Dogs are often our best friends, so naturally, we want to take them with us on our travels. Recently, there has been an increased interest in pet-friendly travel options, which shows that people have a deep connection to their furry friends. 

The pet-friendly possibilities of bringing dogs and cats are not always available due to some US pet and public transportation regulations. 

So, when can I take my dog or cat on a bus in the US? Remember, not all bus lines are pet friendly. These are some rules and tips to consider before you plan on going on the next adventure with your pooch.

Table of contents

1. Knowing the Bus Company Policies

The type, size, number, and fee of dogs allowed, as well as the paperwork required, may vary from company to company. 

You must keep your dog safe and protected while being courteous to others. If you take the proper precautions, bus travel with dogs can be a positive experience for both owners and their pets.

For more information on your bus company’s dog policies and if they are pet friendly, visit their website or make a phone call in advance. Vaccination records, health certificates, and behavior certificates may be required. 

2. Types of Dogs Allowed

Most bus companies only allow small dogs in carrier bags that fit on your lap or under the seat in front of you. We’re talking about friendly dogs and cats under 25 pounds. 

Some bus companies allow medium-sized dogs in carriers stowed under the seat, but additional fees apply.

While some bus companies, such as Greyhound, don’t allow any dogs on their buses, service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs, are permitted on buses under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  If you are curious about what is service a dog or how to get your dog service certified, don’t forget to check out our ultimate guide.

On the other hand, some companies have strict policies where pets cannot occupy seats. emotional support Animals do not have the same public access rights as service dogs under the ADA, unless the area is pet friendly. Most bus companies only allow emotional support animals if they meet the size requirements for dogs in carriers. Before traveling, it is best to check with the specific bus company for regulations.

3. Preparing Your Dog for the Journey

To ensure that your furry friend has a stress-free bus ride, prepare beforehand. 

  • Purchase a carrier approved for bus travel and the right size for your dog. 
  • Allow your dog to spend some time in it, and reward it with treats and praise so she/he sees it as a safe place.
  • Take your dog’s favorite toy, a blanket, treats, or a chew toy. Familiar smells and textures can help relieve stress when you travel with your pet.
  • Take your dog for a long walk before boarding the bus so it can relieve itself.
  • Be sure to bring copies of any required veterinary or training documents. Have a photo of your dog ready in case the ID tag falls off.

4. Choosing the Right Pet Carrier

When traveling with your dog or other small pets on a bus, an appropriate mode of transportation is critical for the pet’s comfort and safety. The carrier should be well-ventilated, sturdy, and the right size for your dog.

A conventional transport box or crate that can be slid under the bus seat is suitable for small dogs. Medium or large dogs need a transport box in the luggage compartment. 

In any case, look for a pet friendly transport box with multiple doors for easy access, mesh inserts for ventilation, a secure muzzle, padded floors, and secure locking mechanisms.

A carrier that is too small will be too cramped and uncomfortable for your dog, while one that is too large will not hold it properly during sudden stops or turns. Measure your dog in a standing position to determine the correct size. It should be large enough for it to stand, sit, lie, and turn around.

5. Tips for a Smooth Bus Journey

To keep your dog happy and stress-free, follow these tips:

  • Choose a transport box your dog feels comfortable in and put a familiar blanket or toy inside. 
  • Sit in the front of the bus, not near the restroom. For small pets, it is less noisy and bumpy in this area inside pet carriers, making it a friendly way to travel with your pet. Gently pet your dog or talk to it calmly and soothingly. 
  • When traveling with pets, bring utensils for cleaning up accidents and bags for waste. 
  • Pack essentials for your dog, such as food, water, leash, poop bags, medications, favorite toys or blankets, treats, and cleaning supplies. 

6. Service Dogs on Buses

The ADA considers service dogs to be working animals, not pets, so they can accompany their handlers on buses. Keep in mind that the pet and carrier can’t leave their designated area. However, there are a few rules about dogs on buses in the US to follow:

  • The dog must always remain under the handler’s control and behave properly.
  • Service dogs are also required to stay on the floor within the handler’s personal space, meaning the area around their feet. 
  • Service animals should not occupy a seat, sit in a passenger’s lap, or be in the aisle.

Choose an approved carrier for smaller dogs and adequately train and socialize your dog before the trip. Once you book your ticket, you are required to present a document proving that your dog has completed a recognized training as a guide dog.

7. Dog-Friendly Bus Companies

Although few bus companies in the United States are dog-friendly and allow people to travel with pets, several major bus companies gladly welcome them, while almost all accept service dogs. 

  1. Peter Pan Bus Lines is one option that allows small dogs in carrier bags. A dog combined with a carrier bag should be at most 25 pounds.
  2. Wisconsin Coach Lines allows small pets to ride the bus. is another bus company that allows pets, but only in a cage that will fit under a passenger seat. It will also charge a full adult fare per cage that occupies a passenger seat.
  3. Hampton Jitney allows dogs in fully enclosed, ventilated pet carriers that will be on the passenger’s lap if the coach is full and will cost a $10 fee.
  4. Amtrak is one of the buses where dogs are allowed. also allows pets in carriers that must be leakproof and well-ventilated. The maximum weight of a pet with the carrier is 20 pounds, while the maximum size is 19 inches long x 14 inches wide x 10.5 inches high. 

8. What to Do If Your Dog Gets Anxious?

Travel can cause anxiety in some dogs, mainly if they are not used to it. Here are some tips for keeping your furry friend calm on the bus:

  • Practice relaxation techniques in advance, especially when pets are allowed on the bus, to ensure their comfort during the journey. Getting your dog used to deep therapy, massage, or meditation before the trip can help to stay calm. Play soothing music or pat its belly.
  • Stay calm, this approach is pet-friendly. Dogs pick up on our emotions, so stay relaxed and confident. 
  • You can ask your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications. Natural remedies like CBD oil or chamomile can have a calming effect.

Don’t forget to check our article on how to help a dog with travel anxiety if your dog is experiencing it.


Understanding the exact bus regulations concerning your furry friends in advance can help avoid surprises on travel day. Now that you are familiar with how to organize comfortable bus journeys with dogs, you’re ready to hit the road!

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