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The AirPupSaver: Chloe’s newest car safety solution

In my ongoing effort to find Chloe a car bed that is big enough for her to sprawl in but would keep her safe in a crash, I landed, some years ago, on PetEgo’s Pet Tube. As you’ll see, I thought it was a great solution right up to the point (how sadly familiar those words are) that it was subjected to a crash test, and failed miserably.

Back to the drawing board, and with a bit of concern, this time, because the carriers that performed well [PDF, see page 13] in the Center for Pet Safety’s 2015 tests are both pretty small. They liked the Pet Ego Jet Set Forma Frame Carrier with ISOFIX-Latch Connection, and the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock. The PetEgo Jet Set carrier (which is at the heart of the first assemblage) is a handsome and well-made carrier, but I’ve never warmed to it because I find it skimpy on mesh panels, and therefore skimpy on ventilation and visibility. Also, its biggest size is 22″L x 10″W x 13″H, which PetEgo suggests is big enough for a 22 lb. dog. I can’t agree. That’s longer than Chloe’s large SturdiBag, and an inch taller, but it’s 2″ narrower in the body. I wouldn’t put a pup larger than 15 lbs. in it, especially on a substantial road trip.

Similarly, the Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is a magnificent product — no ventilation problems with this one, and I have great admiration for the Sleepypod line — but even the biggest Sleepypod bed (the “Sleepypod Medium”) is too small for Chloe. It’s 13″ tall and 17″ round on the outside, so say about 1-2″ smaller in usable space, and that’s snug for a 15 lb. dog. If your pup is 10 lbs. or less, I would rush to purchase the Sleepypod bed, install it in your car, and call it a job well done.

But what about your larger small dog? The solution I’m now trying, at the suggestion of several Dog Jaunt readers, is the AirPupsaver. It wasn’t included in the Center for Pet Safety’s line-up, but has, apparently, been independently crash tested (the video is available at the link I provide). It comes in two sizes, for dogs up to 25 lbs. and dogs up to 45 lbs. I purchased both, partly out of curiosity, and partly in what turns out to be a forlorn hope that the smaller size would be portable enough to pack in a suitcase.

The AirPupSaver, as you’ll see, is meant to function like a puffy baseball mitt. Your dog rests in the palm of the mitt, secured to it by a harness, and the “fingers” part of the “mitt” catches her if she’s flung forward in a car crash. The bed is well padded to start with, but it also has two or three (depending on the model) air chambers in the fingers area that you inflate with a provided air pump; that added air provides a cushy pad into which your pup, God forbid, hurtles.

Chloe reclining in her AirPupSaver 25, installed in a Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Chloe reclining in her AirPupSaver 25, installed in a Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Reclining in a different position — she moves around well in the bed, and seems comfortable.

Reclining in a different position — she moves around well in the bed, and seems comfortable. This picture shows you the harness and strap combination that secures her to the bed, too.

Like I say, she's comfortable.

Like I say, she’s comfortable.

More details below, but after a month of using both sizes of AirPupSaver (including a very long road trip as well as daily errand runs), both Chloe and I approve of the bed. It’s comfortable for her, and is believably safe. Installing it (especially the first time) is non-trivial, and you’ll find yourself taking extreme measures to avoid moving/reinstalling it, but it’s well-made and sensibly designed. For a 15-lb. dog like Chloe, I recommend the AirPupSaver 25 — the bed made for dogs up to 45 lbs. provides more room, but takes up a lot more car space and is beastlier to install and move (and Chloe, it turns out, doesn’t use the additional space).

Installing the AirPupSaver

The company provides a number of sets of instructions, none of which, I find, tells the whole story. On its site, PupSaver offers three different videos of the installation process (plus crash test videos). The most useful one is 1:55 minutes long, and focuses on the AirPupSaver 45. Printed instructions are included with the bed, in a packet with a seat belt clamp and an air pump. After studying both closely, I still had trouble installing the bed. Here’s what I wish I had known before heading out to the car:

  1. Inflate the air channels first, in the comfort of your home, then walk out to your car with the bed;
  2. The wider of the two pump nozzles worked best for me, as did using my hands to squeeze the pump — stepping on the pump by the side of the car, as shown in the video, was not a happy experience;
  3. There are two air channels in the AirPupSaver 45, but there are three in the AirPupSaver 25;
  4. If you’re installing an AirPupSaver 45, do a quick Google search to identify typical locations for top tether latch anchors — they vary by vehicle, and until now I’d never noticed them; and
  5. When you’re securing the bed’s plastic clips around the diagonal part of the seat belt, you will not use all of the available clips — there are two position “F” clips, as there are two position “E” clips, and you will only use one of each (the ones you use will depend on which side of the car you install the bed on — it seems obvious now, but the company info is sketchy, and on the blazingly hot summer day that I chose to install the bed, I tried to loop the belt through all of the “E” and “F” clip options).
Here's a piece of the printed instructions, with my annotations. The chart on the left shows the bottom of the bed, with the clips that secure the lap part of the seat belt (B, C, D), and both of the clips that might secure the diagonal part of the seat belt (E), called out. The chart on the right is of the back of the bed, but it shows only one of the two E-F options. Please note that the actual bed has two E's and two F's, as I've indicated, and you will choose one option or the other, depending on what side of the car you install the bed.

Here’s a piece of the printed instructions, with my annotations. The chart on the left shows the bottom of the bed, with the clips that secure the bed to the lap part of the seat belt (B, C, D), and both of the clips that might secure the bed to the diagonal part of the seat belt (E), called out. The chart on the right is of the back of the bed, but it shows only one of the two E-F options. Please note that the actual bed has two E’s and two F’s, as I’ve indicated, and you will choose one E-F option or the other, depending on which side of the car you choose to install the bed.

Here’s a picture of Chloe sitting up in her AirPupSaver 25, installed in a minivan. Two hooks (letters A in the printed chart above) clip onto the seat’s latch bars. This PupSaver does not have a top tether hook, so the only overhead strap is the seat belt, tamed up at the wall of the car with a heavy-duty clamp (which gives it the play the safety system needs, while keeping the belt from pulling the top of the bed onto Chloe). That gray seatbelt passes through a plastic clip on the far shoulder of the bed (not visible) and another clip in the left foreground (visible, but black, so you have to know where to look for it) before clipping into its normal buckle, down by Chloe’s left front ankle. Most of the verticality of the “fingers” section comes from inflating three air channels — you can see two of them pretty easily, to Chloe’s right, but there are three altogether in the AirPupSaver 25.

Chloe sitting up in the AirPupSaver 25, installed in a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Please note that the AirPupSaver 25 does not have any overhead straps (other than the car's own seatbelt).

