For little creatures, dogs have no shortage of essential accessories—be they collars or leashes; toys or items of enrichment; bowls for food or water. What if we told you there were a whole host of other essential dog accessories for your car? Well, think about it: in a moving vehicle, playful pups require restraint. They also bring dirty paws and occasional wet dog smells into your otherwise clean passenger compartment. Believe it or not, but there are accessories to make canine travel a little more comfortable for all involved. Here they are.
You may be surprised to see a harness topping this list. No one would blame you for questioning the category under which this has been placed. The truth is, harnesses are more frequently used as walking accessories. However, without a harness, you wouldn’t be able to use a doggy seat belt (more on that in a moment). To facilitate a seat belt, dogs must have their harness intact. Simply attach the belt to the harness, click the seat belt in place, and give your dog the best chance of injury prevention, should the worst happen.
2. Seat belt
As you may have gathered, we are not talking about the seat belts built into your car. No, we’re talking about seat belts tailor-made for dogs. More size-appropriate for our four-legged friends, dog seat belts attach to dog harnesses and clip into seat belt buckles with ease—that’s seat belt buckles traditionally built for humans, by the way. Why should dogs wear seat belts? Well, for the same reason humans wear seat belts: to secure themselves and bring about peace of mind. They’re also a surefire way to prevent back-seat walkabout (or front-seat fleeing).
3. Car seat
So we’ve got the harness and the seat belt. Why not complete the car safety trefoil and add a doggy car seat? These are a particularly good investment for smaller pooches who may want a little elevation and a surefire remedy to travel anxiety. When sitting in a car seat, smaller dogs can reach the window and take in the passing views to their heart’s content. They may also find the seat comforting, as it’s not unlike a dog basket.
Image: Stylish Hound
4. Car seat covers
Now that you have your dog’s car safety covered, let’s turn this whole thing on its head and save your car from your dog. Don’t know what we’re talking about? We mentioned earlier that dogs can bring dirty paws and moisture into the car. You don’t think we’re going to just let the car sit there and take your dog’s filth, do you?
Introducing car seat covers. Waterproof and stain-resistant, these oversized barriers provide a layer of protection between your dog and your car’s interior. Place them over your backseat compartment—or in the boot of your SUV, depending on the cover you’ve selected—and preserve the interior from messes, wear and tear, and unsuspecting bites and scratches. Car seat covers are quick to set up and easily lifted out of the car when they’re no longer in use.
5. Travel water bottle
A travel water bottle is not a car accessory per se, but it can come in handy when you’re taking Doggy on an extended car trip—especially throughout the summer. Unlike humans, dogs barely sweat; ergo, heat will have a harsher hold on our canine companions. Their body temperature regulation strategies include seeking shade, dipping their paws in cool water, or drinking. The former two aren’t really options in a moving vehicle, so it’s essential to have hydration on hand for a hot dog.
What sets travel water bottles apart from regular water bottles? They’re made just for dogs. Good luck getting a human to drink from the slide-out water bowl. Yes, these drinks pull out on the horizontal and are designed for dogs to drink deep from the water-bearing receptacle—or as deep as their 300mL capacity will allow, anyway. These accessories are super convenient when you’re travelling miles between doggy bowls. They also have a lockable feature, rendering them completely spill-proof. These are an easier alternative to a collapsible water bowl.
So, we’re ready to go now, right?
Wrong! This list is just to get you started. There are a whole host of things to do if you’re preparing for a long-distance road trip with a doggo in tow. However, if you’re just going on a quick trip up the road, you’re most likely set. Whatever your plans, it’s important that your dog is safe, secure, and comfy in the car—and that your car is prepared to take a poochy passenger.
This may all sound like a heap of extra work, but once you’re on the road with a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed bestie in the back (or, in some cases, the front), this memory will fade and seem, in retrospect, to consist of a few mere fiddly adjustments. Dogs may be a lot of work, but that work will almost always pay off. Whether you’re headed out for a holiday or are just popping up the street, be sure to enjoy your car in all its canine compatibility. And enjoy travelling with your furry new crewmate on board!