We have put together a list of five of the 'best' cars for dogs. In other words: cars that have
1. Everything a dog needs
2. Everything you need to cope with long holiday journeys and muddy walks.
But before we continue, let’s look in more detail at what we mean when we talk about a car that is right for our dog.
What do you and your dog want from a car?
Your dog: Dogs aren’t fussy when it comes to being ferried around in a car, but they do have some basic demands. One of these is a smooth and well-controlled ride. A lot of dogs suffer with travel sickness. Some of them won’t let you know until they vomit over the seats, but others will look as though they are about to pass out when you even mention the word ‘car’. A smooth ride in a car that takes corners well and doesn’t sway is ideal for your dog.
You: Of course you and your family would like a smooth ride too. Children are just as prone to travel sickness.
Your dog: Dogs don’t have the best eyesight but they are inquisitive, and they like to know what’s going on around them. If they can’t see what’s happening they start to get worried. A car that has good all-round visibility either from the boot or the backseat will suit a dog better.
You: Whether you’re an avid driver or not, good visibility is an essential part of staying safe on the roads.
Your dog: This is arguably the most important feature to nail. Ideally, you should choose a car that has a low enough boot ‘lip’ to enable your dog to jump in easily. Admittedly, a pug or a Shih Tzu would not be able to ‘jump’ into even the lowest boot, but for the average or giant breed a boot she can get into herself will make loading and unloading her much easier.
You: Not only do you want an easy loading car for your dog but a large boot and plenty of storage room is an essential. A compartment grill is also a must to stop your dog from ending up on the back seat.
Heat and air cooling
Your dog: For summer journeys the temperature of the car should be just right for your dog. It’s all very well us basking in the heat of the sun, but dogs can heat up a lot more quickly than humans and if there is no air flow she’ll overheat. Make sure the boot or backseat can be fully immersed in either fan air or the air from an open window. You may even want to consider tinted back windows to keep direct sunlight out.
You: A great A/C is welcome during the hot months of the year and an effective fan system is also needed for getting rid of the smell of wet dog.
Five cars that we think fit the bill:
1. Skoda Octavia Estate
Not the biggest boot in the world but plenty of space: 610 litres to be exact; that’s ample room for even a large dog and all of her belongings. The Octavia is roomy for passengers too, both front and back. For the driver, the new Octavia comes in various engine sizes. The car comes with a stunning entertainment system too, so if your dog is feeling anxious you can always pop on some Mozart.
2. Volkswagen Golf R Estate
Another large boot: 605 litres for the VW Golf R Estate. The back is roomy and the boot has a low lip to assist even a toy dog at the start of her adventure. The most noticeable feature of this car is the engine: powerful and yet responsive, which means that the ride will be smooth on any road and in any weather; perfect for avoiding day-dampening showers of vomit from the pooch in the back.
3. Peugeot Rifter
One of the best cars for dogs, the Rifter has a boot capacity of 775 litres. It also loads very close to the ground, which is great for almost any size of dog. It may not look like the sleekest of cars but its spacious and durable interior make it one of the go-to cars for dog owners. To top it all off, the car has exceptionally light handling and the 1.6 litre engine won’t catapult your dog into the back window when you set off.
4. Nissan X-Trail
The Nissan Trail may look as though it rides high but an added extra of this car is a small ramp that enables any age or breed of dog to simply walk into the boot compartment. The boot itself is moderately spacious (565 litres) but with the added option of Nissan’s ‘Paw Pack’ it transforms into a mobile doggy hotel, complete with bed, feeding station and compartments for the dog’s belongings.
5. Skoda Superb Estate
The boot of the Superb is low loading, which is good for smaller breeds. Although at 660 litres its capacity doesn’t match the Rifter there is still enough room for your dog to move around. There is ample space for the passengers; with room enough for the rear seat passengers to stretch their legs. The ride is smooth: the suspension of the Superb gives a great ride and a quiet one.
Almost all of us consider our dog to be part of the family, so it is only right that some consideration is given to her needs when we are looking for our next family car. But with so many cars to choose from most of us are tempted to just make do, only to discover later that it is not the most ideal for our beloved pooch. Make the right choice for your dog as well as you and all will be well.