Chloe sitting up in the AirPupSaver 25

The AirPupSaver 45 looks very similar, but is significantly larger, and there are two more overhead straps, stretching from the top of the bed on the left (by the bed’s handle), over the back of the seat, to the latch anchor on the back of our station wagon’s passenger seat (there’s one on the back of this seat, too).

And here’s a picture of Chloe having dinner in her AirPupSaver 25, to give you another glimpse of the harness and strap in action:

The strap emerges from a hole in the floor of the bed, and clips to the back of a harness, provided by the company as part of the bed kit. It appears not to cramp Chloe's style at all.

Chloe is secured to the bed by a strap that emerges from a hole in the floor of the bed, and clips to the back of a harness, provided by PupSaver. You can just see the harness-and-strap combination behind her right ear. It appears not to cramp her style at all.

After a month of use

What I like about the AirPupSaver is that it’s large enough for Chloe to stretch out in, and since it’s not enclosed, ventilation is not an issue. Chloe is clearly comfortable in both sizes of bed, and I believe that she would be safe in it in a crash. She’s just tall enough to see out the window a bit, which is a nice change for her from the fully-enclosed Pet Tube.

Chloe asleep in the "palm" of the AirPupSaver 45. It's a big bed — I thought she'd sprawl out in it, but she tends to curl up instead. For 15-lb. Chloe, I think the AirPupSaver 25 is the better choice (see below).

Chloe asleep in the “palm” of the AirPupSaver 45. It’s a big bed — I thought she’d sprawl out in it, but she tends to curl up instead. For 15-lb. Chloe, I think the AirPupSaver 25 is the better choice.

Negatives? The fingers part of the mitt cuts off my view of Chloe, unless she happens to be peering around the edge of the bed. Installing the AirPupSaver 45 in our station wagon took considerable effort and patience (the smaller AirPupSaver 25 clipped much more easily into our minivan), and I surely do wish that the provided air pump was better quality.

Chloe peeping around the far (from the driver's perspective) side of the AirPupSaver 45, installed in a station wagon.

Chloe peeping around the far (from the driver’s perspective) side of the AirPupSaver 45, installed in a station wagon.

How about actually using the bed? It takes, say, half a minute or so to insert Chloe into the AirPupSaver harness and clip it to its strap — that’s more tedious than just heaving her into the Pet Tube and zipping it shut, and it also leaves me feeling a bit exposed to bad ‘uns (I live in Seattle, a pleasant but urban city, and I don’t like having my upper half entirely engaged with in-car activities while my lower half hangs out there street-side). My current workaround is to get into the car’s back seat altogether with Chloe, and insert her into her AirPupSaver from the side not occupied by the bed.

The AirPupSaver can, reportedly, also be installed in the front passenger seat, but that’s not workable for me. My husband often occupies that seat, and it’s fiddly enough to install the AirPupSaver that you won’t be moving it around on a whim. That’s a feature of the Pet Tube I regret sorely — no more unhooking Chloe’s car carrier from the back seat headrest and gaily tossing it into the way-back, or collapsing it into a pancake for travel. No, the AirPupSaver, once installed, is pretty much going to stay put.

Chloe does not mind the harness and strap aspect of the AirPupSaver at all. She was initially a little disconcerted by the three overhead straps of the AirPupSaver 45 (that is, the seatbelt strap that hugs the bed, and the two straps that lead back from the tips of the mitt’s fingers to the top tether anchor). Over time, Chloe has made her peace with them, especially since I learned to keep a sharp eye on the status of the inflatable channels — the firmer they are, the higher the top tether straps lift out of her airspace (this will all make sense when you install your own AirPupSaver 45). Please note that the AirPupSaver 25 does not have the top tether straps, which is a boon.

Another reason to keep an eye on the inflatedness of those channels is that if they deflate, the fingers part of the mitt will tend to fold down onto your dog like a soft taco, which Chloe finds unnerving. I recommend keeping the air pump in the car, for refills as needed.

Finally, the harness that comes with the AirPupSaver is good-quality, but it runs very large. Chloe, about the size of a large house cat, just barely wears the XS-sized harness, and that’s with the straps tightened as far as they’ll go. If you have a smaller dog, you’ll need to find a different harness solution. Please note that it must be a very heavy-duty harness with a clip behind your dog’s shoulder blades (do NOT make do with a collar, or with a harness that hooks in front of your dog’s chest) — this one, from Solvit, might be a good choice. [9/10/16 In the course of acquiring my third AirPupSaver, I learned that the harness is not automatically included with the bed — I just happened to hit upon a limited-time now-with-harness offer when I bought my first two AirPupSavers — so be alert when you order.]

That’s a long list of issues, but don’t be discouraged by them. For your larger small dog (or your smaller large dog), the AirPupSaver is a very workable and well-designed choice. I’ve been jittery since seeing the crash test videos for Chloe’s last car bed; it’s a great relief to feel, again, that she’s safe.

Here are those Amazon links again:

AirPupSaver 25

AirPupSaver 45

Solvit safety harness (small)

 

Reader’s report: The XL SturdiBag, in-cabin carrier for a tall Miniature Poodle

As I’ve said before, it’s easy to travel with a small pet dog (say, under 10 lbs.), and it’s pretty easy to travel with a pet Chloe’s size (she has variously weighed 13-16 lbs., and stands 12″ tall at the shoulder). But what about pets weighing more than 16 lbs., or measuring more than 12″ tall at the shoulder? This week, reader Amy reports on making the extra-large SturdiBag work for her tall Miniature Poodle, with some useful modifications and a back-up strategy. [You’ll recall that reader Keri reported last week about traveling with her tall Miniature Poodle in a heavily-modifed large Pettom Expandable pet carrier — it turns out that Keri’s Flint and Amy’s Calvin are littermates! What a small, small world.]

Amy and Calvin traveled to Utah to visit family, and I’ll lead off with some of the gorgeous pictures she sent:

I asked Amy what park she was in, and she said “believe it or not, that is just the scenery in UT! Although we were close to Snow Canyon State Park.”

That tongue! That view!

Briefly wondered if the tiny petroglyph is a Miniature Poodle, then got a grip on myself and thought, "Petroglyphs! Just out there in the open! Why have I not been to Utah?!"

Briefly wondered if the tiny petroglyph is a Miniature Poodle, then got a grip on myself and thought, “Petroglyphs! Why have I not been to Utah?!”

Last in this batch of pictures of beautiful Calvin in beautiful Utah. Amy says that the southwest corner of Utah is particularly amazing.

Last in this batch of pictures of beautiful Calvin in beautiful Utah. Amy says that the southwest corner of the state is particularly amazing.

