If you don’t own a vehicle, getting your dog around Chicago can be difficult, whether it’s to the groomer, the vet, training classes, or even the beach. You’ve maybe even asked yourself, “does Uber allow dogs?”

The short answer is yes. However, unless your dog is a certified service animal, it’s not guaranteed you’ll be able to take them in an Uber or almost any other form of transportation, including Lyfts, taxis and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) vehicles.

All the different pet transportation policies in Chicago can make it difficult – not to mention confusing – to determine who will allow you to travel with your pet and what the rules are.

To help make things easier for you, we’ve broken down the pet policies of the most popular transportation methods that people use to get around the city – along with helpful tips and tricks for using each service or platform.

Uber’s Pet Policy

When you ride with Uber, drivers must allow your dog into their vehicle if it is a certified service animal.

If your dog is not a service animal, however, the company recommends contacting the driver of your ride after it’s been accepted and ask about bringing your dog along. To contact the driver, you can call or send a text message using the app.

Non-service dogs will not be allowed on uberPool rides because there may be other passengers in the vehicle who are allergic to dogs or are uncomfortable with being in a car with strange dogs.

Tips for Traveling With Your Dog in an Uber

If your Uber driver allows you to bring your dog, there a few things that Uber suggests you do to help keep the driver’s vehicle clean.

It is recommended that you place your dog in a carrier when traveling – if the dog is small enough – or bring a blanket for the dog to lay on to prevent fur from getting on the upholstery, or in case the dog has an accident. If your dog damages anything inside the vehicle or makes a mess, you may be responsible for cleaning fees.

Also, if your dog is a large breed, Uber recommends you order an UberXL.

Lyft’s Pet Policy

The pet policy at Lyft is very similar to Uber. Drivers are required to allow your service animal in their vehicles. But when it comes solely to pet dogs, it’s up to the driver.

In order to determine whether or not your dog is allowed in a driver’s car, Lyft recommends calling or texting the driver to confirm it’s OK after requesting your ride. If the driver declines your request to bring along your dog, you can cancel the ride and try again with a different driver.

If you are charged a cancelation fee because the driver didn’t allow you to bring your dog, you can contact customer support to have the fee reimbursed.

And – just like when you take your dog in an Uber – it’s recommended you put your dog in a crate if it’s a smaller breed or it’s still a puppy. If you own a larger dog, Lyft also asks that you bring a towel for the dog to lay on.

If you have a very large dog, you may want to order a Lyft XL to ensure your dog has enough room.

Chicago Taxi Services That Allow Dogs

Chicago taxis also are required to take service dogs. In addition, several of the taxi services in the city allow pet dogs in their cars – often without any weight restrictions or additional charges.

The following taxicab companies permit passengers to bring dogs of all weights at no additional cost:

  • Yellow Cab Chicago
  • Chicago Carriage Cab Company
  • American Coach Limousine
  • Blue Cab
  • Sun Taxi Association
  • 303 Taxi

However, all requests for picking up dogs require prior notice, and – in some cases – drivers will ask for additional information about the dog’s weight, or instruct the rider to place the dog in a crate or carrier for the ride.

American United Taxi also allows passengers to bring their dogs, but the final decision is left up to individual drivers. Regardless of which taxi cab company you use, it’s important to always call in advance if you plan to bring your dog. Also, note that there may be a longer wait time for a cab driver that agrees to transport you and your dog.

Pet Policy for CTA Trains and Buses and Metra Lines

Public transportation in Chicago also has no restrictions on service animals. However, the CTA has the most strict policies about taking pet dogs on their vehicles: only small dogs that can be contained to carriers and can be transported by one person are permitted to ride on the buses and trains. In addition, dog carriers are not allowed on seats and can’t block pathways inside vehicles or at stations.

The same rules apply for taking dogs on Metra trains, but there are some additional time restrictions. Small dogs in enclosed carriers are allowed on Metra trains on weekdays only during non-peak periods. During the morning and afternoon rush hours, which are between 6:31 and 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, there are no dogs allowed.

If you are able to meet these conditions and choose to take CTA transportation, it is important to make sure your pet is on its best behavior. The CTA pet policy permits the removal of animals who are too loud, messy or not properly supervised by their owners.

Additional Chicago Pet Transportation Services

There are several companies that offer pet transportation services in Chicago. These services can be especially useful if you own a very large dog or a dog with behavior issues and have had trouble finding a rideshare service or taxi company that’s willing to transport them.

Chicago Pet Transport, a dedicated pet transportation company, will safely transport your dog anywhere in Chicago and the adjoining suburbs. Although this service is more expensive, it’s a safe and certain door-to-door transportation option for your dog.