Do you want to go on vacation, but hate the idea of leaving your beloved dog behind? Or are you facing car repairs and a trip to the vet in the same week? No matter your reason, sometimes you need to put your pup in a rental car.
But is this allowed, and how should you go about it?
Dogs can ride in rental cars with very few exceptions. However, each rental car company has its own rules regarding pets. Your dog may have to be crated, and you’ll be charged if they make a mess of the vehicle.
Preparing for a trip with your pup is exciting, but it can also be stressful if you aren’t used to bringing them along. Let’s go over our top tips for having a fantastic getaway with your fur baby!
Table of Contents:
Do Rental Cars Allow Pets?
Most rental car companies allow you to bring your dog into their vehicles. Some of them require your dog to be in a crate or carrier during the trip, though. However, this rule doesn’t apply to service dogs.
In fact, a rental car agency cannot lawfully ban your service dog from riding with you.
Additionally, all rental car companies will charge fees for damaged or messy vehicles. So if your pup tears into the seat or has a nervous tummy, you’ll be charged when returning the car.
Cleaning fees include excess fur left on the seats, floor, or elsewhere in the vehicle. Some companies charge for any amount of fur left behind.
Of course, you’ll want to prep carefully before bringing your dog into a rental car. This will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved, and help you to avoid any extra fees.
How to Avoid Cleaning Fee After Riding with Your Pet
No one wants to pay extra fees, no matter the circumstance.
You’ll want to keep your rental as clean as possible to avoid having to pay cleanup or damage fees.
The first step to cleanup is to avoid messes in the first place. The best way to do this is to keep your dog contained in a crate or carrier.
If you don’t want to do this, and your rental company doesn’t require it, the next best thing is to cover the seats your dog will be sitting on. This will mostly prevent fur from becoming a problem, and it will make cleaning up any messes a little easier.
You also want to make sure your pup is getting lots of potty breaks.
Cleaning Up Fur
As a pet owner, you probably already know that fur gets everywhere. Even if you put your dog in a crate or cover the car seats, there will be hair on the floor or surrounding the crate. (In my car, we even find dog hair on the ceiling!)
Most rental companies won’t charge you for a tiny bit of fur, but it’s best not to risk the fee if you think there’s too much of a mess.
You can try stopping at a car wash that offers vacuum services or even bringing your own handheld vacuum with you.
If a vacuum isn’t an option, or you just need to quickly clean up a specific area, you can try using tape or a fur glove to remove fur. Even a dog brush may work—just be careful that it doesn’t damage the seats.
Preparing for the Worst
Even the best-behaved dog who’s used to riding in cars will make a mess now and then. We can’t always help being sick, and neither can our pups.
Keep paper towels and stain removal in your rental car, just in case you need to deal with any puke or urine.
If you always keep the seats covered, you’ll have a better shot when it comes to cleanup. If you can’t afford seat covers for your rental, old blankets work just as well!
Hertz Rental Car Pet Policy
However, if your pet damages the car in any way, or you leave excessive pet hair in the car, they will charge an extra fee.
Avis Car Rental Pet Policy
Most Avis locations allow pets to ride in rental cars. The company recommends you call your location beforehand to confirm they allow pets to ride along.
If the car is returned dirty, hairy, or smelly, Avis will charge a cleaning fee.
Enterprise Car Rental Pet Policy
Enterprise allows pets to ride in their rental cars. However, they must be crated unless they are a service animal. Service animals are exempt from the rule and can ride without a crate or carrier.
If the car is dirty or full of hair upon return, you will be charged a cleaning fee.
Budget Car Rental Pet Policy
Budget allows pets to ride in their rental cars so long as they are potty trained.
Additional charges will be added if the car is damaged or messy upon return, including excess pet hair. However, Budget typically waves the cleaning fee for pet hair when it comes to service animals.
Alamo Car Rental Pet Policy
Alamo allows pets to ride in vehicles. If they are not service animals, they must be crated. However, service animals can ride without a crate or carrier.
A cleaning fee will be charged if the vehicle is dirty or contains pet hair.
Dollar Rental Car Pet Policy
Dollar allows pets to ride in their vehicles. While they recommend using a crate or covering seats to avoid a mess, it is not required.
However, the car must be returned clean to avoid a cleaning fee. This includes cleaning up excess pet hair before returning the vehicle.
What Supplies Do You Pack When Taking Your Dog on a Trip?
You probably already know what to pack for yourself, but there are extra considerations to make when bringing along a pet.
Your pup will need their own bag too, depending on how long your trip will be. Of course, if you’re simply renting a car to drive while yours is being repaired, you won’t need to pack as much (though we highly recommend bringing cleaning supplies regardless!).
A simple tote will probably work for short trips, but otherwise you may need a duffle bag or even a small suitcase to hold your pup’s things.
And, of course, you’ll probably need their crate.
Here are some supplies you can pack for your dog:
- Crate or carrier
- Dog food
- Food and water bowls
- Booster seat/seat belt
- Seat covers
Of course, you may not need all of these items. For example, your dog may not take any medications. But if they do, you’ll definitely want them on hand!
You may also want to bring these cleaning supplies
- Pet stain remover
- Paper towels
- Tape or Fur Removing Glove(to clean up fur)
- Handheld vacuum
Even if your dog is great in the car, you never know when you’ll have a mess on your hands!
Helping Dogs with Difficulties Riding in Cars
Some dogs need a little extra help riding in cars. If you have a new dog, you might have to train them to enjoy car rides.
But what if your pup gets nervous on the road, has car sickness, or isn’t yet potty trained? Well, let’s address nerves first.
My Dog is Nervous in the Car
Anxiety can lead to a whole host of problems for you and your dog, especially in a rental car!
Nervous dogs may be able to overcome their fear through training and lots of patience. Or, if their anxiety is extreme and you absolutely must take them in the car anyway, you could consult with a veterinarian about medications to keep your dog calm.
If your dog is crate trained, try bringing their crate into the car. Since it’s a place they already feel safe, it can help them adjust. The same can be said for bedding, toys, or anything else that smells like them and can provide comfort.
You could even try riding near your dog. Your presence could help them feel more comfortable during the trip.
Keep in mind that nerves can cause a dog to lose their bladder. Don’t fault them for peeing in the car—remember that you knew they had difficulties and put them in this position.
Yelling at an anxiety-ridden dog for using the bathroom in a car will only make them more nervous about getting into the car the next time.
It’s just not fair to yell at them for something they couldn’t control, and it will only accelerate the problem.
My Dog Gets Carsick!
First of all, you want to do your best to doggy-proof your car if your dog gets carsick. Cover the seats and bring cleaning supplies in case they make a mess.
You can also try consulting your veterinarian to see if your dog can take any medications to help them. This is best for you and your dog and might avoid a mess.
But even if your dog is on medication, you should be prepared in case it doesn’t work.
My Dog Isn’t Potty Trained!
This may not be what you want to hear, but: if your dog isn’t potty trained, you shouldn’t take them in a rental car.
You can try your best to avoid messes, and take them outside of the car to go potty, and clean up any accidents. But it’s best to just avoid the situation altogether, as you’ll probably end up with a cleanup fee by the end of your trip.
We hope we’ve inspired you to take on the world with your pet!
Last update on 2022-01-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API