Golden Labrador stood on the platform waiting for Underground train

Dogs on the Tube: Travelling with your dog on London Underground

London’s transport system can seem complex for us humans, so making a journey with your dog can require some forward planning. Luckily, TfL is dog-friendly and our four-legged friends are allowed on all London buses, trains, Tubes and trams for free!

If you’ve arrived at a Tube station only to realise that there are no stairs or lift, you may wonder how to get your very heavy dog to the platform.

If this sounds like a familiar scenario, then read on. Here we answer all of your questions on taking your dog on London Underground.

Tube map of London with dog friendly access

Can dogs go on escalators?

Dogs, unless trained as an assistance dog, are not allowed on the escalator themselves; this can cause serious harm as they can get their fur, nails or skin caught in the moving staircases.

What are TfL’s rules for dogs on transportation?

Your dog can travel for free on the London Underground and London Overground as long as they are kept on a lead or in a crate/carrier. Station staff can refuse you entry if your dog is misbehaving.

How do I plan ahead?

By planning ahead, you’ll find that your journey runs more smoothly. You can plan your journey from A to B using TfL’s journey planner and our handy map (above) will help you to plan your dog-friendly travel using the lifts and stairs at the station. 

If, after planning your journey, you do find yourself at an escalator-only station, then you must either carry your dog up or down the escalator, or you can request that a member of staff stops the escalator for you outside of rush hours and when the station is not busy. However, this may not always be possible as some central London stations experience higher levels of congestion than others.

How can I safely pick up my dog on the escalator?

Many people make the mistake of picking up their dog without any warning. This can scare your dog and may cause them to try to wriggle out of your hold.

You can give them a heads up by crouching down in front of them and letting them sniff the back of your hand. Then begin stroking them on their front and hind legs and chest in slow, soothing motions.

If your dog is a weight that you are comfortable handling, then the best way to pick your dog up is to place one arm in front of their front legs and the other arm should be placed around their back legs, under their bum. This technique is the most comfortable way of handling a dog for the both of you.

You can train your dog to be picked up and to expect to be picked up by using a pairing word such as ‘up’ or ‘lift’. This is particularly useful if you have a small dog and are able to train them from a young age.

If they are too heavy for you to pick up, please look for alternative transport routes with stairs or a lift using our handy map above.


How can I make the journey easier for my dog?

The Tube can seem overwhelming for us as humans, so imagine how this can feel to a dog; lots of new smells, heat and crowded spaces. However, if you carefully train your dog you can help to make their journey as stress free as possible.

Golden Labrador and brindle lurcher on London Underground carriage

Training on Tubes:

  • To begin with, introduce your dog to the Underground in short bursts
  • Start by taking them into the ticket hall and letting them get used to the crowds by positively rewarding them when they sit or look at ease. For some dogs you may need to get them to concentrate on you so that they learn to pay attention to you in a busy environment.
  • Once they’re happy in the ticket hall, start to introduce them to the ticket barriers by walking through using treats or strokes to make them feel more relaxed 
  • Then you’re ready to start the same process on the lifts; slowly introducing them and positively rewarding them for calm behaviour
  • If you’re feeling that he/she is now confident in the hustle and bustle of the ticket hall you can take your first journey on London Underground. Start by taking the tube to the next station and closely monitoring how your dog reacts.

Tips:

  • Start training your dog as young as possible
  • Pairing new experiences with something nice is always a great way to encourage calm behaviour
  • If you are able to, try to get a seat with space so that your dog can sit/lie on the floor beside you
  • Some dogs will be more anxious than others so, if you think that your dog is stressed on the Underground, try to limit your time spent on the tube to as little as possible. Sometimes it’s worth looking at a map of London to see how far your destination is, as the distance may be shorter than you think and easier to walk.
Brindle lurcher on Underground

Dogs and passengers

It’s important to remember that while lots of people share our love of dogs, there are many who are scared or dislike them. 

What can I do if someone is scared of my dog?

If you notice that someone is scared of dogs, an acknowledgement that you’ve noticed and are doing something about it can go a long way. For example, making an obvious attempt to show your dog is calm, well behaved and not going to approach them.

Depending on how busy the service is, it’s helpful to place yourself between your dog and the person who is worried, as a clear visible gesture that you respect their boundaries.

Over-friendly passengers

Some people will be thrilled to see a dog on the Underground and will usually approach full of energy and smiles for you and your dog. 

While unintentional, this usually leads to them approaching your dog in a way that your dog may find overwhelming. This can include strangers coming into your dog’s personal space, usually crouching down into their face.

In an already busy, stressful situation this can be a lot for your dog to have to deal with. In these scenarios, it’s best to ask someone to approach your dog slowly and calmly and only if you know that your dog is comfortable with being stroked. 

Remember, that you are making the decision that is best for your dog, so don’t feel under pressure to allow someone to stroke them just because they want to. 

Children and dogs

While your dog may be used to being around children, it is best to ask that they don’t stroke your dog on the Underground. This avoids children stroking your dog too hard or pulling/grabbing your dog in a way that could cause pain.

If you are happy that your dog is confident with children and content if a little one greets them, then ask them to approach your dog slowly and calmly, encouraging soft strokes and giving your dog the space to move away if they want to. Carefully monitor the interaction between the two of them and keep the encounter short and sweet.


Signs that your dog is unhappy on the tube

If your dog displays any of the following behaviours, you should closely monitor them and make a decision on whether or not to remove them from the situation if the behaviour persists or increases: 

  • panting excessively
  • pacing
  • tail tucked between legs
  • vocalisation
  • lip licking
  • excessive yawning
  • ears back 
  • whites of the eyes show excessively 
  • paw raise
  • chewing the lead, which can be a stress reliever
  • displacement behaviour/distracting themselves using normal behaviours that they wouldn’t usually display in that particular situation. This can be things like excessive sniffing or scratching themselves.

