What’s the latest trend in car-buying? The hunt for the perfect “dogmobile.” Basically, people picking their ride based on the pets they have - so their furry friends can travel and run errands with them comfortably and safely. According to MSNBC, pets need to be properly restrained so they don’t get hurt and letting them run loose is dangerous. Think about it. If you slam on the brakes at 35 miles an hour, your 60 pound dog will hit the seat - or the dashboard or you – like a 2,700 pound weight!
With that in mind, Gina Spadafori began rating rides on their suitability as “dogmobiles.” On her website DogCars.com, she reviews minivans, wagons, SUVS, and crossovers on “pet suitability.” No sports cars or sedans need apply. Cars get high marks for things like: A back that opens up and lays flat, so crates and carriers can easily be lifted in and out. And plenty of attachment devices so the crates don’t slide around. Low-to-the-ground vehicles get good marks too, so senior pets have an easier time climbing in and out. And windows in the back that roll down for extra ventilation are a plus.
Among current cars with the best dogmobile reputation: The Honda Element, with its fold-flat seats, wide side doors, and a floor that can be hosed off. And Volvo, which sells a separate cargo-area pet cage for some of its wagons and SUVs. Until you find your dream dogmobile, here’s how to protect your pet on the road. These tips come from veterinarian Vicki Campbell:
- First, a regular seatbelt isn’t built for dogs. Instead, get a one-piece harness with wide, padded straps that attaches to your car’s seat belt or another sturdy anchor point.
- Next, the safest place to restrain your dog is in the middle of the backseat.
- If your 4-legged friend weighs under 30 pounds, consider a pet booster seat. That’s a padded tower that hooks into a seatbelt like a baby seat, which is tall enough so they can look out the window, and has harness clips to keep them safe.
- Finally, if your pet rides in a crate, secure the crate with a tie-down or run a seatbelt through the handles. That’ll keep it from being tossed around in the event of an accident.