If your dog likes to travel in your vehicle with you, it makes sense to choose an SUV that suits his or her needs and yours. Safety is, of course, priority number one. But it also helps to choose based on comfort, convenience, and features.
Here is a look at the features that make an SUV dog-friendly and four models that are some of the top picks for dog lovers.
Here are car features that are dog-tested for safety, comfort and convenience.
Rear lift gate. If you have a big dog or a senior dog, a rear lift gate makes it a cinch for your pooch to get in and out of your SUV. If he travels in a crate, the lift makes it easier on you to load and unload it.
Roomy cabin and cargo space. Whether your dog is big or small, this lets him move around easily and stretch out, without bothering you.
Containment divider. This can keep your pooch in the back, making it impossible for him to join you in the front or rear seats.
Climate control in the rear. If your dog rides in the back of your SUV, this keeps him at the right temperature whatever the weather. Rear air conditioning is especially helpful in the hot summer months. If rear air conditioning isn’t available, look for rear power outlets capable of providing additional relief.
Underfloor storage. Your stuff can get in the way of your dog’s comfort. With underfloor storage, you can clear the decks for him and open up more space.
Seats that fold flat. This lets you create a roomy, comfortable surface for your pet. It also keeps your seats free of dog hair, mud and scratches. However, be on the lookout for when the rear seats do fold flat, that they’re aren’t paw sized gaps for dogs to step in. These can be a real problem as legs can easily get caught and even break.
Rear cargo-attachment ringlets. These make it easy to prevent carriers from sliding around in the SUV.
Low-ride. If the ride height of the vehicle is lower, it is easier for your dog to get in and out. This is especially helpful if you have a smaller dog or your dog is older. There’s always the option of purchasing a dog ramp or pet step if getting in and out of the rear of the vehicle is a challenge.
Sunroof. It’s dangerous for your dog to hang his head out the window when he helps you navigate. With a sunroof, he can get fresh air and a view without the danger.
All-wheel drive. Your dog may want to go everywhere and its useful to have a vehicle that can get to more places and trails, even in the rain and snow.
Other useful features include rubber cargo mats for easy cleaning, back window mesh shades, and pet seat belts.
Four Dog-Friendly SUVs
These four SUVs have been suitably tested and approved by both owners and dogs.
Subaru XV Crosstrek. This subcompact crossover model has a back seat with plenty of room for your pet to stretch out and a spacious cargo area. This low-load vehicle offers excellent traction, whatever the weather conditions, and comes standard with all-wheel drive. Even in snow, both you and your dog will have a safe ride.
Ford Edge. The Edge features a spacious cargo area and a low floor for easy loading. It handles well in all types of weather, so you and your pet will be safe.
Jeep Renegade. The last thing you want is your dog to have to scrunch to get into and out of your car and the boxy design on this small SUV gives you and your dog plenty of headroom. The Renegade has a cargo floor panel that can be removed, so you can stash your stuff out of the way of your pet. Like every Jeep, the Renegade has great handling and traction, for off road and winter weather.
Lincoln MKC. Transport your pup in luxury in the Lincoln MKC. It has dual-zone climate control, so both of you can stay comfortable. The leatherette upholstery is soft, the cabin is airy, and a sunroof is optional.
Keeping everyone as comfortable and safe as possible in your vehicle is important. Look for models with these dog friendly features and your dog, you, and your family may just be a whole lot happier.
Do dog friendly features affect your vehicle purchase decisions? Let us know in the comments.