A Guide to Ride Sharing with Pets

Ride-sharing services have made it easier to get around than ever before. No longer do you even need a car if you live in populated enough areas. You can take ride-sharing services wherever you need, whenever you want. This level of convenience is incredible, but what happens when you need to take your pet somewhere with you?

Dogs and cats don’t have the same rights as humans, and ride-sharing drivers don’t have to let your pet in. If you plan on ride-sharing with your furry friend in tow, you’ll need to know all about the policies of different ride-sharing services and some guidelines to follow when ride-sharing with your pet, all of which will be covered in this article.

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Are Pets Allowed in Ride Sharing Cars?

If you rent your home, you probably remember the difficulty of finding a place that would rent to you with your pets. Many places will require additional deposits for pets with extra monthly cost added on for “pet rent.” If you have large dogs or more than two, you might have been turned away at multiple places, and this can make it very hard to find a suitable place.

All of this is to say that not everywhere wants pets around. Pets can cause damage. They leave behind odors, hair, allergens, bacteria, messes, and more. Their claws can scratch, cut, poke holes, and worse. It’s understandable that a person might not want your dog in their vehicle, and they have the right to deny you.

With most ride-sharing companies, the decision of whether or not to allow pets in the vehicle is solely up to the driver, as it should be. We joined forces with the team at Ride Share Guy to provide you with some feedback from drivers about letting pets tag along. Driver Chris used to take dogs, but after some experiences with little barkers, he says he’d prefer not to do it again. “I’ve done it once or twice with no issues, but I don’t think I’d do it again. Unless I really liked their dog! Lol. I prefer big dogs. No little yappy dogs!”

Of course, sentiments vary from driver to driver. Driver Jeff says that most of the time, dogs aren’t a problem – but it can be disconcerting to transport a pet for drivers who aren’t familiar or comfortable with dogs. He says, “I keep a large towel in the trunk for large shedding dogs, but most of the time the smaller dogs want to be on the owner’s lap. This is a non-issue for me, but I know drivers that never had a dog might be apprehensive.”

With opinions as diverse as the people that drive rideshare vehicles, it makes sense for each driver to make their own decisions regarding who and what gets into their vehicle.

dog in a car
Image Credit: Pixabay

Uber Pet Policies

As with all ride-sharing companies, Uber must allow service animals. Non-service animals are not required to be allowed by law, and it’s up to each individual driver whether or not they want to accept them.

Uber’s pet policies are as follows: If you have a pet with you, you can request an Uber Pet, which will send a pet-friendly Uber ride. It’s only available under UberX, and you can only bring a single pet on each ride, but there are no breed or size restrictions. This service does cost more than a standard Uber ride, and if your pet leaves a mess, you’ll also be charged a cleaning fee.

Uber recommends that pets are restrained on a leash or in a carrier and that you bring a blanket or towel to cover the seat and prevent damage. You should never leave your pet unattended in an Uber, and always ask the driver where they prefer for your pet to sit.

uber driver
Image Credit: Unsplash

Lyft Pet Policies

Service animals are welcome on all Lyft rides, but non-service animals are subject to the Lyft pet policies. It’s up to individual drivers to allow pets or not. If your driver isn’t comfortable with pets, you can cancel the ride, but unlike Uber, your Lyft driver can’t cancel until they arrive. Luckily, Lyft will waive the cancellation fee if you contact them.

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Guidelines When Ride Sharing with Your Pet

1. Inform the Driver That Your Pet Is with You

Before your driver ever starts heading your way, make sure they know that you have a pet in tow. You don’t want to surprise them once they show up. At that point, they’ve already spent time and gas to come to you. Common courtesy dictates that you give them the chance to skip your ride if they’re uncomfortable carrying dogs.

Here’s an opinion from a former ride-sharing driver, Melissa:

“The biggest takeaway from drivers (and as a former driver myself, I agree!) is that we just want to know if you’re bringing a pet along for the ride. Most drivers will be fine with it (I also kept towels in my trunk!) and just want to be prepared. Some drivers, like me, were thrilled to get dogs and would spend the drive talking about dogs. However, some drivers aren’t comfortable or are allergic, and they should have the opportunity to decline. After all, you want a comfortable driver to safely transport you and your pup!”

uber app
Image Credit: Unsplash

2. Bring a Blanket or Towel

While some drivers carry towels and blankets to protect their seats from pets, not everyone is so prepared. Make sure you’re prepared in case the driver isn’t. Pet claws can destroy seats and pet hair can be very difficult to clean. A lot of drivers take this topic very seriously. Some choose cloth seats, which are less likely to be ripped but slightly harder to clean.

Others, like driver Dan, choose leather seats and learn quickly that you need a buffer between the pet and the leather! “My Prius has leather seats,” says Dan. “Easy to clean shedding dog hair but also easy to get torn due to sharp paw nails. Bought a high-end dog blanket last week and used it for a recent passenger with her dog. She was impressed and tipped me $10.”

Not every driver is as prepared as Dan, however. So, you should be the prepared one and bring a blanket to protect your driver’s seats. You might not get a tip for it, but they’ll certainly be thankful.

boston terrier on blanket riding car
Image Credit: Christine Bird, Shutterstock

3. Carriers are Common Courtesy

It’s considered common courtesy to keep your canine in a carrier when using a ride-sharing service. If your dog is small, this won’t be a problem. Naturally, a large dog in a carrier won’t fit in every back seat, so if your dog is on the larger side, you can just keep it restrained on a leash instead.

maltese in carrier riding a car
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

4. Walk Your Pet First

Make sure to take your dog on a good long walk before you bring it into a ride-sharing vehicle. Your dog will likely be overly excited and a good walk can help it calm down. Also, this gives it an opportunity to do its business so there are no accidents in the vehicle.

a labrador walking with his owner in the park
Image Credit: dekazigzag, Shutterstock

5. Tip Appropriately

No driver has to allow your dog in their vehicle. Doing so is an act of kindness, and you should reward it in kind with a decent tip, ensuring that driver continues to offer services to people with pets. Don’t ruin it for the next rider by being cheap!

tip jar
Image Credit: Unsplash

Pet-Friendly Alternatives to Ride Sharing

If you’re having trouble taking a ride-sharing service with your pet, then you might consider an alternative method of travel. Ridesharing might be the most convenient, but it’s not the only way to get around with your pet.

Taxis

Taxis are still common in most major cities. Like ride-sharing drivers, taxi drivers are under no obligation to allow your dog in their vehicle. However, many of them will. When you call the taxi service, let the operator know that you have a dog with you and they’ll try to find a taxi cab that will accommodate.

Public Transportation

In many cities, public transportation services like the bus or trolley allow dogs. Granted, there might be size or breed restrictions in place, so make sure you do a little research before heading out.

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Conclusion

In many cases, ride-sharing operators will allow you to bring your dog with you, though they never have to. Each driver gets to decide for themselves when they will and won’t allow pets into their vehicles. But if you follow the guidelines in this article, you’ll have a better chance of making a good impression with your driver, ensuring they keep allowing courteous passengers to ride with their pets in tow.


Featured Image Credit: Andrey Popov, Shutterstock