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Travelling with pets
Animals are sentient beings, so we want to make sure that they’re treated respectfully and travel comfortably while on board. To help us help your loyal friends, here are a few steps to follow.
This service for small pets is only offered on trains in the Québec – Windsor corridor.
VIA Rail allows dogs and cats to travel in cars with their owners as long as the animals are small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier that meets our carrier standards.
How to book?
The reservation for your pet transport in the cabin can be made as soon as the ticket is purchased and up to two days before departure. It is strongly recommended that you notify us before departure, as places are limited and subject to availability only.
Passengers must advise us that they will be traveling with an animal by calling our call center at least two days before departure at 1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245) or 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired).
Pet registration can also be done at a VIA Rail ticket counter, provided that two days’ notice is given.
In order to ensure the safety of your animal, you must make sure that the carrier is comfortable for the animal and that it complies with the applicable rules. In particular, it must prevent the animal from exploring the train and must not cause it unnecessary stress. Train travel should be enjoyable for everyone.
Anticipate your pet's needs
- In case of delay, the passenger must anticipate the needs of his animal.
- Make sure you bring enough food and water for your companion.
- Before you go, help him relieve himself. To ensure a smooth trip, make sure it has everything you need to be comfortable.
- It may be helpful to have animal training pads with you for your pet. VIA does not provide these accessories.
Guidelines to follow
- VIA Rail accepts hard and soft-sided carriers.
- The total weight of the carrier and animal must not exceed 10 kilograms (22 lb.).
- Maximum carrier size permitted in a car:
- Height: 27 cm (10.5 in)
- Width: 40 cm (15.5 in)
- Length: 55 cm (21.5 in)
- Only one pet is permitted per carrier.
- Pet carriers must be leak-proof and well ventilated.
- The pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
- No part of the pet may extend outside the pet carrier.
Note that VIA Rail employees may refuse traveller-supplied carriers that appear to be unsafe or inadequate and/or do not meet the stated standards.
Fees and conditions
The pet and its carrier are considered an addition to the carry-on baggage allowance and an on-board transporting fee applies.
In the Québec – Windsor corridor
$ 50.00 per direction (plus tax)
Additional space for your pet
If additional space is required, the passenger may purchase an additional seat at the applicable rate depending on availability at the moment of the reservation. The carrier can then be placed on the floor at the foot of the adjacent seat rather than at the passenger’s feet. The $50 fee will apply in addition to the price of the seat.
- The pet must be kept under control and must always be attended in the station and while on board the train.
- The pet must always remain in the carrier.
- The pet must remain on the floor at the passenger’s feet.
- The pet must not be left unattended in any public or private area such as a washroom.
- Under no condition can the pet carrier be placed on the seat.
- Considering the shape and structure of the seats in our cars, animal carriers cannot be stowed under your seat or the seat in front of you. They
Pets in the Business lounge
Passengers traveling in Business class with their pets will be allowed in the VIA Business Lounges as long as the pet remains imperatively in a closed pet carrier and never left unattended.
Certain provinces and regions refuse pit bulls. As such, VIA Rail does not allow this breed of dog system-wide. Mix or cross breed pit bulls are not accepted.
- Only small dogs and cats are permitted. Pets must be at least 12 weeks old and fully weaned.
- A maximum of one carrier per passenger (12 years old and older) is allowed. Only one pet is permitted per carrier.
- The total weight of the carrier and animal must not exceed 10 kilograms (22 lb.).
- Pet travel is booked on a space-available basis. We accept a maximum of two pets in Economy and one pet in Business Class (does not include service and emotional support dogs).
- The pet and its carrier are considered an addition to the permitted carry-on baggage allowance. Therefore, a pet on-board fee will apply.
- The pet must remain imperatively in a closed pet carrier, very close to the passenger.
- The passenger is responsible for transporting and keeping the pet in its carrier with them at all times throughout the journey.
- In stations, for security reasons, the pet must wear a muzzle and be on a leash at all times when out of its carrier.
- Passengers travelling with their pet must arrive at the station as follows:
- Terminal Staffed Station: 1 hour before scheduled departure time.
- Intermediate Staffed Station: 30 minutes before scheduled departure time.