“I [traveled to Las Vegas and back] with my (large) miniature Poodle in an XL SturdiBag. Calvin is 16-16.5” at the shoulder and about 17 lbs. I had a large SturdiBag folded into my carry-on just in case I got any grief at the airport because of the size of the XL. I had also replaced the rigid bottom piece and the soft pad with the ones from the large-sized bag, so I could switch them easily If I had to. I was never questioned about the bag, and quite honestly I don’t think most of the airline crew even noticed I had a pet bag with me.

I flew from Providence, RI to Las Vegas with Delta. [Given the trouble a lot of Dog Jaunt folks have had with Delta, I asked Amy about how her flight reservation conversation had gone. Her experience was good: ‘Delta didn’t grill me at all. In fact, I had to ask them about the carrier size. I told the person booking my flight for me that I would be travelling with a large small dog and a larger soft carrier. The person on the phone told me that as long as it would smoosh under the seat it would be fine.’ Their first flight was on a Delta MD-88, and they were] in a middle seat for part of the flight which was a little tricky to maneuver the bag into. Once it was between the seats it was fine, but actually getting it between the seat I’d be sitting in and the seat back in front of me was a squeeze.

On the way there we had a stopover in Atlanta, and I was able to leave security and take Calvin potty outside. Although I never found a designated pet relief area, Calvin peed on some decorative plants (oops!). [Amy & Calvin’s second Delta flight, from Atlanta to Las Vegas, was on a 737-700, and also went smoothly.]

On the way home I flew Southwest due to a computer problem with Delta (my flight was significantly delayed and I didn’t want to chance further delays with Calvin in tow so I bought another ticket home). A Southwest gate agent stopped me as we were boarding, but only to make sure I had a pet bag ticket on Calvin’s bag. Southwest has an open seating policy, so our first leg was a middle seat [on a Southwest 737-700 series plane], but the XL bag fit easily and he had plenty of room. [Amy’s second flight was also on a 737-700, and from the pictures, it looks like they had a window seat, and again, sufficient room.]

Calvin the tall Miniature Poodle, in an XL SturdiBag, on a Southwest 737-700 — that 's a darned good fit.

Calvin the tall Miniature Poodle, in an XL SturdiBag, on a Southwest 737-700 — that ‘s a darned good fit.

Peeking out of the top hatch

Peeking out of the top hatch

We landed in Chicago (Midway) where I had time again to take him out of security to potty. There is a fenced pet area outside which is all concrete. Not very inviting for dogs. There was, however lots of grass and trees around and he was able to potty comfortably. [Here’s a post about the outdoor pet relief area at Chicago’s Midway airport; Amy describes the situation admirably.] We made it back through security very quickly and boarded our last flight home to Providence. There is also a new indoor pet relief area in the Providence airport.

The trip was great, and Calvin flew very very well. He had a long walk the morning of our flight and I withheld breakfast, although he did get some treats in flight. I’d definitely use the XL SturdiBag again, but I will always carry on the L with me, just in case.”

Thank you so much, Amy, for all of this info, and for the spectacular pictures of Calvin in Utah! I am tagging this post so Amy’s in-flight pictures show up in Dog Jaunt’s collection of pet carriers on planes, in case folks need to show airline agents an XL SturdiBag in action on Delta or Southwest.

I particularly like Amy’s modification of the extra-large SturdiBag (replacing its hard foam “floor” and soft pad with the ones from the large-sized SturdiBag that she carried as a back-up). The substitution effectively shortens the XL SturdiBag from 20″ long to 18″ long, and if she had to swap in the L SturdiBag, the same “floor” and pad would fit. Please note that her Plan B was workable because she sized up her dog, so to speak, and decided that although he’s tall (his 16″ shoulder height is 4″ taller than the optimal height for the 12″ high large SturdiBag), much of his height is in his legs, and he likely curls up into a small bundle. A dog’s height and weight are significant, when choosing a carrier, but sometimes they don’t tell the whole story.

Product review: Petmate Travel Bowl Duo is lightweight, small, easily cleaned

You would think that I’d have enough travel pet bowls by now — but I cannot resist gear of any kind, and pet stores load the area around the cash register with tempting products, and…well, you can imagine the rest. My latest purchase is the Petmate Travel Bowl Duo (size Small), and it’s a useful addition to the collection.

Left bowl collapsed; right bowl popped up, and half removed, so you can see the felt bottom

Left bowl collapsed; right bowl popped up, and half removed, so you can see the felt bottom (and the Velcro pad it attaches to)

As you can see, the Duo consists of two of those ubiquitous silicone bowls that collapse into a pancake, held in a black twill container. Each bowl is backed with a circle of felt; each half of the container is lined with a Velcro patch. Unzip the container, pop the bowls up, and you quickly have a food & drink station for your pet. The Velcro backing corrals the bowls, which are light and would otherwise stray (loading them with food and water adds to the system’s overall stability), but you can easily pull one or both bowls out and use them without their base. On their own, the felt-backed bowls will scoot on a smooth surface, but do well on a carpet.

I like the small Duo because the bowls are small. Each holds 1.5 cups, and that’s all the water or food a dog Chloe’s size needs at any given time (please note that the Duo also comes in a size Large, with 3-cup capacity bowls). Smaller dogs need even less bowl acreage, and for those pups, you can choose to pop only one of a Duo bowl’s creases upwards (they flatten with two folds). I like the stability that the container-turned-base provides, and I like being able to put the bowls in the dishwasher (which you can, even with those felt pads on the bottom).

There is a twill loop on the rim of the container; add a carabiner and you can clip the Duo to your purse or backpack.

Downsides? In my dishwasher at least, the felt didn’t dry (nor did the silicone) — after the cycle was finished, bowl and base were still damp, and required air-drying. The product is made in China, and it’s not clear whether the silicone is food-grade. To be safe, I wouldn’t use this bowl set for Chloe day in, day out. I use it happily on day trips, and it’d be a good choice for a car kit — light, compact, and easy to clean.

Amazon link: Petmate Travel Bowl Duo (small)

 

Reader’s report: Modifying a Pettom Expandable pet carrier, flying in-cabin on Air Canada

Keri and I corresponded earlier this year, when she asked if I thought the Teafco Argo Petagon carrier might work for Flint, her “tall mini poodle with bigggggg hair and long legs.” I pointed her to my review of it, which she’d already seen, and confirmed that I thought it’d be a good match. Keri said she’d report back, and bless her, this week she did. Turns out that she chose an entirely different carrier, modified it in a fascinating way, and flew on Air Canada (which is not one of my airlines). Her report is packed with useful info, but first, here’s beautiful Flint:

Groomed to the nines, and posing like a model.

Groomed to the nines, and posing like a model.

