Did you know that approximately 70 percent of American households include at least one pet? Not only do most people have pets, but they also see them as members of the family. So, when it’s time to go on vacation, many individuals prefer to bring their pets along.
If you’re thinking about bringing your furry friend on your next trip, you’ll have to do some planning to make sure your itinerary is pet friendly. Finding friendly hotels or airlines shouldn’t be a problem since many accept dogs and cats for an additional fee. But what if you need to rent a car once you arrive at your destination?
Can you rent a car with your pets? And if so, are there additional costs or rules?
In this article, we will review all you need to know about pet-friendly rental cars. So keep reading for the inside scoop!
What Car Rental Companies Allow Pets?
Most car rental companies are pet friendly. Some may charge a fee or require renters to give notification before pick up, while others only ask that you keep the vehicle in clean condition. Here are some policies for major car rental companies.
At AVR rental, we don't have a strict pet policy. However, we ask that you keep your rental vehicle clean. Returning your rental with excessive pet hair will result in a $400 cleaning fee. But you can avoid paying extra fees by cleaning your vehicle before returning it to us.
Alamo doesn’t charge extra for pets but requires renters to keep them in crates, except for service animals assisting people with disabilities. As with other companies, customers must return the vehicle in a clean and hair-free state.
Avis is another pet-friendly car rental company. They allow customers to bring their pets without additional charges, as long as they keep it clean and odor-free.
Enterprise requires pet owners to keep their animals in a crate or carrier. They cannot have free range of the vehicle. Moreover, they must keep the car clean and free of dog hair. Failure to do so leads to hefty fees.
Hertz isn’t too picky when it comes to housebroken pets. They can ride in the car without a crate as long as they are well-behaved. Customers should return the vehicle without pet hair or any other messes.
SIXT welcomes customers and their pets, offering them more spacious vehicles for a comfortable journey, such as an SUV rental. They recommend keeping pets restrained in a crate, booster seat, or doggy seat belt.
Thrifty is another pet-friendly car rental option with few stipulations. They advise owners to keep their animals in a pet carrier and will charge fees up to $250 if cars are dirty or damaged.
How to Protect Your Pet-Friendly Rental Car
While policies differ, you likely noticed a common thread — most car rental agencies charge fees when customers return vehicles with odors, stains, hair, or damage.
If you don’t want to incur additional expenses on your trip, you’ll need to take precautions. Here are some of our expert tips for protecting your pet-friendly rental car.
Keep Your Pet Clean
If your pet is clean and well-groomed, they leave less of a mess in the rental car. Of course, even the neatest of pets will leave behind some hair, drool, or other evidence of their presence. But, you can do your part to minimize the mess they make by keeping them clean throughout the entire journey.
Bathe your pet with a nice-smelling shampoo before renting the car, and if needed, clip their hair and nails. Doing so will keep shedding to a minimum.
During the trip, your pet will likely get in and out of the vehicle often. Remember to wipe their paws before they get inside the car, and if you notice any dirt or debris on their fur, clean them right away.
Don’t forget to brush your pet daily to remove dead hair and prevent them from shedding all over the upholstery.
Further, if you plan activities that will get your pet muddy, wet, or dirty, bathe them and let them dry off before getting back into the car. If that’s not possible, confine them to their crate or carrier until you can clean them.
Many cities have dog wash stations at car washes, so keep an eye out for these if you need to groom your dog on the go.
Consider a Seat Cover
Even with a strict grooming routine, you can’t always avoid messes. Your pet may get carsick, shed more because they’re nervous, or tear the seat with their toenails.
Instead of taking your chances, prevent damage to the rental car with a seat cover. You can buy one from a pet store at the start of your journey or bring a thick blanket from home to place on the car seat.
No matter which protective cover you choose, the important thing is that it shields the entire area where your pet will be during the trip. Confining your pet to a specific area is a good idea since it makes cleaning up easier. All you’ll need to do is remove the cover before returning the car.
Yet, even with a seat cover in place, it is best to avoid leaving your pet alone in the car. This is especially the case with nervous or anxious dogs since they may chew through seatbelts or upholstery.
Detail the Rental Before Return
In addition to brushing your pet and using a seat cover, you can keep hair at bay by lint rolling daily. It just takes a couple of minutes and will save you from a lot of work at the end of the trip.
Nevertheless, messes happen, especially with pets in the car! But that doesn’t mean you have to get stuck paying for a cleaning fee when you return the rental vehicle. Instead, go to a car wash and thoroughly clean your rental.
Use the vacuum to remove stray hairs from seats, carpet, and crevices between the seats. Then, wipe down the interior with a cloth and spray some air freshener to eliminate any pet odors.
If your pet has a particularly strong smell due to their breed, you may want to put an open box of baking soda somewhere in the rental. It naturally absorbs odors, which can prevent you from having to air out the car before returning it.
Discover AVR’s Pet-Friendly Car Rentals
Taking a road trip with your pet can be a fun and memorable experience. Thankfully, plenty of pet-friendly car rental companies make these types of vacations possible. Just be sure to follow the tips in this post so you can avoid extra fees.
AVR offers spacious vehicles, such as vans, SUVs, and rental minivans. So whether you bring one or several pets, you’ll have plenty of space for your furry friends. Contact us today or check out available rentals on our website!