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6 Reasons Why The Mazda RX-8 Is Not A Dog Friendly Car

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If you’ve been following us since the beginning then you probably remember years ago when we were writing about the best dog friendly cars.  In fact, I just took a look at the archives and came across a few of my early dog car posts.  The first post I wrote was about Finding The Perfect Dog Car published way back on January 9th, 2008!  Unfortunately, I never did find nor purchase the perfect dog car.

However, this trip down memory lane did remind me why I first started looking for the perfect dog friendly car and it all started with a little pup named Linus

Linus = time for a new dog friendly car
Linus = Time for a new dog friendly car

Who Shops For A Car For Their Dog(s)?  …ME!!!

I was single…

I just turned 30…

I didn’t have any dogs…

My Honda Accord was over 12 years old…

It was time for a new car!  This was the first time I had money to get pretty much whatever kind of car I wanted!  No one to tell me what I should get.  No restrictions (well kind of) on the amount I should spend.

I was always enamored by the old rotary powered Mazda RX-7 sports cars.  In 2003 Mazda released the RX-8, a rotary powered sports car that was considered a 4 door car because of the novel suicide doors in the back.  I immediately decided this was the car for me and purchased the top of the line RX-8 with sparkling black mica exterior paint and black leather seats.

The Mazda RX-8 Is Not A Dog Friendly Car

The Black Mazda Rx-8
I loved the RX-8, but a dog friendly car it was not!

The RX-8 was so much fun!  Small and fast, my co-workers called it the Bat Mobile and it did kind of look like the caped crusaders ride.

A couple years after picking up my very own Bat Mobile I decided to adopt a little rescue pup, named Linus.  The RX-8 was a fun car, but a dog car it was not.

When Linus was a puppy I used to take him to my parents house during the day while I went to work then school.  Every day we’d go for a ride in the RX-8 and every day he’d throw up on the leather.  You can really feel the road in the Mazda and while this is cool for a high performance car it was not so nice for a little puppy.  After two weeks Linus got used to the bumpy rides and everything was great until…

Dog Rescues And Foster Puppies

Actually the rescuing dogs and fostering puppies wasn’t that big of a deal.  I used my mother’s CRV to transfer the pups and bring them over to the vet’s office, but besides that they mostly just stayed at the house.  I did this for about a year and got by with the RX-8/borrow the CRV combo.  Fostering over a dozen dogs and puppies during that time.

Then one day I decided to raise a guide dog puppy for Guide Dogs of America and that’s when the RX-8 no longer cut it.

Raising Guide Dog Puppies

As a guide dog puppy raiser we take our puppies almost everywhere with us and when our pups ride in the car they have to learn to ride on the passenger side floor boards.  While this wasn’t a problem for Stetson the problems arose when I had to tote two doggies around.  Stetson on the passenger side floor boards and Linus rode in the back seat.

Why The RX-8 Is Not A Dog Friendly Car

Black Mazda RX-8
The RX-8 was a nice car…I also like being 10 years younger and 20 lbs lighter!

One dog was okay, but two dogs was a problem.  Here are the issues with the RX-8 and 2 dogs:

  1. It’s a little cramped when you have two big dogs in the RX-8.  Linus was a little too big for the back seat and when Stetson got full size he was a little too big for the floor boards.
  2. While the suicide doors were cool they were also impractical with the doggies.  Getting Linus in and out was a pain!  Also, if we were in a parking lot and there was a car next to us it was really difficult getting Linus out because we couldn’t swing the rear suicide doors all the way open 🙁
  3. There was no way to fit a large crate in the RX-8.
  4.  Very little trunk space.  So if I needed to bring anything large for the dogs it wasn’t happening.  I couldn’t even transfer my collapsed dog crates or x-pens!
  5. It was a luxury vehicle and I was petrified any time the boys scratched the leather, doors, interior, or side panels (cringe!).
  6. It was a manual transmission.  I know I should always concentrate on driving, but every once in a while I had to do something with my hands to control one of my dogs.  This is much more difficult when driving a stick.

If you saw last weeks post about buying a dog car then you probably saw the picture of the parking break.  At least the CRV is over 12 years old.  If Dublin had chewed on the parking break on my RX-8 I might have gone postal!  Thank goodness Dublin uses old cars as chew toys and not new, luxury cars.

I loved the RX-8, but it was not a dog friendly car so I ended up selling it and borrowing my mother’s Honda CRV until I had a chance to find the perfect dog car…five years later and I’m still looking for the elusive perfect dog friendly car!

Have you had a luxury car or sports car that didn’t work quite so well with your dogs?  Did you have to change over to a more dog friendly vehicle?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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  1. Gosh, I can’t believe I’m still looking for that perfect dog car! It’s been 9 years since I sold the RX-8! I’m still driving the CR-V which now has 230K miles! I’m not sure how much longer the CR-V is going to chug along so let me know if any of you have come across a great car that works well with your dogs.

  2. Hi Fran,

    My CRV (2000) doesn’t have much space underneath the passenger seat. There’s actually a storage compartment. If there are exposed wires I would do as you said and get a barrier so your pup can’t chew on the wires. Also, I always have the young puppies on a tie down when riding on the front passenger floor boards. I’m not too sure what your car looks like, but you might be able to make the tie down short so your pup can’t get his head underneath the seat. I tie a knot in the leash and then trap the knot in the closed door.

    I hope that helps.

    Take care,

  3. I have a 2012 CRV which I love, but I just got a 10 week old Standard Poodle puppy to raise and train as my service dog. So far he has ridden in the back seat in a small carrier, but I want to change that to have him ride in the passenger floorboard in front. I’m worried that he might try to chew the wires just under the seat. I want to get a barrier of some kind to put in front of the seat and use a bungie or something that goes around the back of the seat to anchor it.

    Have you had to do anything to protect the area under the front seat, Colby? Does this sound OK, or do you have another suggestion?

    Thanks–your website is helping me lots!

  4. Hi Sue,

    I agree the Volvo P1800 would not make a very good dog friendly car. Let us know when you find the perfect dog car for 2 humans and 4 dogs. Right now we only have 2 humans and 2 dogs, but the number of dogs is always fluctuating depending on whether or not we are fostering or raising a guide dog pup.

    Take care,

  5. From personal experience I do not recommend a Volvo P1800 😉 Our current best dog vehicle is our extended cab truck. However, since we tend towards large dogs, it does pretty much limit us to two. So, even the truck is too small. We’ve been searching for the best dog vehicle for at least 2 humans and 4 dogs for years…

  6. A Karmann Ghia! Those are cool! Growing up I always wanted a sports car. I never really was an SUV/Truck kind of person. However, now they are looking much better because the interiors of many of the SUV’s/Truck’s are made to be stain and odor resistant. That works much better with my dogs 🙂

  7. At one time a vintage Karmann Ghia was the only car I wanted in life, but that was many babies and puppies ago. Strange how life works out, isn’t it?

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