Great Cars For Dog Owners

What Is The Best Car For Dog Owners To Drive?

Updated October 16, 2018

We take a lot of things into account when buying a car, and making sure that it’s pet friendly is one factor that a majority of pet owners think about. Here are a few cars I have found that are especially useful for dog owners:

Honda Element:
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Although this model is currently out of production, it has been on the market recently enough (2011) that it deserves a place on this list. With 75 cubic feet of cargo space, this vehicle provides more space for your dog than most others. One feature that sets the Honda Element apart from other cars is the addition of “clam shell” doors. The front doors have to be opened in order to open the back doors, but when both are open and the seats are pulled forward it creates plenty of space for your furry friend to leap in. The rear lift gate offers ample room as well, but if you haven’t leashed Fido he’ll probably be leaving the car before you want him when you open it. This is why the “dog package” that the Element offered was such a great addition. Element owners could opt for this package, which included a crate, bed, and water dish. With features like this the Element should top any dog owner’s wish list, but the exterior styling might push a few people in the opposite direction. And of course with the Element being out of production it can’t be recommended as a new car for any vehicle shopper.

Ford Escape:
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The Ford Escape is one of the only mid-sized SUV’s that is available in a hybrid model. With the rising costs of gasoline, that alone should put a silver star next to Ford on your buying checklist. The Escape has 67.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the back, providing plenty of room for most dogs and their crates. While this vehicle doesn’t come with any sort of dog package, the 2012 model does offer a few features that will be useful for dog owners. The most noticeable of these is the foot activated lift gate. Whether your arms are full of doggy groceries or you are wrestling a couple of excited dogs on leash, this feature will come in handy over and over again. As long as you have the keys nearby, you just need to swing your foot underneath the rear bumper and a sensor will automatically activate the rear lift gate. Another helpful feature is the Ford SYNC technology, a voice activated software that allows you to search for things like restaurants while you are driving. In the case of the stressed out pet owner, Ford points out that you can also search for veterinarians while on the fly. This would be a huge help if Fido was sick and you weren’t able to search your phone for the emergency vet while driving. While the Escape seems to be geared toward the driver more than the canine passenger, many of these human friendly features are friendly enough to canines to include the Escape on this list.

Toyota Venza:
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Another Japanese entry on the list is the Toyota Venza. The Venza is a stylish mid-sized SUV with 70.2 feet of cargo space. With fold flat rear seats, that cargo space can be instantly comfortable for your dog to stretch out in after a long day at the park. While there is no official dog package offered with the Venza, Toyota does offer several aftermarket products to make the Venza even more dog friendly. Along with basics like pet barriers, seat covers, and seatbelts, Toyota has a rear hatch pet ramp and leash tethers. They also have something  unique that no other manufacturer offers: A zip line style harness. While this might not do much for larger dogs, your terrier or Chihuahua can roam the back of your car at will while still being safely secured.

Subaru Forester:
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It’s seemingly impossible to go to a dog park without passing a flock of Subarus. The most dog friendly of these Japanese designed/American manufactured cars is probably the Forester. This mid-sized SUV is built low to the ground, providing easy access for dogs of any shape and size. The 8.9” of ground clearance might be a bit low for off road trips, but it’s quite ideal for smaller and older dogs who want to get into the car without your assistance. Once in the back of the car, your dog will discover 68.3 cubic feet of cargo space to relax in. You’ll be even happier to discover that the Forester has underfloor rear cargo storage, allowing you to store your groceries safely away from the prying eyes of your hungry dog. Subaru has offered a dog package, which includes a barrier and a waterproof cargo tray to protect your interior after another trip to the beach or the park on a rainy day. It also includes a rear bumper protector, which is a brilliant idea. Those excited dive bombs from the car that so many dogs make at home and at the park can begin to take a toll on the bumper and the area around it, so any sort of protection will be appreciated by most dog owners.

Volvo XC60:
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The final car on this list is the Volvo XC60. While one might have a difficult time investing around $40000 in a vehicle and then retrofitting it for their dog, the XC60 does have a few accessories available for dog lovers with a few more expendable dollars falling out of their pockets. They only offer your basic cargo covers and barriers, but they also offer a cargo divider that can cut the 67.4 cubic foot cargo area in half lengthwise so that you can keep your dog away from that brand new bag of dog food that he is eyeing hungrily.



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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