A third of the capital’s dog owners now planning on taking their pups to work with them


As over a third (36%) of dog owners who work in the capital are getting ready to bring their four-legged friends on the office commute after over a year of working from home, pet insurance provider, Bought By Many, has teamed-up transport and dog behaviour experts to design a more dog friendly train carriage.

The design has been created in response to new research from Bought By Many which reveals that 58% of Londoners are planning to take their dog to work between once and five times a week, with 57% commuting with their dog via public transport. Of these, 43% are planning to take a combination of the train, 36% the bus, 33% will be journeying on the tube and 32% on the overground.

Planning the commute with a dog is no mean feat, as 79% of Londoners actively avoid certain tube lines over fears that they’re too hot and their dog will overheat. Fellow commuters are least likely to find themselves alongside a canine on the Piccadilly Line, with the capital’s dog owners ranking it the worst tube line for their furry companions. Meanwhile, the District Line gets the green light in first place.

To avoid busy peak periods and rush hour, the majority of London dog owners (91%) will be adjusting their commute, with 88% taking a longer route to accommodate their dog’s needs. In fact, 85% say tube stations are too crowded during rush hour. The biggest worries for owners are their dogs feeling anxious (47%), overheating and feeling dehydrated (43%) and going to the toilet (43%).

More dog-friendly and accessible options are needed, as 85% of London dog owners believe public transport should be adapted to accommodate their pooches and 81% agree they would choose to work home more often to avoid the commute.

In answer to this, Bought By Many has worked with leading dog trainer and behaviourist, Oli Juste and transport design practice, PriestmanGoode to design a dog friendly zone for the train carriage that offers a more positive commuting experience for dogs.

The dog friendly zone includes:

Safe covered space – for dogs between seats with acoustic material to shield from the noise of the commute (this space can also be used for luggage when not occupied by dogs)
Further safe space under passenger seating – this can be full seats for smaller dogs to sit underneath, or flipped up for larger breeds to have more space
Cooling mat – to cool dogs on hot days
Water refill and treat area – a recessed area for water top ups for thirsty dogs and a treat dispenser to reward good behaviour
Amenity area – to hold emergency poo bags and a hook to hang a lead
Water bowl area – for a quick refreshment
Oli Juste, dog expert and behaviourist, said: “Public transport in London can be stressful for dogs, especially for those who haven’t been socialised in crowded environments because of lockdown. We know the city’s transport providers do their best to accommodate all transport users, but it’s not always possible for owners and their dogs to travel off-peak or find a quiet carriage. With more dogs expected to join their owners on the commute, we need to consider how we make the experience as comfortable as possible. The dog-friendly train zone is a way of exploring how we can create the optimal environment for them.”

Steven O’Callaghan, Senior Insurance Product Manager, at Bought By Many said: “The world of work has changed dramatically over the past year and many dog owners are now thinking about how to balance looking after their dog with the return to the office. For many owners, leaving a pet at home alone or organising doggy day care can be stressful and costly – particularly in the capital, so improved commuting options as well as flexibility from employers about allowing different commute times to avoid peak rush hour and dog-friendly offices will be welcomed by thousands of pet parents in the city. We have reflected the needs of these owners in our policies so they are covered at home, on the commute or in the office.”

Kirsty Dias, Managing Director of design agency PriestmanGoode, said: “We’re delighted to have worked with Bought By Many on visualising the perfect pup commute. We see an opportunity to rethink the design of carriages to create an environment that is comfortable and stress free for dogs, as well as their human companions. While some of the ideas, such as special cooling mats on the floor, are specifically designed to ensure the dog’s wellbeing, we have also implemented other ideas that have a variety of functions and can benefit different users. For example, flip up seats create more space for not only large dogs, but also passengers with prams or wheelchair users. It’s about ensuring flexibility and making sure that the future of the daily commute is comfortable for all passengers, both human and canine.”