Choosing an in-cabin carrier for Flint

“I had about a month before my flights to find a carrier for Flint, my mini poodle. I was extremely nervous about this because a few people said he would be too tall to fly but I had heard of other people managing with their mini’s so I decided to chance it.

I looked at the large Sherpa (19” long x 11.75” wide x 11.5” high) and the large Bergan (19″ L x 10″ W x 13”) carriers in store but found them too small. I decided to order the Argo by Teafco Petagon Carrier (21″L x 12″W x 13″H) and the Pettom Expandable Foldable Carrier (19 x 12 x 12 inches).

In the end I let my dog choose which carrier we used. He did not like the Argo carrier (he did not want to be put into it, and with a full coated poodle it is hard to zip over his hair). I will say it was the most well made carrier I have ever seen. Even though the dimensions were bigger, it didn’t seem quite as big. The cooling tray insert bottom took some of the height as well. I did love that people could not see into the bag with the reflective tape, the multiple pockets, great strap and wonderful material.

Flint warily considering the Teafco Argo Petagon

Flint warily considering the Teafco Argo Petagon

And settling down a bit into it — but as Keri said, it wasn't his pick

And settling down a bit into it — but as Keri said, it wasn’t his pick

The large Pettom Expandable Foldable Travel Carrier was the winner, opening with two zippered ends — this way he could walk in on his own accord, and did so immediately (though he did push his nose out when I had the zippers up instead of at the bottom). The expandable section is the clear advantage with this one which makes it into 22.5” wide which is great for long poodle legs. [Editor’s note: Here’s my review of a very similar carrier, the Smart Space by Brinkmann Pet (ignore my italicized update, since the large Pettom is the same size as the Smart Space I originally reviewed). The glory of the bag is the way it nearly doubles in size when the, ahem, pup tent folded into one of its sides is deployed.]

The basic rectangle of the large Pettom, pre-modification, with one end zipped open

The basic rectangle of the large Pettom, pre-modification, with one end zipped open

And here it is with the mesh side tent expanded (again, pre-modification)

And here it is with the mesh side tent expanded (again, pre-modification)

A tousled Flint, sitting up in the large Pettom, top and front end both zipped open

A tousled Flint, sitting up in the large Pettom, top and front end both zipped open

Now curled up inside, with the top zipped closed — please note that if and when he chooses, he can sprawl into that space on the right, under the mesh lean-to

Now curled up inside, with the top zipped closed — please note that if and when he chooses, he can sprawl into that space on the right, under the mesh lean-to

This is a cheaper carrier (quite literally, it was half the price of the Argo on the Canadian Amazon) and it is obvious. The make and material isn’t nearly as nice but you get what you pay for. I did read reviews of the strap breaking but I reattached it to the metal carabiners and did not have a problem. Keep in mind my dog is probably only around 15 pounds, so be wary. It has two pockets, which is better than nothing but I had to bring a small purse with me as well. It all folds together when not in use.”

The large Pettom, folded flat for storage

The large Pettom, folded flat for storage

Modifying the large Pettom Expandable Foldable Travel Carrier

As you’ll see in my review, I proposed a modest modification to make a carrier that forms a fairly stiff rectangle a little more flexible: Temporarily remove the rods that stiffen the rectangle’s short ends, so the bag can be tilted into a lower, rhombus shape (I also suggested shortening the bag’s base so it’s not a full 19″ long). I lacked Keri’s vision and moxie:

“We very quickly removed the zippered-in supports for the expandable section as I could predict a dog getting its foot stuck while moving around. It holds its shape well without them and can fit whatever shape without them.

The Pettom is only slightly flexible and due to my paranoia I did not want to risk [the carrier being too tall for the available space]. I decided to cut the four wire frame supports around the kennel, being very careful not to cut the fabric. I had to use bolt cutters, but it worked out well! (I do suggest sanding the edges or taping them or something, since I did end up cutting my legs on the sharp points when it banged against them.) I made the cuts at 9” to be safe that it could fit. The sides now fold inwards on themselves but will stand up with a slope. Obviously when the dog is moving around they will also stand up, so it becomes more of an expandable top.”

One of the cuts Keri made, showing how she carefully did not cut the adjoining mesh

One of the cuts Keri made, showing how she carefully did not cut the adjoining mesh or fabric

From another angle

From another angle

Making those four cuts results in a bag that tips in at the top, when empty

A view of the modified large Pettom, from one end; making those four cuts results in a bag that tips in at the top, when empty

Preparing for travel

“I started by tossing treats in the bag and having Flint go into the bag on his own. With a tall dog it was very important that he could scoot into the bag on his own at security even if he couldn’t stand up completely inside. We kept the bag open for the first week, then the second week did small sessions with the bag zippered closed. The next week I put him inside when he had his afternoon naps (about an hour) always keeping him at my feet when I did so and always with rewards. It did not take long for a tap on the bag to signal to enter, or to put my hand against his head to lower it and tap his butt.

He often comes to work with me (dog groomer) and has to hang out in a kennel for several hours so I was pretty confident he would be ok with a longer period of time once he fell asleep. To be extra precautious at his vet visit I brought the carrier with me and had them write me a vet referral saying they had approved it as appropriate for his size. He is a tall dog and he definitely can not hold his head up inside.”

Using the modified large Pettom on Air Canada Embraers (175 and 190), an Airbus A320-200, and a Bombardier Q400

“Our first flight was on a Embraer 175 (seat pitch 32-34”; width 18”) for close to two hours in an Economy window seat. He cried in the carrier until we boarded and took off, then he settled down and didn’t make a peep. Luckily I had no one next to me on this trip and I pulled the carrier out after take off and expanded it fully in the space between both seats (two seats per row) [here’s a seat chart, courtesy of SeatGuru].

Carrier and Flint at the beginning of their Embraer 175 flight

Carrier and Flint at the beginning of their Embraer 175 flight

During flight, with the carrier pulled out into Keri's leg space (on this flight, she had no seat mate), with the mesh lean-to fully deployed. The lean-to is a bit wrinkled without its supports, but it offers Flint lots of extra room nevertheless

During flight, with the carrier pulled out into Keri’s leg space (on this flight, she had no seat mate), with the mesh lean-to fully deployed. I know the lean-to’s supports have been removed, because Keri told me so, but you can see that the mesh has enough body to keep its basic tent shape.

During our one-hour layover I took him to the people bathroom to walk around. There was no inside area for dogs to pee. Our second flight was on an Air Canada A320-200 (seat chart here) for close to five hours. Again he cried until we took off then settled in without a peep. I decided to upgrade to a window seat in Preferred Seating for extra legroom (seat pitch 35”; width 17.8”) because the plane was full. This fit the carrier better length-wise so I opted to push the carrier back as far as it would go then tilt it slightly so I could pull out the expanded section to fit the sides of the plane.

