AskPatty Celebrates “National Dog Day” with Car Tips for Dog Lovers
If you’re one of those who travels with your pooch, we know you’ve got your canine’s comfort in mind when you’re shopping for a car. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, more than 56 million American households own a dog, and these furry family members factor in when it’s time to put a new car into the driveway.
In a recent survey of AutoTrader.com visitors who have a dog, 75 percent take them in the car once per month or more, and 53 percent take their dog in the car at least once a week.
In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of National Dog Day, editors from AutoTrader.com have named their picks of the “Must-Shop Cars for Dog Lovers.” “It’s important to take your lifestyle into consideration when choosing a car, and for many people, this includes their dog,” said Brian Moody, AutoTrader.com site editor. “Dog owners should be mindful of the features that will make traveling with their dog easier, and if possible, even take their dog with them on the test drive to make sure the car is the right fit for everyone in the family.”
What are some of the comfort and convenience factors pet owners should think about when evaluating a new car? According to AutoTrader, the following items can help improve comfort and convenience for people who bring their pets along for the ride:
A rear lift gate allows your dog to jump in and out of the car easily; it also makes for more convenient loading in/loading out of pet carriers, crates and kennels.
Fold-flat seats create a spacious area for your dog to sit while keeping the actual surface of the seats clean from hair or scratches.
An airy cabin is especially beneficial for large dogs to stretch out.
Rear cargo-attachment ringlets help keep carriers and crates from sliding around.
A containment barrier/divider keeps your dog from jumping up to the front seat while the car is in motion.
A low ride height helps dogs -- especially older ones -- get in and out with ease.
Rear climate control keeps your dog cool and comfortable in transit no matter what the weather is like.
A sunroof brings fresh air and sunlight so you can keep your dog from hanging its head out of the window.
Underfloor storage gets your things out of the way so your dog can ride more comfortably.
The vehicles on AutoTrader’s “Must-Shop Cars for Dog Lovers” list include a variety of sizes and body styles, and offer a multitude of comfort and convenience features that make road trips more enjoyable for humans and their pet passengers. Vehicles on the list include:
While these vehicles will make travel with a dog easier and more comfortable, keeping the dog safe in the car should be the top priority. Lauren Genkinger, president of Adopt a Golden Atlanta, recommends not allowing your dog in the front seat to avoid driver distraction and injury to the dog if there is a sudden stop or accident and the airbag goes off.
Genkinger also advises that dogs not be permitted to ride with their head out the window as they can easily be injured by debris flying into their eyes, and some dogs have even jumped out of the window of a moving car.
“Also, turn off power windows in your car when your dog is with you as they can be accidentally opened with a simple press of their paw,” Genkinger added. “It’s also smart to bring water and a bowl even if it’s just a trip to the groomer. Dogs need regular access to water and you never know what will happen – you could get stuck in a bad traffic jam for several hours.”