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)? Knowing the Uber and Lyft pet policy will help you to plan a successful and stress-free trip.
Does Uber allow dogs?
The answer: Maybe. 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 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.
Uber has also created Pet Friendly Rides. Select this option when selecting a ride to ensure that your small dog or cat will be welcome on the trip. While you can rest easy knowing your pet can come along, you should expect to pay a higher fare with this option. The Uber dog policy notes that you can bring one small animal, but doesn't list specific size limits.
Does Lyft allow dogs?
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. The Lyft pets policy does not require drivers to accept riders with pets. If the driver asks you to cancel the ride, do so and request a new one. Upon request, Lyft will take care of any cancellation fees you may be charged.
Are service animals allowed?
As you may have noticed in the policies quoted above, there's a very clear exception to the pet policies of rideshare 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 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.
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. The policy states, "When it comes to transporting riders with service animals, drivers on the Lyft platform should remember one thing: Always Say Yes."
Uber's policy on service animals is very similar. Drivers must provide service to riders with service animals. Refusing a ride or otherwise discriminating against riders with service animals violates the company's policies and result in the driver losing access to the driver app.
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. This helps drivers keep their vehicles clean and reduces the risk of your pet damaging the car.
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.