So you want to go to a place but you don't want to drive there (or walk or take public transportation). Until humans develop teleportation technology, the only solution to this predicament is to call an Uber or Lyft. But, what if the place you want to go is a place that your dog or cat also wants to go? This raises a very important question: Do Uber and Lyft allow pets? Or, will you have to cancel these hypothetical plans and stay in (or suck it up and drive yourself)?
Save yourself some heavy Googling and scroll down for the answers to all of your Uber and Lyft pet-related questions:
Does Uber allow pets?
The answer: Maybe. Sometimes. Honestly, it's really up to your driver.
Uber doesn't specifically prohibit or universally allow pets as a companywide policy. Instead, Uber leaves the decision about letting a pet come along for the ride with the individual drivers, allowing them to decide on a case-by-case basis, if they want.
If you're hoping to take a pet with you during an Uber ride, the app recommends immediately contacting your driver—either via text or by calling—to let them know that you'd like to bring a furry friend. Not only is this just a polite thing to do, even if the driver is pet-friendly, it also gives you a chance to cancel the ride and request another driver right away if the driver you're matched with won't allow pets.
"If you're planning to ride with a non-service pet, it's good practice to contact the driver who accepts your ride request. Use your app to send a text message or call to let the driver know you'd like to bring a pet," Uber writes in its brief official pet policy.
Does Lyft allow pets?
The answer: Also maybe. Sometimes. Honestly, it's really up to your driver.
Like Uber, Lyft leaves the decision about pet riders up to the individual drivers. And, like Uber, it strongly recommends that passengers contact their driver right away to ask if it's okay to bring a pet along for the ride.
"We advise passengers to call their drivers after their ride request is accepted to confirm that it's OK to bring their pets," Lyft writes in its own policy on the subject. Lyft also includes a note to drivers, making it clear that it's okay for them to turn down pet riders and advising them on how to handle the situation if it arises.
"As a driver, if you're comfortable with it, passengers love it when you go the extra mile, so feel free! But if you'd prefer to not have their pet (that is, a non-service animal) in your car for any reason, be friendly and politely ask the passenger to cancel the ride," the company writes. "If they're charged a fee, they can reach out to us by tapping 'Contact Support' below and we'll take care of it."
Are service animals allowed in Uber and Lyft?
As you may have noticed in the policies quoted above, there's a very clear exception to the pet policies of ride share services: Service animals.
Service animals are protected under the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and are legally allowed to accompany their owners in any public space, and that includes in Uber and Lyft cars. This means that drivers can't turn away official, licensed service animals, regardless of their personal feelings about animals in their car and refusing to allow a service dog to ride will lead to serious repercussions for the driver. Drivers can't deny rides to passengers with service animals even if the driver is allergic to said animal, afraid of the animal, or has a religious or cultural objection to the animal, according to Lyft's official service animal policy.
Lyft's policy on service animals:
"When it comes to transporting riders with service animals, drivers on the Lyft platform should remember one thing: Always Say Yes. That's because drivers must comply with applicable laws and Lyft's Service Animal Policy. The law and Lyft's Service Animal Policy state that drivers may not deny service or otherwise discriminate against passengers with service animals. This means that drivers must transport a rider with a service animal regardless of whether a driver is allergic or afraid of these animals, or has a religious or cultural objection to them.
A service animal is an animal, usually a dog, that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, like blindness or deafness. Service animals are not required to wear a tag or vest or be registered. Riders with service animals do not need to display any kind of proof that their animal is a service animal. In other words, if a rider with a dog says it is a service animal, the driver should transport the rider."
Uber's policy on service animals:
"State and federal law prohibit driver-partners using the Uber Driver App from denying service to riders with service animals because of the service animals, and from otherwise discriminating against riders with service animals. As explained in Uber's Non-Discrimination Policy, driver-partners who engage in discriminatory conduct in violation of this legal obligation will lose their ability to use the Driver App."
How can I convince an Uber or Lyft driver to let me bring my pet?
If you want to bring a non-service animal along for an Uber or Lyft ride, you can maximize the chances of the driver being okay with it by taking some basic common courtesy steps. One of the best ways to show drivers that you're being considerate when traveling with a pet is to put the animal in a carrier if its size permits.
If the animal is too big for a travel carrier, bring a towel or blanket for the animal to sit on.
"Please help drivers keep vehicles clean for all riders by bringing a crate or blanket to reduce the risk of damage or mess," Uber suggests in its pet policy. "Some drivers may keep a blanket in the trunk."
It's also best practice to use common sense when requesting permission to ride with a pet. If it's not an emergency situation, don't ask to bring a pet who you know has car anxiety or isn't good around strangers. Not only will your driver be unhappy if your pet destroys the interior of the car or has an accident, but Uber or Lyft will hold you liable for those damages as well.