Recently Launched! Brand New Luggage Calculator Check It Out | Members Login

Pet-Friendly Car Rental & Tips To Avoid Additional Fees

Pet-Friendly Car Rental & Tips To Avoid Additional Fees

As a pet owner, you might wonder which car rental companies will welcome your furry friend with open arms. The good news if there are a number of mainstream rental companies across the world that offer pet-friendly features and policies, making road trips with your pup a breeze.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore pet-friendly car rental companies, essential items, and tips to ensure you and your dog have a pleasant trip.

However, ensuring you know each company’s cleaning requirements and rules can help you avoid extra fees.

Key Takeaways

  • Rent cars from Hertz, Alamo, Avis, Enterprise & Dollar Car Rental and take your pup along for a fun road trip!
  • Prepare your dog for the ride with crate training, familiarisation & behaviour training.
  • Baking powder can help you keep the car smelling fresh throughout your rental by absorbing unpleasant pet odours

Here’s a comparison chart of the pet policies of 6 popular car rental companies:

Car Rental CompanyAllows PetsRequires CrateCleaning Fee
HertzYesNoIf the car is not returned clean
Alamo Car RentalsYesYesIf the car is not returned clean
AvisYesNot SpecifiedUp to $450 if the car is returned dirty
Enterprise Rent-a-CarYesYesIf the car is returned with excessive pet hair or damages
Dollar Car RentalYesNot SpecifiedIf the car is returned with excessive pet hair or damages
SIXT rent a carYesNoIf the car is not returned clean

Remember that while these companies are generally pet-friendly, it’s always a good idea to notify them about your pet in advance and enquire about any specific rules or restrictions. Keep your car clean to avoid any additional fees.

Pet-Friendly Car Rental Companies

As a dog owner, you might wonder which car rental companies will welcome your furry friend with open arms. Good news! Companies like the ones listed below offer pet-friendly car rental, making road trips with your pup a breeze. However, making sure you are aware of each company’s cleaning requirements, and rules can help you avoid extra fees.


Hertz is a fantastic option for dog owners, as they allow dogs in their rental cars, provided the car is returned clean. There are no size or breed restrictions and the best part? No extra fees for housebroken pets!

Just make sure you return the car clean and free of pet hair to avoid any damage or cleaning fees. It is just a matter of adding your pet to the reservation at least 24 hours before you are scheduled to pick up your car.

Their team then has enough time to ensure that all the necessary equipment is available for your pet. As per their website, “a lot of pet owners bring their own blankets, beds, or carriers for their pets as an additional layer of comfort”;

Alamo Car Rentals

Alamo Car Rentals understands that pets are part of the family, so they have created a special policy that allows renters to bring their dogs along on their trips. The policy requires that dogs be kept in a crate during the trip to avoid any damage.

Keep in mind that the car must be returned in the same condition it was rented in to avoid extra fees. Basically, ensure that there is no pet hair left behind to avoid any cleaning or detailing fees..

I personally like the dedicated policy because I know that there won’t be any surprises when I arrive with my pup at the airport and find they can enter the vehicle.


Avis offers pet friendly and dog-friendly features across all their US and Canada locations, allowing you to travel with your canine companion without any hassle. However, if the rental car is returned dirty due to your pet, they state that they can charge a cleaning fee of up to $450.

This is because pets can cause a lot of damage to the car, from fur and dander to scratches and stains. The cleaning fee helps to cover the cost of cleaning the car and restoring it to its previous condition.

Therefore, maintaining a clean car free from pet hair is necessary to evade extra costs.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Enterprise Rent-a-Car allows dogs in their rental vehicles, as long as they are crated and the car is returned clean. While they don’t charge any upfront fees or deposits for bringing pets in the rental car, cleaning fees may apply if the vehicle is returned with excessive pet hair or damages. Hence, ensure your pup’s safety and cleanliness of the car throughout your trip.

Dollar Car Rental

Dollar Car Rental is another pet-friendly option, permitting pets in their vehicles without any additional fees. However, just like the others they do charge renters for any damages caused by pets or if the car is returned with excessive pet hair. Thus, safeguarding your pup and maintaining cleanliness in the car is key to avoiding these charges.

Sixt Car Hire

Sixt are welcoming when bringing your bet along on your trip. Whilst they don’t have a particular policy or mention any extra fees, they remind the rental owner to keep the car as clean as possible and offer tips on ensuring the car is kept clean.

Save Up To 70% on car hire

Preparing Your Dog for a Pet-Friendly Car Rental

training dog before trip

Before embarking on your journey, proper preparation of your dog is required. This includes crate training, familiarisation, and behaviour training aimed at a comfortable and safe trip for both you and your pet. Now, let’s delve into these preparation steps.

