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Do You Think About Your Dog(s) Before Buying A Car?

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It’s been a while since we talked about some true mischief, but this week we’re hitting the old mischief archives and bringing up a story about a little guide dog puppy in training named Dublin…

Lets roll back the clocks to mid 2011.  Dublin was not a young pup anymore probably about 13 months and very well-behaved.  He was trustworthy for a 13 month old puppy and at this point we allowed him to lie down on the passenger side floor boards while Stetson did his K9 Nosework Training.  Linus would sit in the back seat and both Linus and Dublin would usually just lie there quietly sometimes watching from the car, but never getting into any mischief until…

Dublin Vs. The CRV

One day Dublin decided he was bored of just lying on the passenger side floor boards.  He wanted some adventure, excitement, or maybe just something to chew on.

Stetson Dog In Car With Parking Break
That’s Stetson, but the actual mischief maker here was Dublin!

Yep, Dublin decided the CRV parking break would make a great doggy chew toy!  Lets just say I was not too pleased with Dublin’s actions.  So what kind of discipline did I perform?  I followed my own puppy training advice and  took a rolled-up newspaper and hit myself over the head as I repeated the phrase, “I FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG, I FORGOT TO WATCH MY DOG.”

Do You Think About Your Dog Before Buying A Car?

The good news is I don’t own a brand new, luxury car.  The CRV is on it’s last leg and I recently began thinking about a possible replacement car that my dogs and I will both enjoy.  I even visited the Orange County Auto Show not too long ago with Dublin to check out some of the dog friendly cars.  Check out this video of Dublin sitting in some of our favorite dog cars (the first half of the video is our guide dog Halloween party):

 I’ve been researching the best dog friendly cars for over 5 years and still haven’t found anything that I really like.  Some of the front runners are the Honda Element, 4 Door Jeep Wrangler, the Nissan Xterra, and the FJ Cruiser.  I’m not thrilled about any of those options and that’s probably why I haven’t pulled the trigger on a purchase.

So what do you think?  Do you think about your dog(s) before buying a car?  What kind of car do you currently drive?  Is it a good dog friendly car?  As a dog owner what are the positives and negatives of your current car?  Please tell me all about your dog car in the comment section below.

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  1. Thanks Sarah! We’re actually considering mini vans. It does seem easiest for dogs to get in and out. I’m sure I’ll appreciate that when my dogs are older.

  2. We find that vans and mini-vans are the best for our dogs. We have an old black lab and a young yellow lab. They can get in and out easily. They also like to have their own seats. We cover the seats with “doggie blankets.”

  3. I totally agree! Every time my dog misbehaves it is my fault. I just wish every other dog owner would realize that.

  4. Hi Pamela,

    I’ll have to take a look at the Subaru Imprezza. I wish I could go to just riding my bike, but I think it would be too difficult at this time. That would be cool to get a car company to sponsor us. The two companies I remember marketing to dog lovers were Toyota Venza and Honda Element. Both cars had a dog-friendly option. I would have considered the Element, but now it’s discontinued…maybe I could get a deal on a used one.

    Take care,

  5. We decided to go car-free last December. And yes, I did think long and hard about Honey before making the move.

    But we already had good bikes and an expensive Doggy Ride cart. And, after months of training, Honey is finally riding in it. Now I just wish the city would fix the pot holes. 🙂

    Good luck on your search. We had a subaru impreza before it bit the dust. They’re small enough to park anywhere and, with the seat down, have a lot of cargo space. And they’re pretty easy on gas.

    Good luck with your search. Maybe you could get one of the car companies doing dog-friendly marketing to sponsor you?

  6. Great advice, I especially liked the part when you said you rolled up a news paper and hit yourself with it, I agree with you that if our dogs misbehave it’s because we failed to supervise them. Dogs are creatures of opportunity and will take advantage of any slack they get.

