Dog in Rental Car

If you're a dog person, you know there's nothing better than driving down the road with their ears and tongue flapping in the wind. We love bringing our canines with us when we travel and thankfully, it's not difficult to find a rental car agency that allows pets. However, different agencies have different rules and it's important to understand fees and conditions apply. We've got a complete guide for you!

Hair Beware: Don't Let Your Pup Shed Everywhere!

Being respectful of your agency's conditions should be a priority when traveling with your dog. Here's a few proactive measures that we suggest:

  • Consider a dog crate: crating your dog is the best way to keep them safe in a car and prevents them from having accidents on seats or shedding all over the car.
  • Buckle up: Get a dog seatbelt that attaches right into the buckle of the car to keep your pet secure. You'll need a harness (don't want your dog to go flying by their neck) or you can get a 2-in-1 harness + seatbelt set.
  • Cover up: Bring a special pet-seat-cover. These protect both the front seats and the back seats from puppy claws and paws.
  • Don't want to invest in gear? Even throwing down a beach towel or sheet can make a difference. Protect the car so that there aren't odors, stains, or insane amounts of pet hair when you return the car.


Dog Safety Vest Harness

The Return: Beware and Prepare

It's easy to find negative reviews regarding returning "pet-friendly" rental cars to major rental agencies. A common complaint is unnecessary or excessive charges for specific after-pet cleaning or sanitation. Even if a deposit or fee isn't required, some rental agencies have been known to exaggerate claims of hair or odors, throwing these unexpected fees and charges at renters regardless of sufficient pre-return cleaning. It's always in your best interest to ensure your animals are given plenty of opportunities to eliminate outside the car and that you clean a rental car as thoroughly as possible before returning it to the agency to avoid any sneaky additional charges. It's also a good idea to take photographs before and after in case you are challenged about the state of the car when you return it.

Bottom Line: Mostly Free But Sometimes a Fee

Thankfully, the vast majority of major car rental agencies allow pets in their vehicles. Popular agencies such as Budget, Hertz, Advantage, and National Car Rental simply request a thorough cleaning before returning the car, warning that any odors, stains, or excessive hair could open you up for additional charges.

Meanwhile, other agencies have more specific requirements. Enterprise strongly enforces that pets be restrained in a carrier at all times. Avis and Thrifty are known to have policies that differ from location to location. It's important to contact a central reservation center to verify the policies and fees for specific areas when dealing with these agencies.

The Rundown: Agencies at a Glance

Ace - Pets are fine to ride in vehicles; however renters are responsible to any damage done to the vehicle and may be charged a cleaning fee for pet hair.

Advantage - Advantage does not have a strict pet policy, but please be sure to return your rental vehicle clean (i.e. free of pet hair), and without pet damage to avoid cleaning fees and charges for pet damage.

Alamo - Pets are allowed in Alamo's rental vehicles. Customers need to keep pets crated and return their rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair to avoid cleaning/detailing fees. Service animals used by customers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier.

Avis - Avis does not have a strict pet policy, but please be sure to return your rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair, etc. to avoid cleaning fees.

Budget - Housebroken pets are invited to travel in your rental car, just as they do in your personal car. Although Budget doesn't assess an extra fee for pets, pet owners will incur an additional charge for any damage caused by animals, or any special cleaning required as a result of shedding or accidents.

Dollar - Pets are allowed to ride in the vehicles with no additional fees. Dollar recommends that pets are properly secured in the vehicle in a pet carrier, pet car seat, or similar safety restraint. Renters are responsible for any damage caused by the pet. To avoid cleaning charges, vehicles should be returned clean and free of pet hair.

Enterprise - Pets are allowed in rental vehicles. Customers need to keep pets crated and return their rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair to avoid cleaning/detailing fees. Service animals used by customers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier.

EZ - EZ does not have a strict pet policy, but please be sure to return your rental vehicle clean (i.e. free of pet hair), and without pet damage to avoid cleaning fees and charges for pet damage.<

Fox - Pets are welcome. There are no fees or deposits. Renters are responsible for any damage and are subject to a cleaning fee if the vehicle is returned dirty.

Hertz - Policies differ by location. Some allow domestic pets to ride in the vehicles with no additional fees. Renters are responsible for any damage caused by the pet, and to avoid cleaning charges, vehicles should be returned clean and free of pet hair.

National - Pets are allowed in rental vehicles. Customers need to keep pets crated and return their rental car in clean condition and free of pet hair to avoid cleaning/detailing fees. Service animals used by customers with disabilities are allowed in the vehicle without a carrier.

Payless - Policies vary by location. Contact the individual location to inquire.

Silvercar - Any pets aboard a Silvercar vehicle must travel in an airline-approved pet carrier at all times. Designated service animals accompanying customers with disabilities are not subject to the pets policy. Although Silvercar doesn't charge an extra fee for pets, pet owners will incur an additional charge for any damage caused by animals/pet carriers/harnesses, or any special cleaning required as a result of shedding or accidents.

Thrifty - Pets are allowed to ride in the vehicles with no additional fees. Thrifty recommends that pets are properly secured in the vehicle in a pet carrier, pet car seat, or similar safety restraint. Renters are responsible for any damage caused by the pet. To avoid cleaning charges, vehicles should be returned clean and free of pet hair.

Our Take

TL;DR: pups can come along in a rental car but don't let them destroy the car or make a mess. If they shed a lot or if you plan to let them go swimming, take steps to protect the seats so that you don't get charged a cleaning fee. In addition, take note that some rental car companies require that pets be in an approved carrier while in the car. Service animals are always exempted from this. For other rental car companies, policies vary by location. We recommend calling the pickup (and drop off, if different) branch ahead of time to confirm their pet policies so that you don't get held up at the rental counter with Fido tugging at the leash.

Quote me Track a reservation! Learn how you can save 30% or more on car rentals