VIA Rail may, at its sole discretion, refuse to transport any animals that appear to be unruly, aggressive, distressed and dangerous or that appear to be dangerous or in pain. As such, VIA Rail personnel may require the passenger to remove the animal en route or from the station premises if:
- The animal is out of control and effective action is not immediately taken to control the pet (for example, a dog barking repeatedly and uncontrollably or that is not housebroken).
- The pet poses a threat to the health or safety of others
Pets are prohibited from travelling with:
- Unaccompanied minors
- Passengers travelling with infants under the age of two years old
- Passengers who require the use of a medical device at their seat, such as a CPAC machine, oxygen tank, etc.
- Passengers with intermodal reservations
- Passengers travelling on The Maple Leaf (Toronto – New York) Amtrak train.
- Passengers already travelling with a service dog or an emotional support dog.* A support person may travel with a pet as long as they are able to aid both the pet and the passenger who requires assistance.
The support person travelling with a passenger to provide assistance will be entitled to travel with an animal as long as he is able to assist the animal and the passenger who needs assistance
This service does not apply to guide, assistance or emotional support dogs. Please refer to the following link: Travel with a trained guide service, or emotional support dog.
Limits of liability
VIA Rail will not be held liable for the loss, delay, injury, sickness or death of any pet accepted for transportation.
VIA personnel may require the passenger to remove the animal en route or from the station premises if the animal is out of control or if the dog poses a threat to the health or safety of others. VIA Rail will reimburse the non-travel portion of the trip in this event.
If the passenger is asked to remove the dog, but would like to remain on the premises and/or continue to travel without the dog, they must make arrangements at their own expense for another person or local animal control to assume custody of the animal, and they may be required to continue the VIA train trip at a later time or on a later date.
This service is only offered on our long-haul trains (trains Toronto – Vancouver, Winnipeg – Churchill, Montréal – Halifax).
If you need to register your animal, rest assured that our employees will take the best possible care of your animal.
Pets require special handling for checking, and minimal safety requirements must be adhered to when handling them.
Please be aware that baggage cars are heated, but that most are not air-conditioned. Your pet may therefore be exposed to high temperatures. From June 1 to September 30, baggage cars cannot transport animals due to lack of proper ventilation.
- If you wish to travel with your pet, please let us know 24 hours in advance by calling 1 888 842-7245 or TTY 1 800 268-9503 (hearing impaired). Be sure also to check in your pet at least one hour before departure.
- Dogs, cats and small rodents (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc.) are the only animals allowed in baggage cars. Birds cannot be checked.
- Certain provinces and regions refuse pitbulls, therefore, VIA does not accept this breed of dog system wide. Mix or cross breed pit bulls are not accepted.
- Please ensure that your pet has received all necessary care and vaccinations and has undergone an annual health check
- Pets must be checked on the same train as their owner and be claimed immediately upon arrival.
- Passengers must check their pets one hour before departure (but not much more, for the pet's comfort).
- Dogs must be muzzled when outside of their cage. Once inside the cage, the dog must not be muzzled as it must be able to drink at all times. Furthermore, we ask that you provide a lock to help prevent your pet escaping from its cage during the trip
- VIA reserves the right to refuse checking pets if unsafe.
Specifications and cost of transporting your pet in a baggage car
- Soft cages are prohibited and only rigid cages (metal or hard plastic) are accepted.
- Your pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
- Pet owners must provide their own cage. Cages can be purchased at larger pet shops.
- Please note that VIA Rail reserves the right at check-in to refuse any animal that is judged to be a danger to the security of any or all travelers.
- There is no weight limit for your animal. However, for safety reasons, VIA personnel will not transport animals and cages whose combined weight exceeds 32 kg (70 lb.). If your pet exceeds this limit, you are solely responsible for carrying your animal when boarding or disembarking from the train. In this case, a VIA employee can carry the empty cage.
Cost for transport in a baggage car
|Maximum height of accepted carriers
(maximum of 33" / 83 cm high)
On long haul trains operated outside the Corridor (like the Toronto-Vancouver, Winnipeg – Churchill, or Montreal-Halifax), customers are responsible for feeding, watering and exercising their pets. Customers must coordinate visit with the Service Manager on board, and the owner must be accompanied by an on-train services employee in charge when visiting the baggage car.
Don’t forget that you have to claim your pet as soon as you reach your destination!