The large Pettom (Flint inside) tucked under a Preferred Seating window seat on an Air Canada A320-200

The large Pettom (Flint inside) tucked under a Preferred Seating window seat on an Air Canada A320-200

And then, during flight, with the pup tent half-deployed

And then, during flight, with the pup tent half-deployed

Our first return flight was about four hours long, in an Economy seat on a Embraer 190 (seat pitch 31-33”; width 18”; seat chart here). I turned Flint’s kennel horizontally as the person next to me put their carry-on up top and didn’t mind the carrier going into their under-seat space an inch or two (no bar under the seats to block it). I opened the expandable section (keep in mind I did not unzip the expand or pull the carrier out until after take off, and I put it all back before we started to descend) and had it resting over top of my feet. I didn’t get a photo of it expanded over my feet because it was too dark.

Flint's large Pettom, loaded horizontally this time, under an Economy seat on an Air Canada Embraer 190

Flint’s large Pettom, loaded horizontally this time, under an Economy seat on an Air Canada Embraer 190; as Keri says, after take-off, she unzipped the mesh pup tent and let it  (and Flint) occupy her foot space

Another layover, and another walk around the human bathroom before boarding our final flight, close to two hours long in an Economy window seat on a Bombardier Q400 (seat pitch 31”; width 17”; seat chart here). This was definitely the smallest space we encountered and I was not able to expand Flint’s carrier. You can see from the photos that it took up all the room even closed. If it had been a longer flight and if it wasn’t a red eye I would have wanted to upgrade to more leg room.”

No room for expansion on an Air Canada Bombardier Q400

No room for expansion on an Air Canada Bombardier Q400. Keri had a seat mate on this flight; she took this picture after they left.

I find this report very exciting. The Smart Space (the clone of this bag that I reviewed) was very appealing, particularly for a really long flight, but my modifications were too timid to allow it to flex around under-seat obstructions. Keri’s bold approach worked well: “Overall, cutting the supports on the bag proved to be a HUGE benefit. I had no issues sliding it under any of the seats with this alteration but I do think it would have been an issue if I had left it as it was. Happy traveling with your long legged pooches!” I’m pleased that I never got rid of my Smart Space carrier (it’s no longer available, apparently — here’s that Amazon link for the large Pettom again); once I’ve imitated Keri, it will be a great option for international travel. So many thanks to Keri for her photos and write-up!!

Traveling by public transit in and around Dublin with a pet dog

Dublin’s public transit is a mixed bag, from the standpoint of pet-friendliness. Put briefly, if you have a small dog, you will do well on commuter rail, the DART coastal train, and intercity trains; and you can likely get around by bus. Bigger dogs will face challenges and charges, and no pet dogs are allowed on LUAS (light rail).

Here are more details, with links to the services and to their pet policies:

Dublin Bus operates an extensive network of routes in and around the city. The site is silent about pets, so I sent an e-mail on 7/24/16, and received the following reply: “All guide dogs and assistance dogs are permitted on all of Dublin Bus services however it is up to the discretion of the driver to decide whether any other dog is allowed to board the bus.” My guess is that a small dog in a carrier would be a shoo-in; a small dog on a leash but carried in arms would more likely than not be okay; and larger, leashed dogs have to roll the dice.

Key bus lines in Dublin's core

Key bus lines in Dublin’s core

LUAS operates two light rail/tram lines (the Red Line and the Green Line, currently unconnected, but they’re working on that). Hopefully they’ll also work on their pet policy, which is currently non-existent: “No animals are allowed on board with the exception of guide dogs.”

DART (“Dublin Area Rapid Transit”) is a coastal train, operated by Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann), that runs from Howth and Malahide in the north to Greystones in the south. It’s the green line on this map of Dublin-area trains [PDF]. On the same map are shown a number of commuter rail lines, also operated by Irish Rail, and of course Irish Rail has a network of intercity trains.

Overall, Irish Rail’s pet policy is good for pets small enough to travel on their owners’ laps, either leashed or in a carrier, but tricky for larger dogs. Irish Rail’s site does not make it clear, however, whether that same policy applies to commuter rail and DART trains. I wrote to Irish Rail asking if the pet policies on those lines are the same as Irish Rail’s pet policy for intercity trains, and on 8/4/16 I received a reply that essentially said yes, the policies are the same: “Small dogs can be carried free of charge in the passenger compartment of services provided they travel on the owners lap. Guide dogs and Assistance dogs are permitted to travel on all Iarnród Éireann services without restriction. Accompanied dogs, other than those described above, can only be conveyed on Intercity services in a Guards Van (non-passenger compartment) if available (e.g. Dublin/Cork and Dublin/Belfast services only). Charges will apply. You can find more information on travelling with pets at http://www.irishrail.ie/travel-information/travelling-with-animals

Speaking of intercity transportation, Bus Éireann operates a fleet of intercity buses; alas, as with the United States’ Greyhound bus line, the iconic dog logo does not mean that pet dogs are welcome on board.

For details about pet policies for other cities’ public transit systems, please check out Dog Jaunt’s handy collection of blog posts about pet friendly public transit!

Reader’s report: Kayaking and paddleboarding with your dog

I have long had a draft post about kayaking with a dog in my queue, waiting for content. I’m not a kayaker myself, and for many years the only text I had on an otherwise empty page was a note to put long-haired dogs in doggie t-shirts before strapping on their life vests, to avoid hair-pulling. It’s a great tip, from an experienced and adventurous friend with two Papillons, but one tip does not a post make. Just recently, however, this adorable video appeared in my Instagram feed:

I promptly wrote to Katherine, of @robinventures, and she kindly agreed to write a guest post for Dog Jaunt about kayaking and paddleboarding with Robin, her Basenji mix. I urge you to follow her Instagram feed — it’s delightful and inspiring. Over to Katherine!

“Robin’s an 18lb, 2.5 year old basenji mix, adopted from a local shelter in Los Angeles. Despite his small size, he’s an adventure dog — he loves hiking, camping, and more recently, paddle sports. Water’s scarce where we live, but Robin has kayaked at Salton Sea and in Sausalito, CA, and has gone paddleboarding at Pyramid Lake, CA and Lake Las Vegas. Though he’s not a natural water dog, paddling has increased his confidence on the water so much that on our most recent paddleboarding trip, he plunged in to swim between our boards multiple times! You can follow his adventures on Instagram @robinventures.

Paddling with your pup is a great way to enjoy the summer heat! Kayaking is an easy beginner activity, rentals are widely available at waterfront locations, and many dogs love it — or at least tolerate it. Paddleboarding is another water activity to consider — it takes a little more balance, but the wide deck can be great for larger dogs. Here are some tips to make your first water adventure a success.

