If you’re planning on bringing your canine friend into rideshare like an Uber or Lyft, there’s a sort of checklist you need to go through before doing so. You’ll want to make sure the rideshare company you’re using allows your dog and taking care of them while in the car. The last thing you want is for your dog to make a mess in a car that isn’t yours. Whether or not you’re able to bring your dog depends on if they are a service or emotional support animal.
Reasons to Travel With Your Dog
The dog park may be too far of a walk on a nice day-off, or you may be taking your dog to an appointment. However, if you don’t own a car or can’t use one, taking public transportation may be your only option. If this is the case, then it helps to know the rules and regulations regarding dogs for whatever service you are using. At the same time, we’ll also go over how you can help your dog be a good boy or girl while traveling.
What if Your Dog is a Service or Emotional Support Animal?
Your dog’s classification determines whether or not it will be allowed in a rideshare or any other public transportation. A family pet is typically not allowed to ride public transport unless they have specific documents saying that they are able to. This would mean they would have to be a service animal who helps you with essential tasks that a disability or illness hinders you from doing. They can go anywhere pets normally wouldn’t be allowed because they are considered essential.
This is not the case if your dog is documented as an emotional support animal. Since they really have no physical tasks to perform, their presence is not necessary in rideshares or public transportation. This can also include therapy dogs. Despite this, there may be some drivers or public transportation companies that are willing to accept them, but that’s not always the case.
What is a Service Dog?
Rideshares and public transportation are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act to allow service dogs. There’s no limit on what dog breeds can be a service animal. In order to be certified, you will need paperwork from your doctor about your treatment and why your mental, physical condition requires a service dog. The dog is trained to do a certain task that you would otherwise be unable to. There are guide dogs for those that are blind or deaf, along with medical alert dogs that are trained to detect conditions like seizures or allergies. Physically handicapped people can get mobility service dogs as well. Psychiatric dogs help people with debilitating mental conditions like PTSD and schizophrenia. Furthermore, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not count service dogs as family pets.
What is an Emotional Support Dog?
Emotional support dogs are not considered service animals by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even though they may be approved by your healthcare provider, they are only meant to accompany you. That’s a simple job, and any animal can do it. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act allows any animal to become an emotional support one. However, they don’t get much training. An emotional support dog may be less attentive and wander off at times while a service dog knows not to. It’s because of that, the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t guarantee the same protections to emotional support animals, so they can be refused at some establishments.
Your Dog And Transportation
Every company dealing in public transportation has its own regulations regarding dogs. You may have seen a dog while riding the train. Amtrak is a notable example that allows dogs on board but only limits four for each train. At the same time, you may be required to have your dog on a leash and muzzle or in a carrier.
If you are travelling with your dog, it’s important to be well-versed in the regulations and do the following before heading out:
- Make sure your dog is comfortable in crowded spaces.
- Keep veterinarian records on hand. The transportation service you are using may ask you for things like immunization history and recent treatments.
- Travel with the regulations in mind, like leash or carrier requirements. Make sure that it is a carrier that your dog is comfortable in. Some services may require you to pay a fee to bring your dog at all.
When it comes to Uber and Lyft, you are able to bring your service dog. If it’s a family pet or an emotional support animal, it’s up to the driver because it’s their car.
You can win your Uber or Lyft driver over by doing the following:
- Notify them ahead of time that you’re bringing your dog. Let them know about specific details like size and breed. If you have a big dog, then only certain sized vehicles may allow them.
- Arrange a pick-up within walking distance so you can walk your dog and expend some of their energy. This also helps to get anything out of their system before they get into the car.
- Make it your job to keep the seats clean by bringing a blanket or towel. Whether your driver has a leather or cloth seats, you’ll want to cover them with your dog’s favourite blanket.
- Tip your driver well and show your appreciation. Especially when you asked them if you could bring your dog, and they said yes when they could’ve said no. Also, remember to give them a really good review as well. Ratings go a long way in the rideshare business, and you can help your driver get more customers.
- Bring your dog’s favorite treats or toys to keep them docile. Of course, you also want the experience to be positive for them. If you manage to get approval for your emotional support dog and they don’t like sitting still, you can always hold them in the car.