More and more, dogs get to accompany their families on the road. Whether it's errands or vacations, more than 80% of us dog owners are now taking our dogs with us. Not all cars make this easy (like my coupe), so how do you know what is the best car for dogs?
According to these two, it's whatever one they get to drive.
AAA put together a list of the best cars for traveling with dogs. They judged the cars based on both human and canine needs: safety ratings and features, how easy it is for Fido to get in and out, whether or not tie-down hooks are included, if the interiors are easy to clean and amount of cargo space. Of the ones they found to be the best car for dogs, here are the best that accommodate large dogs:
Luxury lovers: BMW 3 Series Wagon and Volvo XC60
Both of these cars include lots of cargo space, rubber mats for easy cleaning, and a dog barrier for SUVs that keep dogs confined to the cargo area. The BMW also features great handling and agililty, while the Volvo is remarkable for its safety features.
Active families: Subaru Forester and Hyundai Santa Fe
Both of these vehicles have lots of cargo space, making them very useful for large-dog families. The handling on both makes mild off-roading comfortable, which is handy if you and your dogs like to hike in the backwoods. The Forester is low to the ground, making it easier for dogs to get into than most SUVs; the Santa Fe has accessories available like rubber mats for easy cleaning and a pet auto barrier to keep them in the back.
People movers: Honda Element and Toyota Venza
Made for transporting kids, dogs and whatever else a busy family needs. These vehicles offer a lot of space and even more dog-friendly features. The Element can be hosed out and has clamshell doors that make getting in and out easy on big dogs. It also has an optional dog package, which includes a doggie ramp, soft dog crate that attaches to the vehicle and a travel water bowl. The Venza has waterproof seat covers, large dog car harness and a doggie ramp.
Eco-conscious: Ford Escape Hybrid
The Escape has a large cargo area that they say is ideal for "a big, wet dog." It also has accessories available to make the vehicle more dog-doable, including mats and a dog barrier for SUV's.
Economical: Nissan Cube
For a smaller car, it is surprisingly roomy and can transport big dogs when the rear seats are folded down. It will need accessories to be really dog-friendly, such as dog car seat covers to keep hair off the interior.
Overall, there are more choices than you might expect for vehicles that can easily transport large dogs. And as more people take their dogs along with them, car companies will make more dog-friendly packages like the ones above.
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Photo credit: Matt Biddulph