If you’ve never paddled before, or you’re not interested in getting dunked, try kayaking first — it’s much more stable for you (and a novice pup). The wide sit-on-top kayaks common at rental places have plenty of space for your dog to ride in the front, and are easy to maneuver in calm lake and marina conditions. Sit-inside kayaks tend to be designed more for speed, and may not have enough space for a dog unless the deck is outfitted with grippy surface. Robin and I have only used the sit-on-top kind.

There’s enough room in the foot wells for most dogs, but nervous dogs may be uncomfortable with the slick surface. On our first kayak trip, I put my bag in front of me for Robin to sit on. After that, he was much more confident, and moved between my lap and the prow of the kayak depending on our speed.

DSC_6417

Robin curled up in Katherine’s lap

If you choose to paddleboard, there will be plenty of space, but depending on the board’s material and shape, the front half may be too slick for good paw traction. If your dog is bothered by the surface, have him ride behind you — it’s easier to paddle that way anyway. Consider your dog’s weight and the amount of maneuverability you want to have when picking a board — larger boards will ride higher and be more stable, but they’ll be harder to turn.

This pair of photos totally charms me — there's Robin, on Katherine's friend's kayak, eying her longingly...

This pair of photos totally charms me — there’s Robin, on Katherine’s companion’s paddleboard, eying her longingly…

…and here he comes.

…and here he comes.

Before trying a paddle sport, make sure your dog has a good “stay.” A big leap can destabilize you, especially on a paddleboard. Until our most recent trip in Las Vegas, I didn’t have to worry about Robin jumping into open water (he’s now heady with his own success and quivers on the edge of the board waiting for permission), but his premature bid for shore on our first trip dunked us both. Those with fearful swimmers should bring along treats or a toy to create positive associations. Also, make sure to bring drinking water and a travel bowl on board. Fresh water lakes can contain parasites and bacteria, and dog fatalities are often the first indicators of a toxic algae bloom.

You should WEAR a life jacket your first time paddling with the pup, until you know how he’ll react to the trip. If you fall in, your first priority will be getting to your flailing dog, not snagging a PFD as it floats away, and if your panicking dog climbs you, treading water is much more difficult.

Paddleboarding together — Katherine was thrilled to report that Robin's becoming ever more comfortable with being onboard

Paddleboarding together — Katherine was thrilled to report that Robin’s becoming ever more comfortable with being onboard.

Outfit your pup with a handle-equipped life jacket, and make sure it fits properly before heading out. While most dogs can swim, treading water isn’t a natural exercise for them and they can panic when they slip into the open water. Loose fitting life jackets can ride up and trap the dog’s front paws as they panic paddle, rendering them a hindrance rather than a help. We use a life jacket from Alcott, which has a flexible neoprene belly panel for comfort during lifting. Unfortunately, we didn’t have it for our spontaneous kayaking trips, so we used his handle-equipped Ruffwear harness.

Consider carefully before leashing your dog to yourself or the boat, and if you do so, clip the leash to the life jacket, never to a collar. There’s still a risk that the leash could wrap around the dog’s neck in a fall, or that it could snag on the watercraft, trapping him underneath. In the case of an upset, your dog is likely to swim either to the board/kayak or to you, so you shouldn’t need to worry about reeling him back in. I keep a waist leash handy, but I no longer attach it to Robin.

Even water-loving dogs can get nervous when they’re out in open water, so be prepared with praise and treats. Robin’s desire to be with me outweighs the fear of new experiences, but he was extremely nervous on our first trip. If possible, familiarize your dog with the boat gradually on shore, and definitely avoid lifting him in against his will. That life jacket handle is for helping the pup out of the water, not forcing him to board. If your dog is at all willing to swim, take some time to teach him to swim directly to the person, not to the nearest edge of the board, since he’ll need your assistance to get back up. And if your pup is anxious on the first trip, there’s hope! Over time, Robin has become so confident that he’ll happily plunge off the paddleboard to swim to a neighboring board.”

Happy dog, beautiful surroundings.

Happy dog, beautiful surroundings.

My heartfelt thanks to Katherine for writing such a thoughtful and useful post. I really like her emphasis on safety, and on making sure that everyone involved is having an equal amount of fun, and no one is being pushed beyond their comfort level. I’m looking forward to seeing ever more pictures of Robin on the water in the @robinventures Instagram feed!

Product review: Alite Acorn Everyday Tote for organizing pet gear

I’m happy to report that I’ve found a new, excellent dog travel tote, the Acorn Everyday Tote from Alite. The only downside is that it may be falling off Alite’s product list. It’s not in their online catalogue, and that’s never a good sign. However, the company’s bricks-and-mortar store in San Francisco has “a lot” of back stock of the bag, in different colors, and it’s still available through Amazon (currently, the red is full price and the blue, which I have, is a screaming deal).

A bit of background: Long ago, I bought two different L.L. Bean totes to organize Chloe’s gear at home and on the road. Her home tote, monogrammed with her name and a Brittany Spaniel (alas, no Cavalier option), was soon discontinued. Her travel tote, a very peppy orange and pink nylon, was also discontinued. I was reduced to recommending that folks seek out diaper bags instead, because what I want in a travel tote for dog gear is a top zipper and a lot of outside pockets.

Chloe snoozing in her home crate, below her gear, organized in her home tote.

Chloe snoozing in her home crate, below her gear, organized in her home tote.

The top zipper is important to me because it prevents your dog from nosing around things you want to keep away from her, like that packet of Frontline Plus, and those extra sacks of treats (just to choose a couple of items currently living in Chloe’s travel tote). Those of you with bigger dogs are already nodding your heads, but even a smaller dog can get into trouble in an open tote while it’s resting on the floor of a hotel room, for example, or if it tips off the top of her travel crate.

A top zipper also provides structure to a loaded tote, and it’s crucial for keeping stuff inside the tote, where it belongs, if you pack your dog’s travel tote in her suitcase (or if you heave your pet’s tote into the back of your car for a road trip).

Chloe's orange and pink nylon travel tote, being packed in Big Red, her travel suitcase.

Chloe’s orange and pink nylon travel tote, being packed in Big Red, her travel suitcase.

The outside pocket requirement is easier to explain. Chloe’s totes are girdled with pockets containing bottles of shampoo and enzymatic cleaner, small rolls of paper towels, grooming supplies, and empty water bottles — all stuff that she has no interest in pulling out and chewing, and most convenient when close at hand and not sloshing around inside a tote.

