Pet Travel. Made Easy.

How To Save Money On Pet Friendly Rental Cars

How can an inexpensive shower curtain and a door mat save you hundreds of bucks? Simple! You just need to use them to protect the upholstery of your rental car from pet hair.

Occasionally your pet friendly travels may require the use of a rental car. There are a number of pet friendly rental car companies out there, and one thing they all have in common is a directive to charge additional cleaning fees – up to $200 – if the vehicle isn’t returned free of pet hair.

Ty and Buster in Rental Car

I completely understand their position. With shedding monsters like Ty and Buster, keeping my toothbrush free of dog hair is a colossal challenge – not to mention the interior of a vehicle! I’ve spent rolls of quarters and hours of my life at the car wash vacuum trying to suck up enough of Ty’s insidious, self-weaving fur to avoid being slapped with a penalty.

And then I had an idea …

Why not prevent the hair from attaching to the upholstery in the first place?

An inexpensive shower curtain has two desirable qualities:

  1. It’s made of a nylon fabric that generates static cling … meaning the loose fur is attracted to the curtain, rather than the car’s seats.
  2. It’s made with reinforced slits meant for shower curtain rings, which work perfectly for securing it in the car.
Shower Curtain on Headrest

We usually opt for rentals with a cargo area where Buster and Ty can ride comfortably. If your pet needs to ride in the back seat and sheds like our dogs do, you may need two shower curtains: one on the back seat and one to cover the back of the front seats.

In the cargo area, we removed both back seat headrests and slid the legs of the headrests through the slits in the curtain. Slipping the headrests back into place secured the shower curtain perfectly. If you don’t want to mess with the headrests, it’s also easy to slide carabiners through the curtain slits and use them to attach the curtain.

Headrest in Rental Car Carabiner on Shower Curtain

Once the curtain is attached, spread it out to cover as much of the upholstery as possible.

Shower Curtain in Rental Car

To keep the fabric in place, and give your dogs a firm place to stand, grab your rubber-backed door mat and put that on top of the shower curtain.

Door Mat in Rental Car

The next step is to determine the best place to attach your dog’s car harness. Check the ceiling and floor for anchor points for a child’s car seat.

Child's Seat Tether Point

Pop the cover off and you’ll find the perfect spot to attach the tether for your dog’s car harness.

Dog Harness Tether Point Dog Harness Tether Point

All we need now are a couple of good looking doggy models in their harnesses. Lucky for me, I happen to have some willing participants right here!

Buster Jumping in Rental Car Ty Jumping in Rental Car

Just buckle them in, and they’re ready to go for a ride!

Ty and Buster in Rental Car

When it’s time to return the car, carefully remove the shower curtain and shake out the fur outside. If you do it right, you should be able to clean up any stray hairs in just a few minutes with a lint roller.

Okay, everybody out!

Buster Jumping Out of Rental Car Ty Jumping Out of Rental Car

Do you have any tips to make pet travel easier? Please share them in the comments below!

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  • Penelope Lou says:

    Where do you get that black strap that hangs down?

  • We love the Clickit Sport harnesses we use for Ty and Buster from Sleepypod, Winnie. It’s been crash-tested and received a 5-star rating from the Center for Pet Safety. Here’s a review I wrote if you’d like to check it out:

  • Winnie Clark says:

    Kurgo makes a dog ‘zip-line’ for car use. Works GREAT !

  • The boys are happy to be of service, Janie! We’ve spent plenty of time learning things the hard way – there’s no reason why everyone can’t benefit fro our mistakes! Waggin’ trails!!

  • Janie Wise says:

    This is great! all those years of traveling with the dogs and I never even thought…. It also dawns on me that this might help with my car problems I’ve always had leather interior, but this car has microfiber and it gets dirty so easy.(never again)… mmmmm think I’ll have to ccheckthis out! THANKS BUSTER AND TY!

  • Yep, some places will use almost any reason to charge you extra fees – you must have gotten lucky. This will definitely help you the next time you need a rental!

  • Marie Casey says:

    Wow … I didn’t know about such charges. We returned a rental full of dog fur … well I did try to get most of the fur out but you know how impossible that is. The rental company didn’t say anything nor did they charge extra that we know of. Love the idea of using a shower curtain. Another item on my shopping list.

  • You are SO not alone Amy. It drives me crazy too. I can never seem to vacuum them all up!

  • Khoury Gwen says:

    Great article! I have been using shower curtains for my cats to play on and roll around on for a long time , they love the feel and the noise the shower curtain makes. And after a few days its so much easier to clean up and dust off. I love the idea using in a car and using the head rest to hold in place. I have always found brand new missed matched shower curtains at Goodwill for just a couple of dollars. I buy what I find and stash a few away for later. Most the time they carry lint brushes too.

  • Shared! What a great idea!

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