So you need a pet-friendly car rental, whether close to home or for a holiday on the other side of the Australia? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as hiring just any car, as not all rental car companies in Australia allow pets in their hire cars. But which rental car companies in Australia are actually pet-friendly?
To help you out (and myself!) I’ve reviewed the rental car policies of all major car rental companies in Australia, plus a few other popular companies. The policies vary from possibly pet-friendly to only with permission to an outright no. And because there’s not many pet-friendly rental car options, I’ve also suggested some other alternatives that you might like to consider, at the end of this blog post.
How to Find Out Whether Pets are Allowed
It can be difficult to determine if rental car companies allow pets. Generally their pet policies differ between countries, and when searching online it’s easy to visit the wrong country’s website.
When there are conditions about pets, often they’re buried deep in the terms and conditions, if you can find them. If you do find a copy of the relevant terms and conditions, try searching for “pet” or “animal”.
Alternatively, I recommend phoning the specific location you plan to rent from. This is often still required for the few companies that allow pets in their vehicles, with advance permission generally required.
Does Avis Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
Previously when I investigated whether Avis allowed pets in rental cars in 2019, there was no mention of pets on their website or in their Terms and Conditions. When I emailed the company, I was informed that pets are allowed, but “it is at the discretion of the location manager”.
However, this is no longer the case in 2023. The FAQ on the Avis website has been updated to state that “pets or animals are not permitted in any Avis vehicle”. The only exception is for guide dogs of visually impaired people. Additionally, Avis may charge a cleaning fee if “it’s deemed that a vehicle has been used to transport pets or animals”.
The Verdict? No
Does Bayswater Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
This popular Australian car rental company, with locations in Sydney and Perth, has the motto “no birds”. Which also applies to other types of pets, with their FAQ clearly stating, “dogs, cats and other animals are not allowed in our cars”. They also note “cleaning and damage charges apply”.
The Verdict: No
Does Budget Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
Previously, when renting a vehicle from Budget Australia, whether you could bring along a pet depended on the location. On their FAQ in 2019, it stated that “each location will determine if they allow pets in the vehicles”.
However, like with Avis (who is also part of the same company), their FAQ has now been modified to state that “pets or animals are not permitted in any Budget vehicle.”
An exception is only made for guide dogs for visually impaired people. The FAQ also states that Budget may charged a cleaning fee if “it’s deemed that a vehicle has been used to transport pets or animals”.
The Verdict: No
Does Enterprise Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
It’s not clear on the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Australia website whether pets are allowed in their rental vehicles. There’s no mention in their FAQ or their Rental Policies (that vary by location), and no Terms & Conditions document is located on their site, so in 2019 I sent an email to the company.
The reply I got back from Enterprise in 2019 was that yes, “pets are allowed in the rental vehicle as long as they remain crated”. Additionally, “if the vehicle is returned with pet hair inside or soiled a cleaning fee may be applied.” So, yes, Enterprise is pet-friendly!
The Verdict: Yes, if they remain crated, plus ensure the car is returned free of pet hair or soiling
Does Europcar Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
In the latest Europcar Australia Terms and Conditions from October 2022, it states that the carriage of live animals other than accredited or trained assistance animals is only permitted if “We have given Our prior written permission and it is noted in the Rental Agreement.”
If permission is granted by Europcar, pets and other domestic animals “must be restrained in a secure pet container” and additional conditions may apply. There’s also the typical clause that “additional cleaning fees may apply”, with Europcar’s Vehicle Fair Wear and Tear Guide mentioning “hair from pets” as being excluded from fair wear and tear (along with any other damage to the interior).
Before considering hiring a car from Europcar, I recommend phoning individual locations and finding out whether they will give you written permission. Don’t turn up at the rental location and expect that your pet will be allowed, despite Europcar being one of the only pet-friendly car rental companies in Australia.
The Verdict: Yes, but ask for written permission in advance from the rental location, keep your pet secured in the vehicle, and ensure you return the vehicle free from pet hair
Does Hertz Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
There is no mention of transporting pets and animals in the Terms and Conditions booklet of Hertz Australia, only a mention that a cleaning fee may be charged for “dirtiness or smell caused by having animal in the vehicle excluding registered service animals”. Similarly, their FAQ mentions that one of the reasons for a cleaning fee being charged is pet hair.
