If you are a dog owner, chances are you drive a lot with your pet. Dog parks, trails, trips to the vet–you might find that you spend more time in your car with your dog than you ever would have anticipated. Since both of you are spending so much time in the car, you should both be happy and comfortable. So what should you look for when buying a car to ensure that both you and your furry friend are riding in style?
Here’s what dog-friendly features you should look for when buying a new car.
What dog-friendly features are important when choosing a car?
Let’s face it: you’re most likely not going to take your dog on a test drive when picking out a new car. That means it’s super important to have a checklist with what features are important to make your friend comfortable.
With so many cars and features on the market, you may be wondering what features are best to have for your dog. Here are our favorite dog-friendly options.
- A hatch that opens so that they can jump in and out easily.
- A low to the ground profile to make it easier to get in and out of.
- A boxy cargo area that gives you more space for crates and pet supplies.
- Seats that fold flat to make more room.
- Waterproof seat protectors.
- All weather floor mats.
- A sunroof, moonroof, or rear windows to provide extra ventilation.
- Rear cargo attachment devices.
- A pet barrier to keep your dog from getting into the front seat.
- Rear air conditioning vents to give extra ventilation.
- A fold out ramp to make getting in and out even easier.
- In floor storage bins for extra pet supply storage.
- Childproof windows and door locks to make sure they don’t get hurt.
Many of these features you can buy separately and add on to any car (like all weather mats and pet barriers), but that’s not the case for all of them so be sure to look around and see what cars you like have these features.
What is the best way to travel in a car with a dog?
If you are looking to get a new car, you need to keep in mind the safety of your dog. While you may think that a quick drive into town is ok with your dog sitting beside you, it is very dangerous to do so. While most states do not have laws requiring your dog to be restrained, it is good practice to follow the suggestions below when driving with your dog.
- Secure your dog using either a harness, crate, or carrier.
- Keep water in your car to keep your dog hydrated.
- When it’s warm, open the windows to give your dog some fresh air (not wide enough for them to jump out of,though) or put on the air conditioning (be sure the vent isn’t blowing directly on them).
- Take one of their favorite toys or blankets along for the ride.
- Take regular stops so that your dog can stretch and relieve itself.
There are also several things that you should be sure you do not do when you have your dog in the car with you.
- Don’t open the windows wide enough for your dog to stick its head out of the window.
- Don’t feed your dog right before getting in the car (give yourself at least 2 hours).
- If your dog is riding up front with you, make sure the passenger airbag is off.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended in the car.
These tips can help ensure a safe and comfortable ride for both you and your furry friend.
What is the most dog-friendly vehicle?
When determining what vehicles are most dog friendly, it’s important to look at all of the features that they offer as well as how reliable and practical they are. Here are some of our favorite picks for 2022.
2022 Subaru Outback
Subaru is consistently ranked as one of the most pet-friendly car manufacturers. This fits with their branding, as Subaru is a very outdoorsy, family friendly, and sporty car company. It only makes sense that they would have a strong pet-friendly element. Subaru even goes one step further, partnering with shelters to encourage adoption.
The 2022 Outback has loads of pet-friendly features that put it at the top of the list. It features 32 cubic feet of cargo space, eight air bags to keep all occupants safe, and has a low load floor that makes it super easy for older dogs to get in and out of it easily. On top of that, it’s all wheel drive which makes it stable in all driving terrains.
2022 Tesla Model 3
The Tesla is the first car to have a ”dog mode”. This is a climate control feature that allows the driver to leave their pet in the car while the cabin stays cool or warm (depending on the season). It also alerts others that there is a dog in the car and that the driver is aware.
Other top picks for dog owners
Every year AutoTrader ranks the top cars for dog owners. They look at what dog friendly features and accessories each model has, as well as the price of each model. In addition to the 2022 Subaru Outback and the 2022 Tesla Model 3, eight other models made the cut:
- 2022 Chrysler Pacifica
- 2022 Ford Bronco Sport
- 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2022 Jeep Wrangler
- 2022 Kia Soul
- 2022 Ram ProMaster City Wagon
- 2022 Toyota Sienna
- 2022 Volvo XC60
While each model varies in what it offers, they are all deemed to have good options for dog owners. They also represent a range of price points, with the Kia Soul representing a good entry level price (starting around $19,790). The Wrangler and Bronco do not have a low entry that makes for easy access, but they come with other accessories such as soft crates which make them great options for dog owners.
It is notable that no pickup ever makes the list, as pickup trucks are not considered to be a safe option for transporting a dog.
Those are the dog-friendly features you should look for when buying a new car.
Buying a new car should be fun and exciting, for you and your four legged friend. Think about what options are the most important for your lifestyle before you head to the dealership. If your dog is older, a low entry is essential. If you like to take your dog on trail adventures, all wheel drive should be your priority. But there are lots of options on the market, and by adding on aftermarket dog features and accessories, you are guaranteed to find the perfect car for your family.