  7. Agreed! Driving and reading at the same time really do not match. When we’re working with our guide dog pups we try to take them out on the bus several times to get used to public transportation. In fact, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has a service animal bus training coming up the first Saturday of October that we plan on attending.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Hi Laura,

    I didn’t know Subaru made dog collars and bandanas. I’ve heard Subaras were good dog cars. What model do you have? I’m probably going to eventually make my way to the Subara dealership. Thanks for telling us about your dog cars!

    Take care,

  9. I was surprised that the inside of the RDX was so small. I think it works well if your dogs sit on the seat wearing a seatbelt versus riding on the passenger floor boards. My friend Kevin had a Toyota Highlander and it seemed like it would be a very good dog car. I’m sure Danika will let us know how it works with her dogs.

  10. I like that you’re not concerned with your image, but the safety of your animals 🙂 I may have to take a look at some of these mini vans you and other commenters are recommending. A couple other cars some of my doggy friends own are the Ford Transit Van which is kind of a business looking mini van, but looks like it would work great with the dogs. The other one was this giant Mercedes Sprinter Van which was a little too big for me and probably way to expensive. I think I’ll take a look at that Ford Transit Van and the other mini vans mentioned on this post.

    By the way, if I ever get a “Y” litter guide dog puppy I think I might have to name him Yzerman. Are you a Tampa Bay Lightning fan since he’s the GM there?

    Thanks for telling me about the dog cars in your family.

    Take care,

  11. I’m split between getting something that is fuel efficient or getting something that is more built for the outdoors. I’d really like a car with water, odor, and stain resistant seats along with the plastic floors. So far the cars that have this are the Honda Element and FJ Cruiser. Also, I’ve heard the carpeted floors in the Wrangler are easily removed. The big problem is all of these cars get terrible gas mileage. So it looks like the perfect dog car might have to be a car that is not fuel efficient. I’m still holding out for a hybrid Element (fat chance since they discontinued it).

    Thanks for telling us about your dog car!

    Take care,

  12. We had the CX-7 on our original list, but never really looked at the CX-5. I’ll have to take a closer look and see if it works for me an the dogs. That’s pretty good that you and a Great Dane were able to fit in the back together. Thanks for telling us about your doggy car!

    Take care,

  13. Hi Snoopy!

    That Chevy Traverse is a big car, but it sounds perfect for large families with dogs. I’m probably looking more at the mid-size SUV’s and hoping to get something that gets at least decent gas mileage. I’m sure you can find a little mischief in that back seat…just chew on something like Dublin did with the parking break.

    Take care,

  14. Hi Jet!

    My boys like going for rides in the car too. We’re just hoping to find a more dog friendly car that works for 2-3 dogs and a couple humans.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  15. I’m not much of a Mini Van person yet, but a lot of my dog owning friends have mini vans exactly for that purpose – traveling with their dogs! Dublin and I checked out the Hybrid Ford Escape at the OC Auto Show and captured a little clip in the video we embedded. Thanks for telling us about you dog friendly mine van!

    Take care,

  16. Wow! Your conversion van sounds like quite the dog vehicle. You mentioned the downsides of poor gas mileage. I think that’s where I’m getting hung up on purchasing a car. All the dog friendly cars I like get poor gas mileage. I was hoping for a hybrid Honda Element which seemed kind of logical in my mind, but now that it’s discontinued I guess that won’t happen. Thanks for letting us know about your dog car!

    Take care,

  17. A very interesting post Colby 🙂
    Fortunately I am a bus person. I like reading and driving and reading just don’t match.

  18. I never really had to worry about the size of my car for the family dogs because we always had either Yorkies or Silkies…so they were small enough to fit in my little Honda Civic with room to run. When I started dating my boyfriend who at the time had two labs and an Australian Shepard mix was when I first thought “my car is kinda small.” Although…all dogs & humans were able to fit! I recently got an Acura RDX and while I for sure thought that it would have more room than the Civic, the dogs had a harder time fitting into the car. It seems like there is less leg room in the RDX than in the Civic, so when the dogs sit/lay down on the floor they have to maneuver or lay their head on the seat.

