Dogs on trains in Germany – Easy Travel Guide

Dogs on trains in Germany

Whether you live full time in Germany, or are just passing through, the German railway system makes travelling by train really easy! We often commute between Berlin and Cologne by train, basically crossing the full width of Germany in less than 5h. When we first

Navigating the ins and outs of travelling with a dog on the German railway system can be a daunting task tho, but fear not! This ultimate guide will help you have a seamless, enjoyable journey with your pup. Follow these dos and don’ts, and you’ll be a pro at travelling with dogs on trains in Germany in no time.


Part 1: Preparing for Your Journey

1. Do Your Research

Before embarking on your journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Deutsche Bahn’s rules and regulations for travelling with pets. Dogs on trains in Germany are generally welcome, but some restrictions apply. Visit Deutsche Bahn’s official website to gather the most up to date information and avoid any unpleasant surprises during your trip. Deutsche Bahn operates the long-haul trains, if you are using undergrounds, streetcars or regional trains, you need to check with the operators (but most rules are the same). Here in Berlin, the BVG has never requested us directly  to use of a muzzle and plenty of dogs travel without in the city, but have one on hand just in case.

2. Plan Ahead

As you prepare for your adventure, make a list of the essentials you’ll need for your dog’s comfort and safety. This includes a leash, muzzle, water bowl, dog food, and a favourite toy, blanket and whatever else might come in handy. Packing these items in advance ensures you won’t forget anything important and guarantees a smoother journey for you and your dog. You can some of our all-time favourite items here.

3. Booking

On Deutsche Bahn, you can choose between 1. and 2. Class. First Class will give you more space and the ticket includes the seat reservation. In 2. Class, you have to book a seat separately (around 5 Euros). It really comes down to budget and your preference, we tend to book in 1. Class, as long as we can book far in advance the price is reasonable for the peace of mind it gives me. It has happened a few time to us that the seat booking was broken on the train and you end up scrambling for a seat, being in 1. Class makes this a lot more manageable.

Lastly, when booking, Deutsche Bahn gives you an estimate on how busy the train will be, for example on a Friday the midday trains will be crazy packed, hence we tend to go early in the morning and snooze on the train.


Part 2: At the Train Station

4. Arrive Early

Arriving at the train station well ahead of your departure time is a must. This allows you to find your platform and carriage with ease, while also giving your dog the opportunity to adjust to the bustling station environment. Remember, the more stressed you are, the more stressed your pup will be. Keep in mind that dogs on trains in Germany are expected to be well-behaved, so allow enough time for a quick walk to help your pup burn off some energy before boarding. Depending on your dog, you might want to start with shorter train rides and build up the skill to settle and remain calm.

5. Muzzle and Leash

Before entering the train station, ensure your dog is wearing a muzzle and is secured on the leash, ideally in a safety harness. The last thing you want is for your dog to get loose inside the train station, we always double-hook Oddy in his collar and his harness to make sure he can’t slip out. Regarding the muzzle, Deutsche Bahn mandates that all dogs, regardless of size, must be muzzled throughout the journey unless they are small enough to be placed inside their carrier. As we carry Oddy onto the train in his backpack (theoretically a carrier) and have him sleep under the seat the whole trip long, we usually keep the muzzle within reach but don’t have it on throughout. We have been asked only once by staff to put it on and had no problem beyond.


Part 3: Boarding the Train

6. Choose the Right Carrier

If your dog can fit a carrier, you should travel with one to avoid having paying for a train ticket on the Deutsche Bahn. While Oddy is too large for the carriers that can be closed, we still “carry” him on the train in our K9 sports pack to manoeuvre the train station crowds and steep train steps better. It has been a total game changer for us and we highly recommend it!

7. Your Seat

Once you’ve found your seat, put down your dogs blanket as it will help them settle in way faster (and keep the fur at bay on the train carpet). You also want to securely fasten your dog’s leash.  This precaution prevents your pet from wandering around the carriage and potentially disturbing other passengers. Additionally, your dog should remain on the floor, not on the seats, to respect the cleanliness and comfort of the train. Putting your feet up or a dog on a seat in Germany is a big no-no, the staff will come up and ask you to adjust accordingly.


Part 4: During the Journey

8. Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Travelling can be stressful and tiring for both humans and animals. Remember to offer your dog water regularly throughout the journey to keep them hydrated and comfortable, but also keep in mind the amount of time before your dog can go potty again. On the 5h commute we regularly take, I tend to offer Oddy water twice, ones after he finishes a chewie and again when we are close to our destination. A collapsible water bowl is a convenient tool for providing water on the go.

9. Remain Attentive

Be mindful of your dog’s behaviour during the journey. Dogs on trains in Germany are expected to be well-behaved and quiet. If your dog becomes agitated or noisy, take the time to soothe and reassure. Having an emergency chewie on hand (ideally one that doesn’t stink up the department) can be life saver! While we avoid artificial treats, we make an exception with these bleached skin chews (vs the naturally dried ones he usually gets) for the sake of smell and mess on the train.


Part 5: Post Travel

10. Give ample option for movement

Potty, shaking off the trip and getting some fresh air – not just good for your dog!


11. Rest up

It’s important to give your dog the chance to rest up at your destination. Especially if it is a new surrounding, bring familiar smells with you and set up a quiet corner for your pup.

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Charlotte and Oddy


Hi there, my name is Charlotte and I am the founder of pup culture. Together with my dog Oddy, we are a duo on a mission to share dog parenthood in the city. We currently live in Berlin, and while we juggle a busy 9-5 job, we love making life a little extra where we can, travel and infuse mindfulness into everything we do. Follow us on our journey as we explore the city and beyond, all while promoting a culture of holistic pet ownership, (mental) health and wellbeing. 

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