As dog owners know their car choice will often have to take in to account the hairiest member of the family, (no we don’t mean dad!)
This will depend on whereabouts in the car you put your dog, the size of your dog and how many you have.
Some dog owners don’t like hairs and mud on their upholstery so they will be looking for a car with a boot big enough to put their dogs. Other drivers will use restraints that fit to seatbelt plugs or seats, so they will probably look for cars with three seats in the back.
Convertible cars are probably a bad idea; we don’t want Fido making a run for it when you’re doing 40mph down a dual carriageway, just because he’s seen a cat. For the same reason drivers will want to look for windows that don’t open all the way down.
According to the Highway Code dogs should be restrained in a vehicle so they don’t distract drivers or injure themselves, or drivers, if you have to brake suddenly.
We’ve looked at these five vehicles from a different perspective. So which are the best cars for dogs?
The ŠKODA Octavia is one of the best new estate cars for dogs. There is 610 litres of boot space with the seats up, with the seats down this expands to 1740 litres. With a 60/40 rear bench split, though, the boot is not a flat load area due to a step in the floor behind the seats. As an added extra (approx. £150) you can remedy this with a variable load floor, creating under floor storage and removing step obstacles for easy access for your dog. The interior offers plenty of storage, large door pockets and a cubby in front of the gear stick as well as an air-conditioned glove box.
There is a lot of dark grey plastic trim, some have marked this as a negative point but with dog hair and mud to consider this is ideal for wiping down. It was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP rating due to it’s post collision braking, driver fatigue and tyre-pressure monitors.
The Ford Focus a five-door hatchback is within the top five best-selling cars in the country. It has been designed with comfort and safety in mind, scoring five stars in the Euro NCAP tests.
The Focus has a boot space of 316 litres and 1148 with the back seats down and interior storage is good with large door bins, an armrest cubby up front and a good-sized glove box too.
The five-seater SEAT Mii features pop-out windows at the rear, perfect for safe ventilation when your dog is sitting on the back seats. Plenty of stowage spaces, with good-sized door pockets and useful cubby holes. Perfect for leads, treats and balls. The back seats are perfectly designed for your furry friend, but should you wish to travel with them in the boot there is 251 litres of space and an under floor storage area.
The Fiat 500L is the five-door version of the 500, that is taller and longer than the original, with a boot space of 343-1310-litres. It has been awarded a 5-star Euro NCAP rating, for those of you with safety in mind.
The mini MPV has an original Fiat dog guard available that separates the boot and the rear passenger seats while still being able to see the boot, allowing dogs to travel safely there. Light steering, soft suspension and raised seating position make an easy drive for both you and your dog.
The Peugeot 3008 is an SUV crossover. It has a more than versatile boot space of 512 litres, with the seats up but put the seats down and there is a whopping 1604 litres capacity. For practicality there is no load lip allowing ease of access for your dog. There is a false floor that splits three ways, perfect for storing those dog essentials out of sight, or you could put them in the large door pockets, or even in the centre console to tidy them away. Three passengers, or dogs, could sit comfortably in the back.
Once you have decided on the ideal dog vehicle you will need to look at ways to restrain your dog as per the Highway Code regulations.
Car safety harnesses for dogs are relatively cheap ranging from £5 to £30. They are either adjustable or sized for your dog. They simply hook on to your dog’s collar or harness like a lead and then attach to the seatbelt plug. They are perfect for keeping your dog restrained yet comfortable on the back seat whatever their size.
Car seats for dogs are similar to the one’s you would find for children, they keep your dog in one place within the car. Your furry friend is able to see out of the window as you drive, designed for smaller sized dogs. These are quite niche and we have only seen them online, so you may need to search for the perfect one for your pooch. The majority of them need to be used in conjunction with a dog car harness or seat belt.
A grille or crate is used in the boot of the car. Grilles range from £30 to £60 and need to be fitted to your car. They make sure your dog can’t get in to the interior of the car, while still being able to see them.
A crate is more like a cage and keeps your dog restrained in the boot; they vary in size according to how big your pet is. They can be metal, plastic or fabric and range from £20 to £160.