As a pet owner, you want to drive a car that’s great for all members of your family, including the four-legged kind. If you have a smaller dog or a cat, your options are almost unlimited. However, if you have a larger dog, you definitely don’t want a vehicle with a small back seat. Here’s what you need to know about pet-friendly cars.
Sedans such as the Nissan Altima or the Kia Optima have spacious back seats and are great for families with small- to medium-sized dogs. If the dog doesn’t have to share the seat with children, you could even fit a dog up to 100 or 120 pounds in the sedan.
To keep the dog safe, be sure to use a seat belt harness. Choose a comfortable harness and then use a seat belt clip—one end clips on to the D-ring on the harness and the other end fits into the seat belt clip on the seat. Smaller dogs can ride in crates that fit in the back seat.
For larger dogs, or if you have more than one smaller dog and you prefer to use crates, SUVs like the Dodge Journey or the Chevrolet Equinox would be great choices. For huge dogs like Great Danes, fold up the rear seat so the dog has room to spread out and be comfortable. Most medium to large dogs will fit behind the rear seat so the children can ride in the vehicle at the same time.
If your family takes frequent trips to a favorite cabin or camp, an SUV would be the better choice, even with smaller dogs, so that everyone has room to be comfortable. Plus, depending on the number of children and the size of the dog or dogs, you’ll have space for your bags.
You’ll want to choose from pet-friendly cars that have good safety ratings so that you, your family, and your pets are safer in the event of an accident. You’ll also want to consider fuel economy, especially if you take a lot of trips. Make a list of the safety and convenience features you would like to have in your vehicle. Ask to see SUVs or sedans—whichever is best for your pets—with those features.
Keeping the Vehicles Clean
If your dog rides in the vehicle often, especially to the beach or the lake, you may want to get a water-resistant protective cover for the seats. The covers keep the majority of the hair off the seat or the cargo area, and should your pet have an accident, it’s much easier to clean up and you don’t risk staining the seats or the carpets.
When searching for a new or used car to buy, pick one that will be friendly for everyone, including your furry friends.