File image. / SUR

Big dogs weighing up to 40 kilos can now travel on some AVE high-speed trains between Madrid and Malaga

The national train operator Renfe is trialling the scheme on the routre until May and tickets for large pets will cost 35 euros

SUR MALAGA.

Owners of large dogs can now take their pet with them on some high-speed AVE trains between Madrid and Malaga, as part of a trial scheme being carried out by the Renfe train operator. As long as the dogs weigh less than 40 kilos, they can accompany their owners on the trains which leave Madrid at 8.25am and 6.30pm and from Malaga at 6.28am and 4.58pm. The tickets for dogs cost 35 euros and can be purchased up to 24 hours before travelling.

This pilot scheme began to be tested on the Madrid-Barcelona route in September and is now being extended. On the Renfe website, it appears under the section called ‘Pet Friendly’. Only one large dog is allowed per passenger and no more than two large dogs are allowed in a carriage. They must be kept under control at all times and in the space allocated to them.

For this project, Nestlé Purina has provided Renfe with a travel guide for people travelling with their dogs. It includes advice such as taking the dog’s blanket and a silent toy, not feeding the dog for the three hours before the journey to avoid travel sickness and says it is a good idea to give them a long walk before boarding the train so they are relaxed.

Before boarding the train, passengers travelling with a large dog should go to the AVE customer service centre at Atocha station in Madrid or María Zambrano in Malaga at least 40 minutes before the train is due to depart, with the dog’s health documentation and a signed declaration of responsibility.

Renfe will provide a cover and a mat for the dog’s seat, and the owner must bring a cleaning kit which includes hygiene bags, wipes and a disinfectant and anti-odour spray.

During the journey the dog must wear a muzzle at all times and be tied to its assigned seat, where it must remain throughout the journey.

These conditions do not apply to guide dogs or those which weigh less than ten kilos. Conditions for those can be found on the Renfe website.