Pet Friendly Cars are Safe and Clean

Traveling with your pets can sometimes be difficult. Cats do not love movement out of their control. Simply placing a cat in a car and driving is usually a recipe for disaster.

Dogs can also be tricky to handle in a vehicle. They can jump and move around and potentially distract the driver. Also, pets can shed, be sick or potentially defecate during a trip, making your car smell terrible. 

Steps can be taken to make a vehicle more pet friendly. This typically will result in safer trips for the pet, as well as a safer driving experience for their owner! Some minor things can be done to make cars, SUVs and minivans easier to clean. Minimizing the mess that a pet can make in a vehicle pays off in the long run! Take this opportunity to learn more about what a car really needs to be pet friendly. 

Pet Needs in Vehicles

There are a few ways that pets can ride in a vehicle. When it comes to cats, they almost always need to be in a carrier. Ideally, this carrier should be capable of being buckled into a seatbelt. Dogs are a bit different. Dogs need to be comfortable as well as secure. When a dog is more comfortable, they stress less, which in turn causes less problems with barking or with upset stomachs. 

This often means that good pet vehicles need adequate size and storage space. Dogs want enough room so that they can move around comfortably, but not so much space that they will be jostled around. Dogs will also often like to try to get their head out a window, or to feel the fresh air flowing into the vehicle. This also helps them deal with the stresses that they are feeling. Another consideration has to be the ride height. A vehicle that is too high up is more difficult for a dog to get into. This can be especially troubling for older dogs that much be suffering from joint problems or arthritis. Also, always remember that a pet friendly vehicle has air conditioning. There’s no need for a dog to overheat while just out for a ride. 

Best Cars for Pets

There’s no singular best car for pets, but there are plenty of vehicles which have features that can help pets. One feature that is useful is fold flat seats. Seats that can fold into the floor of the vehicle and provide a flat surface are ideal. This can either let the dog get comfortable on its own, or potentially have a secondary crate placed inside so that the dog can feel comfortable in that crate. Another consideration has to be the mess that’s created. Cloth seats can stain easily. Leather is much easier to clean for messy dogs. The same can be said of floor mats. Try replacing any carpeted floor mats with ones that are made of rubber. This can make the car much easier to clean. Spending a little extra to ensure custom fit runs from one edge to another will ensure that nothing can get behind or below the floor mats. Some of the best vehicles that are great for pets include: 

  • Honda Odyssey - A quality minivan with lots of space. 
  • Kia Soul - Huge cargo area and low to the ground for easy entry. 
  • Subaru Outback - Big cabin is only exceeded by the cargo area. Also has an easy entry for dogs and loaded with safety features. 
  • Volgswagen Atlas - The split folding third row makes it really easy to install a dog crate and still maintain adequate seating. Also has excellent temperature control that can change based on each row of seating. 
  • Ram 1500 - Specifically the crew cab model with four doors. The rear seat folds to a completely flat floor perfect for setting up a dog area. 

A special nod needs to go out to a discontinued vehicle, the old Honda Element. That SUV was specifically designed with multiple features for dogs. It had a built in soft crate, as well as a dog ramp. It didn’t have carpet and had lots of cargo space for the pooch. Hopefully another vehicle steps up with these kinds of options in the future.

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