Each year, BarkBuckleUP.com, an organization run by Pet Safety Lady, Christina Selter, honors ten pet safe cars. This year, the Bark Buckle UP 2011 Ten Vehicle Awards cover vehicles that span all price ranges and sizes.

The winning 2011 model year vehicles were chosen for outstanding safety, technology, roominess, design and dog-friendly luxury accessories - each enhancing a better overall travel experience for your family's "best friend."

According to Selter, 87 percent of dog owners do not use a buckling device for their dogs, but there are several solid reasons to change that habit. First, driver distraction is the No. 1 cause of car accidents. There is also the threat of unrestrained dogs making impact into seats, windshields and passengers, running out of the car (thus causing other accidents), or dogs becoming frightened and biting first responders.

Buckling devices are available at most pet supply stores or online pet shopping sites. But choosing a car that secures all the passengers and makes accommodations for the family pet are what the Bark Buckle Up's top ten cars have in common.

 

Safety Technology Vehicle: 2011 Volvo S60

Volvo's latest advance in safety technology called Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake is good for dogs both inside and outside the car, helping the driver to avoid impact with any moving object.

SUV: 2011 Dodge Durango

That wide stance helps the Dodge Durango creates room for larger families and their dogs with up to 84.5 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows stored. 

Compact Vehicle: 2011 Honda Fit

2011 Honda Fit was designed with foldable second row seats that can be hoisted up so handle taller items like a kennel.

ECO Vehicle: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

2011 Chevy Cruze has a segment-topping 10 airbags, which means all occupants of the vehicle will be covered in the case of an accident.

Pet Accessories Vehicle: 2011 Range Rover HSE Sport

2011 Range Rover HSE Sport, pet features are optional cargo barrier that separates your pets from other cargo. And the area behind the second row can be fitted with a loadspace rubber mat that eliminates pet carrier sliding while also serving as an easy to clean surface. 

Luxury Vehicle: 2011 Mercedes GLK 350 

2011 Mercedes GLK 350 has five airbags for the driver alone, and window curtain air bags are standard for both seating rows. It also offers stability control and traction control for quick emergency maneuvering.

 

Other pet friendly cars that made the Bark Buckle Up top ten list include the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2011 Mazda5, the 2011 Chrysler 200 and the 2011 Acura MDX.

Selter has just a few other words of wisdom for smart dog owners who travel with their pets, "Buckle UP® for safety, practice short trips to prepare your pet for the road and don't forget your travel bowls."

author photo

Joni Gray is a long-standing member of the automotive industry and has worked on both the corporate and publishing sides of the business. Over the past 20 years, she has managed advertising and marketing programs at Mazda, Hyundai and Honda and has been an editor at both Kelley Blue Book and the Los Angeles Times.

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