When I emailed Hertz for confirmation in 2019, I was informed that “most locations do not allow pets in the vehicles to my knowledge. This is due to allergy sufferers.” It’s not an outright no, but I recommend contacting the location where you will be renting from, and not having much hope.
The Verdict: Probably not, check with the location you are using
Does Sixt Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
After previously having a vague policy buried in their Terms and Conditions and not answering my emails, and still stating pets are not allowed in their FAQ, in 2023 Sixt announced that they are now offering pet-friendly car rental – making them the most pet-friendly major car rental company in Australia!
However, it’s not a free for all. Pet-friendly car rentals are only possible for pick-ups and drop-offs from participating locations, as listed on their website, although there are a long list of locations across every state and territory of Australia except the NT.
Only companion animals, such as dogs, cats and other domesticated animals are included, with no restriction on vehicle type – even luxury vehicles and electric cars are included. Note however that if the vehicle requires cleaning exceeding fair wear and use, including pet fur and mud or dirt, an additional cleaning fee will apply, except if you have a service dog.
Sixt requests that pet owners bring along pet car seat harness or carriers, car seat covers, and blankets, and follow the safety guidelines and road rules of the relevant state or territory.
The Verdict: Yes, but listed locations only
Does Thrifty Allow Pets in Rental Cars?
Thrifty is owned by the same parent company as Hertz, and similarly there is no mention of transporting pets and animals in their latest terms and conditions. It only states that a Cleaning Fee may apply for multiple reasons, including “dirtiness or smell caused by having an animal in the vehicle excluding registered service animals”.
Up until 2019, Thrifty Australia stated in their online FAQs that pets were not allowed to travel in any Thrifty rental vehicles, with the only exception made for service animals. However, the latest version of their FAQ no longer makes any mention about pets in their cars, being either prohibited or allowed.
The Verdict: Probably not, but check with the location you are using
Alternatives to Renting a Car
There are a couple of alternative options that you may want to consider, instead of finding a pet-friendly rental car.
For starters, check whether Popcar car sharing operates in the area where you need a car. All Popcar vehicles are pet-friendly, with just the simple request that you clean up after using the vehicle. (Alternatively, use a bed or blanket for your pet so no fur gets onto the seats.)
GoGet car sharing is also pet-friendly, but only in selected vehicles. Most pet-friendly vehicles are vans, although there are also some cars, and come with a pet hammock, lint rollers and alcohol wipes (with the expectation you’ll clean up after your pet). Read more about GoGet’s pet policy. Previously pets were also permitted in any vehicle if in a carrier, but this exception has been removed.
Alternatively, you might be able to get by using an Uber or three. On Uber, select to book an Uber Pet ride. This option is available in most Australian cities for about $6-7 more than a standard UberX trip. Up to one pet is allowed (at the discretion of the driver), with no size or breed restrictions.
The final alternative? Honestly, I must admit that as a pet owner, there is a huge advantage in Australia in buying a car, such as on this website. If you have your own car, no one can stop you from transporting your pet in the car.
Tips for Renting a Car with a Pet
If you do end up renting a car with your pet (or using one of these alternatives options), keep the following in mind:
- In most parts of Australia, it is illegal to carry a pet unrestrained. At the least, use a simple seatbelt attachment that can be secured to your pet’s harness. Alternatively, use a crate for your pet.
- Treat the car as if it was your own, or even better than your own. Don’t allow your pet to get in the car when muddy or sandy after a visit to the beach. Use a blanket, towel or bed so they aren’t sitting on the seats, especially if they tend to shed.
- Before returning the car, check it over to ensure it is clean. If there is pet hair, stop by a service station or car wash to vacuum the interior of the car.
Ideas for Dog-Friendly Road Trips in Australia
Now that you have a car sorted, here are are some ideas for dog-friendly road trips in Australia:
- Head north of Sydney to the North Coast of NSW, with Forster-Tuncurry, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Byron Bay being just some of the great dog-friendly stops along the way
- From Melbourne, drive along the Great Ocean Road
- Check out my tips for driving along the Hume with a dog
- One day, drive right across Australia including across the Nullarbor
You May Also Like
- Tips & Rules for Hiring a Car with a Dog
- How to Hire a Pet-Friendly Campervan in Australia
- Are Pets Allowed on Public Transport in Australia?
About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.
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