Safety measures

Golden Labrador walking through ticket barrier at station
  • Use the accessibility and mobility access gate when entering the station with your pet – this gives you more time and space to get through the ticket barriers
  • Stay behind the yellow line on the platform 
  • You must always ensure that you carry water for your dog on the tube
  • Keep your dog on its lead at all times
  • Even if your four-legged friend enjoys being around other dogs, it may be best to keep them separate if you see another dog on your journey. Stress and anxiety can cause your dog to react differently in certain situations.
  • Ask people not to stroke your dog unless you know they are comfortable with this
  • If your dog does have a fear of unfamiliar people then you should avoid the tube
  • Avoid rush hour
  • If the tube is too full, wait for the next one. Don’t try to squeeze on with your dog. They may get their paws stepped on!

Travel in the heat

Golden Labrador and brindle lurcher outside Embankment Underground with owners

 

Dogs can quickly become overheated and this can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety, so please monitor them carefully. The Underground can be warm on a normal day but during hot spells, it can reach over 30°C.

More information on travelling with your dog in the heat can be found on our website.
 


What if my dog has a mobility problem and can’t climb stairs?

If your dog has a disability or is older which means that they struggle with stairs and large gaps on the tube then we have a list of stations with lifts below. You can also check these stations out on our dog-friendly map above.

Bakerloo Line: Willesden Junction, Wembley Central & Harrow and Wealdstone

Central Line: Greenford, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Stratford, Woodford, Hainault, Roding Valley, Newbury Park Buckhurst Hill and Epping

Circle Line: Westminster, Blackfriars, Tower Hill, Farringdon, King’s Cross St. Pancras, Paddington, Wood Lane and Hammersmith

District Line: Westminster, Blackfriars, Tower Hill, West Ham, East Ham, Barking, Upney, Dagenham Heathway, Elm Park, Upminster, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, Acton Town, Kew Gardens, Richmond, Fulham Broadway, Southfields, Bromley-by-Bow and Wimbledon

District Line (open weekends and public holidays): Kensington (Olympia) and Earl’s Court

Hammersmith & City Line: Hammersmith, Bromley-by-Bow, Wood Lane, Paddington, King’s Cross St. Pancras, Farringdon, West Ham, East Ham and Barking

Jubilee Line: Stanmore, Kingsbury, Wembley Park, Kilburn, Bond Street, Green Park, Westminster, Waterloo, Southwark, London Bridge, Bermondsey, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, North Greenwich, Canning Town, West Ham and Stratford

Metropolitan: Chesham, Chalfont & Latimer, Chorleywood, Pinner, Uxbridge, Hillingdon, Wembley Park, King’s Cross St Pancras and Farringdon

Northern Line: Edgware, Hendon Central, Golders Green, High Barnet, Woodside Park, West Finchley, Finchley Central, Tottenham Court Road, King’s Cross St Pancras, London Bridge and Morden

Piccadilly Line: Oakwood, Finsbury Park, Caledonian Road, King’s Cross St Pancras, Green Park, Earl’s Court, Hammersmith, Acton Town, Hounslow East, Hounslow West, Heathrow Terminal 2 & 3, Heathrow Terminal 4, Heathrow Terminal 5, Uxbridge, Hillingdon and Sudbury Town

Victoria Line: Tottenham Hale, Finsbury Park, King’s Cross St Pancras, Green Park, Victoria, Vauxhall and Brixton

Waterloo and City Line: No step-free access

DLR and London Trams: Step-free access throughout

London Overground: Watford Junction, Carpenders Park, Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Willesden Junction, Euston, Kensal Rise, Hampstead Heath, Gospel Oak, Camden Road, Caledonian Road & Barnsbury, Highbury & Islington, Canonbury, Hackney Central, Homerton, Hackney Wick, Stratford, Upper Holloway, Harringay Green Lanes, South Tottenham, Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow Queen’s Road,  Walthamstow Central, Barking, Edmonton Green, Bush Hill Park, Enfield Town, Cheshunt, Highams Park, Chingford, Liverpool Street, Dalston Junction, Haggerston, Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street, Canada Water, New Cross, New Cross Gate, Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill, Sydenham, Crystal Palace, Anerley, West Croydon, Queens Road Peckham, Denmark Hill, Clapham Junction, Imperial Wharf, West Brompton, Kensington (Olympia), Shepherd’s Bush, Richmond, Kew Gardens, South Acton, Acton Central, Willesden Junction, Romford and Emerson Park

TFL Rail: Liverpool Street, Stratford, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Brentwood, Paddington and Shenfield

Please bear in mind that step-free access may not be available due to maintenance or repair works so check your journey beforehand.

Thinking of taking your dog on the train or in a taxi instead? Check out our advice for travelling with your dog on trains and how to travel with your dog by taxi.

Brindle lurcher with owner walking down steps at station
— Page last updated 27/08/2020

Did you find this helpful?

We provide free pet advice as every pet deserves to be well looked after. We treated around 35,000 sick injured and homeless pets last year. We're so glad we've been able to help these pets who are unable to help themselves, but there are thousands of sick and lonely pets still in need, so we need to ask for a small favour.

All of our work is funded entirely through donations. People like you are essential to our work. If everyone who benefits from our articles is able to give a little back, we can reach thousands more pets. For as little as £1 you can make a difference - do you have one minute? Thank you.