For some people, their pets are the most beloved companions and are an important family member. While for a few people, their pets are their only companions, there are some who are so attached to their pets that they despise being separated from them for an extended period of time. As a result, the real issue arises when one is forced to leave them behind while traveling. While some people have friends and family members to care for their pets, others do not. In such a case, they have no choice but to bring their pets with them when travelling.
Consider the case of Mrs. Khanna. She lives alone in Mumbai, with only her pet dog to keep her company. She wants to take Timmy, a cute Chihuahua, who she wants to take with her to Delhi. It's understandable because she won't be able to leave the little dog behind because she doesn't have anyone. She also does not want to leave Timmy in a dog care facility. As a result, her only options are to fly or drive down to Delhi with her pet. However, Timmy is afraid of flying, and driving would be too exhausting for both of them. So, she begins to look for other options. Someone suggested that she should consider travelling by train.
Having no prior knowledge of the rules and procedures of taking a pet on a train journey in India, she decides to conduct some research. She learns that pet travel by train is influenced by a plethora of rules, regulations, and guidelines.
Is pet travel by train allowed in India?
The answer is yes. Pets and their owners can travel by train together. They have two options for making the journey. In the first option, pets may accompany their owners, but this is subject to the following conditions:
* Size of your dog: This is the most important aspect and the deciding factor in whether you should consider taking your dog on a train journey. Also, regardless of their size, dogs can travel by AC first class or first class only.
* Keep your pet leashed or in a basket: You must keep your pet leashed throughout the journey in case he/she decides to go for a walk on his/her own. This might cause problems for other passengers and even bigger ones for you! Smaller dogs, however, are easier to handle and can be carried in a basket.
*The Behavior of your pet: Is your pet one of the reserved types? Is he/she well-behaved in confined spaces and in public? Will it be easy to control him if he/she becomes agitated? You should think about this before planning to travel with your pet by train.
* Other passengers' comfort: You will need to consider this aspect. Some people might not have issues, but there will be those who might object to the presence of a dog. There are too many variables involved that could cause additional issues for you, such as the smell of the dog, which some people are sensitive to; your pet's barking; fur shedding; toilet issues; vomiting; and a few other concerns. If other passengers complain about your dog, he or she will be transported by 'break van' for the remainder of the journey. This is the last thing you want to happen to your dog. He/she will be placed in a small cage with no one to look after his/her needs. You will be responsible for his food, water, and toilet needs, as well as keeping him safe from theft or abuse.
There are also penalties issued if you do not declare your dog or do not book a ticket for him/her.
The aforementioned issues, however, can be avoided if you book tickets for First Class AC and reserve the entire compartment for yourself and your pet. That could significantly lighten your wallet or cost you your entire monthly salary. But what are a few bucks if they bring you both comfort and make your journey hassle free!
The second option is for pets to travel when they are considered 'luggage' and can thus travel in the 'Luggage Van'. For larger animals, this is the preferred mode of transportation. The size and weight of the animal being transported also affects luggage travel. Due to the aforementioned issues, larger dogs can travel by this mode of transportation. However, animals are usually sedated during these journeys to alleviate their fear and anxiety while their owners are not present. In some cases, pets can develop long-term health problems if they receive the incorrect dose of anesthesia. Unfortunately, in few other, some pets have died while travelling. So, you need to contemplate on this option as they it might come with serious repercussions.
The train ticket price for pet travel
If you are convinced enough that you can handle the train journey with your pet, then your next step would be to get in touch with the Parcel Office. The Parcel Office will charge a minimum amount of 10 INR per pet. Your dog's train ticket price will also depend on his/her size. The boarding slip issued to you will be considered as your pet's ticket. It will be mandatory for you to keep this ticket with you all the time.
In her research, Mrs. Khanna also learned that the liability of railways as carriers of animals is limited as specified under section 77-A of the Indian Railway Act. Unless the sender elects to pay the percentage charge on value as shown in Rule 1301, the railway will not be liable for any lost or stolen animals. For dogs, the charge is 30 INR.
The liability clause brought up another important question for her. She wondered if it would be advisable to get Timmy insured in case he gets hurt during the trip. Will the insurance cover any medical bills incurred?
The importance of pet insurance and the best pet insurance available online
Pet insurance is becoming quite popular nowadays as more and more people are getting inclined to get their furry ones insured. Just by paying a small amount of premium, pet owners can avail of benefits such as:
1) Give their pet the best medical care possible.
2) The cost of vaccinations, medical bills, and other expenses are covered under insurance.
3) In the case of accidents, injuries, and even terminal illnesses, the insurance will cover the medical bills.
4) Pet insurance also covers third-party liability.
5) Insurance against theft of the pet.
Mrs. Khanna was delighted to know that at Petamiko she could get the best online pet insurance plans. All one needs to do is get in touch and leave the rest to Petamiko. They will ensure that one gets the best insurance plan that suits their needs and provides the best possible cover for their beloved pet/pets.
Other guidelines and rules to be followed while travelling with your pets:
There are other important things that one needs to keep in mind and also remember to carry some essential items with him/her. Whether you choose to travel in a common coach with other passengers or book a whole compartment for you and your dog (the option Mrs. Khanna has chosen), then these do's and don'ts will help make your journey more comfortable.
* Don't forget to carry plenty of dog food and water. Also, remember to pack your pet's favorite treat in case he/she gets cranky during travel.
* Carry blankets and toys to keep your pet comfortable and entertained.
* Always keep him/her confined in the compartment reserved for him/her and do not allow him/her to wander in case other people object.
* Pack a medical box in case of emergencies.
* Get your pet vaccinated before travelling and get a 'fit for travelling' certificate from the vet.
* Arrive a few hours early at the station and visit the parcel office to get the boarding slip.
* To avoid last-minute hassles, try to wait for the train near the coach number assigned.
* Dogs can't use lavatories in trains, so remember to keep newspapers or, preferably, dog diapers that are easily available in pet stores.
* Don't forget to pack air fresheners in your luggage
Train travel comes with both advantages and disadvantages.
However, a lot depends on various factors as mentioned earlier in this blog. Therefore, it is up to you to carefully weigh all the pros and cons of traveling with your pet by train before deciding to embark on the adventurous journey which can either be enjoyable or prove to be a nightmare. It all depends on your preparation, circumstances (both foreseen and unforeseen), and mostly on your pet's behavior. But as the saying goes, "You have to dip your feet in the water to know how it is".