Crate Training

Crate training your dog can help them feel secure and comfortable in a rental car. It takes advantage of their natural instincts to search for a peaceful and safe spot and can even help with potty training and chewing issues. Depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences, crate training can take days or even weeks.

Therefore, it’s important to start slowly and make sure your dog feels at ease in the crate before setting off.


Familiarizing your dog with the rental car before the trip can reduce anxiety and stress. You can use the following methods to help your dog feel at ease in the rental car:

  • Online searches
  • Specialized pet travel websites
  • Car ramps or steps
  • Pet training supplies

Your journey will be smoother and more enjoyable as your dog’s comfort with the car increases.

Behavior Training

behaviour training in car

Behavior training, such as teaching your dog to sit and stay, can make traveling in a rental car easier and safer. Focus on teaching your dog to stay calm and quiet in the car, as well as staying in their crate or seatbelt.

Pracrice keeping your pet’s roaming area small will save you time cleaning. You should confine your pet to one area. Some vehicles come with cool security features like dog harness seat belts ghat you can use to keep your pet in that space if necessary.

Generally, to ensure a stress-free and enjoyable trip, practice car rides with your dog to acclimate them to the experience.

Advanced Pet Care

If you know that your Pet commonly sheds or drools include mess-prevention helpers and cleaning supplies that match your pet’s unique ways of being messy. Have grooming supplies on hand, such as brushes, combs, and shampoo, to keep your pet’s coat healthy and shiny.

Keep a towel nearby to wipe up any drool or spills. It’s also important to keep surfaces clean with a pet-safe cleaner. To stay on top of things, take your pet to the groomer at least a few days before you leave for your vacation. Trimmed nails leave fewer scratches and a freshly trimmed coat sheds less.

A Few More Things To Remember Before and During Your Car Rental For Dog Owners

Choose a car with Pet-friendly upholstery

For added peace of mind, avoid renting a car with leather upholstery, since it can be difficult to clean, and requires special cleaners and techniques. When renting a car, it is best to request one with cloth upholstery, since it is much easier to vacuum, as the fibres catch hair and dirt.

The compromise may seem difficult to some since they would lose the leather seats, but it is certainly worth it, and can be compared to wearing a t-shirt over a suit. The t-shirt is easier to wash and maintain than the suit and tie, which require more care and attention.

Also, if you can, hire a car with substantial boot space. If that is not an option, cover all the seats before you let your pet inside. Bringing along a blanket from home is always a good idea, or you can buy a seat cover from a pet supply store if you have the budget.

Avoid Activities that Make Your Dog Wet & Dirty

As any dog owner knows pets can get dirty very easily, and it can be difficult to completely clean them off. So if you can avoid activities that make them muddy or wet then do so. If your dog insists on joining you for outdoor activities, then be sure to bring a waterproof blanket or mat.

This can be used to line the car seat and prevent muddy paw prints from staining the upholstery. Additionally, bringing a portable shower or wet wipes can be useful for cleaning your pet before getting back in the car.

A Clever Way To Keep Smelly Odors Away.(baking SODA)

There are a variety of ways in which baking soda can be used to keep unpleasant odors at bay, particularly in your car when travelling with a pet. One popular DIY approach is to sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto your car’s carpets and upholstery, allowing it to sit for a few hours or overnight before vacuuming it up.

This approach can be effective in absorbing both pet odors and allergens, making the air in your car fresher and cleaner.

Another strategy is to place an open container of baking soda in your car that is out of reach of your pet. This allows the baking soda to absorb any odors before they become too overpowering. A small box or bowl filled with baking soda is usually sufficient for this purpose, and it can be left in your car for several days at a time before needing to be replaced.

For those who prefer a more targeted approach to odor elimination, baking soda can also be mixed with essential oils or other natural fragrances to create a customized air freshener. Simply mix baking soda and your chosen fragrance in a small jar or container and put it in your car.

You can use any essential oils that you like, such as lavender or peppermint, to create a pleasant aroma that helps to mask any lingering pet odors.

Essential Items for a Dog-Friendly Road Trip

dog with leash

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable road trip with your dog, there are a few essential items to pack. These include a collapsible water bowl, backseat cover, and toys and treats to keep your dog entertained and comfortable during the journey.

Let’s discuss the significance of each of these items.

Collapsible Water Bowl

A collapsible water bowl ensures easy hydration for your dog during road trips. Made from safe materials like silicone or soft plastic, collapsible water bowls are lightweight, portable, and easy to clean.

Simply unfold the bowl and fill it with water, then offer it to your dog for a drink. After use, empty any remaining water, collapse the bowl back into its compact form, and store it for future use.

