Moosh - dog in car

Many people rely on rideshare apps to help them get around these days. They’re fast and easy to use, more convenient than other transportation options, and often more cost-effective. However, if you have an emotional support animal (ESA) that you need with you at all times, it can be a little tricky to know when they’re allowed to travel with you.

When it comes to these kinds of rideshare apps, can you bring your ESAs in an Uber or Lyft ride? We’ve got the answers right here.

Are emotional support animals allowed in an Uber?

Uber expressly states on their website that drivers are prohibited from discriminating based on a person’s disability (and cannot refuse a ride to someone solely because of a disability). If you own a service animal, Uber drivers are required to accept you as a passenger. But does Uber allow emotional support animals?

Moosh - Uber
Image by Austin Distel on Unsplash: When you request an Uber ride, call or text the driver to ask if you can bring your ESA with you.

Sadly, at this time, ESAs are not viewed in the same way as service animals and are not afforded the same protections. This means that a driver can refuse you entry to their vehicle if they’re not okay with you bringing your ESA on the ride.

Although it may be frustrating that you can’t automatically bring your ESA with you in an Uber ride, you do have the option of texting or calling the Uber driver who has accepted your initial ride request and asking if you can have your ESA with you in the car. Some drivers will be totally fine having your ESA along for the ride (especially if you can explain that it’s a support animal).

It’s always better to give your Uber driver a heads-up before they pick you up – they’re much more likely to be cool with you bringing an ESA if they’re told about it ahead of time. But at the end of the day, it is completely up to the driver whether they’ll accept you and your ESA as passengers.

What Is Uber Pet?

Uber Pet is a rideshare option that allows you to bring your pet (or ESA) with you. In the Uber app, you enter your pickup and drop-off location, and under “Choose a ride,” select “Uber Pet.” You just have to “Choose Uber Pet” to confirm, then you can bring your pet outside when your driver arrives.

There is a rule that you’re only permitted to bring one pet on an Uber Pet trip. There are no breed or size restrictions, but it’s best to stick to one small animal (such as a dog or cat). It is important to note that Uber Pet trips do cost more than other vehicle options. Additionally, if your pet leaves waste or excessive hair or damages the vehicle in any way, you could be charged a cleaning fee.

Can I bring my ESA into a Lyft ride?

Lyft generally follows the same rules as Uber. It is completely up to the driver’s discretion whether they permit you to bring your ESA with you in the car. Lyft does advise people to call their driver after their ride request is accepted to confirm if it’s okay for you to bring your pet with you.

The company suggests that their drivers ask passengers to cancel ride requests if a pet is not wanted in their vehicle. If you are charged a fee after canceling a ride for this reason, Lyft recommends you contact their customer service for support. Some drivers may be fine with your ESA accompanying you, but it’s always best to let them know ahead of time about your pet.

Moosh - dog traveling in car
Image by Mason Jones on Unsplash: Take steps to be prepared for any Uber or Lyft ride with your ESA.

How can I be prepared to bring my ESA along for the ride?

If your driver says it’s fine for you to bring your ESA on the trip, there are a few things you can do to prepare so that you’re being a considerate passenger. Any time you travel with your ESA, you should:

Avoid UberPool or rideshare carpool options

Not all passengers will be okay with you bringing your ESA (because of possible allergies, fear of dogs, etc.), so stick to solo rides so that you won’t inconvenience anyone else.

Have your pet restrained

It’s a good idea to have your pet on a leash or harness or to place them in a crate or carrier during the whole trip so that they’re contained and easy to handle.

Bring a blanket or towel

In order to help drivers keep their vehicles clean, bring along a blanket or towel to cover the seat. This helps you avoid leaving pet hair in the car and reduces the risk of damage or mess.

Ask your driver if they have a preference for where your pet should sit

Some drivers might prefer your ESA sit in the backseat or on the floor. You can show consideration to the driver by asking what would make them the most comfortable.

Don’t leave your pet unattended

Make sure you’re always paying close attention to your ESA. That means keeping your eyes on them at all times so that you can watch for any behaviors that you might need to attend to. Your pet is your responsibility, not your driver’s, so they should never feel like they need to take care of your ESA in any way.

Bring toys or treats

Bringing along toys or treats to keep your pet happy on the ride can be a great way to ensure they’re occupied and well-behaved for the entire journey.

It is possible for you to bring your ESA along in an Uber or Lyft ride, but you do always run the risk of a driver refusing to take you because of your pet. Double-check ahead of time with your driver to make sure they don’t mind you bringing your pet (and don’t stress too much if they’re not okay with it). Also be prepared with necessary items to keep your ESA happy so that your ride goes smoothly!

Featured image by Michael Bartlett on Unsplash