Amtrak Pet Policy: Restrictions, Fees, and Required Paperwork

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: September 15, 2021

The Amtrak pet policy has been updated to meet the needs of passengers traveling with pets. Amtrak offers a safe and pet-friendly transportation service that is best suited to dogs and cats that weigh less than 20 lbs. To learn more about the Amtrak pet policy read on.

Pets on a Train! Amtrak Pet Policy

Traveling with a pet can sometimes seem quite challenging. As a pet owner, you’ll need to arrange for appropriate accommodation, additional expenses, and all sorts of things before you choose to travel with a pet.

More often than not, airlines are a lot more accommodating to pets when compared to other modes of transportation. Fortunately, the newly updated Amtrak pet policy has made train travel a whole lot easier. The Amtrak pet policy now allows small pets (dogs and cats) to travel on their train services.

Small Pets vs Large Pets: Size Limits for Pet Travel by Train

Pets on trains can be quite a tricky form of travel. If you’re looking to travel via Amtrak, then it is important to remember that the Amtrak pet policy only accepts dogs and cats that weigh up to 20 lbs.

In addition to this, all passengers traveling with pets must provide a pet carrier. The pet carrier must be 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high and it would count as your one piece of carry-on luggage.

Ticket Price? Is There a Pet Fee on Amtrak Trains?

If a passenger is interested in traveling with Amtrak, then they need to be aware of the pet fees and regulations. According to the Amtrak pet policy, any passenger traveling with a pet will be charged $26 or 800 Amtrak Guest Rewards points.

Finally, the policy states that emotional support animals must also abide by the Amtrak pet policy guidelines. This means that all emotional support dogs or cats must meet the weight requirements and will be charged $26.

Documentation: What Paperwork Do I Need Before Boarding an Amtrak Train with my Pup?

Cat and dog owners looking to travel with their furry friend must submit two important documents prior to departure.

  1. The pet release and indemnification agreement ensures that the traveling passenger is responsible for handling and managing their pet at all times.  Amtrak will not be held responsible for any harm or damage a pet does to/on the train.
  2. Finally, Amtrak will only accept healthy pets that are over the age of 8 weeks old. Owners must show evidence of vaccination through their most recent veterinary records.

Other Rules for Traveling on an Amtrak Train with Your Pet

  1. Each passenger may only take one pet on board. However, an exception is made for young kittens and puppies where two can fit into one appropriately sized pet carrier.
  2. Pets are only allowed in coach class.

amtrack with your pet

Dog Breeds that are Better Suited to Train Travel

The Amtrak pet policy states that they will only accept pets that weigh no more than 20 lbs. That being said, here are some small dog breeds that are best suited to traveling via trains.

  1. The Bichon Frise
  2. Chihuahua
  3. Fox Terrier
  4. Italian Greyhound
  5. Yorkshire Terrier
  6. Toy Poodle
  7. Papillion
  8. Pug
  9. Shih Tzu
  10. Boston Terrier

The Advantages of Train Travel

Traveling with your four-legged friend by train can be easier and less stressful than other modes of transport. Train cars are usually more spacious than airplane cabins. Also, there are usually stops on a train journey, which is a great opportunity for toilet breaks! A train ride can be a little less bumpy than a car journey. If you have an anxious animal, another advantage of traveling by train rather than a car is that you can focus all your attention on them and not worry about the driving!

Amtrak Pets: Which Routes are Best for Traveling with Cats and Dogs?

Dogs and cats under 20 lb are allowed on most routes that are under 7 hours long. There are some restrictions that apply to some of the routes on weekends and holidays. Before you choose to travel with your pet on Amtrak, here are a few important things you will need to know.

  1. Pets can travel via Acela Express on weekends and holidays only.
  2. You cannot travel with a pet to Canada if you choose to ride with Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Amtrak Cascades.
  3. For the following routes: Amtrak Cascades, Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, Illini, Lincoln Service, Saluki, Pere Marquette, Wolverine, Blue Water, Hiawatha, and Missouri River Runner—pet’s may travel on the Coach car.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Traveling by Train with Your Furry Friend

  1. If traveling with Amtrak, you will need to reserve a seat well in advance. The train service only allows a maximum of 5 pets on board their train.
  2. Amtrak does not ship pets nor do they allow pets to travel as checked-in luggage. All pets must travel by their owner’s side in an appropriate and comfortable pet carrier.
  3. As all pets must travel by their owner’s side. You will need to ensure that your pet is well-behaved and as comfortable as possible.
  4. When choosing a pet carrier, the Amtrak pet policy recommends either a hard or soft crate that is well-ventilated. All pets must be able to sit, turn, or lie down comfortably while in their crates.
  5. All crates need to fit comfortably under the passenger’s seat. So, it’s important to find an appropriately sized crate for your dog or cat.
  6. It is advisable to make sure that your furry friend is used to traveling before taking on a long journey.

amtrak policy pets

Check Online for Amtrak Map Schedule

If you have any questions or queries regarding the Amtrak map schedule make sure you check out their website at

Alternatively, if you have questions about traveling with your pet or a service dog then you can call Amtrak at  1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) to make a reservation.

Small Pet Carrier – Make Sure it is the Correct Size!

Remember, before you choose to travel with your dog or cat, you need to make sure you meet the Amtrak pet policy guidelines. All pets that ride with Amtrak must be accompanied by a suitable pet carrier. Pet carriers can be a maximum of 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high.

pet carrier for travel

Common Questions on the Amtrak Pet Policy

Can you bring pets on Amtrak trains?

Can you take emotional support animals on Amtrak?

How much does it cost to take a dog on Amtrak?

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