All that said, imagine my delight when I found the Acorn Everyday Tote. It has it all: a great, packable size; a top zipper; many outside pockets; plus a useful outer loop to clip stuff onto with a carabiner, and a contrasting bright lining so you can see what you’ve stowed in there. It’s offered by Alite, a company based in San Francisco, and it’s really well made.

That is such a good-looking, well-made, useful tote — why do the good ones keep being discontinued?!

That is such a good-looking, well-made, useful tote — why do the good ones keep being discontinued?!

If you’re anywhere near the Bay Area, step in to the Alite store in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood and snap up this tote; otherwise, here’s that Amazon link again.

Please note that I bought my Acorn Everyday Tote, and paid full price for it, too — I will always let you know when I’m reviewing stuff that someone else has provided to me.

Tri-Rail (and Metrorail) pet policy: Small dogs in carriers allowed onboard

Tri-Rail is a 71-mile commuter railway on the east side of Florida, connecting West Palm Beach and Miami by way of Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other communities (now operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the Tri-Rail trains run on tracks once owned and operated by CSX — the line was formerly CSX’s Miami Subdivision). A convenience for residents, Tri-Rail is also a useful option for visitors with small pets, particularly since it links up with Metrorail and Amtrak.

All wrong, of course, because the ad is for the Great Northern Railway (dissolved in 1923), and that pup is not in a carrier, but still! Train travel with small pet dogs!

All wrong, of course, because the ad is for the Great Northern Railway (dissolved in 1923), and that pup is not in a carrier, but still! Train travel with small pet dogs!

Among other things, Tri-Rail takes passengers directly to Miami International Airport, and also, via bus shuttle, to the Palm Beach International Airport and the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. Small pets in carriers are allowed on Tri-Rail trains (“Small pets are permitted if enclosed in a proper carrying cage”). The website doesn’t refer to the airport shuttle buses, but I just spoke with a Tri-Rail customer service rep, who assured me that small pets in carriers are allowed onboard.

Several Tri-Rail stations are shared with Amtrak’s Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines [PDF], including West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Deerfield Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and Hollywood. Now that Amtrak allows small pet dogs and cats in carriers onboard, that’s useful info for pet owners in Southeast Florida.

Similarly, it’s useful to know that Tri-Rail also connects with Metrorail (or “Metro”), the rapid transit system for Miami and Miami-Dade County. The two shared stations are Miami International Airport and, one stop to the north, Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station. The Metro also allows small pets in carriers onboard its trains and buses (be sure that your pet’s carrier doesn’t inconvenience other passengers, is the gist of the pet policy). That means that someone arriving with a small pet at MIA can readily take the Metro into downtown Miami, for example, or head north to Fort Lauderdale on Tri-Rail.

For other posts about traveling with dogs on public transit, take a look at Dog Jaunt’s handy guide!

Ink48: Pet-friendly hotel in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen

When you learn that Ink48 is a Kimpton hotel, you know that of course it’s pet-friendly, and that means, among many other things, that there’s no pet fee — an important point in a spendy town like New York. This particular Kimpton may also be a hair less expensive than the other NYC Kimptons, and if I’m right about that, I’ll make another guess that it’s because it’s in a neighborhood that’s a hair farther away from the bright lights of the big city. That, too, was a plus for us. Add in a really friendly staff (even by Kimpton’s high standards) and a hotel restaurant (called PRINT) that one of my most discerning and hard-traveling friends describes as “genuinely good, not just hotel good,” and you’ve got a place to bookmark.

Our first room — we arrived late at night, and that window opened onto an airshaft (not as bad as it sounds, since it was quiet).

Our first room — we arrived late at night, and that window opened onto an airshaft (not as bad as it sounds, since it was quiet).

Both of our bathrooms looked like this first one — very pleasant, great water pressure, thumbs up.

Both of our bathrooms looked like this first one — very pleasant, great water pressure, thumbs up. Both bathrooms, however, had doors that don’t block sound, so take that into consideration when choosing your roommate.

The view (north to Lincoln Center) from our second room — that's our sheet on the couch, protecting it from Chloe's fur.

The view (north to Lincoln Center) from our second room — that’s our sheet on the couch, protecting it from Chloe’s fur.

We spent a week at Ink48, in two different rooms, and I feel that we got a good sense of its pros and cons. I’ll just launch in, in no particular order.

The hotel’s location is both a pro and a con. On the corner of 11th Ave. and W. 48th St., Ink48 occupies a former printing house (that fact and its location explain its name). The building has old-fashioned charm from the outside (the inside is modern, but interesting and comfortable), and there is a sprinkling of other older buildings around, including the Landmark Tavern, cattycorner across 11th. Just under and behind the hotel is a stable for the Central Park carriage horses — it, and the horses, are scrupulously maintained, but I slowed down, walking past, because I like the smell of a stable — and altogether, if you squint a bit to block out the big car dealerships that otherwise occupy 11th, it’s just possible to imagine yourself back in the 19th century, when there was no 12th Ave. and the Landmark Tavern was on the waterfront.

Other positives include a useful bus line (the M-12) heading south on 11th and north on 12th (here’s a Manhattan bus map for you). The Landmark Tavern is a source of solidly good pub fare; there’s an excellent bakery (Sullivan Street Bakery) and coffee shop (The Jolly Goat) a block away; the Gotham Market, just two blocks south, is a collection of eateries, a couple of which have outdoor (and therefore workable with a dog) tables; and we had a terrific weekend brunch at 44&X. There is a fenced dog park in the De Witt Clinton Park, four blocks north, and it even includes a small dog area (Chloe now pooh-poohs dog parks — her sole interest is squirrels, and she wants to be on the move, seeking them out — but the folks using the dog park were friendly and encouraged her to stay and play). For mid-length walks, we headed west a block, and then south along the river, admiring the Intrepid and other waterfront installations. For longer walks, we went north to Central Park, about 15 blocks (say, 20 minutes) away. For quick bathroom breaks, I simply walked Chloe around the block (turning right out the front door, then right on 47th, right on 12th, and right again on 48th). Even late at night, there was sufficient activity at the block’s many car maintenance shops (and at the stable) that I felt safe.

On the negative side of the balance, the M-12 bus didn’t always meet our needs. The nearest metro stop is at 8th Ave. and W. 50th — not a dire walk unless it’s hot, which, alas, it totally was. Quite often we ended up just catching a taxi, which, you know, adds up. I’ve listed a handful of restaurants worth seeking out (and heck, you could be very happy eating every meal in the hotel’s restaurant), but otherwise this is a neighborhood of service establishments — car dealerships, plumbing suppliers, corporate offices, what looks like the world headquarters of FedEx — and it feels like a bit of a backwater.

