tip- carry a chain to tie your luggage to the chair) and took our dog to the other end of the railway station to feed her and make her poop and pee. We kept making her walk and play so that she gets tired (your pet can get nauseous so we’d recommend to not feed them in the train).
10-15 minutes before the train arrived we went back to the waiting room. Our ‘kuli’ (a life saver) helped us to find the right seat (pro tip- inquire where exactly the coach falls – its usually right infront of the a/c waiting room but get it confirmed from the waiting list watchman/ any other employees of railway). We do not recommend you do this alone, between the two of us and our dog, we were super stressed throughout this whole thing.
Then we boarded the train, the TT came and checked the tickets and the dog’s ticket that we received from parcel office. He actually thanked us for taking the effort total a ticket for the dog; apparently a lot of people board the train with their dogs without proper documents and when they get fined, they create a ruckus (don’t be that person).
Once our tickets and our dog’s tickets got approved, we closed the coupe door, sanitized the entire space and kept pee pads and cleaning supplies ready (disinfectant, room freshener, clothes to mop etc).
Also, the coupe was reaaaally cold so carry enough stuff to keep the dog warm.
Now our dog peed twice and we cleaned it up immediately. We could not get much sleep. You are not allowed to let the dog roam around the corridors unattended (tip: carry some bones for the dog to chew on and stay busy)
Do not feed a lot of food /water while the dog in on train, it can cause motion sickness and the dog could end up puking (we just made sure that she drank and ate before she got on train so that we could ensure that she finishes peeing and pooping).
Our train reached the destination and we got out of the train. The journey was smooth, we just had to walk around the railway station a lot to figure out the procedure. Now that we know, it really isn’t all that complicated (if you find someone who actually knows what to do).
Here are a few shoutouts because some things did definitely work out. If you’re in Bangalore – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE –
- Pawspace – We were able to drop our pup with pawspace’s pet sitter for two days as we walked around and figured out this whole thing. They are so good, the quality is great, it’s very transparent and they have great professionals. If you’re a pet parent and live in Bangalore, paw-space is the way to go. Here’s their site – https://www.pawspace.in https://www.pawspace.in
- Rego cabs – So after a series of autowalas and Ubers dropping us mid way or straight up denied us because we had our pupper with us (Why is India so disrespectful to animals? A conversation for another blog maybe) we found Rego cabs. They have a dedicated Innova for your pet drives. There is enough room for large dogs and you don’t have to worry about a thing. Easy to book, very sweet folks – definitely recommend. Here’s their site – http://www.rego.co.in/
Happy traveling pet parents! We hope India becomes pet-friendly soon.