We love our pets. We love our cars. And we love to put our pets in our cars and take them with us to the park, to the beach, on vacation.
But pet fur and paws can do a number on our car’s interior. Luckily, it doesn’t have to. There are several ways to protect a car from canine (or feline) family members. A seat cover is a great way to do this; you can find them online or at most large pet supply stores.
Depending on the type of vehicle you own, you may also want to check with your dealer to see if they sell a seat cover as an accessory.
For example, the Isuzu Ascender 5-Passenger offers a rear seat protector as an option to protect the second or third row seat upholstery. The Isuzu’s seat protector is a heavy-duty, water-resistant poly-cotton fabric that can be easily washed in a washing machine.
Keeping your car in pristine condition is important, but so is the safety of your pet. Letting your dog or cat move about the car without being strapped in is like letting a child sit in the back seat without a seatbelt. Even a minor accident could cause your pet to be injured.
The best way to prevent injury to your pet during a car accident (or even routine driving in which quick stops might be unavoidable) is to install a pet car seat. Several different models exist. For dogs under twenty pounds, you may want to consider a car seat that mounts temporarily to the front or back seat using the seat’s existing seat belts. Many of these types of car seats mount high enough that the dog can look out the window but will still stay protected during an accident.
For larger dogs, we suggest the hammock style back seat protector which prevents the animal from being thrown to the floor or into the front seat in the event of an accident. Hammock style protectors mount to the back of the front seats and to the front of the back seats, and run the entire width of your vehicle.
Pet seat belts are also an option. The seat belt is worn like a harness and attaches to the regular seat belts in your vehicle.
Should you get into an accident with your pet in the car, the restraint will prevent him or her from flying into the front seat area or out a window.
For a cat, the safest option (for both pet and driver) is a soft or hard case pet carrier. Push the seat forward just enough to fit the carrier on the seat and behind the dash. Too much space will allow the carrier to slide forward or even off the seat altogether on impact. Many vehicles can now sense when there is something in the front passenger seat other than a person, and if so, a mechanism prevents the air bag from deploying during an accident. If your vehicle doesn’t have this feature, it’s best to keep your pet in the back seat since the force of an air bag is likely to severely injure a small or medium-sized dog.