    One of my good friends mentioned that if there was an emergency and she had to leave, she wouldn’t be able to fit all of her dogs in her Civic, so she bought a Toyota Highlander to transport her four-legged family.

  19. I usually cover my car seat with cover while traveling with pets.I enjoy traveling with pets for long distance.

  20. Hey Colby,
    I have a Honda Accord and for one English Spinger Spaniel it’s great. I wanted to write about my parents choice of one of their vehicles, the VAN. They own a Chrysler Town and Country for moving the dogs. fold flat seating works wel on short trips (they have 2 goldens, 70 + 55 lbs respectively and Yzerman fits in with plenty of room to spare. On long road trips, the 2 kennels fit in nicely. I know it’s not a chick magnet, but it could probably accomodate 3 or 4 large crates with room for everything else. One thing that I really like, and this is available in almost every car I think, it the ability to turn of speakers in the area that the dogs are riding in. I think a lot of people forget how sensitive dogs ears are and the ability to turn off unnecessary sounds contributes to the dogs ride. Good luck on your hunt! If i ever add another dog to my family I will really consider a mini van. Because it’s not the image i’m worried about, it’s the safety of my animals.
    Great question BTW.

  21. I just have a fuel efficient 4 door Chevy Cobalt. Not very impressive – but I prefer 4 doors if I’m gonna have a dog. I use a seat cover in the back that loops over the front head rests to provide a slight barrier so Blueberry can’t walk up to the front seat while I am driving. I did look at a Nissan Versa first and really loved the roominess in the back – could have fit a large crate back there. But in the end opted for the Cobalt.

  22. We just bought the new CX-5 and absolutely love it. Best in class fuel efficiency, but so much more room than our old sedan could give. the Trunk and back seat are roomy so Relay can easily make himself comfortable wherever we put him.

    And thank goodness we did buy a bigger car. Our first pet emergency had me in the back with a 110 lb Great Dane who broke his leg. We both fit in the back and the ride was smooth, so thankfully that ordeal was made a whole lot easier.

  23. Hey Linus, Hey Stetson, Jet here. Hi Mr. Colby.

    JJ and I LOVE to go in the car. We go for short rides, so Mom usually has a sedan with a seat cover. We typically wear seat belts and love to look out the window. Here in the tropics, Mom keeps the windows closed 1/2 the year… hmpf…

  24. Hi Colby,

    Mum and Dad took me car shopping with them when I was a puppy – it was a loooong process – in the end they got a Chevy Traverse.

    They love it cos it can fit 8 in plus me in the back, I know you probably don’t need that many seats, but we often have lots of kids/family in the car. In the back it’s got lots of clips for me to be attached securely and still lie down or look out the window and I even have air vents which I love – unfortunately there’s not much to entertain me back there in terms of Mischief!! Tee Hee

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  25. Last year we bought a Town and Country Mini Van (I know, mini van!). But it is great because we can get three crates in there and it gets good gas mileage. We travel with our dogs mostly crated. Of course now that we have the dog trailer so just need a vehicle with a hitch. 🙂

    My sis has an Escape and likes it. She used to put 2 dogs in there. It is 4 wheel drive which is good if you train in farm fields. (Mini van is not 4 wheel or all wheel drive.)

  26. Our current dog vehicle is a conversion van. It’s a love/hate relationship! It has a ton of space. We can get two crates in the back and keep the Shepherds in the crates, and the two passenger seats in the middle come out, so the Greyhounds can lay down and relax there. We can store luggage or Kuster’s training gear under the back seat the folds down where we put the crates when we travel. It has tons of plug in jacks, so I can use the laptop and charge the phone while we’re driving. The downside is that it’s big and that makes parking a challenge and it’s a beast on gas mileage.

    The first question any time a car discussion comes up is how many dogs could fit in there! 😛

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