Tips For Traveling With Dogs in a Rental Car

If you’re planning a road trip or vacation by road, you’ve no doubt considered all the pros and cons of taking your pet in the car. Whether loading the dog in the rear of the car or taking the cat along for the ride in a pet carrier, traveling by car with your four-legged friends needs careful consideration. To most of us who travel with our pets regularly there wouldn’t be too much cause for concern beyond allowing for longer stints at the wheel and more frequent stops for ‘calls of nature’ and drink.

If, however you are renting a car for your road trip, then there are a few other things you should consider, failure to do so could leave you without a car at all, or a hefty charge when returning the car.

Are you allowed pets in a rental car?

A good place to start is to check with the rental agent in advance if they even permit pets in rental cars at all, have compiled a list of rental agents that allow dogs in rental cars so best to check in advance. Whilst all rental agents permit assistance dogs, some are not pet-friendly and prohibit taking pets (dogs or other domestic animals) in their car. The good news, however, is that most do allow you to take pets in a rental car, but restrictions often apply.

Car Rental Cleaning Fee

Whether you carry a pet in a rental car or not, if you return a rental car in a condition deemed ‘unreasonable’ by the rental agent you’ll likely end up with a cleaning fee that can be as much as $250 with some rental agents. Under normal use, it’s unlikely that you’ll end up on the wrong side of this fine, however, if traveling with a dog in a rental car, it’s likely that muddy paws and malting fur could well leave the inside of the car in a less than favorable condition. If you’re worried about mud, hair or smell it’s highly recommended that you have the rental car valeted before returning as its likely to cost significantly less than a rental agent cleaning fee.

Damage to the rental car?

It’s not only mud and hair that could lead to a charge from the rental agent, any damage to the rental car, whether inside or out will lead to a bill when you return the car. Whilst you may travel with your pet in your own car on a regular basis, an unfamiliar car and potentially long journey could cause your pet to damage the inside of the car. If you’re concerned at all, take extra precautions to protect the inside of the car like extra blankets/seat protectors if your pet is traveling in the back (or front) seats or a boot liner. You could also consider crating the dogs in the rear of the car if you have the space for extra peace of mind, but you should always familiarise your pet if they are not used to a crate as not to cause unnecessary distress.

Top tips for taking a dog in a rental car

  • Check first to see if pets are allowed in the rental car
  • Protect the inside of the car with a boot liner/blanket of seats
  • Consider crating your dog in the car if worried about damage (soft crates are available)
  • Plan regular stops to allow your pet to drink, go to the toilet and stretch its legs



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