If you’re a dog lover, you know how important it is to have your best buddy along with you on every adventure. For most pet owners, this usually means some time spent in the car getting to all those great hiking trails and long stretches of dog-friendly beaches. But, because cars are designed and built around the needs of their human occupants, they often require some extra car accessories for dogs to help keep our pups happy and healthy. From safety to comfort, there are a number of manufacturer and aftermarket add-ons designed just for your four-legged friend. Here are a few of our favorite.
Petego Pet Tube Car Kennel
When riding in a car, the last thing anyone wants is a dog walking all over passengers or interfering with the driver. A kennel is the logical choice, but not every car has room for a big, bulky crate. Petego’s Pet Tube Car Kennel is the prefect solution. It’s lightweight, collapses down to about the size of a bicycle tire and is easy to set up. The tube rests on the rear seat cushion and is securely held in place by straps that attach to the head restraint posts. Should the need arise to share the backseat with a human, the Pet Tube can be reduced down to half its normal size. No more getting tangled up in seat belt-mounted safety harness, no more worrying about not being able to be close to your pet. The Pet Tube not only allows pets to move about more freely, it can also help protect them in the event of a sudden stop. There are even zip-open side vents to allow easy access to an open window. The Pet Tube comes in two sizes, small and large, and offers an optional comfort pillow. It’s even great for cats.
Rear Seat Pet Hammocks
If a kennel is too confining, there are a number of hammock-style seat covers to help keep your dog safe and your car clean. Unlike a traditional seat cover, pet hammocks have protective walls covering both the front and rear seat backs. This design protects your dog from falling into the gap between the front and rear seats, and it helps prevent them from sliding forward in the event of a quick stop. Unlike a kennel or harness, however, these types of seat covers do not keep your dog secure in the event of an accident. A good example of this type of cover is the Doggie World Dog Car Seat Cover. Its handsome design includes a waterproof quilted pad for added comfort and slip-proof fabric. Pet safety experts say you should always have your pet secured in some fashion anytime they’re in a moving car.
Spill-Proof Water Bowl
As any good personal trainer will remind you, it’s always a good idea to keep hydrated. The same advice goes for your pet, especially in warmer months or for animals that stress easily when traveling. Keeping a bowl of water in the back seat or cargo area, however, usually ends with an empty bowl and a wet car. Enter the splash proof bowl, an ingenious design that lets water stay put while Fido has easy access to a cool drink anytime the mood strikes. Lixit Travel Dog Water Bowl and Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl are two prime examples.
Dog Fans, A/C Systems and Cooling Pads
One of the most difficult things to do in the summer is keep a traveling dog cool. Having dark tinted windows helps, as does keeping the air flowing while the car is in motion, but sometimes the cool air you feel up front can turn warm by the time it reaches your pooch. The solution is to keep cool air moving in your dog’s crate or contained cargo area. If you don’t have a car with rear seat or cargo area vents, one option is a small fan that plugs into the cargo bay’s 12-volt outlet. The MetroVac Air Force pet crate fan is just one such example. Simply attach it to the front of your dog’s crate, and it will keep cool air moving inside.
If your vehicle doesn’t have an outlet, you can opt for the CoolK9 A/C system. This setup includes a hose that attaches to the dashboard vent at one end and the kennel door or side vent at the other. The system can be used to cool your pet in the summer or keep them warm in the winter.
If your pet isn’t crated, another good way to keep him or her cool is with a large cooling pad placed over the backseat or cargo floor. These cooling car accessories work in various ways. Some require overnight refrigeration, after which the interior material stays cool for hours. Others use a type of gel that absorbs heat away from your pet.
Motion Sickness Treats
Not every dog loves traveling by car. If yours is one such canine, fear not. There are a number of natural remedies in the form of chewable treats to help calm nerves and nervous stomachs. Ark Naturals Happy Traveler treats and Cloud Star Dynamo Dog Tummy soft chews are two remedies you can find online or in most pet stores. There are also medications your vet can prescribe to help.
Pet Ramps and Steps
Like their owners, many older dogs have a hard time getting in and out of high-riding trucks and SUVs. A ramp is the perfect solution, but not every vehicle is large enough to carry one, and some dogs simply won’t use it. A great solution is a step system. For those whose vehicle is equipped with a trailer hitch, the Solvit PupSTEP is the perfect solution. This clever two-step device hooks in the hitch receptacle and features large, slip-resistant steps and can fold and swivel out of the way when not in use. A step system is also ideal for small dogs or dogs with short legs.
Check out our latest list of 10 Great Cars for Dog Lovers