Backseat Cover

A backseat cover:

  • Protects the rental car’s interior
  • Provides a comfortable space for your dog
  • Made from durable materials like polyester and Oxford fabric
  • Waterproof and scratch-resistant
  • Helps protect the upholstery from hair, wet paws, and messes

Additionally, a back seat cover can act as a barrier between the driver and the back seat, ensuring safety for both the dog and the driver.

Toys and Treats

toys and treats

Toys and treats can help keep your dog entertained and reward good behavior during the trip. Here are some tips:

  • Bring a bag of treats as a reward and use them to teach your dog commands like “shake” or “leave it.”
  • Pack your dog’s favorite toys to keep them occupied.
  • Consider bringing bones or chews for dogs who are not easily entertained by toys.

Interactive toys, such as a KONG Classic toy filled with treats, can also keep your dog mentally stimulated during the journey.

Planning Your Route and Accommodations

When planning your road trip with your dog, considering pet-friendly accommodations and rest stops is vital. Preemptive research and booking of pet-friendly hotels and Airbnbs guarantees a comfortable stay for you and your pet.

Moreover, scheduling pet-friendly rest stops and attractions provides your dog, including service animals, the opportunity to stretch, explore new environments, and spend time in a comfortable setting.

Dog-Friendly Accommodations

To ensure a comfortable stay for both you and your dog, research dog-friendly accommodations like hotels and Airbnbs. Some dog-friendly hotel chains include:

  • Home2Suites by Hilton
  • Hyatt Place
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Aloft
  • Residence Inn

Make sure to book pet-friendly listings on Airbnb by selecting the “Pets allowed” option in the search filters.

Rest Stops and Attractions

having a break with dog in boot

Plan rest stops and attractions that are dog-friendly, allowing your dog to stretch their legs and explore new environments. Some popular dog-friendly rest stops in the US include:

  • Little America Travel Center
  • Loves Travel Stops
  • Choctaw Welcome Center
  • Stuckey’s
  • Davis Travel Centers Dog Park

Additionally, many state parks have pet-friendly policies and allow dogs as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Travel Safety Tips for Dogs in Rental Cars

Ensuring your dog’s safety during your road trip is of utmost importance. Travel safety tips for dogs in rental cars include securing your dog, taking regular breaks, and keeping your dog cool during the journey.

Let’s delve into each of these safety guidelines.

Secure Your Dog

Securing your dog in a crate or with a harness is essential for their safety during the trip. A crash-tested dog harness is highly recommended for optimal safety, and be sure to clip the restraint to a harness or a flat collar, never to a head collar.

This helps to restrain the dog and keep them safe during the journey.

Regular Breaks

dog at cafe

For your dog’s comfort during the journey, regular breaks are important. Ideally, breaks should be taken every 2-3 hours for your dog to:

  • stretch
  • relieve themselves
  • hydrate
  • go on a brief walk

Breaks not only help to keep your dog comfortable but also prevent motion sickness and allow for fresh air circulation.

Keep Your Dog Cool

For your dog’s well-being, it is important to keep them cool during the road trip. Here are some tips to help:

  • Utilise window shades to prevent direct sunlight
  • Carry frozen and extra water for your dog
  • Take frequent breaks to provide water and a chance for your dog to cool down
  • Use cooling mats or vests to keep your dog comfortable during the journey


In conclusion, pet-friendly car rentals have made it possible for you and your furry friend to embark on exciting adventures together. With the right preparation, essential items, and safety tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey for both you and your dog. So, buckle up and hit the open road with your canine companion, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to travel across country with a dog?

Traveling with your dog cross-country can be a fun and rewarding experience. The best way to go is road tripping, where you keep your furry friend with you the entire time and eliminate separation anxiety. Make sure to check out all the tips for pet-friendly travel beforehand such as packing the essentials and investing in a driving harness.

What is the best truck for transporting dogs?

If you’re a dog owner, the 2021 Ford F-150 is the ideal truck for you! This spacious model offers both SuperCab and SuperCrew designs with up to six seats and flip-up rear seats to store your dog’s crate or other accessories. It’s the perfect choice for pup-loving truck owners!

Which car rental companies are pet-friendly?

Hertz, Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Dollar Car Rental are all pet-friendly, offering a range of features to make your ride comfortable!

How can I prepare my dog for a pet-friendly car rental?

Get your pup ready for a stress-free car rental experience by crate training, getting them used to the rental car, and teaching them good behavior!

What essential items should I bring for a dog-friendly road trip?

Pack a collapsible water bowl, backseat cover, and some fun toys and treats for your pup – they’ll be ready to hit the road with you!