Upgrading to a car with an interior foot-print that can accommodate a dog lover’s doggy-adventure list isn’t cheap by any means. However, transforming your existing car into the ultimate, dog-friendly car without breaking the bank is easier than you think.
The biggest concern with owning any car, and dogs, is maintaining a car that is clean and safe for the whole family to ride in. Fur, nail blemishes, wet noses, vomit, drool, poop: these are all things dogs are good at leaving behind in a car. Despite all the interior frustrations one can run into with dogs and cars, one may be dealing with an older dog who can not as able anymore. Or maybe your dog is giving you a case of road rage because they can’t stay put inside the car. Whatever the complication, there are specialty car travel products to DIY your interiors.
Whether your dog is a nuisance to drive with, or simply not compatible with the footprint of your car, consider any of these products before turning in your old car for a new one.
Dog Car Seat Covers
Traditional cloth interiors are magnets for dog hair, odor, and bacteria. Dog hair is literally snagged by the large-weave fabrics traditionally used in car interiors making it a backbreaking chore to clean. Even worse, moisture and smells from a happy, wet dog can forever ruin your seats. Oh, and lets not forget about dog nails. Nails can easily leave blemishes in just about every upholstery imaginable.
Consider purchasing specialty dog car seat covers that are constructed from durable tight-weave fabrics–these allow dog hair and spills a cinch to clean up. Some are fabrics are even water-proof and durable enough to keep accidents and dog nails from finding their way into your leather or soft cloth seats.
Dog Car Ramps
Having to change out cars because your dog is getting older and no longer capable of jumping on-and-off your high car (not that I recommend this), is something that probably isn’t in everyone’s luxury of doing; however, you can easily compromise your dog’s old age or ailment using a well-constructed dog car ramp.
These ramps are light-weight, fold flat for easy stowing, and are easy to set up. Though it can take some time for dogs to get used to, I highly recommend that large breed dogs prone to hip dysplasia use a ramp to get in and out of high cars. One small mistep on take off or landing can cause serious injury to an older, rambunctious dog entering and exiting vehicles.
Dog Car Hammocks
Dogs can get pretty antsy riding in cars–so they sometimes like to jump up on the arm rest and get a better peep at the road ahead. Often times, dogs become so uncomfortable they begin to shake and foam at the mouth. This is where car hammocks come in handy. They help restrain and sooth dogs by giving dogs less to look at and a comfy space to confine in. For dogs with serious car sickness, these are great as they have four soft walls around them.
Dog Car Liners
Dog hair is impossible to vacuum from certain car interiors. Fabrics easily get penetrated by bad odor, are susceptible to dirt and grime, and absorb any and all moisture your dog puts on them. Using car liners that are water-resistant and made of materials that can easily bat fur, dirt, and water are huge investments dog owners always overlook. These liners can easily be cleaned with a damp cloth or tossed into the washer machine for serious cleaning. Not even poop, pee, or vomit can penetrate a dog car liner–cleaning up doggy accidents has never been so easy.
Dog Car Barriers & Containment
Not all dogs learn to stay put in a moving car. Some dogs simply love to occupy the whole interior of a car at their convenience. For this and the safety of others riding in a moving car, there are barriers that prevent dogs from moving around in more than one area of the car. Unlike a restraint, barriers allow dogs to move freely within the allowed space. These are a no-brainer for me when I sometimes I have 3 or more dogs in my car.
Dog Car Seats & Boosters
One of the main reasons dogs cant stay put during a car ride is because they want to see what you’re seeing, too. Some dogs love to engage with their surroundings–so they find ways to elevate themselves on your dashboard, side of the window, or worse, your lap.
Dog car seats are elevated seats that are strapped into place using a seat belt, thus giving smaller dogs a clear view of what’s ahead. Using boosters seats has helped many dog owners with keeping smaller dogs in one place.
Backseat Footprint Extenders
If you ride around in a small coupe, you obviously have no room in the hatch for medium to large size dogs. However, adding functional square-feet to a backseat can easily be done by using a backseat extender to bridge the gap between the rear seats and backside of the front seats.
The additional footprint provided by these extenders can easily give large breed dogs the extra leg room they need to lay down comfortably during a car ride.
Portable Soft Dog Crates
For dog owners who can’t find a way to keep their dog put, we all know a dog crate will do the trick. But not just any dog crate. You want something that is portable, light-weight, and features a soft canvas for containment.
I am a huge fan of soft canvas dog crates. Granted, there is some training when using these because they are not indestructible. If your dog is chewer, the next safest option is a plastic dog crate.
The reason I am not a fan of metal dog crates for car travel
The reason I don’t recommend metal dog crates inside a moving car is in the event of a car accident. Metal dog crates can come flying forward with brute force and hurt anyone sitting up front. Despite being heavy and clunky, the welds on these type of crates are sharp and can break loose possibly shish kabobing anything they come in contact with. A simple search online on this topic will lead you to horrifying stories other dog lovers have shared.
In the event you can’t buy a soft dog crate because your dog scratches at it, a solid plastic dog crate is the second best choice for car travel. Solid wall metal dog crates with perforations instead of individually welded pieces or thin gauge steel is OK for dogs that chew through everything, but keep into consideration the weight of these crates if not properly contained in an accident.