That said, the hotel’s own rooftop bar is very pleasant, and worth heading up to — it attracts a crowd, but the staff does a good job of keeping the traffic organized.

Times Square from the Ink48 rooftop patio — crowded but very pleasant

Times Square from the Ink48 rooftop patio — crowded but very pleasant

Very nearby, across W. 48th, is another rooftop cantina that keeps late and noisy hours. I strongly urge you to bring earplugs, in case your room ends up being within earshot. (Good friends who live on the Upper West Side recommend this brand of earplugs, and I can vouch for their efficacy. I don’t like earplugs, but after a couple of nights of the cantina, I gave them a try — and slept like a baby.)

We will happily return to Ink48, partly because we developed a soft spot for its odd location, partly because the hotel restaurant is so darned good — but largely because the staff, across the board, was so kind to Chloe (and to us). As you’ll learn when you arrive, there’s a big opening under the reception desk, and it only took an entrance or two for Chloe to learn that if she hurtled across the reception area and under the desk, she’d be met with rapture by the front desk staff. The folks who held the doors cuddled her and told us about their pets. The housekeeping staff kindly stepped over her when she sacked out near the lobby door to the back-of-house. Heavens, how I appreciate a Kimpton hotel.

Chloe bidding farewell to Bridget, one of her beloved front desk buddies

Chloe bidding farewell to Bridget, one of her beloved front desk buddies

We paid our own way at Ink48. There is no pet fee (there never is, at a Kimpton hotel). Join the Karma rewards club, and wi-fi is also free (plus you get the odd goodie from time to time, like $10 to spend on your room’s minibar — mind you, that’ll buy you a canlette of Pringles and a bag of M&Ms, just to choose a couple of items at, ahem, random, but still, free is nice).

Traveling by public transit in Copenhagen with a pet dog

Copenhagen kindly provides an official tourist site for the city, called VisitCopenhagen — so valuable for those of us who struggle with Danish. Its section on public transport sketches out the options: A-buses, colored red & yellow, operate around the clock, and are supplemented during part of the day by the blue & yellow S-buses (which have fewer stops); the metro currently has two lines (a third is being constructed), and is, among other things, a splendid way to reach the city from the airport; S-trains provide metro-ish rapid transit to areas outside central Copenhagen; and regional trains complete the picture. A useful resource is the online itinerary planner Rejseplanen.

This Bulldog strolling on the Strøget, Copenhagen's magnificent pedestrian zone, is a good reminder that this is a fantastic walking city. (Photo by Christian Alsing, via http://www.copenhagenmediacenter.com)

This Bulldog strolling on the Strøget, Copenhagen’s magnificent pedestrian zone, is a good reminder that this is a fantastic walking city. (Photo by Christian Alsing, via www.copenhagenmediacenter.com)

According to VisitCopenhagen, “You can bring one small dog or other type of pet on buses, trains and metro for free as long as you have a carrier or bag for it. The size of the bag must not exceed 100 x 60 x 30 cm, and it must not occupy a seat for another passenger. Thus place it on your lap or by your feet. Large dogs that do not fit in a carrier or bag, needs a child ticket and need to be on the floor at all times.”

That’s pretty definitive-sounding, but just to cover all the bases, I fired up Google Translate and grappled with the web sites for the various transit options. I made the effort to dig into the Danish-language sites because, in my experience, the English-language versions of foreign transit sites don’t include all the details (nor do tourist sites like VisitCopenhagen, useful though they are). Once you’re in Copenhagen, you’ll learn that Danes typically speak superb English, and you’ll have no trouble working out the finer points of traveling with your pet.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Buses, apparently operated by Movia, but the only site I could find with practical bus info is the more general DOT site (pet policy here): Pet dogs are not allowed on A-buses, “except A-buses in Køge, Roskilde, Næstved, Holbaek and Elsinore;” there are certain times (presumably the hours when the buses are most crowded) that large dogs may not travel by bus; and the front half of a bus is designated pet-free for allergy sufferers. These details add so much nuance to the VisitCopenhagen summary I quoted above that I, for one, would want to have an extended chat with a bus system representative, once I was in town, to sort out the rules.

Metro, main page here (pet policy here and, in more detail, here): Only one pet per person; small pets in carriers travel for free; larger dogs must have a ticket (the cost of a child’s fare) and must be leashed. In a bit of Danish that Google Translate couldn’t quite handle, there’s an indication that larger dogs need to be kept away from certain seats reserved for folks with allergies (“og må ikke opholde sig ved de 6 forreste og bagerste sæder i toget, da disse sæder er forbeholdt allergikere”), so be sure to inquire about that.

S-trains and regional trains, operated by DSB (pet policy here): Small pets in carriers (maximum size 100 x 60 x 30 cm) travel for free, but must not occupy a seat; larger dogs must have a ticket (the cost of a child’s fare) and are presumably required to be on a leash; again, there are areas in the trains that are reserved for allergy sufferers, so inquire about that before boarding. (This pet policy language, by the way, suggests that the pet-free cars on metro trains are the first and last cars. It also reinforces my belief that the pet-free zones on these trains and on the metro, and perhaps also on buses, do not apply to pets contained in carriers, but again, I’d double-check that before boarding.)

Other interesting options

As I bounced around looking for public transport links, I also came across these sightseeing options:

Copenhagen’s harbor buses (Havnebussen) — These blue & yellow boats are part of the transit system, but are so appealing that they’re a tourist draw as well as an aid to commuters. There are three numbered lines, but 991 and 992 cover the same territory, with the same stops (Route 991 heads north from Teglholmen, and 992 heads south from Refshaleøen). The third line, 993, connects Nyhavn, Experimentarium City, and the Opera. I simply could not find a good link for the havnebussen: Movia is apparently its operator, but neither its site nor the DOT site were the smallest help. I did manage to find a timetable for sailings [PDF], and Google Maps shows where the havnebus stops are located. My guess is that the pet policy is similar to that of the rest of the public transit system.

Canal and harbor cruises, offered by Strömma — Well-behaved and leashed dogs are allowed on board, except on the Trekroner Fort cruise (“Ja, hvis den er i snor og kan styres. Hunde er ikke tilladt på Trekroner.”) These cruises will cost more than the harbor buses, but you’ll be provided with information about what you’re seeing, and the boats are designed to provide comfortable seating and good visibility.

Hop-on, hop-off buses run by Strömma — Again, leashed dogs are allowed on board, but must travel with their people on the top, open deck (“Ja, men hunden skal være i snor og skal kontrolleres. Alle hunde skal opholde sig på øverste dæk af bussen med deres ejer.”)

For details about pet policies for other cities’ public transit systems, please check out Dog Jaunt’s handy collection of blog posts about pet friendly public transit!