What To Look for in a Pet Friendly Vehicle

Picture of man and woman with a dog

As a family with pets, you’re looking for something a little different when it comes to purchasing your next vehicle. While many people are searching for a specific color of interior, leather seats, or the latest technological features, your new vehicle wish list is a little more practical. You want something that will comfortably seat your family, but that will also provide maximum cargo space for dog crates and other paraphernalia for long family trips. But choices of materials for seats and upholstery require more consideration than color selections if your pets will be coming along for the ride in your new vehicle. There is no doubt that the needs of a pet family are far different to those who choose to remain pet-free. When it comes to buying a new vehicle, what are some of the things you should be looking for?

Some Top Considerations

Whether you are the proud owner of a feline, a canine, or both; at some point in time, you will need to take your pet for a car ride. Dogs and cats need to be taken to grooming sessions, training classes, and veterinary appointments. But sometimes, we just like to go for a ride or plan a vacation, and we want every member of the family to come along; whether they are of the two legged or four legged sort. With this in mind, it’s important for every pet owner to consider their pet and his needs when looking to purchase a new vehicle.

Here are a few things to bear in mind when shopping for your new car:

Seat upholstery
When it comes to choosing seat upholstery, the sky is really the limit when it comes to textures, colors, and fabrics. But when you own a pet, color and texture becomes a more important point of consideration. Cloth seats in dark colors are more prone to trapping dog and cat hair, making them more difficult to clean and maintain. However, leather seats may also bear the brunt of pet nails, showing signs of scratches, and over time, possibly even tears. If you have a dog that is white or light in color, opting for a fabric that is sand or grey may be the best option for you. Conversely, if you are the owner of a black dog, black may be the better choice. For most families, vinyl seats prove to be the best selection. Vinyl is resistant to most scratches and is a surface that pet hair will not stick to, making cleanup a breeze.

Carpet color
When determining what color of carpeting you’d like in your new vehicle, you face the same challenges as you do when considering seat upholstery. Wire-haired dogs shed hair that winds its way into fabrics, making them extremely difficult to remove. Choose your carpet color based on the color of your dog’s coat if possible. Dark carpeting will easily show dog and cat hair, making you a slave to the vacuum cleaner if you want to keep your car looking neat and clean. Though most carpets in today’s vehicles are extremely durable, light-colored carpets can be prone to staining, so if you opt to select a light hue for your flooring, be sure to purchase good mats for your car. This will help reduce any unsightly stains, but it is also quite easy to pick up and shake mats out to remove any hair that might collect there.

Leg room
Leg room is an important feature that is of concern to all families whether they own pets or not. But this becomes of paramount importance if you own large breed dogs and need to consider the addition of pet restraints or kennels to keep Fido or Fifi safe while travelling on the road. While the amount of leg room in the front of the car is of less importance when it comes to our pets, you’ll want to select a vehicle with ample room to house a crate behind the passenger or driver’s seat if necessary. It is also worth checking to see if there is sufficient space in the bench seating in the back to allow for a seatbelt style pet restraint system if you opt to use one of those to give Fido a little more freedom and a better view.

Cargo space
If you plan to travel with your dog or cat, you are going to be bringing along a lot of stuff, and you have to have some place to put it all. Many families love to bring their pets along on vacation. But if you plan to be away any longer than a day, you’re going to need to bring along your pet’s bed, food, leash, collar, medications, and even a crate. All of this is going to suck up a lot of your packing space…space that is normally reserved for YOUR stuff. With this in mind, the size of your trunk becomes even more critical.

If you plan to travel with Fido in his crate, you will also want to consider where in the vehicle is the best place to put it. If you are considering a sedan, and the only place to put a crate is the same space one of your kids would normally occupy, that likely isn’t the car for you.

It is always a good idea to go to the dealership with the dimensions of your dog or cat’s crate on hand. This will allow you to see for yourself which vehicles can accommodate the crate and will help narrow down your choices for you.

Pet restraints
Though there are no vehicles on the market that currently come equipped (or with an optional add-on feature) of pet restraints, it is still something you will want to consider. The most common pet restraint on the market today is a tether which attaches via a seatbelt to a specialized harness to keep your dog in place in case of an accident. Other types of restraint include pet kennels/crates or fabric or metal barriers which restrict dogs to the back seat.

Interior car contouring
Though your dog or cat might be in the prime of their life right now, there will come a time when they are aged and can no longer easily navigate complicated things. Many types of vehicles have sleek, curved seats, making them difficult for dogs and cats to climb and even more challenging for them get comfortable. Approach vehicle buying with an eye not only to what you need now but what your future needs will be as well, and you will not be sorry!

Looking for the perfect car for Fido, Fifi, and the whole fam?
Consider all the factors necessary for comfort, ease of cleaning, safety, and space, and you can’t go wrong!



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